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The dive site '''Highfields''' is an offshore historical wreck in the Table Bay area on the Cape Peninsula, near [[Cape Town]] in the [[Western Cape]] province of [[South Africa]].
+
The dive site '''Highfields''' is an offshore historical wreck in the Table Bay area on the [[Cape Peninsula]], near [[Cape Town]] in the [[Western Cape]] province of [[South Africa]].
  
<!--If the site is fresh water, or a cave, cavern, sinkhole, spring, river, lake or quarry this should be mentioned. If it is at high altitude the altitude should be specified-->
+
==Understand==
 +
[[Image:Highfields wreck map.png|400px|thumb|Map of the dive site at the wreck of the Highfields]]
 +
<!--why dive here? add a short note if the site is special in some way-->
 +
The Highfields was a British four-masted steel barque commanded by Capt E.R. Dunham. The vessel was lost on 14 August 1902 after a voyage from Cardiff to Table Bay with a cargo of coal.  Survivors reported that she had been in a severe storm off the Cape and had lost most of her canvas. Her decks were awash but she managed to reach Table Bay under small sails. It seems her crew and captain were desperate to find shelter.
  
 +
The German steamship Kaiser was at anchor just outside the breakwater when the Highfields came out of the dark (just after midnight) and hit her anchor chain. The Highfields briefly lay across her bows before being blown off.  The Kaiser was not damaged at all, but the Highfields sank within 2 to 5 minutes of the collision with the loss of 23 crew including the master and second mate.
  
==Understand==
 
[[Image:Highfields sonar scan.jpg|400px|thumb|Sonar scan of the wreck of the Highfields]]
 
<!--why dive here? add a short note if the site is special in some way-->
 
The Highfields was a British four-masted steel barque of 2 280 tons, built in 1892 by Richardson Duck & Co, Stockton, and commanded by Capt E.R. Dunham. The vessel was lost on 14 August 1902 after a voyage from Cardiff to Table Bay with a cargo of coal. She hit the SS Kaiser and sank quickly with the loss of nineteen lives.
 
 
===Position===
 
===Position===
 
<!--insert Lat/Long co-ordinates ° if available -->
 
<!--insert Lat/Long co-ordinates ° if available -->
Line 15: Line 15:
 
<!--Bearings:  
 
<!--Bearings:  
 
*(direction)° magnetic to (landmark)-->
 
*(direction)° magnetic to (landmark)-->
* She is just south-west of the No1 channel entrance buoy.
+
* Just south-west of the No.1 entrance channel buoy.
 
<!--Description of location-->
 
<!--Description of location-->
  
 
This site is not in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required.
 
This site is not in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required.
 
+
The site is mostly within the traffic separation zone between the main deep water channel and the inshore traffic zone, and the bows of the wreck extend a few metres into the main harbour approaches lane
<!--[[Image:Image of whatever the site is named after.jpg|thumb|Caption]]-->
+
  
 
===Name===
 
===Name===
The name "Highfields" is the name of the shipwreck at this site.
+
[[Image:Highfields Alongside.jpg|400px|thumb|The Highfields alonside in a harbour with other ships of the time]]
 +
 
 +
"Highfields" is the name of the shipwreck at this site.
 +
 
 +
{|cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3" border="0"
 +
|+ '''Specifications'''
 +
|Net Registered Tonnage || align=right | 2220 || || tons
 +
|-
 +
|Gross Registered Tonnage || align=right | 2280 || || tons
 +
|-
 +
| Length || align=right | 88 ||.76|| m
 +
|-
 +
| Beam || align=right | 12 ||.8|| m
 +
|-
 +
| Draught || align=right | 7 ||.43|| m
 +
|-
 +
| Rig || align=right | || || Barque with royal sails over double top and topgallant sails
 +
|-
 +
| Masts || align=right | 4 || ||
 +
|-
 +
| Crew || align=right | 27
 +
|-
 +
| Year of constuction  || align=right |  1892
 +
|-
 +
| Date of launch || align-right | 13th February 1892
 +
|-
 +
| Construction || align=right | || || steel
 +
|-
 +
| Builder || align=right | || || Richardson Duck & Co, Stockton, Yard No. 399
 +
|-
 +
| Original owner || align=right | || || Charles Walford Kellock & Co., Liverpool.
 +
|-
 +
| Last owner || align=right | || ||  Sold to Macvicar, Marshall & Co., Liverpool in 1898
 +
|}
  
 
===Depth===
 
===Depth===
Maximum depth is about 24m. and the top of the wreckage is about ??m.  
+
Maximum depth is about 22m, and the top of the wreckage is at about 18m.
  
<!--===Visibility===
+
===Visibility===
comment on visibility to be expected-->
+
Visibility will be at its best during or after strong south easterly winds, and may exceed 20m, but will more likely be around 8 to 10m. If the wind stops and the sun shines for a few days, plankton bloom will reduce visibility, and if westerly winds blow, they will usually also result in poor visibility, which could be less than a metre on a bad day.
  
 
===Topography===
 
===Topography===
 +
[[Image:Highfields sonar scan.jpg|400px|thumb|Sonar scan of the wreck of the Highfields]]
 +
 
<!--description of the layout, landmarks and geographical arrangement of the site-->
 
<!--description of the layout, landmarks and geographical arrangement of the site-->
The wreck lies in 24m and is fairly intact but is up-side down so it is mostly hull plating that is visible, Around the sides there are a few places where one can see into or under the hull, and her huge anchors lie just off the bow.
+
The wreck lies in roughly 21m depth on low flat rock between slightly higher ridges to the north and south, with small patches of sand and gravel, and is fairly intact but is up-side down so it is mostly hull plating that is visible, Around the sides there are a few places where one can see into or under the hull, and her huge anchors lie just off the bow.
 +
 
 +
The wreck is aligned almost east-west geographically. The bows are to the east, and a section of bow with the forefoot and a short length of keel has broken off and lies on the bottom on its starboard side. This section carries the anchor winch, which is quite large and still largely intact. Scattered around this section are several anchors of the traditional shape, some with stocks deployed, others with stocks stowed and a couple with missing stocks. They may not all originate from this wreck, as there are about 6, of various sizes, which seems a bit much, and the area has been an anchorage for centuries, so it is entirely possible that some of them were from other vessels which were fouled on the wreck and lost.
 +
 
 +
A short distance further east there is a section of what appears to be the bowsprit, a large diameter iron tube with fittings appropriate to that origin. It is only a few metres long, and is aligned roughly with the length of the vessel.
 +
 
 +
Slightly to the west there is a rather broken up section which contains a large mass of chain, rusted and concreted by coralline algae and other growth into a solid mass with the other wreckage and two sustantial bollards, and further west the main section of hull has collapsed, leaving mainly low sections of topside plating and frames standing upright to the sides.
 +
 
 +
As you continue to the west you will come upon the more intact section of bottom, which has subsided along the sides, leaving the south side partly open, and the north side closed by a long upright section of topside plating. The bar keel is clearly visible along the full length of this section, and terminates near the stern where the plating has collapsed completely. This leaves an arch shaped opening nto the hull spaces, but it is quite low and there is a lot of debris inside.
 +
 
 +
A short distance further west, and partly overlapping the main section of collapsed hull, the sternpost and deadwood section of the run has broken off and lies on its side on the north side of the wreck. The sternpost still has visible gudgeons and lies transverse to the centreline of the wreck. A large section of the rudder, still carrying several pintles, lies partly under the sternpost. A few metres south there is an object which may be the rudder post, and with it what appears to be the rest (top half) of the rudder.
  
 +
The south side of the wreck has more scattered debris than the north side, which is basically straight. Among this debris are some components that look as if they might be parts of a small steam engine, possibly used to power the winches. There are also some more fragments of iron spars, and an unidentified artifact which was named the "Maypole" by divers. It is a cylindrical object a couple of metres long, with a flange and a sharp spike at the one end, with two more or less spherical blobs. The one blob was described as "ornate" by the diver who took the photo.
  
<!--'''Geology:'''
+
'''Geology:'''
(geological era, rock type) of the ''name'' formation.-->
+
Pre-Cambrian sedimentary rocks, probably of the ''Tygerberg'' formation, with scattered patches of sand and gravel. The rock is quite hard and tends to weather in rectangular blocky forms.
<!--Strike (direction), Dip (direction) if applicable and available-->
+
Strike probably north/south. Dip not known.
  
 
===Conditions===
 
===Conditions===
<!--The site is exposed to (weather/sea condition), so should be dived in (weather/sea condition), and is often good in (weather/sea condition). The site is reasonably protected from (weather/sea condition), but if (weather/sea condition occurs) then (response to weather/sea condition)-->
+
The site is exposed to wind and waves from the north west and west, so should be dived when the swell is fairly low and fronm the south west to south east, and is often good in south easterly winds in summer. The site is reasonably protected from south westerly swell, particularly if the period is short (10seconds or less)
  
<!--The site is (usually) at it's best in (season1) but there are also occasional opportunities in (season2) and (season3).-->
+
The site is usually at it's best in summer but there may also be occasional opportunities in spring and autumn.
  
<!--This is an area which sometimes has (special circumstance), caused by (condition1), resulting in (condition2)-->
+
This is an area which sometimes has upwellings of cold clear water, caused by strong south easterly winds, resulting in good visibility for a short while, usually followed by a plankton bloom, as the upwelled water is rich in nutrients. The plankton will reduce visbility, particularly near the surface, though there may be reasonable visibility at depth, often below a thermocline, but light levels may be low.
 +
 
 +
There may be a slight current setting east. It is unlikely to be too strong to swim against at the bottom, but may be strong enough to make a noticeable difference when swimming against it. This current may go across the wind.
  
 
<!--===Classification==-->
 
<!--===Classification==-->
 
<!--official SANBI reef type classification or equivalent if available -->
 
<!--official SANBI reef type classification or equivalent if available -->
 
<!--===Facilities===-->
 
<!--Amenities AT the site, available for the convenience of the diver, such as off road parking, secure parking, ablution facilities, changing rooms, fresh water on tap, restaurant or fast food stall within immediate walking distance from the entry area -->
 
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
  
This site is only accessed by boat as it is quite far offshore and at the edge of the shipping lane at the entry to Cape Town harbour. Take care to remain outside of the shipping lane.
+
This site is only accessed by boat as it is quite far offshore and at the edge of the shipping lane at the entry to Cape Town harbour. Take care to remain outside of the shipping lane during the dive.
  
 
The site is about 2.2km from the '''[[Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Oceana Power Boat Club slipway|Oceana Power Boat Club slipway]]'''
 
The site is about 2.2km from the '''[[Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Oceana Power Boat Club slipway|Oceana Power Boat Club slipway]]'''
  
 
==See==
 
==See==
<!--[[Image:(photo of typical marine organism from site)|thumb|(caption)]]-->
 
 
===Marine life===
 
===Marine life===
 
<!--General description of biota. Substitute “Aquatic life” for fresh water sites-->
 
<!--General description of biota. Substitute “Aquatic life” for fresh water sites-->
  
<!--[[Image:(photo of typical feature from site)|thumb|(caption)]]-->
+
Marine growth on this wreck is relatively sparse. The dominant organisms seem to be coralline algae, mostly of the encrusting types known locally as "pink paint". You can reasonably expect to see Hottentot seabream, as they are almost everywhere over reef in this region, but probably not much else in the way of fish. There are also some sea squirts and other ascidians, and a few starfish and other echinoderms, but this is not a dive site for the enthusiastic invertebrate spotter.
<!--===Features===-->
+
 
<!--other features of note, eg caves, wrecks, anything that a diver might consider a reason to dive the site other than marine life-->
+
<gallery widths="180px" heights="120px" perrow="3">
 +
Image:May Pole.jpg|The artifact known to divers as the Maypole - possibly a masthead ornament
 +
Image:Wreck of the Highfields port side midships PC048368.JPG|The Maypole in context of the wreckage - seen from the port side looking forwards
 +
Image:Anchor and winch of the Highfields PC048407.JPG|The anchor winch
 +
Image:Highfields (1).jpg|Diver at an anchor
 +
Image:Highfields (2).jpg|One of the anchors on the wreck
 +
Image:Highfields (3) rudder.jpg|Rudder
 +
Image:Highfields (4) rudder stock.jpg|Rudder stock
 +
Image:Highfields (5).jpg|Another of the anchors
 +
</gallery>
 +
 
 +
===Features===
 +
Inverted wreck of a 19th century iron sailing ship. The wreck is in an interesting condition, where it is sufficiently intact for a diver to work out where on the vessel you are, but sufficiently broken up to make this a bit of a challenge. There are several large anchors, a large winch, some fragments of the rig, the rudder, two sets of bollards and some enigmatic pieces of machinery, besides the large amount of hull that is still more or less intact, and the usual scattered plates and frames around the perimeter and lying in heaps near the hull. The wreckage is unusually bare of marine growth for its age, and is largely coated with pink encrusting coralline algae, much like most of the surrounding reef, and in many cases the first indication that you are looking at wreckage is that it has unnaturally straight lines, and space underneath. The hull has several areas where it is possible to see some distance under the plating, and one wonders what may be found in these protected areas on a day with good visibility.
  
 
===Photography===
 
===Photography===
 
<!--What kind of photography is likely to produce good results-->
 
<!--What kind of photography is likely to produce good results-->
 
<!--Recommendations for photographic equipment: Lens angle, lighting etc.-->
 
<!--Recommendations for photographic equipment: Lens angle, lighting etc.-->
 +
There is not a great deal for the macro photographer. Most of the features of this site are fairly bulky items of wreckage, and will best be photographed with a wide angle lens, The visibility is often quite poor, with lots of particulates to cause backscatter, so either long strobe arms or natural light will give the best results. The wreck is fairly monochrome anyway, so the loss of colour is less important than at many other sites in this region. you have the choice then of monochromes in pink and brown with artificial light, or greens with natural light. If the visibility is good the light levels should be adequate for natural light wide angle work.
  
 
===Suggested Routes===
 
===Suggested Routes===
 
<!--General description of routes-->
 
<!--General description of routes-->
<!--#List of specific route instructions-->
+
No specific route recommended. It is possinble to circumnavigate the wreck during a dive. Both ends are worth a visit, and the south side seems to have more interesting details and gaps to see into the space inside the hull. For divers uncertain of their navigation skills, it is suggested to clip a reel line to the shot and head off to one of the ends via the south edge of the hull, then return and do the same to the other end. In this way most of the wreck can be seen and the position and distance to the shotline will always be known, enabling a safe ascent.
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
 
===Hazards===
 
===Hazards===
 
<!--Site specific hazards, entry hazards-->
 
<!--Site specific hazards, entry hazards-->
Diving the Highfields is especially tricky as she lies only a few meters north of the entrance channel to the harbour. One needs to inform Cape Town port control of the dive and then devise an ascent system that prevents divers drifting south into the channel on ascent and while on the surface. A shot line placed on the bow (furthest point away from the channel) with its buoy attached to a second line to an anchor placed about 100m further north has proved workable. Another way is for divers to tie a sacrificial ascent line to the wreck which they hold onto during ascent and on the surface. They then let go of the line once the dive boat gets to them.
+
Diving the Highfields is slightly tricky as she lies immediately to the west of, and partly in, the entrance channel to the harbour. One needs to inform Cape Town port control of the dive and then devise an ascent system that prevents divers drifting east into the channel during ascent and while on the surface. A shot line placed near the stern (furthest point away from the channel) with its buoy attached to a second line to an anchor placed some distance further west has proved workable. Another way is for divers to tie a biodegradable sacrificial ascent line to the wreck which they hold onto during ascent and on the surface. They then let go of the line once the dive boat gets to them. In any event, diving the wreck with a west wind blowing or with an appreciable current from the west is not advisable.
  
 
===Skills===
 
===Skills===
 
<!--any special skills required or recommended-->
 
<!--any special skills required or recommended-->
 +
It is essential to be able to find your way back to the shotline, or deploy an upline and DSMB for ascent, as you must avoid getting into the shipping lane, particularly during the ascent, as at that time the boat will not be able to assist if a ship comes through. Do not assume that large ships will be able to avoid your DSMB, even if they see it.
 +
 +
Altrnatives for finding the shotline include bottom lines, and effective use of a compass, bearing in mind that the wreck is steel, and will affect accuracy of a nearby compass. Navigation using landmarks should be possible if the shot is suitably placed, but this will depend on visibility.
 +
 +
The site is not suitable for entry level divers due to the depth and skills requirements.
  
 
===Equipment===
 
===Equipment===
 
<!--Equipment additional to what is considered basic for the region, recommended for this site and reasons if not obvious-->
 
<!--Equipment additional to what is considered basic for the region, recommended for this site and reasons if not obvious-->
DSMB is strongly recommended so that the boat can monitor your position if you must ascend away from the shotline. Jersey upline (disposable, biodegradable line for ascent) recommended to prevent drift if ascending away from shotline.
+
A DSMB is strongly recommended so that the boat can monitor your position if you must ascend away from the shotline. A Jersey upline (disposable, biodegradable line for ascent) is recommended to prevent drift if ascending away from the shotline.
  
 
Back to [[Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Table Bay]]  
 
Back to [[Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Table Bay]]  
  
 
{{geo|-33.88596666|018.4305}}
 
{{geo|-33.88596666|018.4305}}
{{outline}}
+
{{guidetopic}}

Latest revision as of 10:22, 6 December 2011

The dive site Highfields is an offshore historical wreck in the Table Bay area on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Contents

Understand[edit]

Map of the dive site at the wreck of the Highfields

The Highfields was a British four-masted steel barque commanded by Capt E.R. Dunham. The vessel was lost on 14 August 1902 after a voyage from Cardiff to Table Bay with a cargo of coal. Survivors reported that she had been in a severe storm off the Cape and had lost most of her canvas. Her decks were awash but she managed to reach Table Bay under small sails. It seems her crew and captain were desperate to find shelter.

The German steamship Kaiser was at anchor just outside the breakwater when the Highfields came out of the dark (just after midnight) and hit her anchor chain. The Highfields briefly lay across her bows before being blown off. The Kaiser was not damaged at all, but the Highfields sank within 2 to 5 minutes of the collision with the loss of 23 crew including the master and second mate.

Position[edit]

  • S33°53.1317’ E 18° 25.8300’ (Bow)
  • S33°53.1417’ E 18° 25.0800’ (Stern)
  • Just south-west of the No.1 entrance channel buoy.

This site is not in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required. The site is mostly within the traffic separation zone between the main deep water channel and the inshore traffic zone, and the bows of the wreck extend a few metres into the main harbour approaches lane

Name[edit]

The Highfields alonside in a harbour with other ships of the time

"Highfields" is the name of the shipwreck at this site.

Specifications
Net Registered Tonnage 2220 tons
Gross Registered Tonnage 2280 tons
Length 88 .76 m
Beam 12 .8 m
Draught 7 .43 m
Rig Barque with royal sails over double top and topgallant sails
Masts 4
Crew 27
Year of constuction 1892
Date of launch 13th February 1892
Construction steel
Builder Richardson Duck & Co, Stockton, Yard No. 399
Original owner Charles Walford Kellock & Co., Liverpool.
Last owner Sold to Macvicar, Marshall & Co., Liverpool in 1898

Depth[edit]

Maximum depth is about 22m, and the top of the wreckage is at about 18m.

Visibility[edit]

Visibility will be at its best during or after strong south easterly winds, and may exceed 20m, but will more likely be around 8 to 10m. If the wind stops and the sun shines for a few days, plankton bloom will reduce visibility, and if westerly winds blow, they will usually also result in poor visibility, which could be less than a metre on a bad day.

Topography[edit]

Sonar scan of the wreck of the Highfields

The wreck lies in roughly 21m depth on low flat rock between slightly higher ridges to the north and south, with small patches of sand and gravel, and is fairly intact but is up-side down so it is mostly hull plating that is visible, Around the sides there are a few places where one can see into or under the hull, and her huge anchors lie just off the bow.

The wreck is aligned almost east-west geographically. The bows are to the east, and a section of bow with the forefoot and a short length of keel has broken off and lies on the bottom on its starboard side. This section carries the anchor winch, which is quite large and still largely intact. Scattered around this section are several anchors of the traditional shape, some with stocks deployed, others with stocks stowed and a couple with missing stocks. They may not all originate from this wreck, as there are about 6, of various sizes, which seems a bit much, and the area has been an anchorage for centuries, so it is entirely possible that some of them were from other vessels which were fouled on the wreck and lost.

A short distance further east there is a section of what appears to be the bowsprit, a large diameter iron tube with fittings appropriate to that origin. It is only a few metres long, and is aligned roughly with the length of the vessel.

Slightly to the west there is a rather broken up section which contains a large mass of chain, rusted and concreted by coralline algae and other growth into a solid mass with the other wreckage and two sustantial bollards, and further west the main section of hull has collapsed, leaving mainly low sections of topside plating and frames standing upright to the sides.

As you continue to the west you will come upon the more intact section of bottom, which has subsided along the sides, leaving the south side partly open, and the north side closed by a long upright section of topside plating. The bar keel is clearly visible along the full length of this section, and terminates near the stern where the plating has collapsed completely. This leaves an arch shaped opening nto the hull spaces, but it is quite low and there is a lot of debris inside.

A short distance further west, and partly overlapping the main section of collapsed hull, the sternpost and deadwood section of the run has broken off and lies on its side on the north side of the wreck. The sternpost still has visible gudgeons and lies transverse to the centreline of the wreck. A large section of the rudder, still carrying several pintles, lies partly under the sternpost. A few metres south there is an object which may be the rudder post, and with it what appears to be the rest (top half) of the rudder.

The south side of the wreck has more scattered debris than the north side, which is basically straight. Among this debris are some components that look as if they might be parts of a small steam engine, possibly used to power the winches. There are also some more fragments of iron spars, and an unidentified artifact which was named the "Maypole" by divers. It is a cylindrical object a couple of metres long, with a flange and a sharp spike at the one end, with two more or less spherical blobs. The one blob was described as "ornate" by the diver who took the photo.

Geology: Pre-Cambrian sedimentary rocks, probably of the Tygerberg formation, with scattered patches of sand and gravel. The rock is quite hard and tends to weather in rectangular blocky forms. Strike probably north/south. Dip not known.

Conditions[edit]

The site is exposed to wind and waves from the north west and west, so should be dived when the swell is fairly low and fronm the south west to south east, and is often good in south easterly winds in summer. The site is reasonably protected from south westerly swell, particularly if the period is short (10seconds or less)

The site is usually at it's best in summer but there may also be occasional opportunities in spring and autumn.

This is an area which sometimes has upwellings of cold clear water, caused by strong south easterly winds, resulting in good visibility for a short while, usually followed by a plankton bloom, as the upwelled water is rich in nutrients. The plankton will reduce visbility, particularly near the surface, though there may be reasonable visibility at depth, often below a thermocline, but light levels may be low.

There may be a slight current setting east. It is unlikely to be too strong to swim against at the bottom, but may be strong enough to make a noticeable difference when swimming against it. This current may go across the wind.


Get in[edit]

This site is only accessed by boat as it is quite far offshore and at the edge of the shipping lane at the entry to Cape Town harbour. Take care to remain outside of the shipping lane during the dive.

The site is about 2.2km from the Oceana Power Boat Club slipway

See[edit][add listing]

Marine life[edit]

Marine growth on this wreck is relatively sparse. The dominant organisms seem to be coralline algae, mostly of the encrusting types known locally as "pink paint". You can reasonably expect to see Hottentot seabream, as they are almost everywhere over reef in this region, but probably not much else in the way of fish. There are also some sea squirts and other ascidians, and a few starfish and other echinoderms, but this is not a dive site for the enthusiastic invertebrate spotter.

Features[edit]

Inverted wreck of a 19th century iron sailing ship. The wreck is in an interesting condition, where it is sufficiently intact for a diver to work out where on the vessel you are, but sufficiently broken up to make this a bit of a challenge. There are several large anchors, a large winch, some fragments of the rig, the rudder, two sets of bollards and some enigmatic pieces of machinery, besides the large amount of hull that is still more or less intact, and the usual scattered plates and frames around the perimeter and lying in heaps near the hull. The wreckage is unusually bare of marine growth for its age, and is largely coated with pink encrusting coralline algae, much like most of the surrounding reef, and in many cases the first indication that you are looking at wreckage is that it has unnaturally straight lines, and space underneath. The hull has several areas where it is possible to see some distance under the plating, and one wonders what may be found in these protected areas on a day with good visibility.

Photography[edit]

There is not a great deal for the macro photographer. Most of the features of this site are fairly bulky items of wreckage, and will best be photographed with a wide angle lens, The visibility is often quite poor, with lots of particulates to cause backscatter, so either long strobe arms or natural light will give the best results. The wreck is fairly monochrome anyway, so the loss of colour is less important than at many other sites in this region. you have the choice then of monochromes in pink and brown with artificial light, or greens with natural light. If the visibility is good the light levels should be adequate for natural light wide angle work.

Suggested Routes[edit]

No specific route recommended. It is possinble to circumnavigate the wreck during a dive. Both ends are worth a visit, and the south side seems to have more interesting details and gaps to see into the space inside the hull. For divers uncertain of their navigation skills, it is suggested to clip a reel line to the shot and head off to one of the ends via the south edge of the hull, then return and do the same to the other end. In this way most of the wreck can be seen and the position and distance to the shotline will always be known, enabling a safe ascent.

Stay safe[edit]

Hazards[edit]

Diving the Highfields is slightly tricky as she lies immediately to the west of, and partly in, the entrance channel to the harbour. One needs to inform Cape Town port control of the dive and then devise an ascent system that prevents divers drifting east into the channel during ascent and while on the surface. A shot line placed near the stern (furthest point away from the channel) with its buoy attached to a second line to an anchor placed some distance further west has proved workable. Another way is for divers to tie a biodegradable sacrificial ascent line to the wreck which they hold onto during ascent and on the surface. They then let go of the line once the dive boat gets to them. In any event, diving the wreck with a west wind blowing or with an appreciable current from the west is not advisable.

Skills[edit]

It is essential to be able to find your way back to the shotline, or deploy an upline and DSMB for ascent, as you must avoid getting into the shipping lane, particularly during the ascent, as at that time the boat will not be able to assist if a ship comes through. Do not assume that large ships will be able to avoid your DSMB, even if they see it.

Altrnatives for finding the shotline include bottom lines, and effective use of a compass, bearing in mind that the wreck is steel, and will affect accuracy of a nearby compass. Navigation using landmarks should be possible if the shot is suitably placed, but this will depend on visibility.

The site is not suitable for entry level divers due to the depth and skills requirements.

Equipment[edit]

A DSMB is strongly recommended so that the boat can monitor your position if you must ascend away from the shotline. A Jersey upline (disposable, biodegradable line for ascent) is recommended to prevent drift if ascending away from the shotline.

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