Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Pyramid
This is the best dive site near Cape Town for variety of fish.
Between Miller’s Point and Castle Rocks, a short distance offshore (about 250m). It is always visible, either as black rock above the surface or as a patch of white water.
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required. The site is entirely inside the Castle Rocks Restricted Zone.
Named "Pyramid" for the pointed rock that marks the site. It projects above the water at all tides and is easily identified.
Maximum depth is probably about 12m
Large granite corestone boulders on outcrops with sand around in deep areas and bottom of some gullies. Several small tunnels, caves and overhangs. Further offshore sand bottom. Offshore sand is pinkish and moderately coarse and even grained. Large inshore patches of finer and whiter sand. Kelp forest on shallower rocks and near-shore reef.
Geology: Granite corestone boulders of the Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton.
Usually considered to be a winter dive but there are also occasional opportunities in spring and autumn. The site is well sheltered from north west wind and chop. Swell from the south west or south east will cause surge. Judge by the conditions at the entry point and the colour of the water further out.
Parking at the side of the road is not very secure, and you also have to take into account baboons, which may investigate your vehicle in the hope of finding food. Lock the car and put any valuables where they can not be seen.
The site may be dived from shore or boat. The site is about 1.8km from Miller's point slipway by boat. Shore entry: Parking at the side of the road. The usual entry point is at a small rocky beach just inshore of Pyramid rock and north of Castle Rocks at a position along the shoreline at S34°14.288’ E018°28.537’. Check out the pathways leading down to the shore before kitting up, as some are worse than others. All are steep and slippery when wet, some are dangerously so. The shore entry is over some small rounded boulders on the beach, and bigger ones in the water, and can be a little tricky if there is a swell, as this results in a small shore break which can be troublesome if you are carrying a large camera with strobes.
Alternative shore entry from Castle Rocks north entry at S34°14'19.98" E018°28'35.92"
Boat dives at this site have recently become more popular as many divers do not like the shore access, particularly when carrying cameras. Boat access requires care due to the kelp forests offshore of the site. There is a sandy gap between the north side of Castle Rocks and Pyramid which extends near to the shore and which is relatively clear of kelp.
This is a very good site for fish, particularly on rebreather, as it has been a sanctuary for many years. This is a site where you may see Red steenbras, Red stumpnose, Bank steenbras, Janbruin, and Galjoen as well as the more common species like Hottentot, Roman, Jutjaw, Blacktail, Steentjies, Fransmadam, Two tone fingerfin, Redfingers and Strepies, and some of the common local Klipfish species. Cow sharks, Spotted gully sharks, Striped and Leopard catsharks and Puffadder shysharks may also be seen.
There is kelp forest all round the site, and various seaweeds, particularly in the shallower areas and tops of rocks.
There is also a large diversity of invertebrates.
Good site for fish and macro photography. If you want to use flash, use an external strobe to reduce backscatter.
There are no good areas for anchoring. Any place close to the pinnacle is likely to foul the anchor and damage the reef life. A shotline is also not necessary or desirable for ordinary recreational dives.
The shore access can be tricky in a surge, particularly the exit.
No special skills required. A good site for the fit and competent snorkeller.
A reasonable level of fitness and agility is required for the shore entries. There is a moderately long swim and a climb up to the road.
A light is useful to see into holes and overhangs. A compass will help keep your bearings and let you navigate back to shore under water. A surface marker buoy is not recommended as it will get caught up in the kelp.