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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/SS Thomas T Tucker

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The dive site SS Thomas T Tucker is a shoreline rocky reef with a recent wreck in the Southern Peninsula area on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Understand[edit]

Some of the wreckage of the Thomas T Tucker is on shore

This ship was wrecked high on the rocks, and parts of the wreckage are visible on shore. Most of the wreckage is in fairly shallow water.

Position[edit]

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required.

Photo of a sister ship

Name[edit]

The "SS Thomas T. Tucker" (Hull Number 269) was a U.S. liberty ship produced by the Houston Shipbuilding Corporation which ran aground at Olifantsbospunt on November 27, 1942, during heavy fog while on her maiden voyage from New Orleans to Suez, carrying a cargo which included tanks and ammunition.

Class and type: Cargo ship
Displacement: 14,245 long tons
Length: 135 m
Beam: 17.3 m
Draft: 8.5 m
Propulsion: Two oil-fired boilers, triple-expansion steam engine, single screw, 2,500 horsepower (1,864 kW)
Speed: 11 to 11.5 knots
Range: 23,000 miles
Capacity: 10,856 metric tons deadweight (DWT)
Complement: 41 men
Armament: Stern-mounted 4-in deck gun for use against surfaced submarines, variety of anti-aircraft guns


Depth[edit]

The wreckage is in shallow water. Maximum depth is probably less than 10m.

Visibility[edit]

Visibility is not often good, as the wreckage is in what is usually the surf zone, and only really divable when the sea is quite flat. However this means that even when the water is fairly dirty, there is still adequate light. Don't expect visibility of more than 5 or 6 metres, and it could be less.

Topography[edit]

Sandstone reef, fairly flat with narrow jointing crevices, no sand, but quite a bit of gravel in crevices, some gravel quite dark in colour. Wreckage extends beyond the high water mark, so is easy to find.

Geology: The reef is Ordovician sandstone of the Peninsula formation. Strike is probably east-west, Dip nearly flat, south.

Conditions[edit]

The site is very exposed to wind and sea from the north west to south west, so should be dived only in exceptionally flat seas. The site is protected from south easterly seas, though it will catch the wind, but if a westerly swell picks up you will have to leave before it gets too rough.

The site is most likely to be diveable in late spring and summer but there may be occasional opportunities at other times.


Get in[edit]

The site is only accessible by boat, as there are no roads providing reasonable shore access. It is 11.2km fro the slipway at the old crayfish factory north of Scarborough, about 17.1km from the launch site at Kommetjie and 27.5km from Hout Bay harbour slipway.

See[edit][add listing]

Coralline and other algae on the reef
Sponge at the wreck site
Reef life at the Thomas T Tucker

Marine life[edit]

Big ecklonia forests, lots of small red and brown saweeds and heavy coralline encrustation on wreckage. Sheltered areas under wreckage have more variety

Features[edit]

Fragmentary wreckage of a steel steamer.

Photography[edit]

Don't take a big expensive camera to this site, particularly if it has external strobes, unless the sea is extremely flat. A small pocket camera will be easier to protect in the surge, and easier to hold still to frame a shot.

Suggested Routes[edit]

No particular routes recommended.

Stay safe[edit]

Hazards[edit]

Strong surge.

Skills[edit]

No special skills required.

Equipment[edit]

No special equipment recommended

Back to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#South Peninsula

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