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Diving Aliwal Shoal/Cathedral

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Scuba diving : Diving in South Africa : Diving Aliwal Shoal : Cathedral
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The dive site Cathedral is an offshore rocky reef with coral on the Aliwal shoal, near Umkomaas in the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province of South Africa.

This is one of the deeper reef sites at Aliwal, and is quite spectacular.

Get in[edit]

Access[edit]

The site can only be accessed by boat. It is site is about 7.2km from the launch site at Mkomazi river mouth.

Position[edit]

S30°15.864' E030°49.661'

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.

Understand[edit]

The stone arch at Cathedral

Depth[edit]

Maximum depth is about 29m. and the top of the surrounding reef is about 24m.

Visibility[edit]

Visibility may exceed 15m

Water Temperature[edit]

About 21°C

Topography[edit]

Cathedral is a big roundish hole in the reef with a rock bridge over one side. The hole is several metres deep and maybe 20m wide. Rocky reef to north gets shallower in places.


Conditions[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

Moray eel
Paperfish
Peacock mantis shrimp
Spanish dancer nudibranch
Purple sea fan

Marine life[edit]

Various fish and reef invertebrates: Raggy or tasseled scorpionfish, Paperfish, Yellowmouth moray, Salt and pepper moray, Honeycomb moray, Goldie, Striped eel-catfish, Domino, Coachman, Emperor angelfish, Halfmoon rockcod, Whitespot butterflyfish, Clown triggerfish, Yellow snappers. Encrusting hard corals, Staghorn hard corals, Branched black corals, Red sea fan with purple polyps, Yellow whip coral, Branching soft corals, Green tree coral, Thistle soft coral, Striped and spotted anemone, Orange lacy false corals, Lacy white bryozoans, Dead man's fingers, Peacock mantis shrimp, Cleaner shrimps, Lobster, Blue-green sponge, Brown wall sponge, Grey volcano sponge, Yellow tip granular stars, Light brown starfish, Brown feather stars, Brown and orange spiky starfish, Nudibranchs, Spanish dancer,

Features[edit]

Big round pothole at the edge of the tabular reef, with a stone bridge on the east side.

Photography[edit]

Suggested Routes[edit]

Follow the divemaster.

Stay safe[edit]

Hazards[edit]

There may be sharks, as this is one of the main attractions of Aliwal shoal, but the Ragged tooth shark is not considered a significant hazard to divers if not molested or startled.

Skills[edit]

No special skills required.

Equipment[edit]

No special equipment required. A DSMB may be useful if you have to ascend away from the dive leader.

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