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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Kruis

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The dive site Kruis or Crosses is a shoreline rocky reef in the Rooi-els area on the east side of False Bay, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


Understand

Map of the dive sites Percy's Hole (upper) and Kruis (lower).

Position

S34°17.431’ E018° 49.304' (Entry and exit gully)

18km South of Gordon’s Bay, at the tip of a blunt headland to the north of the beach at Rooi-els

This site is NOT in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required.

The cross at Kruis in the middle left is a good marker for the path, which passes a short distance to the right of it down to the entry and exit area. The Point at Rooi-Els can be seen in the background.

Name

The site name "Kruis" or "Crosses" refers to the the cross erected above the site in memory of J.F. Marais, Rector of the Stellenbosch Gymnasium (later Paul Roos Gymnasium), 25/10/1866 – 25/5/1901, who drowned in the vicinity.

Depth

Maximum depth is about 22m on the sand.


Aerial view of the dive sites at Percy's Hole and Kruis (Photo CDS&M)

Topography

Sandstone ridges roughly parallel to the shoreline with occasional transverse gullies crossing the ridges, sometimes with pebble or sand bottoms. Underwater features are similar in character to those above sea level.

The entry gully opens into a small fairly shallow cove to the north east, towards Percy’s Hole gully. This inlet slopes down gradually to the north west over an extensive area of deeper low profile reef with some sand patches until it reaches the sand bottom at about 22m depth about 200m offshore. Around to seaward of the entry gully there is a fairly large, quite shallow ledge which extends 40 to 50m to seaward before dropping steeply to the low deep reef. Further south there is a deep relatively bare gully where large numbers of enthusiasts dispose of ring nets in the lobster season. This has been named Ring-net Gully after the rusty ring nets caught up in the reef and red bait. The point to the south of this also falls off steeply to seaward, and there are a few moderate sized pinnacles in this area.

Geology: Ordovician Sandstones of the Table Mountain group, probably Peninsula formation (uniformly light grey, medium to coarse grained, well bedded quartzitic sandstone). Strike roughly north east, dip about 25° south east.

Conditions

The site is exposed to south west swell. Long period swells will result in poor visibility and a fairly rough entry and exit. The site is usually at it's best during or after south easterly wind in summer, but there are also occasional opportunities in winter when there has been a spell of calm weather with no big storms in the South Atlantic.

This is an area which sometimes has cold water upwellings after the south east wind, and occasionally these upwellings bring clear cold water and excellent diving.

Keep a lookout for times when the swell forecast is short period and low, or is not from the south west.

Winter storms may bring in broken kelp to cover the bottom below the walls, and the visibility is likely to be poor due to suspended organic matter.


Facilities

Paved roadside parking at the site is usually adequate, but has been crowded on occasion.

Get in

This site may be accessed by boat or shore entry.

Boats can either travel fom Gordon's Bay or Harbour Island, both of which are about 18km away, or from Rooi-els, much closer, but with a really small and poor slipway, and requiring a special launching permit only available to local residents.

Shore entry requires no complications, and is more popular, but it does require a bit of physical effort.

Getting there by road: Drive along the Faure Marine Drive (R44) from Gordon’s Bay toward Rooi-els. Parking is at the side of the road on large paved parking area at S34°17.404’ E018°49.389’.

Path to the entry area: Walk toward the cross to the left, which gives this site its name. There is a rocky gap facing west which is reasonably accessible to a fit diver.

The path down to the gully at Kruis. The cross is just to the left off the picture.

Climb down to near sea level and over a ridge to a the gully that opens roughly to the north shown in the middle of the photo.

The entry gully at Kruis looking north.

Entry and exit area: Note the rock in the middle of the gully in the photograph. Entries can be made just to the right of the rock, or by jumping off the steep ridge to the right, where the gully is fairly deep. If this is not your style, you can climb down nearer to the water at the north end of this ridge. Exit is possible at the extreme south end of the gully if conditions permit, on the ledge in the right foreground. by getting past the rock into the relatively sheltered pool at the end. The ledge at the north end of the ridge is sometimes better. Otherwise make your own best choice. An alternative exit is at Percy’s Hole Gully to the north, which is usually more protected from south west swell.

Entry and exit area at Kruis

The entry and exit area at Kruis is in the foreground of this photo. Notice the surge past the rock in the gully. The gap on the far side is bigger and easier to negotiate than that on the near side. The tide was fairly low at the time that this photo was taken.

See

Cape Gurnard showing the blue on its pectoral fins
Galjoen can sometimes be seen just below the white water

Marine life

Dense kelp forest inshore. Heavy red-bait in the exposed shallows, Galjoen over the high reef. The usual invertebrates for the area, though possibly not as varied as at Percy’s. The occasional seal may visit during your dive.

Photography

Fairly good site for photography. (photographic equipment suggestions)

Routes

Swim out to the end of the gully, left over the ridge, and around the point. Keep the steep side of the reef to your left around to Ring-net Gully, then if time and gas allow, head out to sea from the end of the south side of Ring-net Gully. Then swing north east, and south back into the cove and exit from the inner end of the gulley if conditions permit.

Stay safe

Hazards

No site specific hazards have been reported. Shore access requires a walk down a steep path and some scrambling over rocks. Exit can be tricky in larger swells due to strong surge in the gully. Swell can increase significantly over a short period, but this can be forecast quite reliably.

Skills

No special skills required.

Equipment

A light is useful for looking into crevices and to restore colour at depth, and a compass is useful for keeping track of where you are.

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