Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Hout Bay harbour
This article is a travel topic
The Hout Bay harbour slipway is used by divers mostly during the summer months, when the south easterly wind makes diving on the False Bay side of the peninsula unpleasant.
This MCM controlled small commercial fishing harbour and marina provides public access for launching boats with seaworthiness certificates and licensed skippers. For information try phoning the Harbourmaster’s office 082 371 6268
About (distance)km from Hout Bay central area, and (distance)km from central Cape Town by road.
The harbour is well protected from the sea in all weather conditions, but is only used by divers when the south-west swell is low, and the wind is light or from the east. The slipway is serviceable in any wind that allows the boat to be maneuvered safely.
About twice a year the roads are closed due to cycle and road running events. when this happens don't bother to try to get to Hout Bay. Diving is not planned for those occasions even if the weather is perfect.
Dives may well be planned and take place in strong south easterly winds. These may make the boat trip uncomfortable, but once round the headland at duiker point, the boat will be in the lee of the land and the sea may be flat. Diving is often good in these conditions.
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is a security guard in a sentry booth just inside the main gate, but the gate is not closed.
Parking for trailers is extensive but sometimes filled. This is a popular facility and is much used by commercial and sports fishermen, dive charter boats and private dive boats. Parking for vehicles without trailers is also fairly extensive. Much of the parking near the slipway is gravel and fairly uneven. It is muddy after rain, but this is seldom a problem as dives from this area are usually done in fair weather.
The slipway is a concrete ramp and is wide and in good condition. The access road turning area and part of the parking area is tarred. There is a small concrete jetty to the side of the slipway ramp where boats can tie up to load and wait for access on busy days. The harbour provides very good protection from waves from all directions, and launching and recovery is possible in most weather conditions. The water at the slipway is deep and there is no tidal restriction to launching.
Public toilets exist but are far from the slipway. It is more convenient to buy some refreshments at the nearby reastaurant and use the customer facilities. There is a public pay phone at the nearest restourant.
There are several restourants within the harbour precincts, and two of them are within easy walking distance of the slipway. "Ikhaya" is relatively diver freindly and has outdoor seating with shade, where divers can drink a cup of coffee and eat a snack between dives, even in wet dive gear.
Launching fee is R42.00 per day (2006) A fee of about R3.00 per day is charged for vehicle access and parking. A receipt/ticket is issued.
Security varies depending on whether the commecial fishemen are using the slip. If they are, there are usually dozens of people drifting around and some of them may be light fingered. Break-ins are not common at the tarred parking area as it is in view of the restaurant.