Shark Spotter flags and what they mean

After yesterday’s shark attack in Fishhoek, I listened to a woman who rang into a local radio station saying that she was confused about the flag system used on the beaches of False Bay to warn of shark activity and how she had to look at the signs each time she went to the beach.
“Red doesn’t mean danger,” she complained, amply demonstrating her confusion for the listeners.

It seems that some (re)education is required.
So what exactly do the four flags used by the Shark Spotters programme mean?

Green flag: We can see that there are no sharks around.
Black flag:  We can’t see if there are any sharks around or not.
Red flag: We have recently (ie. within the last 2 hours) spotted a shark.
White flag (and SIREN SOUNDED *hint hint*): There is a shark. Leave the water immediately.

It’s not so difficult really, is it? Especially since this helpful explanation is posted on and around all the local beaches:

As it says on the signs above (and as common sense would surely dictate) – swimming in the ocean is at your own risk. But why not lessen that risk by actually listening to these guys when they tell you to get out (or not to get in)?

1 Comment | Tagged , , , , , , | Posted in this is south africa

New Flickr for Android App not available anywhere important (and yes, I mean “here”)


As a devout Android fan and a devout Flickr fan, you can only begin to imagine my excitement when I heard that there was a new OFFICIAL! Flickr for Android app out. And that it seems set to challenge the currently iPhone only world of Instagram:

…there’s one feature that will catch everybody’s attention: photo filters.
The photo filters feature is almost identical to that of Instagram. The app comes with 10 filters that [Flickr Product Manager Markus] Spiering says are designed to “beautify” photos. They’re automatically uploaded to Flickr but can also be shared via Twitter, Facebook and email.

All well and good, but when I went to download it, I was told:

This app is not compatible with devices in your country.

Boo! At the time, there was nothing about this on the official help topic on flickr, nor on their blog, although they’ve now updated with a FAQ topic, telling us:

The Official Flickr for Android app is currently available in the below countries from the Android Market. To find it just go to the Android Market and search for “flickr yahoo”.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States,

If the official app isn’t available in your country yet try one of the other great third party apps that you can use to browse and upload to Flickr!

Which is great. Unless you’re not in one of those countries and you want to use the app, obviously. I’m not sure what the restriction is – or rather why the restriction is, but as a fully paid up member of Flickr since 2005, I’m a little annoyed to be left out.

In the meantime, I shall continue using the undoubtedly brilliant Vignette (QR code) and the undoubtedly “ok” Flickfolio (QR code) for my photo-taking and uploading to Flickr needs.

2 Comments | Tagged , , , , | Posted in android, flickr, in the news, this is south africa

Somewhere Only We Know

Stumbled across this on my iPod this afternoon.

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Somewhat ironically, as we embarked on our new life together, Hopes and Fears was the album of our honeymoon; simply for the reason that I’d just got my first iPod and I had virtually no music on it. It’s one of those rare albums with no weak tracks: Can’t Stop Now, Bend And Break, Bedshaped, This Is The Last Time, We Might As Well Be Strangers – the list goes on.
No matter when or where I hear it, each and every song takes me right back to the beach on Benguerua Island in Mozambique.

I’m there now. Right now. You should try it.

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Fishhoek Shark Attack 2

What will the Daily Mail say this time?

Today’s attack took place off Clovelly beach – one of our favourite places to play. Early reports suggest that the victim was a 44 year old male who either ignored warnings not to venture into the water (a shark had been spotted earlier in the morning) or that the siren didn’t sound because of the massive power outage that hit Cape Town today.

In this video taken in the aftermath of the attack, you can clearly see a (the?) shark lazily hanging around off Fishhoek beach.

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I’ll update this post when there’s more information to hand.

And here’s the first UPDATE from @animalocean on twitter:

Correcting spreading tweets – The alarm sirens are battery operated and not affected by the power outage.

…which seems like a very good idea.

And then this from reporter Paula Chawles:

according to NSRI the victim was asked personally by life guards not to get into the water because. He ignored them.

Obviously, it doesn’t say beacause of what, but I think it’s safe to assume that it was because there was a massive shark just…*points* just there.

And now a Media Release from the City of Cape Town which tells a slightly different story:

NO. 701/ 2011
28 SEPTMBER 2011

At approximately 12:15 today, 28 September 2011, a swimmer was attacked by a great white shark at Clovelly corner on Fish Hoek Beach.

Immediate reports indicate that the victim sustained severe injuries and lost his lower right leg as a result of the attack. He has been airlifted to hospital for treatment.

At 10:45 this morning, the Shark Spotters sighted the shark and closed the beach to users. The White Shark Flag was raised and the siren was set off. When the victim entered the water, the beach was still closed and the shark flag indicating the presence of a white shark was flying. The Shark Spotter stationed on the beach was warned by the Shark Spotter on the mountain that someone had entered the water. The Shark Spotter then ran to Clovelly Corner to try and get the swimmer out of the water, but the attack took place before he could reach him.

The victim of the shark attack was the only person in the water at the time of the attack.

The City’s Emergency Services staff are on the beach providing assistance and the City has closed Fish Hoek beach as well as Glencairn, St. James, and Muizenberg beaches as a precaution. The shark responsible for the attack is still in Fish Hoek bay and is being monitored by the spotters.

The beaches will remain closed until further notice.

It’s perhaps worth noting that the Clovelly corner of Fishhoek beach is a good distance from the Shark Spotters’ station at the South end of the beach and – as far as I am aware – there are no flags nor personnel on duty at the Clovelly end.

THURSDAY: The Daily Mail [remember that disclaimer!]*sigh* tells us he knew the risks:

The 43-year-old is said to have swum regularly at Fish Hoek beach, notorious for great white shark sightings, even telling fellow beachgoers: “If a shark takes me, then blame me, not the shark.”

Witnesses said he parked his car and then walked right past a flag indicating that the beach was closed. At least two people warned him that a shark had been seen, but he strode into the water anyway.

Meanwhile, “Bob” the shark is now on twitter.

Full report by the City of Cape Town here, including the lines:

The victim was known to the Shark Spotters and had previously repeatedly ignored verbal warnings by the spotters to adhere to the shark warnings and beach closures.

The victim’s car was parked in the main parking area at Fish hoek beach indicating that he had accessed the beach from the well signposted area where the shark warning flag was flying.

He had informed the car guards of where his car keys were hidden in the event that something happened to him.

Victim was swimming between the shore and breakers (not behind breakers).

You make your own choices in this life…

4 Comments | Tagged , , | Posted in in the news, this is south africa

Game Over?

Did you know that the world was due to end yesterday?

Being that the country of New Zealand is some few hours ahead of us here in SA, they’re already working their way into the early hours of tomorrow morning, and tomorrow being the 27th September, I think that we can call BS on the predictions of Alexander Retrov:

The next allignment [sic] between Elenin, Sun and Earth will be Sept 26th 2011. According to “Alexander Retrov”, the whole pacific rim will go. There will be mag 12 to 15 earthquakes. New Zealand, Japan, Indonesia, China, Korea, Russia, West coast of America, will disappear.
The East coast of Australia will be affected by tidal waves. A cosmic sonic shockwave will blow out our protective van Allen belts and magnetic fields and will leave the planet totally open to gamma radiation. We will be fried alive like vampires in the sunlight. There will be an electomagnetic pulse that destroys all electronics. Surface temperatures will be 60+ degrees Celsius. There will be 1000km/hr winds. There will be an eclipse that lasts for 3 days. There will be volcanic eruptions everywhere, pyroclastic blasts and acid rain from all the ash. There will be wildfires everywhere…

All of which gives us more than enough adequate reasons to head home early, although those 1000kph winds and 60+°C surface temperatures just sound like an average February day in Paarl.

I have yet to observe any pyroclastic blasts or cosmic sonic shockwaves, but rest assured, you’ll be the first to know if/when I do.

So… how’s your Monday been?

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, other things we’re still waiting for include:

  • The Gulf of Mexico “methane bubble” to explode: “an event so potentially horrific that it equals in its fury the Indonesian tsunami that killed more than 600,000, or the destruction of Pompeii by Mt. Vesuvius”. (June 2010)
  • The rescheduled Rapture, now just over 3 weeks away.
  • Andile Lungisa to come and take your cheese while “closing every street in South Africa”. This is/was due “in September”.

Tick, tock, tick, tock…

3 Comments | Tagged , , , | Posted in annoying people, in the news, that's a bit mad