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The dive site '''SS Lusitania''' or just '''The Lusi''' is a historical wreck in the offshore area of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay, 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.
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The dive site '''SS Lusitania''' or just '''The Lusi''' is a historical wreck in the offshore area of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.  
  
(reasons to dive at this site)
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<!--why dive here?-->
  
[[Image:SS Lusitania aground on Bellows Rock.jpg|400px|thumb|The Lusitania aground on Bellows Rock. (Photographer unknown)]]
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==Get in==
 
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==Name "SS Lusitania"==
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The SS. Lusitania was a Portuguese twin-screw liner of 5557 tons, built in 1906 by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co, and owned by Empreza Nacional De Navegacao, of Lisbon. The ship was wrecked on Bellows Rock off Cape Point at 24h00 on 18 April 1911 in fog while on a voyage from Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) with 25 first-class, 57 second-class and 121 third-class passengers, and 475 African labourers. Out of the 800 people on board, eight died when a life boat capsized. On 20 April the ship slipped off the rock into 37 m of water to the east of the rock.
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[[Image:(insert image file name)|400px|thumb|Map of the dive site SS Lusitania.]]
 
[[Image:(insert image file name)|400px|thumb|Map of the dive site SS Lusitania.]]
==Position==
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===Access===
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Access to this site is only by boat. It is 19.2km from Millers Point slipway.
 +
 
 +
===Position===
 
S34°23.40’ E018°29.65’  
 
S34°23.40’ E018°29.65’  
  
Just beyond the steep dropoff on the east side of Bellows Rock
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Just beyond the steep drop-off on the east side of Bellows Rock
  
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009)
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This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.
  
==Access==
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==Understand==
Access to this site is only by boat. It is 19.2km from Millers Point slipway.
+
[[Image:SS Lusitania aground on Bellows Rock.jpg|400px|thumb|The Lusitania aground on Bellows Rock. (Photographer unknown)]]
 
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===Name===
==Conditions==
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The "SS Lusitania" was a Portuguese twin-screw liner of 5557 tons, built in 1906 by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co, and owned by Empreza Nacional De Navegacao, of Lisbon. The ship was wrecked on Bellows Rock off Cape Point at 24h00 on 18 April 1911 in fog while on a voyage from Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) with 25 first-class, 57 second-class and 121 third-class passengers, and 475 African labourers. Out of the 800 people on board, eight died when a life boat capsized. On 20 April the ship slipped off the rock into 37 m of water to the east of the rock.
This site should only be dived if the swell is very low, as the break on Bellows Rock can be powerful and dangerous. The ride is relatively long, and will be uncomfortable in a chop. The site is usually dived at short notice, often on weekdays, and early in the morning before the wind picks up. When conditions are good it is an exciting and spectacular dive and is considered to be one of the prime dives of the region. Visibility is usually good when the site is diveable, and on very rare occasions may exceed 40m
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==Depth==
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===Depth===
 
the depth is 35 to 40m on the wreck. The nearby Bellows Rock is exposed occasionally , but you do not want to go too close. The diveable reef starts at about 15m.
 
the depth is 35 to 40m on the wreck. The nearby Bellows Rock is exposed occasionally , but you do not want to go too close. The diveable reef starts at about 15m.
  
==Geology==
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<!--===Visibility===-->
Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian ''Peninsula'' pluton
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<!--comment on visibility to be expected-->
  
==Topography==
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===Topography===
 
Bellows Rock is a granite reef, and is probably part of the Cape Peninsula pluton. The top of the reef is exposed by swells, and breaks even in very low swell.
 
Bellows Rock is a granite reef, and is probably part of the Cape Peninsula pluton. The top of the reef is exposed by swells, and breaks even in very low swell.
 
The reef slopes down from Bellows Rock to the east, and drops off almost vertically from about 15m to about 33m, where the wreck lies between the wall and some boulders further east. The wreck is very easy to find, and is spread over a fairly large area.  
 
The reef slopes down from Bellows Rock to the east, and drops off almost vertically from about 15m to about 33m, where the wreck lies between the wall and some boulders further east. The wreck is very easy to find, and is spread over a fairly large area.  
Line 34: Line 32:
 
The wreck itself is structurally broken up, not much of the hull is recognisable, but there are several scotch boilers and what may be engine structure nearby. Occasional dinner plates, fragments of tiles and crockery, pipes, valves, a few portholes and possibly a large switchboard with cables lie scattered, seemingly at random. The wreckage is encrusted with coralline algae, but not thickly, which makes the pieces easy to see, unlike most of the local wrecks which are much more thickly encrusted. The wreckage is not particularly rich with reef life, unlike the rocks, which are.
 
The wreck itself is structurally broken up, not much of the hull is recognisable, but there are several scotch boilers and what may be engine structure nearby. Occasional dinner plates, fragments of tiles and crockery, pipes, valves, a few portholes and possibly a large switchboard with cables lie scattered, seemingly at random. The wreckage is encrusted with coralline algae, but not thickly, which makes the pieces easy to see, unlike most of the local wrecks which are much more thickly encrusted. The wreckage is not particularly rich with reef life, unlike the rocks, which are.
  
==Hazards==
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'''Geology:'''
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Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian ''Peninsula'' pluton
 +
 
 +
===Conditions===
 +
This site should only be dived if the swell is very low, as the break on Bellows Rock can be powerful and dangerous. The ride is relatively long, and will be uncomfortable in a chop. The site is usually dived at short notice, often on weekdays, and early in the morning before the wind picks up. When conditions are good it is an exciting and spectacular dive and is considered to be one of the prime dives of the region. Visibility is usually good when the site is diveable, and on very rare occasions may exceed 40m.
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 +
<!--===Classification==-->
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<!--official SANBI reef type classification or equivalent if available -->
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 +
==Stay safe==
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===Hazards===
 
Cold water is possible. Strong winds may develop over a short time. There is usually a strong surge and breaking waves over the exposed rock and surrounding shallow areas. Nitrogen narcosis is probable on air and Nitrox mixtures. A current is often present, and may carry divers towards the white water. This should be avoided by swimming away from the rock to the north if the current is flowing to the west, as is frequently the case. When ascending (preferably on a DSMB) keep a lookout for white water above you and do not surface if you can see it. The boat can not come in close to the rock to pick you up. Rather stay at 3 to 6m and swim away or around the break until clear.  
 
Cold water is possible. Strong winds may develop over a short time. There is usually a strong surge and breaking waves over the exposed rock and surrounding shallow areas. Nitrogen narcosis is probable on air and Nitrox mixtures. A current is often present, and may carry divers towards the white water. This should be avoided by swimming away from the rock to the north if the current is flowing to the west, as is frequently the case. When ascending (preferably on a DSMB) keep a lookout for white water above you and do not surface if you can see it. The boat can not come in close to the rock to pick you up. Rather stay at 3 to 6m and swim away or around the break until clear.  
  
==Skill level==
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===Skills===
 
The ability to deploy a DSMB is strongly recommended, as is the fitness and agility to get back into the boat after the dive quickly and with a minimum of fuss, as the boat can not hang around near the rock. This is not a dive for beginners. Most dive operators will not book divers for this site unless they have seen them in the water and are satisfied with their skills and fitness.
 
The ability to deploy a DSMB is strongly recommended, as is the fitness and agility to get back into the boat after the dive quickly and with a minimum of fuss, as the boat can not hang around near the rock. This is not a dive for beginners. Most dive operators will not book divers for this site unless they have seen them in the water and are satisfied with their skills and fitness.
  
==Photography==
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===Equipment===
(photographic equipment suggestions)
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==Equipment==
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A DSMB and reel are highly recommended in case of being separated and off the wreck, A light is also strongly recommended as it is frequently quite dark due to overcast conditions. Nitrox can increase no-stop time, Trimix can reduce the risk of narcosis. A dry suit will be warmer both during the dive and while travelling there and back, specially in winter. A fairly large cylinder will be required, and either a pony cylinder or isolation manifolded twins will give the peace of mind of a fully independent backup gas supply.
 
A DSMB and reel are highly recommended in case of being separated and off the wreck, A light is also strongly recommended as it is frequently quite dark due to overcast conditions. Nitrox can increase no-stop time, Trimix can reduce the risk of narcosis. A dry suit will be warmer both during the dive and while travelling there and back, specially in winter. A fairly large cylinder will be required, and either a pony cylinder or isolation manifolded twins will give the peace of mind of a fully independent backup gas supply.
  
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==See==
 
[[Image:(photo of typical marine organism from site)|thumb|(caption)]]
 
[[Image:(photo of typical marine organism from site)|thumb|(caption)]]
==Marine life and features==
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===Marine life===
A steel wreck of historical interest, and reefs encrusted with coloutful invertebrates.  
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The reef is encrusted with coloutful invertebrates. Occasionally a shoal of Yellowtail ''Seriola lalandi'' will swim past.
  
==Suggested Routes==
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===Features===
 +
A steel wreck of historical interest.
 +
 
 +
===Photography===
 +
(photographic equipment suggestions)
 +
 
 +
===Suggested Routes===
 
No particular route is recommended, but starting deep at the stern and working north to the bow and then ascending along the wall is suggested. This allows you to assess the current direction and strength, which may be quite strong if setting to the west. This route allows the current to carry you clear of the rock during ascent if you stay in sight of the top of the wall  Make your final ascent when the current starts to take you away from the reef and you will be sure to be clear of the rock. An alternative suggestion is to swim away from the rock to the north-east (towards the sun on an early morning dive) to get away from the white water around the rock. Most divers will choose to surface with a DSMB so the boat can keep track of their position, as there is usually a current setting west to north west, and land is far away.
 
No particular route is recommended, but starting deep at the stern and working north to the bow and then ascending along the wall is suggested. This allows you to assess the current direction and strength, which may be quite strong if setting to the west. This route allows the current to carry you clear of the rock during ascent if you stay in sight of the top of the wall  Make your final ascent when the current starts to take you away from the reef and you will be sure to be clear of the rock. An alternative suggestion is to swim away from the rock to the north-east (towards the sun on an early morning dive) to get away from the white water around the rock. Most divers will choose to surface with a DSMB so the boat can keep track of their position, as there is usually a current setting west to north west, and land is far away.
  
==Gallery==
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===Gallery===
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<!--A few images to show the ambience of the site, and any that may explain the  access or identify the site-->
  
 
[[Image:(scenic views at the site)|thumb]]
 
[[Image:(scenic views at the site)|thumb]]
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SS Lusitania (Source unknown)
 
SS Lusitania (Source unknown)
  
Back to [[Dive_sites_of_the_Cape_Peninsula_and_False_Bay|Dive sites of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay]]
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Back to [[Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay]]
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 +
{{usabletopic}}

Revision as of 18:08, 4 September 2009

The dive site SS Lusitania or just The Lusi is a historical wreck in the offshore area of the Cape Peninsula and False Bay, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.


Contents

Get in

File:(insert image file name)
Map of the dive site SS Lusitania.

Access

Access to this site is only by boat. It is 19.2km from Millers Point slipway.

Position

S34°23.40’ E018°29.65’

Just beyond the steep drop-off on the east side of Bellows Rock

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.

Understand

File:SS Lusitania aground on Bellows Rock.jpg
The Lusitania aground on Bellows Rock. (Photographer unknown)

Name

The "SS Lusitania" was a Portuguese twin-screw liner of 5557 tons, built in 1906 by Sir Raylton Dixon & Co, and owned by Empreza Nacional De Navegacao, of Lisbon. The ship was wrecked on Bellows Rock off Cape Point at 24h00 on 18 April 1911 in fog while on a voyage from Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) with 25 first-class, 57 second-class and 121 third-class passengers, and 475 African labourers. Out of the 800 people on board, eight died when a life boat capsized. On 20 April the ship slipped off the rock into 37 m of water to the east of the rock.

Depth

the depth is 35 to 40m on the wreck. The nearby Bellows Rock is exposed occasionally , but you do not want to go too close. The diveable reef starts at about 15m.


Topography

Bellows Rock is a granite reef, and is probably part of the Cape Peninsula pluton. The top of the reef is exposed by swells, and breaks even in very low swell. The reef slopes down from Bellows Rock to the east, and drops off almost vertically from about 15m to about 33m, where the wreck lies between the wall and some boulders further east. The wreck is very easy to find, and is spread over a fairly large area. The wreck lies with the stern to the south, where the bottom is at about 40m. The bow is to the north and a bit shallower. The wreck itself is structurally broken up, not much of the hull is recognisable, but there are several scotch boilers and what may be engine structure nearby. Occasional dinner plates, fragments of tiles and crockery, pipes, valves, a few portholes and possibly a large switchboard with cables lie scattered, seemingly at random. The wreckage is encrusted with coralline algae, but not thickly, which makes the pieces easy to see, unlike most of the local wrecks which are much more thickly encrusted. The wreckage is not particularly rich with reef life, unlike the rocks, which are.

Geology: Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton

Conditions

This site should only be dived if the swell is very low, as the break on Bellows Rock can be powerful and dangerous. The ride is relatively long, and will be uncomfortable in a chop. The site is usually dived at short notice, often on weekdays, and early in the morning before the wind picks up. When conditions are good it is an exciting and spectacular dive and is considered to be one of the prime dives of the region. Visibility is usually good when the site is diveable, and on very rare occasions may exceed 40m.


Stay safe

Hazards

Cold water is possible. Strong winds may develop over a short time. There is usually a strong surge and breaking waves over the exposed rock and surrounding shallow areas. Nitrogen narcosis is probable on air and Nitrox mixtures. A current is often present, and may carry divers towards the white water. This should be avoided by swimming away from the rock to the north if the current is flowing to the west, as is frequently the case. When ascending (preferably on a DSMB) keep a lookout for white water above you and do not surface if you can see it. The boat can not come in close to the rock to pick you up. Rather stay at 3 to 6m and swim away or around the break until clear.

Skills

The ability to deploy a DSMB is strongly recommended, as is the fitness and agility to get back into the boat after the dive quickly and with a minimum of fuss, as the boat can not hang around near the rock. This is not a dive for beginners. Most dive operators will not book divers for this site unless they have seen them in the water and are satisfied with their skills and fitness.

Equipment

A DSMB and reel are highly recommended in case of being separated and off the wreck, A light is also strongly recommended as it is frequently quite dark due to overcast conditions. Nitrox can increase no-stop time, Trimix can reduce the risk of narcosis. A dry suit will be warmer both during the dive and while travelling there and back, specially in winter. A fairly large cylinder will be required, and either a pony cylinder or isolation manifolded twins will give the peace of mind of a fully independent backup gas supply.

See

Marine life

The reef is encrusted with coloutful invertebrates. Occasionally a shoal of Yellowtail Seriola lalandi will swim past.

Features

A steel wreck of historical interest.

Photography

(photographic equipment suggestions)

Suggested Routes

No particular route is recommended, but starting deep at the stern and working north to the bow and then ascending along the wall is suggested. This allows you to assess the current direction and strength, which may be quite strong if setting to the west. This route allows the current to carry you clear of the rock during ascent if you stay in sight of the top of the wall Make your final ascent when the current starts to take you away from the reef and you will be sure to be clear of the rock. An alternative suggestion is to swim away from the rock to the north-east (towards the sun on an early morning dive) to get away from the white water around the rock. Most divers will choose to surface with a DSMB so the boat can keep track of their position, as there is usually a current setting west to north west, and land is far away.

Gallery

Bellows Rock breaking. The wreck of the Lusitania is more or less below the boat in the picture. (Photographer unknown)

SS Lusitania (Source unknown)

Back to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay

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