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

Joint club committee dive

On Sunday, 26 August, committee members from Bellville, False Bay and OMSAC scuba diving clubs got together for a dive and braai.

The diving site of choice was Windmill.  Although the weather out the water was overcast with a slight drizzle, diving conditions were not too bad – flat water,  slightly above average viz, and temperature bearable for about 45min in a 5mm suit!  I would sum up my dive as the “super sized’ dive – huge crabs, the biggest gas flame nudi I have ever seen and fat, lazy fish.

After swimming through and around pinnacles for a while, the cold started to bite, so my dive buddy and I headed for shore.  Somehow managing to miss the beach, we surfaced some way off shore behind a boulder to view a shore line that was unfamiliar.  We decided to head for a channel in the rocks and hope for a place to climb out.  It turned out to be a good call because we reached the beach on the other side of Windmill.  A bit of a hike brought us back to Windmill just as the last of the group were exiting on the “right” beach!

After all the additional exercise, it was great to relax at a braai and meet and chat to committee members from the other clubs.  Thanks to False Bay Underwater Club for organising the event.

Bronwen Huddlestone

Joint committee dive at Windmill Beach

Windmill Beach

Location: Windmill

Date: 16th June 2012
Max Depth:
7.8 m
Average depth:
5.1 m
Time:
41 min
Temp:
14 °C

Saturday morning once again Anand and myself met at Pisces, this time with a few extra divers, Graham and his daughter Julie and Erich. We had the honour to have Julie’s first time diving with other people than Pisces Divers’ Saturday dive. We also had the honour of Erich joining us after a heavy night out watching German football team win. We attempted to dive A-frame and as happened the previous day, the conditions were not favourable to dive. We decided to attempt Windmill, conditions were favourable but visibility was not as welcoming as that of Friday afternoon.

Once kitted up, I quickly went through the dive as this time it was me guiding the other divers. I wanted to make sure that Julie and Graham were comfortable. The dive was very pleasurable and relaxing with us encountering several octopi, cuttlefish and a large number of nudibranchs, and at one point encountering more than 6 black nudibranchs within centimetres of each other.

Hope to see you soon underwater.

Ander

 

Windmill Beach

On Saturday my daughter and I met Ander, Erich, and Anand at Pisces as planned. Two of the party, who shall remain nameless, had had a bit of a boys night out so badly need to get into some cold water. We headed off to A frame but decided the exit point was a little rough so back to windmill. The surface was a bit choppy but off we went. Ander being the most experienced diver amongst us, volunteered to be the dive leader. A few minutes into the dive we saw a swimming octopus, a first for Julie and I. Ander pointed out a few nudibranchs and a cuttlefish. Although there was a bit of a surge around the rocks it was a good dive. Also the first time my daughter dived with OMSAC.

Graeme Lovesay

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

Supermoon Dive

‘You bunch of lunatics!’ someone exclaimed arriving at Windmill beach at 6:15 Sunday MORNING. And that is how I felt since the alarm clock woke us up. What are we doing and why? It was for the warm cup of coffee and the lovely breakfast at Boulders Beach. No, it was really to experience a night dive and then the light turning brighter and brighter. All of a sudden you don’t know if you must leave your torch on or off. Looking up at the surface you can see the sunlight making interesting ripples on the surface and back on the beach looking back at a lovely sunrise over the mountains. 40 minute dive in 14 degree water with a bit of surge here and there. I am just glad that everyone enjoyed the experienced and the lovely feeling of having a full Sunday to do whatever you felt like.

Naomi