Friday, November 30, 2007

Such a tough Life ...

Most times work is well, hard work but every now and then one gets to doing something enjoyable while still being at work. At least officially at work that is. Last week barry organised a trip down to cape town, ostensibly to wine and dine our cape town clients as well as the banks staff. Considering the amount of business that we get via capetown, we don't go down there anywhere near enough - possibly due to the allure of all those vineyards.

So thursday morning we found ourselves outside the V&A Waterfront Aquarium which, as we were to find out later, is unique amongst aquariums in that it is completely privately funded. It has no government or other public funding at all and still manages to produce research, engage in environmental education as well as conservation drives. We had organised to do our first cold water dive in the kelp tank which at 17 deg C. is certainly cold enough. Fortunately the kit that they provided us with was quite good and certainly warm enough so I didn't notice the cold too much although my mask kept fogging up. I must have cleared it at least 20 times during the 30 minute dive.

There weren't any big predators which wouldn't have worried me but I was happy to know that there weren't any turtles which, from previous experience, bite like a pit-bull (Yes, I have been bitten by both). There wasn't actually too much to see in the tank but it was great just to get wet again. We got to feed the fish from a sack of small dead fish and it was surprising how stong and solid the fish were. I tried to hold onto a few bait fish but it was hopeless, they were simply too powerful. There were some really beautiful anemones as shown below.

It was kind of wierd looking out of the tank at the public looking into the tank. I tried to take photographs of barry feeding the fish but there was such a mass of fish that, when there was a gap, by the time I had pressed the shutter - you couldn't see him anymore.
There were also two leopard catsharks in the tank which have to take the cake for a lack of intelligence, unless you basically put the food into its mouth, it won't eat. They also tried to snack on barry's legs which are about the same size as the shark. A bit like a human trying to gnaw the leg off an elephant.

The following is a picture of a perlemoen or, as it is more commonly know outside south africa, an abalone. The strange thing protruding from the perlemoen is a piece of seaweed which it is busy eating at quite a remarkable rate. We have a real problem down here with perlemoen poachers due to the demand for them principally from asia I think.

As usual, the dive was over long before I was ready to get out but that is the way it is.

We spent the afternoon working remotely and the evening entertaining customers. This consisted of a guided tour around the aquarium by the aquarium director as well as a dinner at a VERY expensive cape town restaurant which shall remain nameless. When we arrived barry asked one of the local connoisseurs to choose the wine. Bad mistake and in no time flat the magnums started arriving - great wine it must be said but (*&^(*&^ expensive. Thank goodness we don't do this often.

The next morning we were up and off back to johannesburg arriving in time to at least spend a little time in the office before everyone buggered off for the weekend. My opinion of Capetown restaurants remains intact - very expensive with average food.

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