Moving – Again!

Yup, it’s finally happened.  I found a lovely little house and I am in the process of moving!  As wonderful as it has been staying with Amor, I need my own space with my own things around me.  Tiger needs to be able to go outdoors.  That has always been the plan.  Sometimes things take longer than expected.  I am learning that people down here are not in a hurry for anything and so I have to go with the flow.  I was ready to move over a month ago, but the lady I bought my house from went on holiday for six weeks after I had the survey done.  So much for a quick sale.  Instead, it gave me time to think about how I want my new home to look.  I have been looking at kitchens, bathrooms and paint samples.  I have also had a holiday.

There is so much to do.  Although the lady left the place quite clean, and better than I expected, I really need to give it a good scrub as I can’t bear other people’s grime.  I have been on my hands and knees, with the rubber gloves, and giving every surface a good going over.  At least when I next have to clean the house, it will be my own dirt and mess.

I have done my little ritual for taking over and sending any negative vibes on their way.  I have been doing some space clearing which involved beating a saucepan with a  wooden spoon in every room.  I wonder what the neighbours thought about that!  I did it to a milonga and vals playlist I made.  I want happy vibes in my new home.  So there I was beating my home-made drum to happy tango music and singing or humming out loud.  What a sight that must have looked like!

There is still a bit more cleaning to do before my things get moved in.  It will be like Christmas once I have my things as I had stored some items in my garage for about four years and I have forgotten what is in some of the boxes.  I managed to get rid of a lot of old things I no longer needed or wanted.  It might be necessary to re-evaluate the items I saved.  I have purchased a smaller house and some of my things may not fit.  It will be interesting to see how a part of my old life will fit into my new one.

Moving into a new home is time consuming.  I will need to change my address yet again!  Fortunately, I plan on staying in my new place for a very long time.   I also need to organise trademen to do various jobs.  My new home is an old lady and she needs a bit of TLC, maintenance and updating.  Although there are many things that need to be done, there is no hurry.

I also need to get a job!  Now that I have the house, I can put more attention into getting some work.  Although I am quite good at multitasking, I prefer to be able to focus on one thing at a time.  Some people might think that looking for work might have been a priority, and it was in the beginning, but I came to my new area at a time of year where there really was nothing going on the job market (I was in a similar situation in 2009) and so I turned my attention to finding a home and it worked.   This time last year I found a part-time job.  I am quietly confident that things will turn around and I will be in full-time employment.  All I need to do is put my attention to it.

So, here I am at another new beginning.  If you don’t hear from me for awhile, it is because I am very busy.  Will keep you posted. 🙂

Why do they do this?

Just having come back from a wonderful scuba diving holiday in The Red Sea, I have fish on the brain.  I had been looking at several Red Sea fish guides to identify some of the many fish I had seen on my holiday.  I have been trawling the internet for the next scuba diving holiday destination.  I have been watching documentaries about mantas.   These are wonderful things.

This morning, The Divemaster comes across a video on youtube about a 1000 pound hammerhead shark from chewonthis TV. They use rays as bait to reel in sharks.  They say that all the sharks they catch are released.  ?????????  I got queasy from watching it, and a bit pissed off too.

It got me thinking about Americans and fishing.  (Well, only because we Americans are so righteous about our right to have everything and do everything we want.)  So I tag surf on WordPress and come across a blog that lists upcoming fishing events from the Miami Herald.  

I am intrigued by the Marathon Sharkathon 2010.

They also release the sharks.  So what?!!  Why do they need to catch sharks in the first place?  In order to fish for sharks, they need to put chum in the water, so the shark is at an unfair disadvantage.  That is not fishing.  To me, that is like cheating.  I may get some s**t for this, but the fact that they do this in the name of a couple of charities is no better than people doing violence for a religious cause.

Some people kill sharks and fin them for money.  Some cultures use shark fins in their medicines and some use it for food.  Although I don’t agree that using shark products is necessary in order to live a healthy life, I can understand the motivation for obtaining money.  Just because I understand something doesn’t mean I agree with it.

What I truly don’t understand is the motivation for capturing an animal just for sport.  I think it is cruel.  I like to fish and I like to eat fish.  Sometimes we catch fish that are not big enough to eat and we must throw them back.  However, my purpose for fishing is to catch fish to eat.  When we went fishing in Kenya we caught a marlin.  We didn’t mean to catch a marlin, but we did and so we tagged it and let it go.  It’s the law.  We also caught a tuna and a bonito, which we shared with the crew for food.  We snagged, by complete accident, a whale shark.  It got caught on the line.  We had to reel it in very carefully in order to take the line out of its fin.  I was very emotional about it and glad there was no real harm done.  There were so many kinds of fish in the sea that day, we didn’t know what we were going to get.  The only bait was on the line.

There is this big thing going on in the States, particularly off the coast of Florida, about killing the lionfish that have been found there.  OK, so Florida isn’t their natural habitat, but somehow these lionfish found themselves there and are eating reef fish, which is what they do.  It is said that they are decimating the reef fish population because they have no natural predators.

Now, having just come back from The Red Sea, which is one of the lionfish’s natural habitat and where they abound, I just have to ask a few questions:  If there are so many lionfish in The Red Sea, why hasn’t the reef fish population been decimated?  If there are not many predators for lionfish, why aren’t there millions of them chomping their way through the fish population in The Red Sea?  If there are many lionfish in The Red Sea, and the reef fish population is thriving, what is so different off the coast of Florida where there is a panic about them?

My theory about the lionfish (or any fish for that matter) in The Red Sea is that they only eat what they can and what is available.  Rarely do animals or fish overeat when left to their own devices.  They eat when they are hungry.  When left to her own devices, Mother Nature can look after herself.  I believe that the reason the lionfish don’t eat all of the reef fish in The Red Sea is because the reefs are very healthy.  There seems to be a nice balance between predators and prey.  Because there seems to be a healthy balance on the reefs in The Red Sea, I am lead to conclude that the reefs off of the coast of Florida are not all that healthy.  That may sound too simplistic, but with big game fishing as a huge draw for tourists (and all that implies), and what little reef I have explored myself off of the Keys, my conclusion doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me.  If someone else has a better idea about why the reefs off of the coast of Florida are so lacking, I would like to know.

Sharm Again!

Just came back from another trip to Sharm with The Divemaster. Two weeks of sun, sea and scuba diving!  We stayed at our favourite hotel, Ocean Club.  This is not a luxury hotel by any means.  However, it is clean and friendly and next to our favourite 5* dive centre, Ocean College.  Over the years, mainly divers tended to stay at The Club, but as with everything, things change and it has been infiltrated by non-divers alike.  We also like it because it is generally quiet, especially in the evenings as divers tend to go to bed earlier than most.  Because divers tend to stay there, one is bound to come across a familiar face now and again.  We were pleased to see some people we had met in June and over Christmas, and we also made some new friends.

The first day was spent diving locally in Fiddle and Far Garden. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had purchased new equipment and was looking forward to trying it out.  Because my new BCD is extremely lightweight and only inflates at the back, it turned out that I needed an extra kilo on each side to help me get down.  This didn’t pose a problem until I had to haul myself back onto the boat as the weights were integrated into my BCD and positioned on the back by the tank and on my hips.  This gave me a bit of a drag when getting out of the water and climbing up the ladder.  Thank goodness for the boat boys!  Otherwise, I have no complaints about my BCD at all.  I hardly noticed I was wearing it in the water as it was extremely comfortable and I had no problems with my buoyancy control.  In fact, I love my new BCD!  My regs – well, what can I say about them?  They helped me breathe!  I am no techie when it comes to scuba equipment, so I don’t have much to say about them except that the mouthpiece was small and fit well and it is also lightweight.  I liked it and didn’t have to think much about it.  I could also read my SPG really well and clearly underwater.  I spent most of the time my first day looking at my new dive computer.  It took me awhile to get used to it and work out what it was telling me.  Eventually, I got the hang of it.  I am sure that there are other things it can tell me that I might be interested in knowing, but I can easily access the essential information for each dive.  I will need to look at the instruction manual and play around with it before I go diving again.  I am especially happy with my little diving cap!  It keeps the hair out of my face and keeps my head warm, although I did have to put a few holes in the top in order to let some of the air out.  All in all, I am very happy with my new purchases.  We had a lovely day’s diving and I was really happy to be back in the water.

Our second day was spent at Ras Mohammed National Park. We started at Anemone City, Shark and Yolanda Reefs. Every time I dive this site it is always different and we weren’t disappointed when we saw an Eagle Ray!  Back on board, the wind was kicking up and so we headed over to dive Ras Za’Atar where I saw some very large snappers, groupers and a nice puffer and box fish.  There was a bit of a swell and it was a bit hairy getting back onto the boat.  I was surprisingly calm about the whole ordeal, even when I bashed my shin against the ladder (I still have a massive bruise).  However, the ascent back onto the boat and the thrashing about weakened my reserves and I succumbed to a bit of sea sickness, although I didn’t heave.  It definitely put me off lunch.  Thank goodness I had The Divemaster to look after me.  I just made myself small and slept on the boat the rest of the afternoon.

The next two days the swell and wind were so bad that they had to close the jetties at Travco and Naama Bay.  They weren’t able to get our equipment off of the boat for the first day of the closure, so we were forced to sit by the pool and work on our tan. 🙂  The dive centre was able to get our equipment off the boat on the second day of closure so that we were able to dive off of the beach at Naama Bay.  The Divemaster had never dived off of the beach before and was keen to get into the water.  We started at the pier where there were too many lion fish to be believed.  I had never seen so many in one place before.  It was incredible.  We eventually made it past the sculptures and a large puffer fish and his trunk fish buddy to a little reef on the other side of the beach.  It is amazing how much one can see in a relatively small area.  On our two dives there we saw a citron coral gobi, a couple of red starfish, banded pipe fish, a Mourning Dorid nudibranch, goatfish, trunkfish and a whole host of other fish that I don’t know the names of.  I could have pottered around there all day if I had enough air to last me!

The diving thereafter for the rest of the holiday came in fits and starts.  Although the weather settled down for the rest of our trip, some dives just seemed to be better than others.  I learned a few things about diving with the current.  We had a few dives when the current was flying and I panicked a little the first time I experienced that on Ras um Sid. The Divemaster gave me a few pointers and the next time it happened I was prepared and actually enjoyed the ride.  The current is always an issue when diving in Sharm and sometimes the dive guides can put the fear of God in you during the dive briefing.  Forewarned is forearmed I guess.  There were a few dives that really tired me out, but for the most part I really enjoyed myself.  I had no problems with buoyancy on this trip and was the most relaxed I had been in many years.  I was getting better at spotting interesting things such as turtles, eels, and a Moses Sole.  There were quite a few turtles to be seen on this trip.  We visited a few sites several times over this holiday and each dive experience was different.  I cannot understand the people that have told me that they get bored.  Granted some dive sites are more interesting than others, but there is always something that amazes me even if I don’t see anything ‘big’ or ‘interesting’.  It is all interesting to me.  I love watching how the little groups of fish interact with each other in their environment.  I saw many fish doing their little mating dances around each other.  It was so cute.  Then there is the coral.  I think people forget that they are actually living creatures.  Granted, some are more interesting to look at than others, but coral usually has some fish swimming in and around it, or hiding under it.  There is always something to see.  On this trip I saw: Lionfish, many turtles, an eagle ray, morays (three kinds), starfish, nudibranchs, Napoleon wrasse, crocodile fish, stone fish, scorpion fish, Moses sole, groupers and the king of all groupers (it was bloody huge!), jacks, tunas, barracudas, blue spotted rays, puffer fish, trunk fish, parrot fish, octopus, torpedo rays, butterfly fish, angel fish and so many other fish and lovely corals that I don’t know the names of.  Too many fish and too little time to identify them all!  To top it all off, we also saw a Ghost Pipe Fish.  Pretty spectacular that was.  He was having his photo taken by a few of our diving friends.

No dive holiday would be complete without the people you meet, fellow divers.  For most of the holiday, The Divemaster and I dived with the same group of people, some of who were also staying at The Club.  Some were divers who have been going to Sharm for many years although our paths had never crossed before, and some we had met on previous visits.  On the second leg of the holiday, our little group was able to use the same dive boat for the rest of our trip.  As well as having some continuity in our routine, this also meant that our kit was generally dry for the first dive. 🙂  For the most part, there was some camaraderie and hilarity amongst those that were already familiar with each other or were getting used to each other’s company.  Unfortunately, there is always one or two that are a pain in the butt or a potential diving hazard.  At least it gives everyone something to talk about along with what amazing creatures they saw in the water.  It creates a weird sort of bonding sometimes.

The boat crew and diving staff can help make or break a holiday.  Fortunately the people we counted on to look after us did so extremely well.  They are practically like family, though in some cases maybe even better.  Always ready for a laugh, their professionalism was never compromised and safety was always a priority.  I guess this is why many people keep coming back to dive with Ocean College.

I didn’t really take any photos this time around as I am rather limited with my little camera and have posted images on previous posts.  One of the ladies on the dive boat kindly took a photo of me with my dive kit on to show that I actually do go scuba diving.  Quite a different look compared to what I wear for my other passion, Argentine Tango!  We also had some Risso’s dolphins swimming near the boat on a couple of days.  These dolphins are not the fun ones that like to come right up to the boat, but dolphins nonetheless.  It is always wonderful to see them, though better to dive with them!

I had a wonderful holiday.  However, I can feel my tan fading already.  It is supposed to be spring!  I guess there is only one thing for it – start planning the next one.  Hmmn!  Where shall we go next?