In 2019, Cape RADD proudly took the helm as the official champion of the False Bay Hope Spot. Embarking on a journey to spotlight the extraordinary beauty and biodiversity that graces this remarkable region. Fast forward to the 10th of February 2024, we welcomed ‘Her Deepness,’ Dr Sylvia Earle, the visionary leader of the Mission Blue alliance, to our Ocean Hub in Simons Town.

Picture this: A day filled with awe, inspiration, and oceanic wonders, as we had the privilege of sharing our passion with Dr Sylvia Earle and the Mission Blue team. Join us as we transport you back to this enchanting day, providing an intimate glimpse into our profound experience, united by a common mission to protect and celebrate our oceans. Let’s re-live the magic and magnificence that unfolded when Cape RADD and Mission Blue joined forces to illuminate the importance of preserving the incredible marine life in the False Bay Hope Spot.

Paddle Out

The day started with a community paddle out at Long Beach, Simons Town, creating a vibrant tapestry of enthusiastic individuals coming together for a common cause. The weather, seemingly choreographed for this special occasion, blessed us with relatively warm waters at 20 degrees Celsius. As we embarked on our paddle, a sense of anticipation and excitement rippled through the gathering. Our destination? Meeting none other than the luminary figure herself, Dr. Sylvia Earle, who graciously awaited us on a boat.

The ocean-loving community turned out in impressive numbers, a testament to the profound impact that Dr. Earle and Mission Blue have had on inspiring environmental stewardship. The shores were lined with advocates for ocean conservation, each paddle stroke symbolizing a collective commitment to the preservation of our False Bay Hope Spot. It was a remarkable display of unity, underlining the significance of this mission and the resonance it holds within the hearts of those who cherish our oceans.

After the paddle out, we invited our vibrant community of Hope Spot enthusiasts, to join us on a ‘Snorkel for Science’ expedition.

Snorkel and SCUBA for Science with Sylvia!

Eager participants converged at our Ocean Hub, buzzing with anticipation for the adventure ahead. Amidst animated chatter and camaraderie, our team gathered for an informative briefing. This set the stage for an immersive exploration of False Bay’s underwater wonders. We outlined our objectives for the day: to search for the enigmatic shysharks and catsharks that call False Bay home. Among our elusive targets were the puffadder shyshark, the dark shyshark, the pyjama catshark, and the leopard catshark.

Armed with curiosity and determination, our crew donned their wetsuits, ready to plunge into the azure depths of adventure. Our expedition led us to the picturesque Windmill Beach. A gem renowned for its tranquil coves and thriving kelp reefs. As we descended into the warm embrace of crystal-clear waters, anticipation mingled with excitement. Each snorkeler, equipped with a mask and fins, became an explorer, poised to uncover the kelp forest had to offer.

The underwater realm was teeming with life. Schools of vibrant fish darted along the swaying kelp. A curious penguin stood nearby interested in the figures in the water. And then, a thrill swept through the group as the first shyshark made its graceful appearance. The fin was first spotted by one of our citizen science snorkelers!

Throughout our journey, cameras captured fleeting moments of wonder, preserving memories that would inspire and educate for generations to come. From playful encounters with marine life to moments of quiet reflection amidst the majesty of nature. Each frame painted a vivid portrait of our shared passion for ocean conservation. Relive this magical moment by booking your own Kelp Forst FinSpotter excursion here.

Mark Fitzgibbon

Mark is a passionate commercial SCUBA diver and marine scientist currently pursuing a Masters degree focusing on the complex relationships between marine parasites and their hosts. With a background in animal health, microscopy, and marine diseases, Mark brings a wealth of expertise to his work, particularly in the realm of shark biology. Driven by his fascination with marine life, Mark actively engages in projects aimed at protecting vulnerable species and habitats, embodying a deep-rooted respect for the ocean and its inhabitants. Mark's commitment to marine science extends beyond academia, as he actively shares his knowledge and passion with others through outreach and education initiatives. Through his dedication to scientific inquiry and conservation, Mark continues to make significant contributions to our understanding of marine ecosystems and the conservation of marine biodiversity.


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