Diving Africa Part 4/10

predive

Concrete stairs lead down to the water where our boat was moored. A jovial Senegalese local played a rythmic beat on his tam-tam– luring us to our boat like the Pied Piper. It was an early afternoon dive, and so would be a 1-tank dive. Located only a few kilometers from shore, the Madeleine Islands sit a quick boat ride away from Dakar’s coastline. Mamadou (our dive master) kept the tap of jokes flowing as our little skiff made it’s way amongst fishing boats to the islands. A couple from France were delighted to get reacquainted with our dive-master–as they had dove with him 20 years earlier.

Anchor

The water temp hovered around 16 degrees Celcius. I donned my 3/2 Oceanic Pioneer wetsuit, and added an extra layer of Lavacore to keep from getting chilled– Bella did likewise. I hesitated with donning a hoodie, but after plunging my hand into the water realized it was a must to wear.

belladivesenegalstingray

Before we knew it we were already at the island. The boatman dropped anchor. We prepped our cameras, and back-flipped into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Manta Dive Watch

robertodive

The water was murky and green. And the current was strong. We dove along the submerged part of of the island– spotting sea-slugs and little rays. Visibility was less than 10′. We dove down to 60′ where it was a little clearer– hoping there would be less current. Yet there just seemed to be more. Bella and I glanced at each other and made the signal to head-back.

We’ve learned not to push ourselves too much on a dive in questionable conditions. For indeed, there is always the next dive.

Quick Tip: The Aeris Jetpack is a WING BC with integrated weights– giving you great mobility and freedom on your dive. Use the detachable bag on your dive boat to keep the stuff you don;t need for your dive: sunglasses, sunscreen, micro-towel, Dfog, etc..

Gear Guide:
Aeris Jetpack BC’s
Aeris Ion AT600 First Stage & ION LT Second Stage
Aeris Manta Dive Watch
Aeris Velocity Fins (Bella)
Aeris Accel Fins (Roberto)
Aeris Ai300 Computers
Oceanic Pioneer Wetsuit
Oceanic Pioneer Mask
Lavacore Pants & Short Sleeve Shirts
Ikelite Camera Housing w/ Pro-2800 LED Video Lights
Ikelite Coolpix Camera Housing

senegaldive

belladive

Diving Africa Part 3/10

DIVING AFRICA
Post 3/10

The streets of Dakar, Senegal were hustling and bustling when we arrived. Vendors hawked their wares. Cars honked without purpose, and people filled every empty space. Not exactly the backdrop I imagined for scuba-diving, but hey..you never know.

The dive shop–named Oceanium was easy enough to find, and was located around an open bar/cafe area, overlooking the Atlantic. We got introduced to our dive-master Mamadou- a tall fellow with a ready smile- who marveled at the quantity of gear that we pulled out of our Jetpacks.

Conversation flowed and we got to spend some time explaining our kit to him and sipped some coffee that would wake-up a 12 year old dead horse. The vibe was like that of most dive-shops, relaxed–but ebbing with an excitement… an excitement to dive.

We detached our bags from the BC’s and prepped-our kit for what was to be our first dive in Africa.

Gear Guide: AERIS Jetpack BC is adjustable to all sizes. From the back, to the shoulder straps to the waist strap–it all adjusts. I’m 6’1 and Bella is 5’4. And the Jetpack fits us both. It was nice not to have to rummage through my checked-luggage for dive gear. Everything was snug in my Jetpack bag section…even my Accel fins!

Find part 1 and 2 at www.theexpeditioners.com

Sponsored by Aeris, Oceanic Worldwide, Lavacore Int’l, Ikelite Underwater Systems

Attaching Jetpack

The Engines

Dive day

Diving Africa Part 1/10

The Expeditioners
DIVING AFRICA
Post 1/10

Africa. My 7th continent. It was going to be a big trip. Criss-crossing the continent, exploring, photographing, scuba diving. A big trip with a lot of flights.

We would first visit Bella’s family in Senegal (two flights,) then fly through Mali and onto Ethiopia where we would catch a night’s sleep.. before catching another flight to Johannesburg where we would then proceed to drive 600km to Kruger Park. After exploring the park we’d fly to Cape Town and drive to Hermanus to go Shark Cage Diving, and another flight to Johannesburg, and then another one onto Vilankulo, Mozambique for some scuba diving….yup, then another flight back to Johannesburg, then another back to Ethipioa (sleep there a night,) then onto Mali–then to Dakar, Senegal again and after two days a flight to New York, and finally home- Montreal.

All in all 12 flights in 5 weeks.

We had to find the best way to take all of our scuba diving gear without getting dinged with overweight fees.

Solution: Dive company revolutionizes scuba travel market by making a travel BC that’s the perfect carry-on companion, and fits carry–on regulations and stowes nicely above your head or under your seat for your flight.: Appropriately named the AERIS Jetpack. It’s a BC. It’s a Bag. It’s a wing. Which we love. It’s sleek. And it makes you breakfast. But only on Tuesdays;)

#ExploreAfrica #Expeditioners #Aeris

A moment in Vilankulo, Mozambique

We filmed this just off of the beach from our eco-lodge, the Villas do Indico, in Vilankulo, Mozambique. When researching on where we would go, we stumbled upon this hidden gem on the East Coast of Africa. It’s also the stepping-stone to the jaw-dropping Bazaruto Archipelago.

Location: Inhambane Province, Mozambique, Africa

Fun Facts: Vilankulo is named after local tribal chief Gamala Vilankulo Mukoke.
Known both as Vilankulo, and Vilanculos, after Mozambique gained their independence from Portugal, they changed it to the k version.

Sponsored in part by Lowepro Canada & Villas do Indico

The Kruger Feline

The Cheetah

Photo by The Expeditioners Bella

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is renowned for having a stunning array of wildlife. But it is the “Big Five” that most visitors hope to see on their visit. The “Big Five” is a term originally used by hunters in reference to 5 of Africa’s most dangerous animals to hunt: The Leopard, The Lion, The Elephant, The White Rhino, and The Buffalo.

There are few places in the world where one has the opportunity to see all of these in their natural and wild habitat.

For of the “Big Five” are usually easy to spot in Kruger. Elephants and Rhinos are huge, and make them easy to spot. The Buffalos are often in a herd, making them again easy to see. Even Lions tend to be in a group, lazily resting in the daytime, to conserve energy for their evening hunt. The leopard though, is something else.

Known to be Africa’s most efficient hunter, the Leopard is a solitary animal that usually hunts at night. Weighing between 100 and 200lbs, it has been known to pull-up a full-sized Impala up a tree.

Our wonderfully knowledgeable safari guide (Debbie) from Outlook Lodge and Safaris explained the above and more to us about Kruger’s Leopards. She even found us a Leopard Den where we got a quick glimpse at the mother’s tail. Alas, the den was too far away for a good photo—and for our own protection, as well as Kruger’s wildlife, nobody is allowed to exit a vehicle while on safari.

A couple of days later, Bella and I picked up our car compliments of Budget Car Rentals South Africa at Kruger Airport, only a skip away from the park. We b-lined for the Numbi Gate to the park, and began our self-drive safari adventure.

We quickly spotted Rhinos, Impalas, Buffalo, Wild Dogs, Zebras, Elephants, Giraffs and more. But it was the morning after, as we drove along the S36 dirt road near Lugmag that the climax to our photo safari came. We were putting along, eyes peeled to our respective sides of the road , when suddenly a Leopard ambled non-chalantly onto the road in front of us!

“Love! It’s a Leopard!!!” I exclaimed. (Little did we know it was actually a Cheetah)

We fumbled with our cameras and watched it walk in front of us, completely aware of our presence, yet unperturbed by it. Understandable, as when you’re at the top of the food chain, not much worries you.

We followed.

For over 100 meters, the feline stayed in front of us, periodically glancing back at us. At one point, it was only a few meters away from us. Bella’s camera snapped photo after photo while I figured out how to drive standard with my left hand while simultaneously taking photos.

A moment later, the cheetah stopped one last time to look at Bella before disappearing into the tall grass. At the time we thought it was a leopard, but after doing some research, we believe it was a Cheetah.

Does it make our encounter any less special? No! We will indeed be talking of that day for a long time to come!

Gear: Bella had her Kenko Polarising filter on her lens, removing the sun’s glare on the photo and creating a crystal clear image.

South Africa Adventure Sponsored by: Outlook Safaris, Budget Car Rentals South Africa, LowePro Canada, Daymen Canada

You can watch the fastest animal in the world..in slow motion here! It’s spectacular to watch!