Diving the Tsitsikamma/Rheeder's Reef
The dive site Rheeder's Reef is an inshore rocky reef in the Storm's River Mouth area of the Tsitsikamma National Park, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.
Maximum depth is about 21m. and the shallower areas are about 16m.
Extensive relatively flat reef. Ridges run E-W with strike of sedimentary rock, probably sandstones and shales. Occasional sand patches. Dip very steep, near vertical.
Geology: Sedimentary rocks of the Table Mountain series. Strike approximately east-west, parallel with the shoreline cliffs, Dip very steep, near vertical.
The site is exposed to wind and swell from the south east and south west, so should be dived the swell os fairly low and particularly when the swell period is short. The site is reasonably protected from winds from the north west, but these usually accompany a cold front and south westerly swell will follow.
The site is usually at it's best in winter but there are also occasional opportunities at other times of the year. The site will probably be diveable in any conditions when it is safe to launch or recover a boat at the slipway, but this gives no indication of the visibility.
Access to this site is only by boat as the shore is a steep cliff. The site is about (distance)km from the Storm's River Mouth slipway
Varies considerably with the topography: On the higher profile areas,there is quite heavy invertebrate turf with lots of sponges, gorgonian twig corals, colonial ascidians, False corals, and scattered anemones. Also sone Granular, Reticulated, Cobbled and Spiny starfish, brittle stars, feather stars, Cape urchins, fan hydroids, small whitish soft corals, nudibranchs, small barnacles etc. Fish include Blue Hottentot, Roman, Dageraad, Blacktail, Fransmadam, Koester, Steentjie, and shy sharks
Good site for photography, particularly close up and macro photography of invertebrates, but also providing opportunities to photograph the local reef fish, Visibility is variable, and the water is fairly deep, so an external flash is recommended for anything other than close-up work.
No particular routes recommended. Try to find an area where the ridges and gullies are relatively large as there is more to see and less bare rock.
No site specific hazards known.
No special skills required. Good buoyancy control is helpful if there is a strong surge.
No special equipment required. A DSMB will make it easier for the boat crew to find you if you do not surface on the shotline. A shotline is not particularly useful here for recreational dives, as the bottom is relatively flat. If the visibility is poor it will be dark, and a light will be useful to restore colour at depth.
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