Tag Archives: Scuba-diving

Saving a Turtle

Another big thank you to Hills of Africa Travel – for being simply the best! Today, they’ve featured the second part of their interview about my novel (chick-lit/romance) on their blog: Out of Air: A Story of Sheer Inspiration – Part II.

In case you’re wondering about the book’s title, a fellow writer and student on my first novel-writing course, Leilani Basson, suggested it during a brainstorming session. This followed a discussion about the inspiration, which includes scuba diving. Dave is a long-time instructor, and introduced me to it almost twenty years ago.

We shared an amazing experience once, when he saved a giant leatherback turtle from running out of air. It was held fast to the sea bed by three fishing lines, attached to triple-hooks in its mouth. Wedging his diving knife handle into the huge beak, Dave gradually worked the hooks out, freeing the turtle to come up for air. Through it all (15 – 20 minutes), it seemed to relax into a kind of trance, as if realizing he was there to help.

This is one of my most special underwater memories, contributing to certain key scenes in Out of Air, as well as the title. Metaphorically, it relates to Gina’s breathless state of being as she strives to navigate the storms of her search for true love.

I don’t have a photo of the leatherback, but here’s a loggerhead sea turtle instead:


EYE TO EYE WITH A TURTLE – Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Mozambique


LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE WITH SCUBA DIVERS – Mozambique

My sincere thanks to Leilani, and especially Dave. Without him, Out of Air would not exist – for countless reasons.

Continue reading

Posted in Messages, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Celebrating Southern African Getaways

Sincere thanks to the fabulous Christine Searle at SA-Venues, for including me in her awesome post: South Africans share their favourite local getaways! It’s a total treat to participate and discover what’s special to others too 😀

Picking only one favourite was impossibly tough, given the abundance we have here – as well as how privileged Dave and I have been, thanks largely to friends, family and our professional photography. I narrowed it down to the African bushveld, because I believe that nothing compares to the ‘soul vacation’ this offers. Here’s the longer list, incorporating more of Southern Africa and a few of the countless highlights we’ve enjoyed:

Londolozi private game reserve, SA – leopards:


LEOPARD CLOSE-UP – Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

Madikwe private game reserve, SA – wild dogs:


AFRICAN WILD DOG – Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Schotia Safaris, SA – lions:


MUFASA – Schotia Safaris, South Africa

Welgevonden private game reserve, SA – rhino’s & elephants:


RHINO SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden Game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa


ELEPHANT SILHOUETTE – Welgevonden game Reserve, Waterberg, South Africa

Timbavati private game reserve, SA – buffalo:


BUFFALO BULL – Timbavati game reserve, South Africa

Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana – abundant game and raptors:


HIPPOS AT SUNSET – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana


FISH EAGLE TAKING OFF – Khwai River, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana – wide open spaces and occasional cheetah:


DAVE checking photo’s on our roofrack – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana


CHEETAH RUNNING – Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Mozambique – scuba diving, especially Guinjata Bay’s manta rays:


MANTA RAY WITH REMORA FISH – Guinjata Bay, Mozambique


ME SCUBA-DIVING – Mozambique, Southern Africa

Lesotho – enduro riding, in particular the extreme Roof of Africa:


ROOF OF AFRICA 2010 – Lesotho, Southern Africa


VIEW OF MALUTI MOUNTAINS – Lesotho, Southern Africa

Cape Town (where I grew up) – family, fun, Two Oceans & Table Mountain:


TABLE MOUNTAIN from V&A WATERFRONT – Cape Town, South Africa


VIEW OF CAPE POINT – Cape Town, South Africa

As far as wildlife goes, we’re planning perhaps the pinnacle trip for September next year: Serengeti under Canvas in Tanzania with &Beyond Africa, which follows the migration in luxury tents. CAN’T WAIT, especially since it will probably include scenes like these:


WILDEBEEST RUNNING – Masai Mara, Kenya


HOT AIR BALLOON ABOVE MIGRATING WILDEBEEST – Masai Mara, Kenya

I wasn’t lucky enough to accompany Dave to Kenya, where he shot these last two pics, so that’s high on my wish-list of wildlife destinations, along with others in Southern Africa, such as Namibia (where I was born), Zambia (where my father was born and raised) and Zimbabwe (where some of our special friends come from). And that’s just for starters. Ah, AFRICA…what’s to do but LOVE YOU?

Continue reading

Posted in Messages, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Preserving Penguins and preventing seasickness…

Those of you who’ve read about My Books, will know that our endangered African Penguins are close to my heart. This stems from childhood, when my late father sailed on our national research ships to the Southern islands and Antarctica, sometimes returning with penguins and seals. Despite the passing decades, I’ll never forget them, nor the pungent cocktail of diesel and oil mixed with the sea, so characteristic of the Cape Town docks. The docks of the old days, before the development of the vibrant V&A Waterfront.

So it’s wonderful to learn of support for the world’s penguins. My fabulous Facebook friend, Dyan deNapoli (The Penguin Lady) is in the process of launching her book The Great Penguin Rescue. Documenting a devastating oil spill that threatened 40,000 African Penguins, it will no doubt be a PHENOMENAL read, so take a look! For anyone unfamiliar with these birds, here are some pics of the Boulders Beach colony in Simonstown:


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUINS – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa


AFRICAN PENGUIN – Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Dyan also recently drew our attention to a stunning new website of the Global Penguin Society, which ‘is dedicated to the survival and protection of the world´s penguin species, fostering integrated ocean conservation through science, management and community education.’ High five to them for all for their amazing effort!

As an aside about sea travel, Dyan offers invaluable advice for preventing seasickness: ReliefBands. She apparently felt no discomfort during five days of crossing the Drake Passage (to Antarctica and back) on a stabilizer-free ship, while others on board were beyond green. The bands ‘have a metal plate that sits against your wrist and provides an electrical pulse that stimulates a nerve, reducing peristaltic activity in your stomach’.

This recommendation came in response to a query on my Mom’s behalf, as she plans to visit ‘The Ice’ next year, shortly after turning seventy. Hard core women, or what? I can’t take the thought of those hectic seas, preferring to stick much closer to coast-lines, but these bands are a definite for future dive trips! I’ll task my Mom with photography 🙂

And how’s this for a cool side benefit? A user testimonial for ReliefBands mentions going on Adventureland rides that kids adore, with ‘NO ill effects whatsoever’! WOW, if that’s possible, perhaps there’s hope for me to read in cars. Now that would be AWESOME 😀 Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Musings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Breathe!

One of the most precious gifts of yoga is the mindfulness of breath, and its deep flow into and out of the body. This is not only incredibly relaxing, but cleansing and energizing as well. Above all, it helps to bring your awareness into the present moment. The crazy thing is that I’ve been isolating the experience to the actual classes, without practising it in the rest of my life. When in fact, each and every moment we are free to breathe however we choose!

Apparently us women especially have a tendency to breathe shallowly, something I certainly do, as I’ve discovered while scuba diving. So much so that I often unconsciously skip-breathe underwater. While this can increase dive-time considerably, it leads to a splitting headache on surfacing, which is attributable to raised carbon-dioxide levels. This brings my novel, OUT OF AIR, to mind. As the title suggests, it explores the topic, in a literal and metaphorical way (see My Books page). Of course, we all know that oxygen is important for optimal brain function – all the more reason to breathe better, in order to write better 🙂

Here’s a photo that Dave took of me at Ponta Do Ouro, to help illustrate the scene:

Continue reading

Posted in Musings, Writing Works | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thanks, Shane!

Heart-felt THANK YOU to Shane, our fabulous fellow South African, for the kind words and generous recommendation on his stunning blog, http://www.myfriendshane.com. Browse his blog for some special insight into being South African, including things like How to braai fish. … Continue reading

Posted in Messages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth-touch.com

We’ve recently been treated to stunning TV footage from http://www.earth-touch.com. This must be one of the best wildlife sites around, documenting the magnificence of some of our favourite places: Okavango, Botswana – Dave’s photo’s speak for themselves, just search ‘top … Continue reading

Posted in Messages | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Brainstorm

Brainstorming can bring immeasurable benefit, as we experienced during a session on our Writer’s Write course. Leilani Basson – fabulous fellow student, exceptional writer & editor of MyWeek – came up with the title for my novel: OUT OF AIR. … Continue reading

Posted in Writing Works | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment