Two Oceans, A Thousand Dives
- K van Wuuren
It might be chilly, it might be rough, there might even be sharks, but those who dive the Cape’s waters enthuse about it and claim that there’s no diving locale that beats it - anywhere! One such enthusiast is Brandon Broodryk of Bubble Blowers, a Cape Town-based dive school and dive charter company that have an intimate knowledge and great passion for everything that the Cape’s waters have to offer the diver. According to Brandon, Cape Town has something for every diver, regardless of experience and confidence level, regardless of passions and interests.
For those divers whose first love is the natural world, Cape Town has coral reefs and kelp forests. The experience of swimming through a kelp forest says Brandon, is like walking though a forest - kelp trunks waving around you, whilst a canopy of fronds shades you from above. Sunlight slants down into the water, catching the silvery flashes of the numerous fishes that glide past you. If its colour and detail that fascinate you - and more photo opportunities than you’ll be able to take! - you’d be well advised to explore the Cape’s reefs. All along the shores of the Peninsular you’ll find rocky outcrops studded with jewel-like nudibranches, corals and sea fans, as well as sponges that can dwarf a diver. The kelp forests and reefs are home to numerous fishes, from the territorial Red Romans (who can always be found at one particular spot) to Musselcrackers,Cuttlefish, White Stumpnose and our national fish, the Galjoen.
And if you’re lucky, you might even encounter one of the Cape’s toothsome sharks! Sounds like your worst diving nightmare? Well according to the Bubble Blowers boys, there’s really nothing for divers to be concerned about - sharks don’t choose to eat people, and most sharks are shy and timid, retreating long before you’re aware of them. So a chance encounter is truly a privilege!
But it’s Cape Town’s wrecks that most often excite the diving community, sitting on the seabed as ghostly reminders of Cape Town’s stormy past. From the historical wrecks in Table Bay to the more recently scuttled Smitswinkelbaai wrecks, wrecks have a fascination for and a hold over divers. Understandable, but be careful when exploring them, says Brandon - make sure you’ve got the right level of skill and qualification, check out the conditions and most importantly, ensure that you’ve got absolute confidence in your dive buddies and dive master. Once you’re confident with your chosen partners, there can be nothing more thrilling than slipping down a buoy line into the blue as a sunken shape slowly looms up towards you. Sometimes there are ‘treasures’ to found - porcelain on the Maori, golden coins off some of the older wrecks and excitement, wherever you find yourself.
However beautiful the Cape’s seas appear on a calm day, it still poses a number of challenges for any diver: predicting the weather conditions, deciding on where, and when, the best spot to dive is, and then locating it, because sometimes even finding the most enticing spots that Cape Town has to offer is something of a challenge! To overcome these and other diving challenges, you’d be well advised to call on the advice and expertise of someone who has an intimate knowledge of the Cape’s diving conditions. But more than that, to get the most out of what Cape Town diving has to offer, ensure that whomever you call on, has a passion for everything that lies beneath the seas calm surface.