Track A Shark

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, plus a little bit of cash from those hard working sponsors, you’re now able to track basking sharks off the coast of the Isle of Man. They’ve tagged 4 sharks and they are following them around (electronically) because:

This scientific data is useful to government to enable them to make informed wildlife management decisions.

I’ve been following Mister Tailor for a few days now:

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He’s:

a 5.5m male, named for his unusually shaped tail fin that slopes gently backwards rather than standing tall like most caudal fin tips.

So there you go.

Basking sharks are huge, much bigger than your average Great White, but as plankton eaters, they are completely harmless to humans.
My personal hope is that Mister Tailor’s wanderings unwittingly draw a diagram of the circuitry and mathematics required to design and build a time machine. But I suppose that’s quite unlikely.

Elsewhere on the wildlifetracking.org site, you can follow birds, bees (ok, not bees) and other animals all around the world.
(Hint: The geese are especially cool.)

1 Comment | Tagged , , , | Posted in learning curve, recommended site, uk

An open letter of congratulation and gratitude to all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town

Hello all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town,

You don’t know me, and I haven’t “Gott 2 Tour” (LOL!), but I was fortunate enough to witness a selfless act of humanity by one of the drivers of your 16-seat minibus tour vehicles yesterday evening. In the world today, there are far too few selfless acts of humanity and even fewer open letters of congratulation and gratitude recognising these selfless acts of humanity. Perhaps this is why society is falling apart around us. Or perhaps not. Either way, I don’t feel that it could do any harm for me to write you an open letter of congratulation and gratitude recognising the selfless act of humanity that I witnessed last night.

Picture the scene, if you will, on the M5 Southbound carriageway at around 5:15pm. Mmm… messy.
Somehow – bewilderingly – the traffic seems worse than usual. I realise that this doesn’t seem possible, since the upgrade to Koeberg Interchange effectively destroyed any hope of reasonable traffic flow from the N1 south, but believe me, as a regular driver of this route, things were slower than I was used to; a sure sign of some sort of incident up ahead.

Just north of Berkley, alongside the three lanes of near stationary traffic, a tow truck raced past in the yellow lane on the left hand side of the carriageway. One could see the sudden realisation sweep across the rows frustrated drivers as they suddenly realised that there must be an accident on the road ahead.
No relief from the queues, sure, but at least some reason behind the excessive delay and at least some help was on the way to clear the road and get the traffic moving again.

But you know, much like the proverbial London buses, tow trucks never come one at a time. This is actually quite a good thing, because quite often, there is more than one vehicle involved in an accident and all of the damaged parties have to be removed from the carriageway before the horrible congestion can begin to be addressed. And indeed, true to form, along came another tow truck, its shiny black paintwork gleaming in the evening sunshine.

Now, it should be noted that, technically, driving in the yellow lane isn’t actually allowed. I know this, the traffic police know this, the tow truck drivers know this. But in these cases, where everything else is like a parking lot, the cops are willing to overlook this minor transgression in order to get the tow truck to the scene of the accident, get the road cleared and get the literally hundreds of cars stuck behind the crash, moving again. But the law is the law. And those tow truck drivers were breaking it. We know that everyone hates tow trucks: they’re second only to the minibus taxis and way, way ahead of Golden Arrow buses who occupy third place when it comes to inciting extremes of hypertension amongst the populous of Cape Town.

Naughty tow truck drivers. Naughty.

Gott 2 Tour employees reading this should have no fear, however. I know that the driver of your (empty) white minibus – registration GOTT 3 WP – was aware of this naughtiness as well, because his inner superhero kicked in and he swerved across the inside lane and got his wheels across the yellow line to quickly and effectively block the tow truck. In some sort of twisted analogy for Apartheid, the fat, white bus prevented the sleek, black tow truck from going about his business.

Ha! That’ll show him that we won’t stand for his flagrant disregard for the laws of this country! Yeah, he’s going nowhere now, certainly not past all these irritated drivers and to the scene of the accident up ahead where he will hopefully be able to assist with getting the traffic flow going again and get these hundred of people safely and timeously back to their respective families.
And who cares if I am technically breaking the law by driving at 2kph partially in the yellow lane, because I’m stopping the tow truck driver from driving in the yellow lane, because that’s breaking the law.

So weird though, because there was so little recognition of his selfless act of humanity from the other motorists around him. It was almost as if they were thinking, “Dude, don’t be a twat. That tow truck is going to remove the blockage ahead and get me home in time to see my kids before they go to bed”.
Almost exactly like that, it was.

There was a sort of slow motion stand-off going on over to my left. For second after second, Mr Gott et al, your driver used your tour bus (and effectively, your livelihood) as a rolling barricade to prevent the – now understandably irritated – tow truck driver from getting past in the yellow lane. Well done, tour bus driver! You’ve made a stand for the common man, facing up bravely to the tyranny of the tow truck fraternity and merely inconveniencing everyone else on the entire road as a slightly unfortunate by-product.

Eventually though, your driver realised that he couldn’t keep this courageous behaviour up all the way home, as the margins for error were becoming smaller and smaller thanks to the thoroughly pissed off and increasingly desperate tow truck driver, who seemed almost prepared to see if his vehicle would fit through the tempting – but not ever so wide – gap between bus and kerb.
Eventually, a whole 45 seconds after he began his epic crusade, your driver relented, went back to driving legally, and allowed the tow truck past.

But, you know, point made, right? Right.

If there were medals for holding up a law-breaking tow truck in the traffic for almost a minute while slightly breaking the law yourself, your driver would have got one.  Because that’s exactly what he did. But now the bad news, all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town: I’ve checked, and sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any precedent for awarding medals in this somewhat niche category.

And so it comes down to me to express my congratulations and gratitude in this, an open letter of… er… congratulation and gratitude to all at Gott 2 Tour tour bus company in Cape Town.

I think I can safely speak for all the frustrated motorists on the M5 yesterday evening when I say that I will certainly not forget the actions of your driver.

8 Comments | Tagged , , , , , | Posted in annoying people, this is south africa

“The Cold Has A Voice…”

“…it talks to me”. Appropriate lines for Cape Town’s impending winter.

And the opening lyrics from a-ha’s Stay On These Roads, the title track of their third album from 1988.

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Video link

Still one of my favourite tracks, even though the “big” hit off the album was the James Bond theme The Living Daylights (starring Timothy Dalton and Maryam d’Abo, sliding down an alpine mountain in a cello case and meaning that the music was the only reason to watch the film).

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Red Road

Yeah, like I said earlier this week, it’s almost midwinter in Cape Town, but that doesn’t mean that the kids don’t need their exercise.

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Thus, we braved the conditions and headed to the cycle paths of Tokai Forest, where we re-enacted the Isle of Man TT as I tried to keep up with the boy, who was in the mood for speed this afternoon.

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The recovery continues…

Not the Rand. That’s buggered.
No, I’m taking about my ankle.

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Here is the result of my first run, “just” 4 months, 11 days and 5 hours after that fateful pothole related incident in January.

Slow and short, sure, but with no fitness and absolutely no confidence whatsoever, and on the wet, slippery, uneven pavements of Wynberg; yeah, I’ll settle for that.

The ankle seems fine, but pretty much everything else is stiff and sore.
Tomorrow is going to bring a world of pain. But I really don’t care. 😉

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