Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where to dive in Port Elizabeth when conditions are terrible

The sea is really trashed and the plankton is thick to drive on. Uprooted sea weed is also thick on the shore and launching at Noordhoek is different - you must run the gauntlet of 10 -20 m of seaweed to get your boat to the water - in places it may even be close to a meter thick. Wheels find very little traction and you can get stuck real easily. I launched my inflatible off the concrete slipway yesterday and still needed to put the vehicle into 4x4 to get the trailer. Fishing was poor - diving - did not bother.

The only way to get viz in these murky times is to seek cold thermoclines when east winds lift them or to find areas of rough water or foamy water where the fine bubbles stick to plankton and float them to the top. In wastewater treatment flotation is a well known process where you make the waste water fizz and scoop the scum off the top and in so doing clean it up.

Places that are good are shallow reefs that have breaking waves and relatively stationary water - Thunderbolt Reef in the foam, harbour walls - PE South Wall, PE North Wall, Dolosse North of PE harbour and the Coega walls may clean water up enough for diving. Shallow spots with fair wave action are probably you best bet besides those already mentioned.

If you seek viz in thermocline then you will probably have little viz on top and even less just before you break through the murky interface between the clean cold water and the warm water on top. It can be spooky dropping through the murk which become blackish as you go deep - then light can miraculously switch on as you break through into the clean water.

You may see this as you break through:




Perhaps a bit dimmer!

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