Extreme Fishing With Robson Green – No Sharks!

Watamu National Marine Park is off the coast of Kenya in Watamu, near Malindi.  It is a protected national marine park.  The resort area of Watamu is home to a few luxurious resorts with a long and pristine beach.  The summer months are the dry season as the weather is quite hot.  The tide restricts diving to inside the reef off of the beach.  When Tangodiver went there in August 2001, she was only able to dive to 9 meters as that was the deepest one could go before hitting the sandy bottom.  The snorkelling is superb also as there is a lot to see.  Apparently, the best time to dive the reef is from December to February when the tide is better.  There are upsides to staying in Watamu at the height of the dry season.  Firstly, the resorts are practically empty (well, they were in 2001) thus allowing one to walk along the beautiful beach without seeing another soul, save the many crabs darting around.  Secondly, the krill are running, and it is a good time to go out to sea for some sport fishing.

Last night, Tangodiver and The Divemaster watched Episode 2 of Series 3 of Extreme Fishing with Robson Green, “where Robson takes fishing to the extreme in Kenya.” Tangodiver was intrigued by this program as she had done some scuba diving and extreme fishing herself in Kenya.  It turns out that they did it in the same place! 🙂

Tangodiver was having déjà-vu while watching Robson Green fishing for Marlin.  The day that Tangodiver and the family went out on the fishing boat they had to get up very early in the morning in order to make the tide.  Once on the boat, they were stuck there all day as they wouldn’t be able to get back to the jetty until the tide came back in late in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, there was a bit of a swell on the sea which caused the family a bit of discomfort, which they eventually got over.  Luckily for Robson, he didn’t have that problem the day he went on his fishing trip.

Robson was having a whale of a time and managed to catch a Marlin, which was tagged and released and which is required by law.  The day Tangodiver went fishing, they caught and tagged a Marlin also.  Then Robson caught a Dorado (Mahi-Mahi)(Tangodiver didn’t), then he caught a Bonito (ditto Tangodiver).  When Tangodiver and the family were out on the sea, they also caught a tuna.  There were many tuna chasing the krill and many larger predators chasing the tuna.  They saw someone on another boat pulling up a tuna with a shark hanging on to the tail end of the tuna.  That one went back into the sea as it wasn’t good enough for a trophy – shark bite.  They also saw four whale sharks swimming near the surface on the side of the boat.  The Divemaster says that Tangodiver must have been narked.  He always says that to people that claim to have seen a whale shark.  As far as he is concerned, they don’t exist until he actually sees one!  In any event, one of the lines got snagged onto one of the whale sharks and it had to be reeled in order to remove the hook.  That was when Tangodiver had her close encounter with a whale shark.  It was beautiful, though she would have preferred to be diving with one instead of being on the boat.  Or maybe not, considering the amount of hungry sharks in the water! On the way back to the jetty, Tangodiver and the family also saw flying fish, dolphins and whales.  Not a bad day of extreme fishing.  It was almost as good if not better than Robson’s.  By the way, Tangodiver didn’t catch the fish all by herself.  She had a little bit of help and the whole family had a go at reeling them in.  Back at the jetty, the boys on the boat were given the tuna and the bonito was taken home for dinner.  It was delicious.

During the rest of the program, Robson caught many interesting fish and quite a few that Tangodiver was familiar with from either looking at when scuba diving or having eaten in restaurants (or both).  Tangodiver and The Divemaster didn’t have a problem with Robson catching these fish for sport as they knew that the fish were food for the locals and wouldn’t be wasted.  As Tangodiver’s dad always used to say “If you kill it, you eat it.”

The program was very entertaining.  The Divemaster thought it was great to be paid for doing your hobby.  That Robson Green is a very lucky man.  Tangodiver and The Divemaster have one big problem with the program.  There is a competition to win a shark fishing trip in Florida!  Big game fishing and shark fishing is big off of The Keys in Florida.  It is almost a right to be able to kill big fish and bring them back for trophies.  Just like the right to bear arms.  Tangodiver and The Divemaster totally object to this competition.  In fact, Tangodiver has just sent an e-mail to Channel 5 stating her objection and requesting the competition to be withdrawn.  You can send your own e-mail to: customerservices@five.tv

That’s it.

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Tangodiver and the Four Wetsuits

Once upon a time, and not so very long ago (just before Christmas actually), Tangodiver thought it was about time that she had her very own wetsuit.  Even though she qualified in 1997, Tangodiver hadn’t done much diving in the last 10 years and hadn’t been too concerned about hiring equipment.  She owned a pair of fins, a mask, and a snorkel, all of which fit into her suitcase and still left room in her luggage for shopping.  Although Tangodiver hadn’t been on many diving holidays, she had been to some interesting places to dive:  she had done her Open Water in The Maldives (before El Niño), Advanced Open Water in The Cayman Islands, back again to The Maldives (after El Niño), Kenya and The Red Sea.

Tangodiver never imagined in a million years that she would fall in love with the very nice man she met on her last diving holiday three years ago, and who had qualified as a Divemaster.  When Tangodiver thought it was about time she went into the water again, she and The Divemaster booked a holiday to The Red Sea (Sharm el Sheikh).  Now The Divemaster took his role very seriously (‘master’ being the operative word here) and decided that he couldn’t possibly go diving with Tangodiver if she would be wearing ‘snorkel’ (full foot) fins underwater.  Tangodiver, being the true Jersey (New Jersey) girl  that she is, told The Divemaster that they were the only fins she had, they fit her, she liked the colour, she was happy with them, and he knew what he could do if he didn’t like it.  So he bought her a pair of ‘proper’ diving fins and boots for her birthday! 🙂

The holiday went better than either of them could have expected.  The Divemaster was in charge of all diving related matters and was not embarrassed about what type of fins Tangodiver was wearing, and Tangodiver had her very own Divemaster to look after her every diving need.  As the holiday was so successful, they agreed that they would have other diving holidays together in the future.

The Divemaster thought that it was about time that Tangodiver should own her own wetsuit.  So when Tangodiver finally sold her house, she took The Divemaster with her (actually, he drove her around) on a wetsuit shopping expedition.  She needed expert advice and since The Divemaster has very good equipment 😉 he was the best choice to take along.  So she put on a very nice pair of matching undies that could almost be taken for a swimsuit and off they went.

The first dive shop they went to was little more than a ramshackle hut and they initially thought the place was closed.  It wasn’t.  The owner was a mature and experienced lady diver and had just come back from Sharm.  She thought the water was cold and suggested Tangodiver try on a ScubaPro 7mm wetsuit.  (Actually, Tangodiver thought it was the only one in the shop in her size.)  So Tangodiver dutifully took off her clothes and squeezed into the wetsuit.  “Are the arms and legs supposed to feel like I am having my blood pressure tested?” Tangodiver asked.  “Oh, they are meant to be snug”, the mature lady diver said.  The Divemaster thought it would be a good idea to try on a few different brands before handing over some cash and told the mature lady diver that they would be back later if they couldn’t find anything.  So Tangodiver gratefully peeled off the wetsuit with the help of her Divemaster (it was a bit of a struggle), got dressed, and drove off to another shop.  While they were in the car, The Divemaster told Tangodiver that the suit she had tried on was a bit loose under the arms and that she should try on a wetsuit geared particularly to women.  She hadn’t noticed the looseness under the arms as the wetsuit was way too tight in other places.   Maybe a wetsuit made for ladies was a good idea.

So with that in mind, they went to the second dive shop, but it had closed down.  The third dive shop they went to was closed.  There was one more place to try. Fortunately it was open.  They had a nice range of wetsuits for women.  Tangodiver proceeded to try them on.

The second wetsuit Tangodiver tried on was by Oceanic.  It went on like a dream.  It was snug in all the right places, but without trying to cut off her circulation.  If there was one little fault, it was only that it was a bit loose around the neck.  That was no good as it would let in too much water.

The third wetsuit Tangodiver tried on was by Fourth Element.  Apparently, these wetsuits are meant to be the mother of all wetsuits.  It was snug, like a second skin, but not too snug, except for when The Divemaster tried to zip her up.  “Help, I can’t breathe!” Tangodiver said.  “It’s choking me!  Get me outta here!”  The Divemaster quickly unzipped her, and while Tangodiver was recovering and gasping for breath, the shop assistant was bringing her another wetsuit to try on.  While Tangodiver was trying to explain to The Divemaster that although she liked the look and feel of the wetsuit, the neckband pushing on her oesophagus was a big negative, as breathing was essential to scuba diving.

While Tangodiver couldn’t get out of the Fourth Element wetsuit quickly enough, she got into a bit of a tangle and she wasn’t aware what a sight she must have been to the shop assistant who politely tried to avert his eyes while she stood in the changing room in her undies as she grabbed the fourth suit out of his hands. 😉 (Tangodiver thinks matching undies are about the same as a bikini and is quite proud of her figure these days, so wasn’t fazed by this.)

Now Tangodiver was getting very tired and bored with trying on wetsuits and was hoping the fourth one would be the last one to try on.  Everything started well – legs in, ok, not too tight – arms in, ok, not too tight there either – zip up.  In fact, it fit perfectly.  Tangodiver had just tried on the Cressi Comfort Plus 5mm Lady.  It is shaped specfically for women and their curves.  The Italians know a thing or two about style.  So it was no big surprise to Tangodiver that this wetsuit would fit her in all the right places.  There was an added bonus in that the colours complemented the new fins that she got for her birthday!  The Divemaster thought that Tangodiver looked great and told her that the most important thing was how comfortable she felt wearing it.  It was not too tight, nor too loose.  It was just right!  Now all Tangodiver had to do was wear it underwater!

Preview – The Dark Monarch @ The Towner Gallery

Last night, Amor and I went to the preview of ‘The Dark Monarch – Magic & Modernity in British Art’ at The Towner Gallery.  ‘Taking its title from the infamous 1962 book by artist Sven Berlin, The Dark Monarch explores the influence of folklore, mysticism, mythology and the occult on the last 100 years of British are, focusing on the landscape and legends of the British Isles.’

We have been to a couple of these types of previews before and were therefore surprised at how particularly crowded and busy this one was.  Upon entry, we were directed up to the second floor.  It seemed there were as many people in the bar area as there were in the gallery.  The rooms were so crowded that we decided to start anti-clockwise in Gallery 4, which seemed to be the least busy, but wasn’t.  This room contained Damian Hirst’s work, The Child’s Dream. I am not a particular fan of Mr. Hirst’s work and this was no exception.  I frankly think he is taking the piss and wonder how he manages to get away with it.  Amor was particularly upset with this piece and said, “How dare he kill a Unicorn!” “And a baby one at that!”  I suggested that perhaps Unicorns maybe small in real life as we hadn’t seen one before.  My one concession to Mr. Hirst:  Although the Unicorn is contained in formaldehyde, the fluid is so clear and free of debris that you can’t really tell that there is any fluid inside the container at all, apart from the smell.  In any event, Amor was outraged so we carried on through the other rooms in order to minimise the trauma.

Walking through the other rooms was a nightmare because of the amount of people there and I was only able to get glimpses of the work on the walls.  When we finally managed to work our way out to the landing, it was decided that we would have to come again when it would be less busy as there were some interesting pieces on the walls that we wanted to see and learn more about.  However, we would have to pay to see it.  Apparently most of the exhibitions are free, but they do a couple of paid exhibitions per year and one must pay to see this particular exhibition.

I suggested we go down to the first floor for some calm in the Collection Gallery (entry free to 11 April 2010).  There are many pieces here that I enjoy looking at and some that I don’t really get.  This started an interesting dialogue between two other women and me about what constitutes art.  How does one get to be an artist that gets their work hung on a wall in a gallery or museum?  Does one need to have a formal education with the letters after their name?  Why does some driftwood with some pretty string wrapped around it get called art?  If one needs to explain it or quantify it with a long winded blurb about what the artist is trying to convey about the work, is that going to make you like it any more just because you have a better understanding of where the artist is coming from?  Going to these exhibitions sometimes brings up more questions than answers, and we had a lively discussion about this for a few minutes while Amor patiently sat down and waited until we were finished.

We finished our tour on the ground floor which contained pieces relating to Occult Philosophy.  Can someone tell me how a painted bookcase containing ‘literature of Surrealism and magic that is vast and varied, stretching from philosophical, theosophical, mystical and religious history, to practical guides to witchcraft, popular astrology and prediction magazines’ constitutes as art instead of just someone’s library?  Amor got very excited as he has a whole bookcase of diving books and magazines and now thinks he has a priceless work of art in his living room.  I wonder if my collection of complementary therapy books and magazines might be worth something!

There was another piece which Amor dubbed ‘The Ikea Collection’ and I will have to find out the real name of it at a later date.  It was basically some white frames without the shelves apart from one, with something like a brain on top of it.  Hmmm!  There were some other people in the room looking rather bemused or confused, so it wasn’t only us.

At this point Amor was so emotional that he had to go outside for a smoke to calm down and left me to finish viewing what was left of the exhibition, but I frankly didn’t have the will without him.  Instead, I collected the flyers on the exhibition to read at my leisure and to prepare me for my next (paying) visit.

When I asked Amor what his opinion was, he told me “it was pretentious crap”, but I wasn’t sure if he was referring to the exhibition or the people that attended.  Amor does have strong opinions and can be quite poetic on occasion; unfortunately this wasn’t one of them.  Maybe there were too many people rubbing against his “ch’i”.  I suggested we go to our favourite Tapas restaurant and fortify ourselves with a bottle of wine and some food.  That cheered him up immensely.  Oh the little things that make us happy.

The Dark Monarch is at The Towner Gallery in Eastbourne from the 23rd January to 21st March 2010.  Entry is £5.50 (£4 concessions) and under 18 are free.  Go and see it.  Really.