Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/MV Antipolis
The dive site Antipolis is a recent wreck on a shoreline to inshore rocky reef in the central Oudekraal area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
S33°59.06’ E018°21.37’ (Bow section)
Just south of the Twelve Apostles Hotel
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required. The site is within the Karbonkelberg restricted area.
The tankers "Romelia" and "Antipolis" were under tow by the tug Kiyo Maru no.2 from Greece to scrap merchants in the Far East. On July 28th 1977 during a North Westerly gale the tow cable to the Antipolis snagged on the sea bed. In the ensuing confusion the cables broke and the two ships were driven aground by the wind. The Romelia ran aground at Sunset Rocks, Llandudno, and the Antipolis at Oudekraal despite efforts by the salvage tug Wolraad Woltemade to tow her off. The wreck was later cut down to water level. Parts of the plating still project above the water at low tide.
Maximum about 10m towards the stern. Average about 7m.
Wreck of a large steel ship on granite corestone reef. The reef is assorted large and small granite outcrops and boulders with some smaller sandstone boulders. The wreck has been cut down to sea level and has broken up further. Lots of bent bits of plate are scattered around the main wreckage. There are some valves and pipe components and other small stuff, but mostly it is hull plating with framing. Most debris is encrusted with algae and other organisms, including a lot of kelp. Sometimes it is hard to tell wreck from rock without feeling the edge.
The bow section is the lower part of a bow void space or ballast tank. There are quite a lot of structural longitudinals and floors, with large cut-outs. The stern section is part of the port side of the hull, fairly far aft, and low down, possibly just aft of cargo spaces. This section contains a lot of large bore piping, large gate valves, catwalks, control rods and a through hull discharge port, so was probably a pump room for ballast water. There is a section of pipework that projects above sea level in most conditions which marks the position of this part of the wreck.
The debris field is about 200m long and up to 50m wide. The longitudinal axis is approximately 031° magnetic.
Geology: The bigger boulders and the bedrock in this area are granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton, but many of the smaller boulders, particularly in the shallows, are wave rounded Ordovician sandstone from the Table Mountain group.
Best in conditions of limited surge, particularly if penetration is intended, as the wreck is fairly shallow. The area is slightly more protected from the south westerly swells than most of the dive sites nearby, but as it is quite shallow this does not help much.
Keep a lookout for times when the south west swell is particularly low and short period. Visibility is not often very good.
None. Security is no better than at other roadside parking in the area.
This site is almost always dived from the shore. Park at the side of the road above the wreck (approximately S33°59.057’ E018°21.479’). There is a parking area a bit to the south which may be safer than the side of the road as it is a blind corner due to some bush. The path to the beach is just on the north side of the 12 Apostles sign (which is on the seaward side of the road). It is steep and unmaintained, so take care walking down. Handing equipment to a person lower down is recommended instead of walking it down. Entry is over a boulder beach, which is probably the most difficult part of the dive as the boulders are very slippery and often loose.
Kelp forest. The site is not dived to see marine life, but to look at the wreck. The dense kelp between the wreck and the shore can be quite hard going in areas due to the closeness of the kelp and the fine green algae growing on it. Unlike most dive sites in the area, it is often not possible to find an easier path through the kelp underwater as the water is fairly shallow
Wreckage of an oil tanker. The hull plating was cut down to the waterline soon after the ship ran aground, and only the bottom structure remains close inshore. Further out is a compartment with large pipe fittings which may have been a ballast or cargo pump-room.
It is unlikely to be worth the effort to take a large camera with external strobes on a dive at this site, due to the dense kelp and surge.
The machinery spaces marked by the piece of pipe that projects above the water level is worth a visit. From there work your way along the wreckage towards the shore.
Cold water, Bent and twisted steel plating with ragged and sometimes quite sharp edges. Strong offshore winds may develop over a short time, making the return swim tiring. Very dense kelp forest inshore. Tricky entry and exit from boulder beach.
No special skills required. Reasonable fitness and agility are recommended due to the clamber over round, sometimes unstable, and slippery rocks at the entry and the swim through the kelp out to the site and back. The site has been used for training and snorkelling.
A light is recommended for looking into dark places. A surface marker buoy is not recommended due to the kelp and other obstructions.