Bucket List Item #38: Shark Cage Diving

This morning at 06h00 my daughter and I reported at the Blue Wilderness at Rocky Bay on the Kwa Zulu Natal South Coast of South Africa.

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I was in serious need of some adrenaline in my life. Time to do a Bucket List Item… number 38 was possible… And so we decided to go feed ourselves to the sharks.

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Photos by Blue Wilderness

There was a cage available, but we decided to be brave and swim outside the cage…

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I think the wetsuit makes me look fat.. ūüôā

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That hairy skinny legs outside the cage are mine..

And then the SHARKS started arriving…

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Fortunately only Black tip Reef Sharks today…

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But they are beautiful, and very curious about us hanging around in their world…

 

This was really an amazing morning in my life, spending some quality time with my daughter, and enjoying nature…

I felt sorry for a few of the sharks… the one still swims around with a very expensive Rapala lure¬†dangling from¬†her mouth.¬† Some of the other sharks has evidence of broken jaws, being caught and then the hooks got taken out very brutally.¬† The one positive- they were released after being caught.

I really enjoyed this experience, and now I would love to start saving for the next level- doing a scuba course…

Cry for Africa..

I have been silent in the past two weeks. Why?

I AM ASHAMED OF MY COUNTRY!

Our country’s thugs have started murdering people not born here in a violent spate of Xenophobic attacks.

Our National Sunday Times front page shows the murder of Emmanual Sithole yesterday. A man from Mocambique. What did he do to deserve to die? He was born in another country!!!!!

This shocking state of affairs have cost the lives of 7 people so far. I would not be surprised if the actual figures are much higher.

THE Xenophobia started in Kwazulu Natal with some very unfortunate remarks by the Zulu king and a son of Jacob Zuma. Both these gents now say their words were taken out of context.

Fact of the matter is: South Africans are extremely violent people. With some exceptions to the rule.

And it sickens me to the core…

The violence against foreigners is happening in our cities. But what would I do if it starts flaring up in our town? The nearest foreigner owned shops are just around the corner from my home. Less than 200 meter away. In a sense they are my neighbours! What will I do if people start attacking  them? If the barbarians start pouring petrol over the Pakistani businessman to set him alight? 

it is an extreme moral question. Do you only use words to protest? Do you use violence to try and protect?

The fact is: I am shocked by the behaviour against fellow Africans. Yes, I am white, I have found that out in the maternity ward years ago- no choice in that. SO yes, I am African too, I was born here. I AM NOT A COLONIST-there is no other country that would “take me back” as a citizen. I have been to Europe a few times. I am not a European! I have much more in common with the Zulu and Sotho than the German and Dutch from where my ancestors came.

So, I state for the record that I am ashamed for our country’s hatred and violence against foreigners. I am angry that so many people get killed daily in our country. And that includes all forms of hatred. The killing of Emmanual Sithole and all other Mozambicans , Zimbabweans, Somali’s and Ethiopians who lost their lives here. AND the killing of my tribe on the farms, the police said 80% of farm attacks are done by Zimbabweans…

I HATE the hatred and the violence. I wish Africa could grow beyond race and all those other bounderies we have used to segregate people, to a new future of… a basic respect for one another as human beings would be a good enough start for now!  80% of South Africans identify themselves as Christian, and one of the most basic principles of Christianity is to treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. I do not see that in action around here!

So, people of Africa, FFS grow up! You choose to hate and kill. You can also choose not to…

Remembering…

I am not an American, I have never been to the USA.  But today I want to bow my head in silent remembrance to those people losing their lives on 11 September 2001.

I also want to bow my head in silent remembrance to the victims of terror attacks all across the world. All those people dying for other people’s ideas and systems, without ever having a choice in the matter.

And finally I want to bow my head in silent remembrance of Reeva Steenkamp. Her death was echoing¬†¬†all across the world in the Oscar Pistorius court verdict today, as broadcasted on all the major news channels like CNN, BBC, Sky… Not guilty of murder- the rest to follow tomorrow…

As a Christian I would love to live in a world without violence, in a place where one would also respect people with different cultures, opinions, religions, races, creeds. A world where people even love their enemies.  A place where everybody can feel safe at night. A world without fear? Maybe that is not possible in this world. But that is what I believe in.

So tonight, no fancy words, no photos or graphics. No jokes.

Only a silent prayer for a world without hate… I still dream of a world where love would reign supreme…

And (apologies to Mr Lennon):

I am not the only one…¬†

Gallbladders and Apple Juice…

Margaret Rose and Seegogga will be on my case again…

About a month ago Seegogga gave me some advice for my recurring gallbladder attacks. And always, always there is just another reason why I could not start the program immediately. There is just never a week without some sort of party or feast.

On Tuesday it struck again. For the 7th time… I woke at half past midnight, with the searing pain I know so well these days. I was afraid of waking my wife, so I went to our television room to lay there and suffer on a spare mattress. ¬†I just tried to tough it out, watching one silly program after another on BBC Entertainment. But the pain never left. And I never fell asleep again. So half past six I phoned my doctor, and he came and injected me with the usual cocktail of 3 syringes, including morphine and buscopan. I was booked off for the day, and slept on and off till half past one . The pain never really went away, so I saw my doctor again at half past 8 the evening for another round of morphine. ¬†This time the pain went away.

So I started Seegogga’s program on Tuesday. It goes like this- 4 days of drinking only apple juice. This is day 3. I am extremely tired of apple juice! ¬†I drink about 1.5 litres a day. And water. That is all…

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I am tired, and grumpy, and apple juice looks like a urine monster…

I still have to go through with this till tomorrow night at bedtime, when I will have a drink of olive oil and lemon juice before bed.

The day afterwards it is soup made of carrots and celery, ¬†and cabbage and parsley. I still need a recipe to make this edible, Seegogga…¬†

After that I may start eating again, on the 6th day steamed vegetables, and on the 7th day steamed fish with vegetables…

Why is this so bad? On Saturday I would have loved to attend a meeting of the Word Riders in Pietersburg, where there will be a huge barbeque (Braai!). ¬†That is when I am supposed to drink only soup. And on Sunday they are going to church together, and then another barbeque… with me supposed to eat just steamed veggies…

I really want to see my friends again, but I will not be able to stand the lovely smell of barbeque and the temptation of a glass or two of red wine…

My doctor is busy  conferring with his learned friends, to maybe get me another go at a gastroscopy (camera down the throat.)

I am busy following Seegogga’s advice to the letter, but there is still this nagging doubt in my mind: What if…

I am seriously not able to stand another gall grit attack. ¬†That pain will drive a sane person to suicide. And I am not a sane person…

The surgical removal of a gall bladder sounds like the solution to me. But so many people says not to do it. A friend told me his mother died of complications following such surgery. Other friends tells me it will be the end of nice juicy mutton chops and red wine. While still another bunch says their lives just got better without a gall bladder.

Do you still have a gall bladder? If yours was removed, how did it affect your life?

And Seegogga, I still need a recipe to get those green things like celery and parsley into my body…

 

Who do I believe: http://cleansingorsurgery.com/cleansingorsurgeryinfo.php

or http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/flushes.html ?

 

 

 

 

Back to the Books…

This week blogging might be a bit slow in my life.

I am back at the books… we need to do continued training in our profession, and it is a very good thing!

This morning we started with a basic 4 day Trauma Incident Reduction (TIR) Workshop. In South Africa I really need the tools that this course provide. You might have noticed the Oscar Pistorius murder trail the past few weeks on international television like BBC or CNN. ¬†The one thing that stands out: we live in one of the world’s most violent countries. People live in fear around here.

There are just so many bad things happening to normal people every day. If you drive at night, and get a flat tyre in some (most?) regions, your chance to get attacked and killed while changing the tyre is quite high. ¬†Incidents like my daughter getting assaulted by a man to try and rob her of a mobile¬†phone. LAst week. The second attack on her in a year’s time. Old ladies get tortured by employees for hours. South Africa is a beautiful country. But it is also a very dangerous place to live, with a population shockingly used to murder and violence in every newspaper and on every television news show.

We live here. And some people get hurt every day.  We do not have regular natural disasters, It is people hating and hurting other people,.

So- when the opportunity arrived to get some tools to help heal hurting people, I jumped at it.

BUT, even if it is a basic course, it is very challenging to me. We have to do some role plays, that is quite hard for me to do. You see, I am comfortable behind my keyboard. It is much harder being in someone elses’ personal space, listening to their deepest hurts.

But I can see this course will really help me a lot!  Up till Thursday it will be very intense, with long days of working through theory, a lot of practical sessions, and with a lot of homework every evening.

I want to do this, to be better equipped to make a positive impact on society, I want to be part of the solution, not part of the multitude of problems we as a nation faces.

So- I am hitting the books, hard. What makes it so much more difficult, we have “load shedding”- or some electrical maintenance- we had no electricity from 06h00- 18h00 yesterday, and from 06h00- 20h00 today. ¬†That is being enlightened in the dark!

 

 

 

 

 

And how quickly a heart hardens again in South Africa…

NOT FOR SENSITIVE READERS OR PEOPLE OF MODIMOLLE’s EYES…¬†

You should see what I wrote, and deleted.

I am able to kill somebody. I discovered that yesterday.

I had an extremely long night on the bus from Cape Town to Pretoria. My wife and daughter met me at the station to pick me up. We dropped my daughter off at her home, I went to take a shower and a coffee at my mother’s house. Then, as it being my 24 th wedding anniversary. took my wife to a dinner before driving the last 130 km home.

In the time we sat at dinner, I received a Whatsapp message from my daughter, just enquiring if we were still in Pretoria. ¬†She just said she was longing for our company a little, but she was ok. ¬†I should have picked up something major was wrong. ¬†But we didn’t. When we arrived home, my mother called. My daughter was at her home.

Just after we dropped her off¬†yesterday afternoon,¬†she decided to go for a walk in a guarded suburb of Pretoria. ¬†A man approached her from behind, and hit her with the fist, a huge blow to the eye. He then discovered that she didn’t have her mobile phone with her, and ran off. ¬†My daughter is traumatized again, after being attacked again… She was showered with broken glass in a smash & grab attack behind Menlyn centre last year. Those guys selling all the shit at the traffic lights…¬†This is life in South Africa. ¬†We are in a position where your child gets beat up, and you are just so happy that she wasn’t killed or raped. ¬†It does not help to report it to police, nothing happens anyway, just another statistic that gets kept silent, when our police minister tells us crime rates ¬†is coming down…

I do not want to publish the photo of my daughter’s face. But ¬†I want to say this: people outside South Africa wonder why there are vagrant people being beaten up when they are where they don’t belong. (Waterkloof 4) . This is the reason.

Why do people live in fear, and shoot without seeing who they are shooting at, like maybe what happened to Oscar?¬†“How could he”- all the civilized people of the world are asking. How can there be so much gun violence in South Africa?

Because we are afraid. Because we get beaten up and murdered, and not 10% of crimes are solved.  They will find you if you do not pay at the hated etoll gates in Gauteng province. But you have a 90% chance to get away with murder.

I live in a very peaceful little town. The local newspaper greeted me yesterday with this story:

In a very secure residential area with 50 houses, a lady of 86 years old was attacked by her gardener, who worked for her for 5 years. All the people in this security estate knows the gardener as a friendly, reliable chap. Well, he asked the lady for R3000 ¬†(about $300) after working hours. When she did not have that amount, he started hitting her, and torturing her from 17h00 till MIDNIGHT. ¬†Being a lot of elderly people living there, nobody heard her screaming! Finally, as he got hold of a bank card, he went to withdraw some money. She got loose and fired of a few shots with her personal weapon. Then the neighbours heard her. The attacker came back, ¬†and she screamed his name. He ran away and the police is looking for him… ¬†Why did he need R 3000 so suddenly? To pay for training for being a witchdoctor (Sangoma!)

Why do we have weapons? Because we die if we don’t have them. Because you can call our emergency number, something like 911, in our country 10111, and the phone can ring for hours. When you get to the police station, all the officers on duty will be laying asleep around a barrel of KFC. When you wake them, they will say there is only 1 ¬†vehicle working, and probably it is off stealing sheep somewhere.

I know- our town’s police is not like that, they were really soon on the scene when the old lady got hurt. I have some very dedicated police officers in our church. ¬† But our newspapers are¬†full of stories where people gets murdered, and the police don’t even investigate. Murder dossiers gets misplaced for R100. If you are not Oscar Pistorius, forensic evidence can take up to 2 YEARS to get processed.

My daughter got beat up. The old lady in our town got tortured. And we are just so happy they are alive.

We have a beautiful word: GATVOL- ¬†When you are extremely fed up with a situation you can’t change.

I am totally GATVOL this evening, and ¬†I really wish I sent my daughter to karate classes from the age of 3, that she could really hurt assholes like that. ¬†And if I have came upon this scene, with ANYONE’s daughter being hit in the face by some illegal immigrant, I would have tried my best to really hurt that asshole.

I usually get into a lot of trouble when I use “Asshole” and “Bullshit” in my blog. That is our kind of society, people frown upon rough words. But we are getting immune to violence and murder. ¬†I hate living like this. I hate worrying every evening if my daughter is ok in the city.

Sorry that you have to see this side of me. I really tried to be a part of the solution of South Africa’s problems. I failed. ¬†TIA.

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The end of beauty- taken at a Stop & Go on the way down to Cape Town on my motorbike…

PS- If you really want to see what a loveable “Gardener” can do in South Africa- look at this photo, not for sensitive viewers.¬†http://diepos.co.za/thumbs/8/270/210/23972_p18k3mj6g3pk4uli1u063es12c33.jpg

 

 

 

 

This morning’s ride was LEKKER!

Lekker= a very good Afrikaans word, meaning nice, good, delicious, awesome, indescribable and so many more… in one word… The Dutch also have this word, but for them it just refer to good tasting food. We use it for EVERYTHING good… ¬†Lekker man, Lekker!

On Thursday Morning our neighbouring town of Warmbaths/ Bela Bela looked like this:

Well, this morning I went there again…

I first tried Nguni Jack’s, but their kitchen was not open yet… ¬†It is just behind the palm trees next to the dead traffic light on the photo above… It really is a good place to eat if you ever travel here… (Nguni Jack, next time I want a Draught on the house for this free ad!)

2014-03-15 08.58.51So I went next door again to Maxi’s… their kitchen was open. Remember them from two weeks ago?

If you look at the upper photo- they were flooded on Thursday. This morning they are open for business. Only the carpet looks a bit wet, further on it looks as good as always. So I had to go in for a quick breakfast, supporting their business. I have respect for people getting back on their feet after a disaster.  The road to Warmbaths is very bad, with huge potholes. But their municipality is busy at the moment, trying to fix it. Some of the holes are so big it took quite a few sandbags to get it level to the remaining tarmac. It was too dangerous to stop and take photos. Except for this one place just as you go out of Warmbaths north to our town- the stream is still flowing strong next to the road.

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Half an hour ago… on my way home…

The sad news is: as far as I know the elderly lady who got washed away at Klein Kariba- her body is still not found, her husband’s body was found last week.

The good news: ¬†My BMW feels really good, and ready for the long road down to Cape Town on Monday- 1650 km South from us…

I will try to blog on the go- for Word Riders 2014 in the Western Cape Province of South Africa…

Even more flooding in Limpopo!

This week around our town is quite hectic! Thank God our town has been spared the worst of the flooding.

Yet another dam wall has broken above Klein Kariba, and the flooding today is even worse than on Friday,

The place where I had my breakfast last Friday in Bela Bela (Warmbaths)?

This is how it looks at the moment!

Photo: Solidariteit

Photo: Nedene van Rooyen

Aerial photo of Warmbaths (Bela Bela) as shared by Berna van de Venter

Sunday Morning I had breakfast with friends at the town of Vaalwater. And this is what is happening there at the moment:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=640891795946775&set=vb.100000778824703&type=2&theater

The emerging city of Ellisras (Lephalale) is now a disaster area. Nearly all the roads there is now flooded and closed, with bridges washed away…

Photo- e nuus- motorboating in the streets of Ellisras

Ellisras- photo Beeld…

Ellisras- the road to Marken- Photo Wikkie Petzer

We are a bit worried, the rumours is starting that our town’s dam wall is under threat as well, but that is not substantiated.

But do you know, we South Africans do have a way of making it better with humor…

Taken from Corn√© Nel’s facebook page

Shared by Benanta Smit

Shared by Anichia van Vuuren. Translated: Fasten your bra straps and take out your dentures, this road is f****ed…

What every woman need in a time like this, shared by Irene Breedt

It is my wife’s birthday tomorrow. I want to take her out to dinner tonight. But the restaurant I have in mind is not very high above our river’s water level. With my experiences of Warmbaths and Vaalwater flooding just after I have been there last weekend, I am getting a bit paranoid…

And then David Warner of Australia really hurt our Cricket team in last night’s T20 game, played over just 7 overs due to rain. He scored an incredibly fast 40 runs… damn, the man is good, can we keep him?

As we have a saying in our country, (maybe everywhere else as well…) we are just trying to keep head above water.

I have tried to give credit to all photos used. It is just too dangerous to go there myself, and be in the way of rescue teams. This post is just to keep my friends aware of what is happening in our world at the moment.

Please pray for us if you do… ūüôā

Rider

Ps- At 18h04 our town’s dam wall was still holding, and we enjoyed a lovely meal at our town’s new steakhouse- Nguni Grill…

Photo by Mpho Chokolo, Acting Manager Technical Services, Modimolle Local Municipality, and shared by Nedene van Rooyen

Klein Kariba Flood- more photos

It is really heartbreaking to see the damage to one of my favorite camping places.   It seems that two elderly people who were just day visitors to the resort are still unaccounted for. But these photos are circulating on facebook in our community at the moment.

These two are from Marula Media, but

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The heated indoor swimming pool

Clara Ludwick

Just outside the indoor swimming pool- Photo by Clara Ludwick

Maroela Media

Photo: Marula Media

Glenn Pretorius 2

The Game Drive Lorry- Photo Glenn Pretorius

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Next to the indoor swimming pool- Photo Glenn Pretorius

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The bridge to the restaurant is gone! Photo Glenn Pretorius

Glenn Pretorius 5

Photo Glenn Pretorius

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Photo Glenn Pretorius

Glenn Pretorius

Photo Glenn Pretorius

As you can see, the damage to both the resort and the guests’ property must be immense! ¬†This will take a long time to repair!

So I am thinking of all the personnel and guests of ATKV Klein Kariba. I am just so thankful that the loss of life was not greater . I really hope Klein Kariba will rise out of this again. This is the second such a flood in the 20 years I have lived here, and they also had the restaurant burning down a few years ago. But it will still be one of my favorite places when it rises again!

From Drought to Floods in 1 week…

Yesterday I blogged about a nice breakfast run to our neighbouring town of Warmbaths/ Bela Bela. Even then the water was flowing about 30 cm deep over the road when entering the town after a week of quite heavy rain at times. But the sun shone brightly for a while yesterday, and it was quite an experience to take the bike out again.

But things in our region changed very dramatically. Some more rain fell. And a few farmers’ dam walls broke. We have a very good holiday resort between our towns, ¬†named Klein Kariba. Unfortunately it is in a valley. With all the dams broken upstream a huge flood went through the place, washing caravans (mobile homes?) tents, cars and people downstream. ¬†We hear the rumours on facebook this morning that a few people are missing at the moment. Not good news.

I did not take photos of the water along the road yesterday. But a few of my facebook friends did. And these are some photos from Juanry and Mona of the town of Bela Bela (AB de Villiers, the #1 Cricket Batsman at the moment in the world- his home town.)

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Photo: Monique Ungerer

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Where I buy my diesel…
Photo: Juanry van Niekerk

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Photo: Juanry van Niekerk

At Klein Kariba, one of my favorite holiday resorts to visit, the damage was the worst as stated above. I have blogged quite a lot about this place, with a lot of photos of wildlife, boats, peaceful waters… that is why it is such a shock…¬†

Like these:

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From Klein Kariba’s website at http://atkvoorde.co.za/klein-kariba-meer-oor-ons

Well- this is what happened yesterday afternoon: 

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Photo: Antowan Nothling Jacaranda FM

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Klein Kariba Caravan Park
Photo: Antowan Nothling on Jacaranda FM’s facebook page

Also- Earlier in the week the rain already caused major damage to road to the town of Ellisras (Lephalale) where a huge power station is being built to save our economy…

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Photo: Clara Ludwick

For some video material of the water to the west of us at Vaalwater- ¬†from Afriforum’s website:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=724973804201188

 

While this all is happening, the whole world’s eyes are on a small little altercation in the High Court 130 km south from us, where there is a show about some Oscar guy… ¬†No golden statues involved, I believe…

We also experience huge power outages at the moment, because it comes to light that all our good grade coal is being exported to India, and the dregs from the washing process of this is used in our coal burning power stations, and everything is wet in any case… ¬†So no electricity= no economic growth…

And our National Cricket team lost to some small island somewhere in the South Pacific, something like Australia or something…

And I am not in Cape Town to compete in my 20th Argus Cycle Race in a row- I think that is the worst of them all… the sun is shining in Cape Town, and I am not there.

No sorry- the worst still remain the people missing from Klein Kariba…

 

These are interesting times in Africa…