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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Sunfish Pinnacle

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The dive site Sunfish Pinnacle is an offshore rocky reef in the outer Hout Bay area on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Understand[edit]

Map showing the site in relation to Star Wall

A fairly large pinnacle on a rocky bottom on the way to Duiker Point from Hout Bay harbour, which has been picked up quite frequently on the echo sounders of dive boats passing over it. It has now been dived, and to some extent mapped. The site is quite pretty and should make a pleasant alternative site. Topography is rugged, with high vertical walls on two sides of the pinnacle.

Position[edit]

  • S34°02.475' E18°18.290' (pinnacle)


This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is not required. The site is entirely inside the Karbonkelberg Restricted zone.


Name[edit]

The name "Sunfish Pinnacle" is derived from the oceanic sunfish Mola mola, one of which was seen at the site the weekend before the first recorded dive.

Depth[edit]

Maximum depth is about 26m to the south of the pinnacle. The top of the pinnacle is about 7m. The immediate vicinity of the base of the pinnacle is from 18 to 21m deep.


Visibility[edit]

Like other sites in this area, the visibility is usually best shortly after or during south easterly winds, which bring up cleare, cold waters, but then often reduces again due to plankton bloom.

Topography[edit]

A large pinnacle, about 60m east-west and 30m north-south, with a rounded top at 7m, and split by a deep narrow crack running north south, with a shallower and narrower crack crossing it from east to west. The north and east faces are nearly vertical from around 10m down to nearly 18m. The south and west sides are less vertical, particularly the south side, which steps down over a few metres. To the north there is a fairly large boulder with quite a narrow gap to the pinnacle, and north of that a gulley at about 20m with another outcrop to the north several metres high. The reef to the south west is deeper, and gets down to 26m within a moderate distance. To the north west at a distance of about 50m there is an extensive patch of sand, separating the Sunfish Pinnacle from the reefs of Star Wall to Kanobi's Wall.

Geology: Pre-Cambrian granite corestones of the Peninsula pluton.


Conditions[edit]

The site is exposed to south westerly swell and winds, so should be dived when the swell is low, and is often good in south easterly winds.

The site is usually at it's best in summer but there are also occasional opportunities at other times of the year

This is an area which sometimes has upwellings of cold clear water, caused by south easterly winds, resulting in good visibility for a few days until the sunlight and nutrients cause a plankton bloom, reducing the visibility again.


Get in[edit]

Boat access only. The site is about (distance)km from the slipway at Hout Bay harbour

See[edit][add listing]

Marine life[edit]

The top and upper sides of the pinnacle are covered by a forest of Laminaria kelp. The near vertical faces of the sides of the pinnacle and the deep narrow cracks are covered with an assortment of sponges, noble corals, soft corals, sea fans, false corals and hydroids. Sumo crabs and basket stars have been seen.



Photography[edit]

Suggested Routes[edit]

The site is fairly small. The whole pinnacle can be comprehensively visited on a single dive.

Stay safe[edit]

Hazards[edit]

The site is on the route that small craft take between Hout Bay and Duiker Point. There is a slightly higher than usual risk of being run down by a boat if you surface without warning.

Skills[edit]

The ability to deploy a DSMB is recommended.

Equipment[edit]

Dry suit recommended as this area is usually cold. Each group should carry and deploy a DSMB if there is any chance of surfacing away from the shot line, so that boat traffic can see where you are surfacing.

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