Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Livingstone Reef
Fairly high profile corestone reef around the pinnacle, and another large outcrop some way to the east. Quite pretty. Typical medium depth west False Bay invertebrate cover, with lots of sea fans.
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required. The site is entirely within the Boulders Restricted Zone of the Table Mountain National Park MPA.
The name "Livingstone Reef" is derived from the name of the diver who found the pinnacle by accident when diving the north pinnacle of Castor Reef. The reef was known to exist, but had not been reported before as a dive site.
Maximum depth is about 23m on the sand and the top of the pinnacle is about 14m. There is another pinnacle to the east which comes up to about 15 or 16m.
The western pinnacle is fairly compact, but made up from a group of large rocks clustered together, with crevices, gaps, and a few overhangs. The highest rock extends about a metre above the 15m depth, and the local area is generally above 18m for several metres around.
The surrounding reef is relatively low, mostly between 21 and 18m deep, and the sand is at about 23m.
The reef is elongated from north-west to south-east. The length is estimated at about 250m, and width fron south west to north east is about 30m near the pinnacle. The pinnacle slopes down rapidly to sand to the north-east and southwest, while to the south-east and north west the slope is more gradual, over quite an area of low reef. Further to the south-east it gets more rugged again, and to the north-east more reef is visible a few metres away across the sand.
About 100m to the south-east of the pinnacle there is another slightly lower monolithic pinnacle reaching up to about 16m depth from the sand on the north eastern side. This area has not yet been mapped.
Geology: Granite corestones of the Peninsula pluton, surrounded by fairly fine quartz sand.
The site is exposed to south easterly wind and waves, so should be dived in light winds, or if the wind is somewhat from the west, and is often good in winter. The site is reasonably protected from south westerly swell, but if the wave period is long there may be significant surge. This is an area which sometimes has a thermocline, and the temperature may drop several degrees, often with a marked improvement in visibility, resulting in better but colder conditions than the surface would suggest. Temperatures may drop by more than 5%deg;C across the thermocline, and this is more likely in summer.
Boat dive: The site is too far offshore to swim
Marine lifechubby clingfish Apletodon pellegrini on the sand at Livingstone Reef]The reef cover is typical for this area and depth range. There are fairly large numbers of gorgonian sea fans, anemones, soft corals, arborescent htdroids, bryozoans, feather stars and sea cucumbers. Fish include Bank steenbras, Redfingers, Two-tone fingerfin, Hottentot, Chubby clingfish, Klipfish and various shy-sharks.
The pinnacle is an area of complex topography, with several deep gullies and crevices, and a few overhangs and small swim-throughs
This is a good site for macro photography, and if the visibility is good, wide angle should produce good results.
The most spectacular area known is in the immediate vicinity of the pinnacle. Dive around it, from the sand to the NE and SW to the top of the pinnacle. If you choose to go further afield, try following the north east edge to the eastern pinnacle, and further.
No site specific hazards are known.
No special skills required, Most of the site is deeper than the recommended limit for most entry level divers. Certification appropriate to the depth is expected. The ability to deploy a DSMB is recommended.
A DSMB is recommended so that the boat can see where you will be surfacing.