Sunday, November 30, 2014

I'm my neighbourhood back home :)

Hi Sea Fans!

A friend of mine sent me a newspaper clipping
Abby’s still exploring the globe
(which I also happened to find on the internet for you guys to have a look at:

with some news of my adventures!!  Seems people are interested in all the folks I've been visiting.  Yay!

Keep checking back with me, you never know what you're going to read!
Have a great week Sea Fans!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pipe cleaner penguins

Hi Sea Fans!

For those of you who were looking for a previous post that was removed, here are the instructions again for making the pipe cleaner penguins (you can use pipe cleaners or chenille sticks, your choice):

1. Use 1 orange, 1 black and 1 white chenille stick (CS)

2. Wind the black CS around a pen 5 times, leaving a short straight piece at the end for the wings (if you'd like, you can wind the entire CS and use a separate one for the wings)
3. Cut the straight piece off and bend it in half for wings.
4. Bend each side around your finger to make a loop and twist the ends around the middle to attach. 

5. Push these wings into the coil made earlier about 1/4 of the way down (about 2 twirls)...all the way through to the other side so that they stay in place.
6. Cut a white piece of CS and bend in half.

7. Bend both ends over slightly so that they can hook onto the twirls of the black coil made earlier (at the bottom and just below the first or second twirl to leave space for a beak).

8. Put aside and make the feet with an orange CS.  Bend the end of the orange CS in 3 waves as shown, 

squeeze them together as shown and you have your first foot (curling the end around the base of the foot will hold it in place).
9.  About 1 cm away from the foot, bend the CS and form the second foot about 1cm from that as shown:

10. Twist the end around the second foot so that it can be bent upward from the middle of the feet and put this end into the bottom of the penguin so that the tip pokes out underneath the first twirl of the black coil body (leaving space for eyes) as shown:
11. When the feet are in the correct place at the bottom, bend the beak as shown and trim any excess.

12. Glue on eyes and you have a penguin!
Hope you have fun with these!

Till next time.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Junior diving

Hi Everyone!

I was asked the other day how old you need to be to dive.  Well, here's the long answer:

PADI - 8 years old+ - Skin diver
          - 8 years+ - There's a Bubblemaker course where you learn about and use scuba diving equipment and you get to take your first breath underwater.
         - 8 years+ - Seal Team is a course that can be taken to get an introduction to wreck, navigation, buoyancy, underwater photography, environmental awareness and more. Once you've learnt more, you get to go on Aqua Missions using your new skills.
         - 10 - 14 yrs - Junior Open Water: this certifies you as a diver but with age-related restrictions.
         - 12 - 14 yrs (all these have age-related restrictions)
                              - Junior Advanced Open Water
                              - Junior Rescue Diver
                              - Junior Master Scuba Diver
For more info, check out

NAUI - 5 years+ - Snorkelling for Kids of All Ages - no certification
           - 8 years+ - Junior Skin Diver
           - 10 years+ - Junior Scuba Diver
           - 12 years+ - Junior Advanced Scuba
          - 15 years+ - Master Scuba Diver

For more info, check out

Hope this helps. 
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What barks but lives in the sea?

Hi Sea Fans!

Having visited with some seals lately, I feel a little homesick. It reminded me of an amazing dive I did in in Plettenberg Bay on the South African east coast. 

Cape fur seals (Copyright Hans Hillewaert)
The visibility was bad (I reckon 2 metres, but my dive buddy reckons 3 or 4m), we were being pushed around by a surge in shallow water, it was freezing cold (15°C is not my kind of temperature for diving) and the instructor said that usually there are more seals, but hey - we had fun!  They're such curious, cute animals.  We only spent about 15 minutes with them, but it was great. You really appreciate nature when you're up close to animals (not too close mind you!).  I'm so used to seeing them in the aquarium and if I see them in the wild, I'm usually on a boat, but under water...they're quite magical. 

Did you know that the male Cape Fur Seal is the largest of all the fur seals?!  They reach 2 - 2.3 metres and weigh 200 - 360 kg!!  The Cape Fur Seals are found along the coasts of South Africa and Namibia and are not migratory, but will move within their range.  Their diet varies with the seasons, but some of their favourites are maasbanker (pronounced: maahs-bunker), pilchards, hake, squid and cuttlefish.  At the aquarium, the seals get a variety of fish and squid, also depending on the season.  Sometimes I think I should have been an animal in the aquarium, their lunches are often better than mine!  Well, I guess it's off to eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch then.

Have a great November, Sea Fans, and I'll chat to you soon.
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