Friday, February 8, 2008

Top Port Elizabeth Dive Sites

Someboady asked me this question the other day:
"Where are the top PE divesites?"
To which I replied: "In my GPS"

Then entering into a more serious tone I asked what makes a divesite "tops".

They then said - well,... "A place that is pretty with nice colourful corals, tame fish, large structure, warm and safe with not much swell"

So now I thought "Go to the Med or Maldives."

I answered that Port Elizabeth divesites depend heavily on wind, swell and season to give anything that approximates those conditions of clear, calm, warm water.

To now still have a great divesite with corals, fish and serious structure is quite a tall order.

Now I know that the scuba dive operators often dump their clients into cool, not so clear water with a little swell. One may criticize them but they run businesses and diving those conditions gives a pretty good idea of what the average conditions might be like. Realit Diving. Through experience I know where to sniff out clear water, fish and resonable dive conditions at a good divesite. Often it is not possible at all.

So my answer to top PE divesites is to go to number of possible spots inside or outside the Algoa Bay, check them and then have the dive where the best conditions are expected.

After east winds I would head west of Cape Receife down toward Skoenmaakers Kop to dive the Picasso and Porcelain Pinnacles or further west to Deep Sardinia Bay, Bushy Park or Seaview for a good dive - there are numerous pinnacles offering fine vertical structures where you can dive and vary your depth to increase your chances of finding viz.

Two to three km off Noordhoek there are also excellent pinnacles that range from 15 to 35 m in depth - these support much fine hard coral and many fish too. They include Tutankhamen, Dennis, Licorice, Gasmic and Cross-Roads.

There is also Gunners Rock further east but its a deep dive beginning at 26 m dropping to 42 m. Awesome 10 vertical dropoffs and some good fish such as red stumpnose, banksteenbras and soldiers.

Deep Thunderbolt is also great and it offers the chance of seeing large yellowtail with fine corals, shallower is less pretty. Zephyr's Wall Whale Rock and John Dory's are awesome spots for which I gave the co-ordinates to the scuba operators that they quite often take divers to.

Just in the bay there is a small pinnacle that rises from 21 to 8 meters I called Eiffel Tower - a fine variable depth spot that is rather fishy.

There are thus a number of options available to enthusiastic divers to visit.

My Next post will cover some options on hte RIY banks, Evans Peak and deeper into Algoa Bay

If you should want the co-ordinates to these and another 90 spots then get yourself a copy of my divebook "Pinnacle and Wall Divesites of Port Elizabeth - Memoirs of Freediver" on CD - like my blog it is full of pics.

See www.freedive.co.za for details

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