Sodwana Bay report by Darrell Hattingh - Dec 2003

Week at Sodwana

Just got back from a week up at Sodwana Bay with good water, weather, a couple of nice fish and stitches and a bandage around my thigh... but I’ll get to that later. Went up with Nook (Otto) on Monday last week and shortly after arriving at around lunch time, launched Nook’s duck and ran out to two-mile for a quick afternoon sortie.

Shark incident makes divers wary

Scubbies and everyone else were a bit jittery following the drowning of the young instructor and being scavenged by 2 big tigers off sponge last week (his arm and part wetsuit was found). Anyway, no sign of the Tigers on a few 25 m drifts and nook and myself bagged 2 Kaakap each and I got a nice Tropical on the bottom.

Nine Mile Reef Menace

Tuesday launched and ran up to nine mile and jumped in near the north end with 25 m viz and a raging N/S current - Nook was into a big fulvy (yellowspot kingfish) in no time which raged off to the bottom smashing his stainless spear and either being eaten off by the resident (menace) Potato’s or tearing free buckling his stainless in the process. Half hour later and two drifts, Nook whacks a 13 kg cuda and we have a big potato race after it and wrap its mouth around, fortunately my threatening made it release its grip and Nook got his fish to the duck relatively unscathed. Short while later an 8 kg fish is at my flasher and it tears off out to sea and I also manage to bag it in one piece. A big shoal of cuda arrive on another drift and as I dive, they spook and I have to settle for a 12 kg fish with some 15-20 kilo boys lurking out of range- pull it up just in time to avoid a big potato open mouthed and ready to devour my fish. Nook spears another 12-kilo cuda and an almighty tussle with a potato follows, but we manage to get the fish out all mangled to the boat. I get a nice rainbow runner and we decide to head on back as things have gone quiet.

Strong Winds

Wednesday N/Easter howls so we stay shore bound and relax, wind turns to a buster SW at around 5.00 pm and howls through the night- morning its flat again and we take our chances up to nine mile, white horses everywhere but crystal viz and raging NE current - potatoes seem a bit more relaxed and I manage a nice Prodigal of a brindles back and a 5 kg Dusky yellowtail but by and large things are quiet. Stop off at Ribbon on the way back against the S/Wester and Nook and I bag a couple of average Tropical`s and Nook gets a fine 14 kg Ignoblis, also drop a big kaakap with a long shot.

Seapike Attack

Friday dawns with pristine conditions and we race up to Nine-mile again, as I bale in on the North end, a shoal of big seapike swim in to investigate and I take out the biggest one in the shoal which races off to the bottom with a potato already in hot pursuit, it suddenly stops and doubles back and then hovers and positions itself like a SAM missile facing me a few meters away and something tells me HERE COMES TROUBLE!!! With lightning speed it rockets at me and I manage to get my legs out the way, then turns on a tickey and sinks its jaws deep into the back of my thigh!! All this seems to be happening in slow motion whilst I have called the boat and Nook is still getting ready. Net result: 1 X 14 kg Seapike, abort the dive and race back to Sodwana Bay for 4 stitches, anti tetanus and R 365.00 doctors fees! Put a damper on the rest of the trip but good experiences and some nice fish. Cheers- Darrell