Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dolphins and Spearfishing

Most people we talk to say "OOOH" and "AAHHH" when you say you swam with dolphins.
I really do enjoy their visits but when I am on a mission to hunt fish then thats what I do so they can be irritating. They can also help with the spearfishing.

In 1995 three mates and myself were spearfishing on the RIY banks. This is a large horseshoe-shaped reef that is situated some 20 km east of Port Elizabeth. The smoking thunder on Monday this week when huge wave of up to 8 m hammered our coast. The depth ranges from 8 m to 65m. The shallow pinnacles are good for yellowtail and also offer some good reef fish on occasion. There are extensive areas shallower than 20 m and long drift dives can be had.
Interestingly there are not very many sharks – only once have we ever encountered a great white shark there in many dives. Being 3-4 km across there is ample opportunity for exploration.

Now for the dolphin tale.
We were getting the odd reef fish on the NW side when a large pod of perhaps two hundred common dolphins joined us and circled around and around showing great curiosity. The 15 m viz made for great sightseeing for them and us.
They seemed bored and were most intrigued by these odd aliens that had such “short breathholds”. Their clicks and squeaks almost drowned out the crackling sound of the reef.
Spearfishing had now become essentially impossible since no wise fish would appear in the midst of this school of supremely agile predators. The reef was now thoroughly vacant of shootable fish.
After enjoying the spectacle we decided to move off to another area about 2 km away.
All aboard and fired up the engines and we set off to the east.
The dolphins followed my underpowered skiboat – it was Mad Dog – a 16 foot Zulu Cat with two 40 HP motors, the foam in the hull was waterlogged and added to the slowness.
The game was on – the chief of the pod gave the order: “Follow that slow boat”.
And so they did.
All aboard, full steam ahead!
We were pursued at what seemed common dolphin leisure.
The calm sea surface and clear water were now being wasted - spearo stress levels rose a tad.
Would we not escape them?!!!

For some time we had the idea that our day of spearfishing was over.
Eventually the dolphins lost interest after it seemed all of the 200 had taken a close look and left us to it.

Next post I will tell how dolphins helped me take a prize fish.

1 comment:

Shaun said...

Hi Gletwyn great blog !! I see you are giving lessons!! Go for it - where are you situated? I have started a new interactive site spearo.co.za where you can feel free to punt your courses in the forum!! And hopfully share your knowlage with the guys!! my email is shaun@spearo.co.za