Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Highfields
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.
This site is not in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required.
The name "Highfields" is the name of the shipwreck at this site.
Maximum depth is about 25m. and the top of the wreckage is about 22m.
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.
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.
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.
The site is about 2.2km from the Oceana Power Boat Club slipway
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.
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.