Difference between revisions of "Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Di's Cracks"
Revision as of 12:24, 23 September 2009
The dive site Di's Cracks is an offshore rocky reef in the outer Hout Bay area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
A spectacular dive if the visibility is good. Lots of walls and overhangs, swimthoughs and deep, wide cracks between enormous granite outcrops. The walls are heavily encrusted with marine organisms.
The site is only accessible by boat. It is about 5.7km from Hout Bay Harbour.
S34°03.875’ E018°18.414’ (Pinnacle 1)
S34°03.868’ E018°18.399’ (Pinnacle 2)
S34°03.878’ E018°18.421’ (Arch swim-through)
About 300m north west (328° magnetic) of Vulcan Rock
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.
The site is named "Di's Cracks" for the deep cracks between the huge granite outcrops, which are wide enough to dive, and Di Froude, a local diver who discovered and popularised the site.
Maximum depth is over 30m. Average about 18 to 20m. Top of pinnacles about 10m.
Big granite outcrops and boulders with overhangs, a few swim-throughs, and the cracks, which are deep and wide enough for a skilled diver to keep clear of the sides.
Geology: Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton
The site is exposed to south westerly swells, which can cause a strong surge. The site is usually at it's best in summer but there are also occasional opportunities in autumn and winter.
This is an area which sometimes has upwellings, caused by strong south easterly winds, resulting in cold clear water, which may develop a plankton bloom over a few days, which will reduce the visibility again.
Keep a lookout for times when the south west swell is low and short period, and there is not too much south easterly wind forecast.
Heavy encrustation of invertebrates on the rocks, particularly on vertical and overhanging faces.
A good site for macro and wide angle photography.
Most suitable as a live-boat dive as this allows the divers to explore the area without having to find their way back to the boat. A surface marker buoy may be useful to show position of the group, but hinders access to overhangs and swim-throughs, and may snag on red bait at top of walls.
The easiest way to find the caves and cracks is to swim in a N / NE direction from the top of the plateau which is at 11 metres. Drop over the edge of the plateau and continue with the wall on your left side. Pass over a deep gully and you will see what I call the " salad bowl " below you . This is a circular bowl filled with sand and gravel in the rock on the "floor " at the bottom of the wall. Drop into the salad bowl and you will see a huge boulder on the right hand side with an overhang. Swim under this overhang on the left side and there is a large hole which will give you access to one of the caves. There is a series of caves to swim through until you get to the main cave which leads into the crack. All the caves have exits that can easily be seen from the entrances and are easy to dive through. ( added by Di Froude )
Cold water, Strong surge in cracks and swim-throughs. Sea urchins. Strong offshore winds may develop over a short time, making it tricky to spot divers on the surface, and a wet trip back.
Good buoyancy control, trim, and finning technique is necessary to avoid damaging the encrusting organisms on the walls.
The site is cold and relatively deep, and a dry suit is recommended. This is a dive site where the use of Nitrox can be worthwhile to extend no-stop time. A DSMB is recommended for the ascent and for individual divers in case of seperation from the group, even if only to signal to the boat when on the surface.