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Venice Beach

Our good friend Dave sharing his experiences and photos from his trips to Lake Malawi.

Venice Beach

Postby Dave G » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:05 pm

We didn't enjoy the sort of hot temperatures on the 2011 trip that we expected. My Swedish friend Lars was freezing cold a lot of the time! I lent him my fleece as his need was greater than mine.

Anyway - this was our hotel - think we spent three nights here - I had the presidential suite - third room along. I got a chair to myself!

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I made a friend shortly after arriving - I could easily have brought her back home with me! The pallaver with quarantine would have been too much trouble though!

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I thought that these guys were using mosquito nets for fishing - but I was later advised that they just use these fine mesh nets for everything. The problem is that if the fry are caught (and discarded on the beach) then there will be no bigger fish coming through.
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Anyway - when we got into the water the vis wasn't great - managed to see a few interesting things including these Tilapia rendalli - the only non mouthbrooding cichlid in the lake with a nest that they'd dug out
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Here's a nice Placidochromis johnstoni - you can see all the bits in the water - its like taking photographs in a snowstorm.
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The highlight of the dive here at the beach for me was this Protomelas similis

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Happy to have seen a rival off!
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Nimbochromis polystigma mom with the kids
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As is usual with me, not quite sure which mbuna this is - but the red top is nice!
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby Clare » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:31 am

Great photos once again.

So what was the weather like there? How long did you spend in your little tent town?

Love that tilapia and the mbuna of course is stunning. :tu:
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby Dave G » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:03 am

The weather was really bad. David (Nkhwazi) was worried about us early on. The crew on the boat were just brilliant as usual. When the winds blow and it rains the lake ain't a good place to be.

When we first arrived there was a storm of lake flies that were blown in - harmless enough but get everywhere - the geckos were happy though.

The tents are great - keep the bugs out.

We camped virtually every night. We pitched the tents under that cover because of the strong winds. I think we were only three nights down here. At one point, shortly after I flooded my camera, the sun hardly showed for three days - took ages to dry the thing out - how it came back to life is a combination of low electrolyte levels in the water and the gods smiling on me. Missed loads of photo opportunities. Lars has flooded cameras before. He gave the lens a 10% chance of life and the camera less than 2%. Anyway - I was delighted when both worked perfectly again!

Mrs G is happy for me to go and camp with the bugs on the beach all by myself.

I'm going back in September this year for two weeks diving. Usual gang. I'm the only Brit.

I'm also hoping to go next April to a boat launch on the lake that my employer and one of my customers has donated materials for. Its called Chauncy Maples. google it. Hopefully my wife can join me to see why I love the lake so much.

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Re: Venice Beach

Postby Clare » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:15 pm

I bet that sucks when the weather is like that. For some reason I always had a image of it being magical there. Maybe its because under the water is magical.. doesn't always mean the dry land is lol.

I love that kitty, I hope he/she comes to find you again next time you are there. Poor thing, was it ferrel or a pet?

I can't believe you still have a working camera, thats awesome..

Looking forward to your stories of this year when you go and more of this trip your blogging now.

On the hospital sh*t front thats wonderful. You will have to get some photos of the ship. For anyone reading this, here is the link http://www.chauncymaples.org/.

I can't believe your wife has never been there.
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby Dave G » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:01 pm

The kitten looked feral - but may have belonged to somebody - I used to breed pedigree cats - this was a very young kitten that should still have been with it's mother

Sue likes to dive but knows that on a dive trip to Malawi we're like an army on campaign- not a holiday. Cichlidiots doesn't even begin to describe us as we race from one dive site to the next. The camping away from civilisation doesn't appeal either.

We're off to Egypt in November with dive club buddies. I'll post some Red Sea pics from last year8-)

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Re: Venice Beach

Postby samdean1986 » Fri May 24, 2013 9:34 pm

Stunning colours on the Fish :)
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby H.E68 » Sun May 26, 2013 12:07 am

Love these threads from the lake. If you got more keep them coming. :tu:
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby Dave G » Sun May 26, 2013 8:26 pm

Should be some more to post in October - going back to the lake with some old and new buddies from North America and all over Europe. I'm the only Brit. Invitation only this year - a real hard core of Malawi enthusiasts who are experienced divers and uderwater photographers - there's a special itinerary involving Ps saulosi. We're going up north to Taiwanee Reef before heading back south to our usual haunts.

Pam Chin from the American Cichlid Association is joining us - but she won't be diving!

I haven't booked my flights yet - but I'm already getting excited!

I'll get in a couple of days early with Larry Johnson. Weather permitting we'll dive Namalenje Island again - we'll pick up some tanks and weights locally. I just love it there. I could spend a whole week at this spot - surrounded by Red Empresses and loads of my other favourites!

I've got loads of pics from past trips that I haven't posted. I'll put some up!

Just got my camera housing back from its 5 year service! I've got a speedy line cutter this year in case I find any more live fish caught in discarded nets!
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby samdean1986 » Sun May 26, 2013 8:36 pm

Dave, Is there any way public get to do this? I would love to do a dive and get some snaps
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Re: Venice Beach

Postby Dave G » Mon May 27, 2013 4:21 pm

This year is by personal invitation only and the boat is full. I think 6 divers and one non diver (Pam Chin from the ACA) but normally it ain't a problem to dive in the lake! I suggest you get more than a basic dive qualification though. I'm qualified to 35 metres with BSAC and I've clocked up many hundreds of dives all around the World. 35 metres is plenty deep enough for a fish photographer breathing air on an open circuit! You need special travel insurance for deeper diving anyway. Normally it's only deep wreck dives where I miss out. The nearest deco station to the lake is in Pretoria. If you took a bad hit.........it could be serious! I've seen dive related traumas before - scary!

What dive qualifications have you got?

We'll be doing over twenty five dives in just two weeks. Nitrogen builds up in your system with repeat diving, although we only dive with a single 12 litre bottle and have at least an hour on the surface between dives!

BSAC divers are among the best in the World - we train all around the UK - often in the North Sea (next trip to the Farne Islands for me is in July) - currents, tides, poor vis, freezing cold. But its good experience! Lake Malawi is a relatively easy diving location but it has its moments and you still have to watch your dive profiles and have perfect bouyancy control as there's no dive leader to watch out for you!

Its about £2200 all in for a fortnight on the lake! I'll die poor but happy! We tend to 'rough it' while we're about. In 2011 it was just one or two nights in b&b - the rest was tents.
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