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Humpback Whales Forming Super Groups along the Cape Coast

Humpbacked Whales

Humpback Whales Are Forming Mysterious ‘Super-Groups’, and No One Can Explain It

They’ve never teamed up like this before.

Humpback whales are known for being the loners of the sea – while they tend to migrate, feed, and mate in groups, they spend much of their existence in solitude, or in small, short-lived groups of up to seven individuals.

But something could be brewing in our oceans, because scientists are reporting 22 separate instances of humpback ‘super-groups’ that defy explanation – never-before-seen groups of 20 to 200 whales all appearing off the southwest coast of South Africa in recent years.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” lead researcher Ken Findlay, from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa, told New Scientist.

According to a new study, 22 instances of humpback super-groups were witnessed on three research cruises in 2011, 2014, and 2015, as well as a handful of public observations from aircraft over the south-western Cape region of South Africa.

Researchers are calling the behaviour “novel and intense”, saying it could be a sign of the mysterious resurgence of humpbacks in recent years.

“[W]e propose that the ‘super-group’ feeding phenomenon (as tightly spaced large groups of whales) is a relatively recent behaviour exhibited by these whales,” Findlay and his team report.

“[N]o such dense feeding aggregations have been reported elsewhere in low or mid latitudes during Southern Hemisphere humpback whale migrations. Indeed, aggregations of whales of this size have seldom been reported in the literature, with ‘large’ groups often numbering in the range of 10 to 20 or less.”

It’s not just the size of these groups that’s weird – the location doesn’t make a lot of sense either.

By gathering near South Africa in summer, the humpbacks are choosing to bolster their numbers thousands of kilometres away from their usual feeding grounds in the southern polar region of Antarctica, and scientists are at a loss to explain the sudden change in behaviour.

During the summer months, Southern Hemisphere humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae) tend to congregate in Antarctic waters to feed on massive amounts of krill and fish each day in an effort to build up fat stores for the winter.

Once they’ve had their fill, they’ll migrate north to calving and nursery grounds in subtropical and tropical coastal waters for the winter.

So why are their routines all messed up?

The researchers aren’t ready to explain the behaviour just yet, as they still have a lot of evidence to collect, but say the new feeding strategy could be due to changes in prey availability due to shifting conditions in the world’s oceans, or it could simply be the result of increasing humpback numbers – as weird as that sounds.

We’re so used to hearing about species in decline these days, but Southern Hemisphere humpbacks are actually bucking the trend, with Australia’s humpback population reportedly at its healthiest levels since whaling ended along the east coast in the 1960s.

Findlay and his team suggest that this rapid increase could be the reason for changes in prey availability, forcing some to switch up their feeding strategies and end up in South Africa.

It could also be that this behaviour isn’t actually new – as Mallory Locklear reports for New Scientist, humpback whales were found feeding off the south-west Cape coast of South Africa once in 1914, before whaling reduced their numbers by around 90 percent.

Now that their numbers are increasing, the whales could be returning to a behaviour established long ago, or perhaps a few have been doing it this whole time, but until they formed super-groups, no one had noticed.

Regardless of the actual mechanism behind the appearance of these super-groups, the researchers remind us of a very important truth – if a 30,000-kg (66,000-pound) animal has decided it wants to be somewhere, you really don’t want to mess with it.

That means if the South African coast is to be the new humpback hangout, we need to make sure the area is safe for the annual krill slaughter.

“Despite the unknown cause of this recent behaviour, we postulate that the area has developed or is developing into an important seasonal humpback whale feeding ground that attracts significant immigration into the region in the late austral spring/early summer,” the team concludes.

Either that, or it’s a sign of the apocalypse, but whales wouldn’t do that to us, right?

The study has been published in PLoS One.

For more information please visit http://www.sciencealert.com/no-one-can-explain-the-mysterious-super-groups-of-humpbacks-forming-off-the-south-african-coast?utm_source=ScienceAlert+-+Daily+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=500b030329-MAILCHIMP_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe5632fb09-500b030329-365590405

Winter Warmer Promotion

2017Winter Warmer Special

WINTER WARMER PROMOTION

Trade-in your old winter jacket or jersey at the #ArabellaProShop this winter and help keep the homeless warm.

Plus you will get R200 off any new outerwear item purchase.

For more info please contact the Pro Shop on 028 284 0000

Calling all Super Heroes!

2017 Benguela Super Heroes

Calling all Super Heroes! Register  NOW for  the  2017  Superhero  Fun Run/Walk  in  Aid  of  Child  Welfare SA  Kleinmond -  www.benguelacove.co.za

Great  prizes  to  be  won, including  a  prize  for  the  most  creative  superhero  costume.

The  Superhero  Fun  Run  is  a  fundraising  and  family – friendly  event  in  aid  of  Child  Welfare  SA  Kleinmond.

Join  us  on  13  May 2017  for  fun, exercise  and  to  support  a  great  cause.  All  proceeds  will  benefit  local  abused  or  neglected  children.

There  will  be  a  5  km  or  14 km  option  for  all  superheroes.

All  ages  and  abilities  are  encouraged  to  participate.

Come  fly  across  the  finish  line  and  experience  all  our  Super  hero  activities.  Lots  to  eat  and  drink.

This Lost Art Will Save You Strokes

2017AJ-Avoli-chipping

This Lost Art Will Save You Strokes

Over time, a simple method for getting the ball from off the green to the flagstick fell out of favor.

I rarely see anyone chip like the late Hall of Fame golfer Paul Runyan. That’s a shame because this technique will make you more accurate around the greens with a lot less practice. Once you master the setup and learn to make a rhythmic stroke—like putting—you’ll start getting up and down more often. Let me show you how to chip old school. —With Ron Kaspriske

SCENARIO + SELECTION
Although you can use this shot in a lot of spots, it’s not all-purpose. Use this technique when you are no more than five yards from the green in the fringe or rough. Because this shot requires a stroke of consistent length and speed, the only thing you need to judge is which club to use to get the ball pin high. Visualize a small spot on the green where you think the ball should land to roll out to the hole. Then read the rest of the distance like a putt.

So which club to use? Take a little time on a practice green with your pitching wedge, 9-iron and 8-iron to see how far the ball carries and rolls using a stroke of the same length and speed. You can experiment with other clubs, too, but I’ve found sticking to these three brings about the most consistency.

SETUP + STROKE
Start by aiming the clubface at the small target where you want the ball to land. Remember, you have to read the green like a putt. That means if there is a slope, you might be playing the shot away from the cup. Now hold the club with medium grip pressure with its heel just off the ground (above). That’s really important to ensuring the club glides along the turf instead of digging into it.

You’ll notice the shaft is nearly vertical, with the handle leaning slightly toward the target and your weight favoring the left foot. Your arms should be relaxed, slightly bent and aligned parallel to the target. Ball position normally is just right of center in your stance, although you can alter it slightly as you experiment with how that changes the amount of carry and roll.

The stroke is as simple as it gets. It’s like a putting motion—the shoulders and arms do most of the work, and there’s no wristy movements. Focus on swinging the club with the same rhythm and force. The handle of the club should be swung no farther than the distance between your thighs. It’s a short swing equal in length on the backswing and follow-through.

The stroke should be aggressive or slightly accelerated, and always hold your finish to ensure a steady pace. If you’re struggling with that, say any two-word phrase with the first word coming on the backswing and the second word on the follow-through. A suggestion? Tick-Tock. Even better? Great-Chip or Hole-Out. I think you get the idea.

A.J. Avoli is one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers. He is director of instruction at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

For more information please visit http://www.golfdigest.com/story/this-lost-art-will-save-you-strokes

Golfing Humour

Permanent Disability

Hope it’s a good one out on the course for you!

Book an Arabella Spa Foot Peel!

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When last did you have a foot peel?  If you responded “never had one” or “long ago” or even “a month ago” then you must book into Arabella Spa for this treatment.  It is an absolute MUST for any hard working feet.

What is a foot peel?
A safe and controlled chemical peel for the feet to effectively treat dry/cracked heels or any dry skin on the feet.
This chemical peel is a combination of lactic and citric acid meaning that not only are dead skin cells effectively removed, but the skin is deeply nourished and hydrated too.
Gone are the days where you will need to file feet so much they burn and bleed.  A simple yet very effective chemical peel on the feet is all you need, once a month or even once every two or three months.  Please note this treatment can only be performed in the spa by a qualified skin and body therapist under carefully supervision, with a very important kaolin mask to be used at home for 14 days post peel to repair the skin and keep it soft and supple.

This treatment can either be done on its own for 30 minutes or combined with a pedicure which will take a total of 75 minutes with a glorious foot and lower leg massage.

Please call us at the Spa on 028 284 0036 to book your treatment today.

Barrels & Beards Harvest Celebration

2017Barrels&Beards

Barrel & Beards Harvest Celebration 2017

Soon, Bot River winemakers will return to the tribe where Gandalf, Lincoln, Chuck Norris, Castro and their bearded ilk hold sway. And as has become the most memorable fashion, they’ll ignite a party like no other. Now in its 7th year, Barrels & Beards has become an institution to celebrate the new harvest of Bot River wine on its hallowed journey from the ocean-cooled vineyards of this magnificent valley to the wine-lover’s glass

Come Saturday, April 22 and those famed lyrics of that eponymous 1960s musical will be recalled once more: “She asks me why. I’m just a hairy guy; I’m hairy noon and night…” Because, that’s the date for the hip and hirsute Barrels & Beards party – to which everyone is invited. This year, Barrels & Beards again welcomes lovers of all things fun and delicious to a sumptuous dinner spread and to taste wines right from the latest vintage straight from the barrel during the festivity hosted once more on the hillside grounds of Barton Vineyards.
Producers taking part in the 2017 Barrels & Beards celebration are Anysbos, Barton Vineyards, Beaumont Family Wines, Gabriëlskloof, Genevieve MCC, Goedvertrouw Wine Estate, Luddite Wines, Maremmana Estate, Momento, Paardenkloof Estate, Rivendell Estate, Wildekrans Boutique Wine Estate and Villion Family Wines.

Bot River is not just a one night stand dorpie so why not make a weekend of it and come on over on Friday already to join us locals for a few cold ones on the stoep at the Hotel.

The 2017 Bot River Barrels & Beards showcase will take place on Saturday, 22 April 2017 at 5pm at BARTON VINEYARDS.

For enquiries contact Wilmari Geyer, email: info@bartonvineyards.co.za

Visit http://www.quicket.co.za/events/25405-barrels-beards-harvest-festival-2017/#/ to book your tickets to this event!

8 Tricks to become a better player

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8 Tricks To Become A Better Player
Quick and easy tips to play better golf right now
By Barry Goldstein

TRICK 1: Align The Clubface

One of the most common mistakes amateurs make is improper alignment. Some think they should align their feet at the target, others try to get their shoulders parallel to it. Hey, some golfers try to align everything at the target! They’re all wrong.

The correct way to align your shots is to always begin by first assessing your target from behind the ball. This will give you a perspective of the entire hole and help you aim right where you want the ball to go. Secondly, before you make your actual stance, set the clubface behind the golf ball and align it directly at the target. Do this before, not after, you get into your stance. PGA Tour players have a knack for aligning the clubhead in this fashion. Pay attention to how they do it the next time you tune in.

After you have the right clubface alignment, then comes time to situate the rest of your body. Most players benefit from aligning their lower body left of the target line and their upper body parallel to the target line. There’s actually no right answer as to what works best for you, but one thing is for sure. Aligning your body directly at the target rarely works. It usually leads to crossovers and over-the-top swings. Keep your body aiming left of the target line, and experiment with what works best for you. But be sure to align that clubface first!

TRICK 2: Choose The Right Club

Most amateurs choose what club to use based on length. On shorter holes, they use shorter clubs. Longer holes, longer clubs; and so on. But better players know there’s more to selecting the right club than that. It also includes things like natural shot tendencies, wind, hazards and whether or not hidden dangers lurk in prime landing areas. But most of all, a better player looks at what type of approach shot is to follow. The hole may be only 365 yards long, but with a good drive, that leaves a touchy 70- to 80-yard approach. Who wants that? The right play would be to avoid awkward distances and hit a 3-wood, leaving a full wedge approach.

Lastly, a better player acknowledges that a shot with a 3-wood has a greater likelihood of hitting the fairway than a driver shot does. And with today’s new groove rules, hitting the fairway has become more important than ever.

TRICK 3: Don’t Change Your Stance

Instinctively, you might assume that the stance changes, depending on the club. Not true! When it comes to full shots (not pitches, chips or putts), maintaining a consistent stance is critical to becoming a better ballstriker.

That’s not to say there are minor adjustments in spine angle, ball position and stance width, but generally, how you stand over an iron should not be far off from how you situate yourself with a driver

TRICK 4: Make A Good Grip

Better players always, and I mean always, have a fundamentally solid grip. To start, grip the club with your gloved hand and emphasize the handle’s placement in the fingers between the first knuckle and the palm. Then, apply the ungloved hand so it wraps comfortably around the handle. From there, the thumb and index fingers of both hands form two Vs, both of which should be pointed somewhere around the right side of your chest or right shoulder. Follow this advice and you’ll have a solid grip.

TRICK 5: Play With The Wind, Not Against It

Many amateurs fret about playing in the wind, but better players know how to use wind to their advantage. For instance, better players know that no matter what type of shot you’d normally play, whether it’s a draw, fade or whatever, how the wind blows changes everything. You have to make adjustments to make the wind work for you, instead of trying to hit a shot to fight against it. I’ve seen that happen time and time again with amateurs.

Put it this way, no matter how big a fade or draw you’re capable of hitting, it’s likely the wind will always win. So what do you do? Play with it! In the photo above, I’ve got a stiff wind blowing from right to left. Instead of battling it, I’ve opted to hit a drawing tee shot with hopes that the wind works alongside me to move the ball from right to left. Also, since I’m playing with the wind and not against it, it’s likely my draw will be more pronounced, so I need to make sure I aim farther right to allow for it. And by the way, if, by chance, my natural ballflight was a fade, instead of hitting a draw, I’d play for a straight shot and aim a little less right of the target. Either way, I’m letting the wind move the ball back into the fairway.

Still not convinced? Well, had I played a fade, I’d have run a greater risk of pulling the tee shot with the ball not fading enough or at all. And with that right-to-left wind, things would only get worse. I’d be hitting my second shot from the bear grass! If the wind were blowing the other way, a better player knows to never fight a slice wind. The play is to aim left and let the ball drift to the right back into the fairway.

Lastly, when playing in the wind, no matter which way it’s blowing, don’t think you need to swing any harder than normal. Just accept the fact that wind is blowing, and although it may be in an undesirable direction, the key is to avoid going to war with it. This will foul up your rhythm and tempo, not to mention your scorecard.

TRICK 6: Play For More Break, Not Less

Have you ever heard the saying, It’s always better to miss it on the pro side of the hole? How about, Never up, never in? In case you haven’t heard these sayings, what they mean is quite simple. Better players know that, no matter how well you judge the speed and break of a putt, if you consistently miss on the low side of the hole, you’re never giving yourself a real chance. (The low side, by the way, refers to the side of the hole that’s actually lower than the hole.) Since golf balls don’t roll upwards naturally, unless you hit the putt from below the hole up the hill, the ball has no chance to go in.

On the other hand, if you tend to miss more often on the upper side (the pro side) of the hole, once in a while, the ball may actually find the hole. The key is speed. Having the right speed, even if you aim a little high and for a little too much break, the ball actually may slow down more and start to break into the hole even though you were a little off with your aim. Better players understand this (whether they’re aware of it or not) and generally miss to the higher side of the hole rather than the lower side. They also cite speed as more important than direction, for this very reason.

That said, next time you practice, find a breaking putt to the right, and then one that breaks to the left. Practice on both holes until your misses start trending toward the pro side of the hole. Of course, the goal is to make more than you miss, but with the right kind of misses, you may find yourself making a few more putts, as well!

TRICK 7: Finish The Shot

Another one of the higher-handicapper’s biggest fears on the golf course is the sand shot. Better players know that with the right fundamentals, hitting good bunker shots isn’t as hard as it looks. There are a few fundamentals you ought to follow to get the job done, such as hitting down and behind the ball and letting the sand lift the ball. But here, I want to focus on one thing, and that happens to be the finish. So many of my students seem to believe that it’s necessary to dig the wedge into the sand as you would an ax into a piece of firewood, all in order to excavate the ball. They make a steep backswing and THUD! The wedge stays stuck in the sand in most cases, and so does the golf ball.

Instead, try to make a full finish. Swing all the way through to a balanced and comfortable finish position. If you think of a full finish before you swing, you’ll be less inclined to drive the club deep into the sand and, in the end, make a shallower sand divot and get the ball out of the sand. Also, thinking of a full finish before you swing helps you to relax and avoid flipping the hands over and prevents the ball from getting up and out of the sand. So, think of that full finish before your sand shot. I’ll bet your sand game improves in a hurry.

TRICK 8: Stack Your Chips

I think chipping is too often overlooked. Hey, maybe it’s not the most glamourous shot to hit, but that doesn’t make it any less important. A great chip can help you make or break par faster than any putt.

To become a better chipper, concentrate on stacking your impact position. This means that, at the moment of truth, the left arm, the shaft and your weight should all be stacked over your left leg. This helps you better control the shot and ensure you hit it crisp and solid. If you aren’t stacked, your chipping will be inconsistent, and it’ll be hard to judge distances and how much the ball will fly and roll. But if you stack it, all you need to do is judge how far you want the ball to go and lengthen or shorten your backswing so it fits the shot.

This tip, like the others in this story, are quick and simple ways to turn your game around and become a better player. Practice them and you’ll see the better you get, the simpler your swing and swing thoughts should become. And remember, have fun out there!

Barry Goldstein teaches at the famed Inverrary CC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Contact him at drforgolf@aol.com.

For more info please visit http://www.golftipsmag.com/instruction/shotmaking/8-tricks-to-become-a-better-player/

See Chris Chameleon Live

2017ChrisChameleonLive

Come see top SA Musician Chris Chameleon Live at Stanford Hills Wine Farm on Saturday 29 April 2017 at 5pm

Chris performs some of his classic hits as well as introducing new original music. Cash bar and food stalls available before and during the show.

For more info please visit http://www.overberginfo.com/events/chris-chameleon-live-at-stanford-hills-wine-farm/

BREAKING NEWS

We are proud to announce that the renowned SANBI Kirstenbosch team consisting of David Davidson, Raymond Hudson and Johan West has just won gold for South Africa at the “Floral Olympics” – the annual RHS Chelsea Flowershow. The theme for 2016 depicted the UNESCO Kogelberg Biosphere and World Heritage site as part of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Congratulations South Africa!