A-frame

I had a great dive with OMSAC members on Saturday.  Conditions seemed good for diving but Inner Castle and Pyramid looked a bit surgy so we opted for A-Frame. Justin lead the dive and Pieter and I buddied up at the back end.  We saw a pajama shark, juvenile shy sharks, plenty fish and a good variety of nudis (gas flame, blue, crowned). There were a few surgy spots but my dive buddy steadied me to get a better pic.  All in all it was a very enjoyable dive. Afterwards Justin and some of the others opted for another dive elsewhere.

I know we’re in Cape Town and we’re Capetonians but certain scuba divers take laid-back to a new dimension!! Some of us were seriously worried whether we were actually going to dive on Saturday or rather Sunday at the speed some divers were kitting up! LOL

Zelda van Wyk

Fish Hoek Reef

Fish Hoek Reef

14C: pea soup DELICIOUS! Nudi party down there!! Lots of flatworms, shysharks, leopard catshark, pyjama catshark and an extremely nosy seal! Such interesting reef structure… almost tiered. But… the fish are extremely skittish… SOMETHING is hunting that reef!

Pyramid Rock

14C: (sorry, no GoPro) 6-metre viz, a whole different nudi party! 4 scribbled and a small-spot dorid were the highlights. Rather than go visit the sharks, swam towards Pyramid Rock to the reefs there.

Wendy

Underwater beauty of Sodwana

I met Carel and Naomi at Cape Town International and off we set for a week in one of the worlds premier dive sites. A two hour flight and three and a half hour car ride and we arrived at Coral Divers. An easy check in and off to dive planning to sort out the next days diving. The first dive launches at 07h00 so we all meet at the kit up area at 06h00 to catch the shuttle to the beach about 2km away.

A dive briefing from a DMT and a then a surf launch.

Dive number 1 was at Bikini on 2 mile reef. With Carel and Naomi as my dive buddies I was treated to an hours dive in 27 degree water. During this dive I saw my first Moray Eel, a Ribbon Ray and many of the other colourful fish we never see in the cold waters of Cape Town.

Over the next week I did 7 dives while Carel and Naomi did 10. All my dives were at 2 mile reef at an average depth of around 16m for about 60mins

On these dives we saw a young turtle, scorpion fish-(how Carel sees them I have no idea) a school of rays, various nudibranchs and many common warm water fish.

Carel took me through the digital camera course and helped me spot many photographic opportunities.

As the week came to an end the rain came down but the dives were done. My thanks to Carel and Naomi for showing me the underwater beauty of Sodwana.

Windmill beach – A newbie’s perspective

This weekend was a dive of many firsts: my first (proper) dive in South African waters, my first dive with my recently purchased (second-hand) scuba gear and my first dive with my new club, OMSAC! The site was to be Windmill Beach, which I found out after some googling, is located just outside of Simonstown and is well known for its easy shore access. Windmill Beach is one of three dive sites in that area forming part of the A-frame: Froggy Pond, Windmill Beach and A-frame. Apparently it’s also spectacular during a night dive.

Having recently obtained my open water certification, I am not yet as streamlined getting ready for a dive as my more experienced diving companions. I still get confused between an insert and an o-ring, I sometimes slip up and talk about flippers instead of fins and I am still scared that my cylinder is going to explode in my face every time I connect it to my BC and release the air (Righty-tighty-lefty-loosey has been my saving grace many times). But, with a little bit of help from my friends and dive leader, Anand, I was ready to hit the water. Apparently it was a lovely nineteen degrees, which is almost like bath water for Capetonians. Except for the ever present wind, the water didn’t look too bad to my inexperienced eyes (The one day that it is a spectacularly wind free day in Cape Town, I manage to find myself chasing the wind all the way to Simonstown).

Before entering the water, Anand gave us a quick dive briefing: we were going to enter the water from the beach, descend, swim through/over the kelp and then continue in the direction of Simonstown, all the while keeping the big boulders in the water on our left hand side. We were going to aim for a forty minute dive (we ended up doing sixty – time flies when you’re having fun) and we should see some pajama sharks, kelp, lots of sea urchins and other sea life living on the boulders. That’s not exactly how he said it, but I was too nervous at that time to take everything in. In the water I forgot that my new wetsuit had a hoodie, my snorkel wasn’t set up correctly, so I had to really reach to get it into my mouth, and I lost my flipper (sorry – fin) about five seconds into the dive. Fortunately, Justin came to my rescue almost immediately. Fully geared again, and keeping my dive buddy, Naomi, in view we swam into the kelp … and I almost immediately lost her … luckily I caught her white fins making a sharp right turn out of the kelp forest and we were in the open water again. The only way I could distinguish Naomi was by her pink snorkel and white fins – all divers look the same to me underwater, so I just kept on following the white fins. Lucky for me, in case she forgets her name, her fins were labelled as well, so I had no problem following the right white fins. I sort of established buoyancy (there was a bit of surge and my weighting wasn’t quite right yet) and stuck close to the heels (fins) of my diving buddy and I was scuba diving!! Visibility was about 6 metres and the water wasn’t crystal clear, but after about twenty minutes I was relaxed enough to really start to notice the sea life around me. I saw two pajama sharks (or it might have been the same one that I saw twice), hundreds of live sea urchins in all the colours of the rainbow, dead ones as well – I had to restrain myself from taking a souvenir, hundreds of big starfish – the type that we all know so well and also some interesting looking black ones, which looks like a black button with five long legs protruding from it. An octopus hid from us underneath a rock, perfectly camouflaged small box-like jelly fish with very long tentacles swam past us – I only saw them when I was basically on top of them, hundreds of sea anemone in all the colours of a sunset stuck to the boulders like polka dot wallpaper and some of the infamous nudibranch, which, as the name doesn’t suggest at all, is a beautiful neon-coloured sea slug (I would love to see these guys at a disco) were also seen by me.

About fifty minutes into the dive I started to have a lot of trouble with my buoyancy, I was shooting up and swimming back down like a jack-in-the-box (fortunately for me this wasn’t a deep dive, only eight metres). I couldn’t understand what was happening: I had released every vestage of air from my BC, and my weighting was fine when I entered the water fifty minutes go. Holding onto the kelp for support, I was contemplating whether I should indicate to Naomi that we should end the dive when she came to my rescue. We ended the dive after sixty minutes (Apparently as I was using up my air, my weights wasn’t enough anymore). I was knackered but extremely happy that I joined the Omsaccies/Omsaccaroos/Omsaccas for my first dive.

After I high-fived myself for a job well done, we waddled back to the cars in our sexy scuba gear where Anand rewarded us with chocolate for being such great divers. Obviously I got the biggest piece

For a pretty spectacular view of Windmill Beach, have a look at the website below:
http://www.360cities.net/image/windmill-beach-right-before-the-rain-south-africa#3.60,13.60,70.0

Fria

Long beach at its best in every way

 Morning…post from Rochelle….am at Long Beach if anyone would like to join me.

Me….mmm well I am alone today….yes get off my butt and go.

Arrive…27 degrees, sunny, Rochelle catching a tan.

Rochelle…I am getting hot, lets dive, I have my camera housing back. (Hopefully not leaking)

 

Water was 17 degrees, snorkelling out from the beach, I thought we were at home in my pool. Had to stop and take 2 to realise the viz was incredible. For me the clearest yet at this both loved and despised spot for diving !

It was all excitement cause I could get to be the under water model. It was a real fun dive, so relaxed we just wallowed in the moments. Rochelle taking pics, myself the poser, or just cruising to the next spot that caught our eye !

Everything was abundant in colour, the coral, the fans, the pipe fish, the PLENTIFUL cuttlefish, the nudi’s, the little blue fin gurnards scurrying along the sea bed, the box jellies even had purple shades.

Long beach was at its best in every way, one of those dives that you sometimes wondered if you were really under water…. And that was because after 75 minutes Rochelle asked me how much air I had left, and I was too relaxed to even figure out what she was signalling…oops !

Windmill Beach

Date: 27th May 2012
Location: Windmill
Max depth: 8.4 m
Average depth: 5.1
Temperature: 15° C
Duration: 47 min

I know, I know, this report is over a week late… lazy me…

Talking about the dive, it all started one sunny Sunday morning at Pisces where Graham, Rochelle, Maggs, Erich and myself met to decide where to go next. There was a great deal of debate, mainly due to Rochelle, whom in her return to the underwater world, after her injury in the high peaks around Cape Town (traitor!) needed an “accessible” beach to get in the water. While discussing the location of the dive, Dave and his wife (sorry I forgot your name!) came by Pisces and decided to join us. First port of call was Pyramid Rock, I know what you are thinking, this dive is not very accessible for a recovering diver, we convinced her that Erich and I will carry her equipment down to the water and in the worst case scenario drag her through the bottom during the dive… It never came to it, the conditions around Pyramid Rock were not as inviting as we were hoping for so we headed to Windmill.

Once at Windmill, we got kitted up and got in the water but -1 diver… Graham forgot his weights even though he has a BCD with integrated weights. Dave took the role of dive leader and guided us safely around the dive site until we came across the Duck and Dive learners, that created a considerable amount of confusion and the group got divided. Regardless of this perilous situation 😉 the dive continued as normal, except that now our group was divided in two. I can’t speak for the others, but Rochelle, Maggs and myself got to see a great deal of nudibranchs (Orange-clubbed nudibranch, black nudibranch, blue gas flame nudibranch and cape silver tip nudibranch), carpet flatworm, as well as the usual suspects of crabs and fish around these waters. Right before the end of the dive Maggs and I were enlightened by an octopus resting on the sand.

Hope to see you all under the water soon!
Ander

Date: 27th May 2012

Location: Windmill

Max depth: 8.4 m

Average depth: 5.1

Temperature: 15° C

Duration: 47 min

 

I know, I know, this report is over a week late… lazy me…

 

Talking about the dive, it all started one sunny Sunday morning at Pisces where Graham, Rochelle, Maggs, Erich and myself met to decide where to go next. There was a great deal of debate, mainly due to Rochelle, whom in her return to the underwater world, after her injury in the high peaks around Cape Town (traitor!) needed an “accessible” beach to get in the water. While discussing the location of the dive Dave and his wife (sorry I forgot your name!) came by Pisces and decided to join us. First port of call was Pyramid Rock, I know what you are thinking, this dive is not very accessible for a recovering diver, we convinced her that Erich and I will carry her equipment down to the water and in the worst case scenario drag her through the bottom during the dive… It never came to it, the conditions around Pyramid Rock were not as inviting as we were hoping for so we headed to Windmill.

 

Once at Windmill we got kitted up and got in the water but -1 diver… Graham forgot his weights even though he has a BCD with integrated weights. Dave took the role of dive leader and guided us safely around the dive site until we came across the Duck and Dive learners, that created a considerable amount of confusion and the group got divided. Regardless of this perilous situation 😉 the dive continued as normal, except that now our group was divided in two. I can’t speak for the others, but Rochelle, Maggs and myself got to see a great deal of nudibranchs (Orange-clubbed nudibranch, black nudibranch, blue gas flame nudibranch and cape silver tip nudibranch), carpet flatworm, as well as the usual suspects of crabs and fish around these waters. Right before the end of the dive Maggs and I were enlightened by an octopus resting on the sand.

 

Hope to see you all under the water soon!

Have a nice week!

Ander

Dive Report: West Coast Wreck Diving – 3 Mar 2012

Dive Report: West Coast Wreck Diving

Early Saturday morning we left the house in Langebaan in convoy on our way to Jacobs Bay, the launch site. When we got there Alistair from Underwater Explorers was waiting for us and we did a quick briefing on the plan for the 2 dives, kitted up, got the boat in the water and, on the dot 8am, we slowly found our way out of the shallow Jacobs bay.

Fog was all around us but no wind and a gentle swell all the way to Soldiers Reef where there is supposed to be some wreckage. Well, we did not find it in the dark 2-4 meter viz en 9.5 degree water. It was a bit surgy at 20 meters but myself and Evert, who buddied up, had a good dive. I saw 1 fish, a small Klipfish, and 4 nudibranchs and got nice shot of a hermit crab.

Once back on the boat, some of the other divers were up already, with Anand and Zelda who was picked up just before us. On our way to the 2nd dive site we saw loads of seals popping out of the water and the mist started to clear.

Hadden Hall or some wreck like that was our 2nd dive. As we went overboard some divers were praying or doing something on their knees and I was wondering what the dive will be like 😉

This dive the viz was much better, water 1 degree warmer but as it was so shallow very, very surgy. We did see the wreckage and lots of growth on it. Crayfish, like with the other dive, in abundance but after 25 minutes Evert disappeared and the dive was ended. On the safety stop I saw a jelly with small shrimp on top of it and tried to take a pic of it in the surge got one but not very clear.

Captain Morgan? Captain T.Arrrr?

So our west coast dives were not the best but still memorable. The other launches later in the day and the next day were even worse. With some divers doing the Sunday launch 6 of us decided to go paddle on the lagoon around the island which was really great. Loads of birds and even white rabbits were seen on the island. But the social and potjie and breakfast were well worth it.

Thank you to Rochelle who did all the organising and all the divers who helped and joined in the fun.

So the next trip to be Hermanus.

Words: Carel

Pics: Naomi