Diving Aliwal Shoal/North Sands
The dive site North Sands is an offshore rocky reef with coral at Aliwal Shoal, near Umkomaas in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
Aliwal shoal is probably best known for ragged tooth sharks, but is worth diving for the other marine life too.
The site is only accessible by boat. It is about 7.2km from the launching site at the Mkomazi river mouth.
Aliwal Shoal is a rocky bank some 3.5 to 5 km off the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.
Maximum depth is about 20m.
Visibility may exceed 15m
Mostly low rocky reef with gullies and overhangs, occasional swimthroughs, sand in gaps. Long overhang to the side of a strip of sand.
Various reef and pelagic fish and a wide range of invertebrates: Diana's Hogfish, Sea goldies, Spotted ragged tooth sharks, Round ribbontail ray, Marbled electric ray, Honeycomb stingray, Yellow snappers, Dusky sweepers, Variegated lizardfish, Blackspotted blaasop, Emperor angelfish, Raggy or Tasselled scorpionfish, Old woman angelfish, Wildeperd, trumpetfish, Moorish idol, Natal seacatfish. Twotone fingerfin, Cleaner wrasse, Goldbar wrasse, Southern Right whales and Mantas may visit Orange sponges, yellow turret corals, Hermit crab, Lacy yellow bryozoan, brown sea fan, Tiger cowry, Yellow radial sea pen, anemone, Grey volcano sponges, Nudibranchs Chromodoris hamiltoni, Phyllidia varicosa, Zigzag oyster? Brown feather stars, Thistle soft coral.
Follow the divemaster and stay with the group.
The ragged tooth sharks are not considered a significant hazard if not molested or startled.
No special skills required. Ability to deploy a DSMB is recommended.
No special equipment is required, but a DSMB is recommended in case you get separated from the group.
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