Local Dive Site Info

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Outer Castle

This is a great dive spot where you may see larger rays, gulley sharks and even yellowtail when they are running. There is an air-filled cave at the bottom of the rock and divers sometimes surface in it for a chat. This is fun but keep your regulator in hand as the quality of the air is dubious. As a night dive, it is out of this world.

 

LOCATION: Approximately 750m out to sea from the edge of Castle Rocks.
ACCESS: This is best done as a boat dive from Miller's Point. The rock is a blinder which can be seen breaking at low tide.
CONDITIONS: This site is exposed but is calm at depth or after a north-westerly wind has blown and flattened the sea.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 15m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 22m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

Partridge Point

This site is characterized by magnificent underwater scenery with caverns, overhangs, swim-throughs and a tunnel, almost big enough to drive a bus through. The marine life is abundant and typical of False Bay, with colourful sponges, soft corals and many different types of mollusc. There are friendly seal colonies nearby and they may well come to play. This is a picturesque dive and offers a stunning look at kelp forests.

 

LOCATION: Just to the north of Smitswinkel Bay, on the road to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
ACCESS: This spot can only be dived from a boat as the land has changed hands and the path is no longer open to the public. From Miller's point, travel south along the coast until you see a green-roofed stone house on a rocky point. The dive site is at the large rocks, a few hundred metres out to sea.
CONDITIONS: This is a fairly sheltered spot and is best dived after a few days of north-westerly winds, when the water should be clean.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 15m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 20m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

Pyramid Rock

This is an interesting dive, big submerged rocks and swim-throughs. Invertebrate life is colourful and abundant and there are many big reef fish in this marine reserve. It is worth saving a bit of air to return to the exit point on a compass course as the terrain is covered in kelp and small boulders. These often provide shelter for small octopus, rays or dog sharks. Take a camera! This is really a great dive and well worth the swim out.

 

LOCATION: Just north of Castle Rock.
ACCESS: This is a pyramid-shaped rock witch sticks up 1m above the water, about 75m from the northern edge of Castle Rocks, a large jumble of rocks going out into the sea. The spot can be recognized by cottages on either side of the road. There is an informal but well known gravel parking area on the landward side of the road. Kit up alongside the road and walk down the steps, leading past the cottages and to the lawn at the bottom. The entry and exit points are over the round boulders, to the left of the cluster of rocks. Alternatively, you can walk to the little beach about 70m to the left, and enter there for a shorter swim.
CONDITIONS: There is usually a bit of surge running, except in completely flat conditions. A winter dive after a NW wind is ideal, it is generally fairly sheltered
AVERAGE DEPTH: 8m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 14m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 4 Bubbles

 

Roman Rock

This is a site which was not often dived in the past because of the inconvenience of obtaining permission from the navy, but it is much easier now. The marine life is abundant with colourful invertebrates and reef fish, typical of False Bay. You may also encounter playful seals.

 

LOCATION: This spot is marked by an obvious light and can be easily seen from Simon's Town or Glencairn. It is in the restricted diving area.

ACCESS: It is essential to obtain permission from the Naval Headquarters before diving this spot (See Clan Stuart). It is a short boat ride from Simon's Town harbour.
CONDITIONS: This is a sheltered winter dive.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 15m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 25m

BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

SAS Pietermaritzburg (1994)

The SAS Pietermaritzburg has a very interesting history. It was formerly HMS Pelorus and led the D-Day invasion of Normandy in the Second World War. It was bought by the SA Navy in 1947 for use as a training vessel. It was later converted into a minesweeper. The Pietermaritzburg was scuttled on 12 November 1994 to form an artificial reef in quite shallow water. It is anticipated that the growth of marine life on this wreck should be much quicker than it was on the Smitswinkel Bay wrecks because of the shallower depth.

 

LOCATION: About 2km north of Miller's Point slipway.
ACCESS: A short boat ride from Miller's slipway
CONDITIONS: Best dived in winter, the wreck should be reasonably unaffected by surge as it is quite deep.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 16m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 20m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 2 Bubbles

 

The Clan Stuart (1914)

The Clan Stuart, a 3500-ton British turret steamer, carrying a cargo of coal, sank after dragging it's anchors in a south-east gale on 21 November 1914. It's shallow depth allows plenty of sunlight to penetrate and the wreck is covered with dense marine growth, attracting a large number of fish. This wreck will be part of the proposed Simon's Bay wreck trail.

 

LOCATION: 4km from the Fish Hoek traffic circle, on the road to Simon's Town. This wreck is close inshore and is situated in a restricted diving area.
ACCESS: Permission to dive this wreck must be obtained from Naval Headquarters (PH: 021-787 3911) at Simon's Town, or you may find yourself accosted by a patrol of Navy divers. The Navy is pretty relaxed about giving permission and will only refuse if they are planning some sort of activity in the vicinity where you plan to dive. It is a short swim of about 50m offshore with easy entry and exit points. The ships engine block can be seen protruding from the sea.
CONDITIONS: This bay is almost always sheltered except in a strong north-easter. Because of the shallow depths, there can be surge when a swell is running.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 6m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 8m
 

The Wrecks of Smitswinkels Bay

Five wrecks were scuttled by the Navy in the early 1970s, to form an artificial reef which has proved to be a success. These wrecks now teem with a variety of fish and other marine life. These wrecks are the SAS Transvaal, SAS Good Hope, Rockeater, Princess Elizabeth and the Oratava. The depth, combined with the ghostly appearance of the upright frigates and dredger, make this a thrilling dive. Because of the depth, it is necessary to take some form of artificial lighting down to the reef to fully appreciate the marvellous colours of the marine life. There is plenty white, red, yellow and mauve soft corals. Sponges, sea-fans and starfish are plentiful, as well as numbers of colourful anemones and nudibranches.

THE WRECKS:
SAS Transvaal
SAS Good Hope
Rockeater
Princess Elizabeth
Oratava

 

LOCATION: In the middle of Smitswinkel Bay
ACCESS: These wrecks are best reached by boat, launched from Kalk Bay, Miller's Point or Simon's Town. They are situated approximately 4km from Miller's Point. An echo-sounder is essential to locate them and a local skipper or diver may be able to use shore markers to identify which wreck has been picked up on the echo-sounder. This can be tricky as they lie quite close together.
CONDITIONS: It is usually calm as the bay is sheltered and the depth dampens the effect of even a quite large swell.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 35m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 40m
 

Windmill Beach

There is a rocky point going out into the sea for about 100m from the middle of a gentle beach. It is a favourite training dive as you can enter from the beach on one side of the rocks, and swim round the point and exit on the other side of the rocks, on the same beach. Plenty of kelp, red and green seaweed, nudibranches, sea cucumbers, urchins, dogfish and pyjama sharks can be seen.

 

LOCATION: Just south of Boulders Beach, just below the golf course.
ACCESS: Drive out of Simon's Town to the south. Turn left into Bellevue Road and then first right into links road, just past the golf course. Park at the end of the road and walk for about 100m to the beach. The entry and exit points are both very sheltered, gently sloping sand beaches.
CONDITIONS: This site is almost always sheltered and the entry is probably the easiest on the entire South African coast. Wave action is normally not more than an inch or two and is rarely more than 30cm high. There can be a little surge round the point if there is a big swell.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 6m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 8m off the point.
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

Boat Rock (REEF)

Boat Rock is a self-contained reef that is full of surprises. It is a stunning dive with great photo opportunities

 

LOCATION: 13 min from Miller's Slipway
ACCESS: By boat Miller's Slip
CONDITIONS: The best time to dive this site is in winter, with a north-westerly wind blowing
AVERAGE DEPTH: 15m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: 20m
BUBBLE BLOWERS RATING: 3 Bubbles

 

A-Frame

The best spot to descend is on the landward side of the big rock, after a swim of about 60m. There are some deep holes and overhangs and the side of the rock abounds with colourful invertebrates of all descriptions. Fish are tame and include Roman, hottentot, dasie, stompneus (stumpnose) and occasionally the bright yellow parrotfish. Friendly, playful seals are sometimes encountered. Small, harmless sharks (dogfish and pyjama sharks) are often seen. Octopuses and cuttlefish are not uncommon. The smaller rock, to the left of the round one has a lovely cave with beautiful sponges and colourful invertebrates. It can sometimes be silted up for a few weeks, especially at the beginning of winter.

 

LOCATION: Approximately 5km from Simon's Town
ACCESS: Drive from Simon's Town towards Cape Point for about 5km until you see some cottages on a large green lawn on the sea side of the road. Park on the main road, kit up there and walk down to the mast on the rocks (the mast has replaced the A-Frame structure, after which the site was named). You can enter from the flat rock below the mast or over the round boulders, about 50m to the south. The flat rock is usually easier at low tide and the boulders at high tide.
CONDITIONS: There can sometimes be a bit of a surge on the outer side of the big rock, but is usually calm inshore, especially in winter.
AVERAGE DEPTH: 8m
MAXIMUM DEPTH: About 15m on the outer side of the big rock