Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Castle Rocks
The dive sites at Castle Rocks and Parson's Nose are a group of rocky reef areas in the Castle Rocks area on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Information is provided which may assist in planning Recreational and Research Scuba diving at this site, and links to photographs of marine organisms that have been found there.
These sites are good for fish and invertebrates, and in many places have spectacular topography. All are accessible as shore dives, but the shore access is not easy.
Names "Castle Rocks" and "Parson's Nose"
Castle Rocks applies to the point as a whole and the offshore rocks to the South East. The point is a small rocky peninsula that is nearly an island at high tide. The name also applies to the Marine Restricted Zone which stretches from Rumbly Bay, just south of Miller's point, to Baboon Rock, just south of Partridge Point. Parson's Nose refers to a small rocky point inthe Castle Rocks South area.
S34°14.353’ E018°28.591’ (Grassy patch between entry points)
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009)
There is limited parking on the gravel shoulder on both sides of the main road (M4). The path to the shoreline starts at steps at the apex of the bend in the road and goes between the houses. If you are parked further north, the gravel access road also leads to the path. The path can be a bit slippery and is not all in good repair, but it is not a difficult climb for a fit person. There are entry and exit points north and south of the grassy patch.
The north access depends to a large degree on tide and swell. Make your own choice after checking on site. There is a rock ridge at S34°14'19.98" E018°28'35.92", roughly parallel to the shoreline, which provides a fairly sheltered little gully which is often a convenient access point. This access point is also used for dives to Pyramid Rock.
There is also an entry point right at the tip of the point on the north side at S34°14'20.62" E018°28'39.38'. To get there go towards the tall rocks and skirt them to the left until you reach a series of Red-bait fringed rocks. These drop off directly into quite deep water, but are not an easy exit, specially at low tide.
The south access has more options for entry. The rocky little beach nearest the road is generally usable. Stay to the seaward side close in to the high ridge for exits (S34°14'22.43" E018°28'35.95). The gully to seaward of this ridge is deceptive and can be an unpleasant exit if a wave catches you as the surge can be strong.
You can use the large flat topped rock further to seaward at S34°14'22.84 E018°28'38.25" for entry and exit if it suits your dive plan. The top of this rock is almost black, and can be slippery when wet, however it is reasonably flat, and there is a convenient crack and ledge to help get back on if the tide is not too low.
All these shore access areas require walking over irregular rocks and boulders, some of which may be loose.
None. Security at the parking area is said to be poor. Lock up your valuables where they can not be seen. The grassy patch at Castle Rocks is a pleasant spot for a picnic, but it may arract the attention of baboons.
The site is exposed to (weather/sea conditions). (conditions which will result in poor diving and/or difficult access). The site is usually at it's best (conditions/season) but there are also occasional opportunities (conditions /season).
This is an area which sometimes has (special circumstances, caused by, resulting in).
Keep a lookout for times when (weather conditions which indicate good diving)
(weather conditions which indicate poor diving conditions)
(weather conditions which may make access difficult, and how to deal with them)
The bottom is generally from (shallow to deep), (exceptions)
Granite of the Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton
(general site topography)
(sector 1 if applicable)
No special hazards other than those associated with shore access at the sites.
(any special skills required, suitability for novices. snorkelling)
(fitness level for shore entry)
(suitability for night dives, other special dives)
(photographic equipment suggestions)
Marine life (and features)
(general indication of biodiversity: Fish, Invertebrates, algae)
Enter at the tip of the point on the north side. Descend and swim out to the north across the sand strip, then follow the edge of the sand to the west until you find the pinnacles. Return by compass or natural navigation to the gap and exit at the black rock.
Views of the site from the shore.
Castle Rocks seen from the roadside at the top of the path leading to the entry areas. The path is at the extreme left foreground of the photo.
The Southern part of Castle Rocks as seen from the road includes the group of large rocks in the middle right of the photo. The water inshore of these rocks is fairly sheltered and has a sandy bottom with scattered rock outcrops where the kelp is visible. This area is suitable for training exercises and night dives.Castle Rocks seen from the parking area at Miller’s Point
The north entry at Castle Rocks is shown here. It is often convenient to use the sheltered area inshore of the long rounded rock in the middle of the picture, and to swim out round the left end of the rock. In the centre background is Boat Rock, or Bakoven Rock, and the top of Pyramid rock can just be seen closer inshore to the left, beyond the kelp. This entry point can be used for dives to Pyramid, and anywhere on the North side of Castle Rocks. The boat just visible on the extreme right is probably anchored at Outer Castle.
This view of the South side of Castle rocks shows the entry and exit point most popular on this side, which is right beside the large rock in the middle left of the photo.
View of the Point entry
View of the Black rock entry