Local Dive Site Info

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The Katzmaru (1970's)

The Katzmaru, an Oriental trawler that sank in the 1970's in Hout Bay, lies on a stark sandy bottom and is in a virtually intact condition. A multitude of fish and other marine life typical of the Atlantic Ocean can be seen here. This is a popular and easily accessible deep wreck, often used for advanced training.

 

LOCATION: In the middle of the mouth of Hout Bay.
ACCESS: This is a boat dive. The boat is launched from Hout Bay harbour and it is a very short trip to this wreck. The Katzmaru lies 15m from the Astor.
CONDITIONS: It is usually calm inside the bay. Despite concerted resistance by local divers, residents and environmental groups, a sewage pipeline has been constructed with the main outfall just metres from the Katzmaru - and this is 20m away from the Astor.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 29m on the deck
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 32m on the sand
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 2 Bubbles

 

The Oakburn

The Oakburn (1906) & The Boss (1994)

The Oakburn, a British cargo steamer of 3865 tons, was wrecked in fog on 21 May 1906, on a voyage from New York to Sydney. Two lives were lost. It's cargo included railway lines and equipment, glassware, sewing machines, musical instruments, oil and paper. The Oakburn has pretty much fallen apart and, on 27 June 1994, as a final insult, the crane barge, the Boss 400, broke it's towline and landed virtually on top of the older wreck. The Boss is starting to break up and it is possible to do some penetrations, but one should be careful. In clear conditions, the rusted metal and refraction of light through the water create interesting light effects, much as the Romelia did before she broke up. Nothing should be removed, assuming you find anything.

 

LOCATION: In front of the large boulder, south of Maori Bay.
ACCESS: It is a short boat trip from Hout Bay harbour, around the sentinel and into Maori Bay. You cannot miss this dive site, as The Boss is clearly visible.
CONDITIONS: This site can only be dived on calm days as it is in an exposed position. There can be a very strong surge through the Boss.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 20m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 25m

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles
 

The Romelia

The Romelia (1977)

The Romelia was a Liberian oil tanker of some 20 000 tons that floundered on Sunset Rocks on 29 July 1977, while en route to a Taiwanese breaker's yard. It was being accompanied by the Antipolis. Both ships were in tow when the cable snapped in one of Cape Town's spectacular and notorious winter storms. This used to be a very popular dive but the stern section has broken up and the whole dive site is now just a pile of rubble.

 

LOCATION: Off Sunset Rocks, Llandudno.
ACCESS: Take the Llandudno turnoff, which is 8km from Camps Bay SAP, and follow the Sandy Bay signs. It is difficult to find parking near the wreck on summer weekends - try to persuade the access boom attendee to allow you access to drop your gear off. It is an easy walk down to the rocks but the last part requires some careful clambering to get to the water's edge. You can enter from one of the flat rocks or into one of the gullies. It is a swim of approx. 200m to the wreck.
CONDITIONS: Like elsewhere on this coast, it is cold and clear after a south-easterly wind has blown. The surge can be very strong on the southern side and there is a strong suction through a hole on the Llandudno (northern) side of the wreck. This site should only be dived when conditions are perfect.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 12m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 25m

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 1 Bubble

 

Vulcan Rock

Vulcan Rock (Reef)

Vulcan Rock is a large pinnacle rising to 5m below the surface. It is covered in colourful marine growth - Hard and soft coral, box stars, nudibranches, deep water cowries and crayfish. Many playful seals are present and fish such as hottentot, galjoen and other species are plentiful. There is a large tunnel running through the rock at the bottom.

 

LOCATION: A blinder off the Karbonkelberg, to the south-west of Hout Bay.
ACCESS: The blinder breaks at all except the highest spring tide and can be seen from the sea. It is a short boat trip from Hout Bay harbour (20min boat ride). Most of the dive shops and charter boats run trips to this spot in the summer months.
CONDITIONS: It can be very clear but icy cold after a good up welling. There can be a strong surge if there is a swell running. You should always check conditions carefully before exiting the boat as there is sometime a 4-5 knot current, either on the surface or at a depth. Even if there appears to be no current, a drift line of a few hundred metres is strongly recommended.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 25m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 40m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 4 Bubbles

 

The Maori (1909)

The Maori, a British cargo steam ship of 5317 tons, was carrying a cargo of explosives, water piping and crockery from London to New Zealand, when it was wrecked. It struck a rock in thick fog and drizzle on 5 August 1909. 32 lives were lost. It lies in the protection of the well-sheltered Maori Bay and the waves break over it only in the worst storms. For this reason, it has remained remarkably intact and was declared the most well preserved wreck of it's vintage by Jacques Cousteau when he visited the site. Local divers have since then blasted thorough some sections. The total length of the wreck is approximately 175m. Marine life is not particularly colourful as most of it is dominated by kelp, fish and crayfish. This is a historical wreck and nothing should be removed.

 

LOCATION: North of the Oakburn, approximately 75m offshore, directly in front of the large, flat cleft rock.
ACCESS: It is only a short trip from Hout Bay harbour and is probably the most popular charter destination in the summer months.
CONDITIONS: The bay is well protected so it is usually calm. in summer, after a few days of south-easterly wind and strong upwelling, it can be crystal clear but icy cold, and the wreck can be seen from the dive boat. Be very careful of sharp, protruding bits of metal, particularly when there is a surge. The wreck has become unstable over the last few years, so divers should exercise caution when swimming under the structures.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 20m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 25m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

The Astor

This 360-ton crayfish boat was scuttled on 9 August 1997. All the doors were removed before scuttling so it is possible to do a deep penetration and swim the entire length of the boat (BUT ONLY IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!). A swim line is recommended. An interesting feature is the lobster net chute on the starboard side. The Astor lies upright on the sand and has a lovely super structure.

 

LOCATION: 20m north of the Katzmaru (wreck) in the middle of Hout Bay.
ACCESS: By boat from Hout Bay harbour - 15min boat ride.
CONDITIONS: It is usually calm inside the bay. Despite concerted resistance by local divers, residents and environmental groups, a sewage pipeline has been constructed with the main outfall just metres from the Katzmaru - and this is 20m away from the Astor.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 20m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 30m

 

The Antipolis (1977)

The Antipolis was a derelict Greek oil tanker of almost 25 000 tons. It was built in 1959 and wrecked on 29 July 1977 in the same incident as the Romelia, while being towed to the breaker's yard. It came to rest in a very stable position on the rocks and was a favourite venue for shipwreck parties, until the superstructure was cut off for scrap. The Antipolis' engine parts, ladders and portholes can be seen. This is an interesting dive if you are keen on modern wrecks as it gives a sense of vastness of even a small tanker.


LOCATION: On the rocks off Victoria Road, Oudekraal
ACCESS: Follow the road through Camps Bay towards Llandudno. You will reach the Twelve Apostles Hotel on your left, in the middle of nowhere. Continue past and up to the next lay by on your right. Turn around and as you back track, you will see her sticking out of the water. Park near the trees and kit up at the car. Follow the path down to the water and enter over the rocks. The surface swim is about 30m and descend near the wreck.
CONDITIONS: It is well protected on the landward side, but there can be a surge inside the wreck. Be careful of sharp protrusions. This is a summer dive, when the south-easter is blowing.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 10m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 12m

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 2 Bubbles

 

Justin's Caves

Large underwater caverns and breathtaking swim-throughs offer an exciting and colourful dive to both the novice and experienced diver. Marine life is prolific and vividly coloured invertebrates (nudibranches, anemones and hard and soft corals) grow on the ceilings and walls of the caverns. A torch is necessary to do justice to the splendour of the cave's interiors. Many large crayfish flourish in the reserve. Hottentot and other small fish are present, as well as many harmless bottom-dwelling sharks. This is a spectacular night dive but the entry and exit are a little tricky. This is one of the most popular shore dives in the area, particularly in summer.

 

LOCATION: Closer to Camps Bay than the Antipolis.
ACCESS: Kit up alongside the road and scramble down the steep incline next to the concrete drainage channel to the round boulders at the bottom. Alternatively, take the long foot path which leads to the entry for Sandy Cove, and then veer left. There are 2 entry points, both of which include scrambling over round boulders and entering into a gulley. Check both of the carefully as the ease of entry changes with the tide. The swim to the dive site is approx. 150m. The dive site is amongst the furthest clump of rocks, almost directly in front of the drainage channel. The cave is under the tallest, round rock. Descend in the channel between the 2 rocks.
CONDITIONS: Justin's caves are usually dived in summer when the water is clear, but cold. A strong south-easterly chops the sea up quickly and makes the swim back tiring (it is easier done underwater in these conditions). The broken nature of the sea bed is disorientating so a compass is necessary. The surge is very strong through the caves when a swell is running.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 12m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 18m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 4 Bubbles

 

Dyer's Cracks

This reef starts at 18m with a lovely kelp forest and just gets better and better, as it gets deeper and deeper. There are stunning hard corals, basket stars, brittle stars, cuttlefish and nudibranches.

 

LOCATION: 20min from Hout Bay harbour.
ACCESS: This is a boat dive. The trip is about 20min from Hout Bay harbour.
CONDITIONS: This is a summer dive, with south-easterly winds blowing..
AVERAGE DEPTH: 30m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 40m

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 5 Bubbles

 

Duiker Island

This dive is specifically to dive with seals. It is a fascinating dive, ideal for photography.
Just remember: Don't touch, poke or play with the seals as they could bite!

 

LOCATION: At the base of the Sentinel.
ACCESS: By boat, 10 minutes from Hout Bay harbour. The island is at the base of the Sentinel. CONDITIONS: Best dived after a south-easterly wind has been blowing.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 9m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 10m

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles
 

Coral Gardens

This is one of the most beautiful but less well known sites on the Peninsula. The underwater gardens of hard and soft coral form a kaleidoscope of brilliant pink, yellow, red, orange and purple, complimented by fields of urchins and brightly coloured anemones. The corals may NOT be removed. The resort is for day visitors only and no camping is allowed. There are toilets, fresh water and fireplaces available. This is a lovely spot to spend the day but can become very crowded. This is the crème de la crème of Cape Town’s summer dive spots, and it’s all about timing. With walls of hard corals, soft stars, incredible colours and an array of splendour – don’t forget to TAKE A CAMERA! LOCATION: South-west of the Hottentots Huisie recreation resort.

 
ACCESS: The easiest way of getting to the reef is by boat. The municipal slipway in Three Anchor Bay is the nearest launch site. To do a shore dive, turn off to Hottentots Huisie from Victoria drive (5km from Camps Bay). There is an entrance fee at the gate. The most direct route is to follow the concrete drainage channel on the far side of the parking lot and then keep left on the little path. This is a rather steep scramble and some boulder-hopping to get to the water's edge. Swim about 100m to a long, flattish rock. The dive site is directly behind this rock.
CONDITIONS: Best dived on calm days as the reef is in the path of the prevailing swells and is there subject to heavy swells.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 10m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 18m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 5 Bubbles

 

Sandy Cove

The wreck has broken up completely and all that is left are a few iron canons, an anchor and some pieces of wood. All these remnants are entirely overgrown and you will only recognize them by looking for unusually straight lines. This is a favourite training dive in summer and could get a bit crowded. The marine life is interesting and prolific but not particularly colourful. The kelp cover is thick, many species of invertebrates cover the rocks and hordes of crayfish hide in deep holes. This is a crayfish sanctuary so leave those grand-daddies alone! It is said that a large basking shark, affectionately called Johnny, often visits the site but does not bother divers. This is a favourite night diving spot, especially in summer. Do not remove anything from the spot. LOCATION: Opposite the White House.

 

ACCESS: Park a little closer to Camps Bay than you would for Justin's Caves. Follow the well-worn footpath and when it seems to disappear into a grassy clearing, step over a rock on your right and you will rediscover the path. It leads to a tiny sheltered beach which affords an easy entry and exit. An alternative is the gulley to the left, which can be recognized by the iron rails running out to sea. To find the wreck (which is not easy), swim out keeping to the left of the small cluster of rocks, approximately 50m out. Once past them, swim to a point about 30m behind them and find the small darkish rock with a cleft through the middle. Line yourself up so that you can see directly through the cleft. Once you have this line, facing the shore, look to your right. You will see a large egg-shaped rock about two-thirds of the way along the large cluster of rocked heading out to sea. Keep swimming out to sea until you can see the hole at the left edge of this rock. You will be directly above the wreck site.
CONDITIONS: The area is well sheltered and as a rule, is calm and clear in summer.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 6m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 15m (outer side of the wreck)

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

Caravan Reef

A reef that comes up to 5m below the oceans surface. It is filled with stunning growth. Ther are lovely fans and feather stars as well as some stunning cracks and gorges. Caravan Reef is a must!

 

LOCATION: A short way from Miller's Point Slipway
ACCESS: This is a boat dive. The site is about 8min from Miller's Point Slipway.
CONDITIONS: This site is best dived in winter, after a north-westerly has been blowing for a few days.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 18m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 21m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 4 Bubbles

 

Castle Rocks

The dive site is a big rock south-east of the entry point. As this is a marine sanctuary, fishing and harvesting of marine life is prohibited, fauna is prolific on these reefs. There are large numbers of fish: Roman, hottentot, butterfish, galjoen and Janbruin. There are also many small bottom sharks. Octopus and cuttlefish are also found. The rocks are a photographers dream: the rocks are covered with multi-coloured invertebrates, including nudibranches, starfish, urchins, anemones, big gorgonians and sea-fans, huge sponges, crayfish and basket stars. Castle Rock is a favourite training dive and also a great spot for night dives, although you must exercise caution on the slippery rocks, especially at night.

 

LOCATION: Castle Rocks is past Miller's Point, on the road from Simon's Town to Cape Point.
ACCESS: As for Pyramid Rock but the entry and exit point is to the right of the cluster of rocks. You must clamber across the round boulders in the water behind the sandy patch (be careful not to slip). The dive site is 50-75m to the south-east. An alternative entry is from the flat dark rock on the right hand side of the cluster of rocks, further to the east than the gulley. This entry is more tricky but allows for a shorter swim. It is NOT suitable as an exit point as it involves a 1m jump.
CONDITIONS: Castle Rock is sheltered from north-westerly winds in winter and is usually clear. There can be a surge on the outside of the rock. Best dived between May and August.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 10m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 15m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING:
3 Bubbles

 

Lusitania (1911)

The Lusitania, a Portuguese twins-crew passenger liner of 5557 tons, struck Bellows Rock at midnight on 18 April 1911. It sank two days later when it slipped off the rock, and all but 8 of the 800 people aboard survived. The unfortunate passenger's died when a lifeboat capsized. A large amount of steel plating and some bronze fittings remain on the site but may not be removed. The sea life is beautiful and varied with many invertebrates and sometimes, large fish. This is a deep dive and it is essential to navigate away from the rock underwater to avoid the strong surge area near the surface. This dive is only recommended for experienced divers.

 

LOCATION: On the eastern side of Bellows Rock, which breaks approximately 4km off Cape Point.
ACCESS: This is a boat dive. The boat is launched from Miller's Point. The wreck lies on the eastern side of the blinder which can be seen breaking.
CONDITIONS: The wreck is in a very exposed area and conditions have to be absolutely perfect to dive on it. Even moderate swells can cause significant turbulence near bellows rock. Best dived on the change of winds, but they must be very gentle winds with absolutely no swell running!
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 40m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 4 Bubbles