Algoa Bay is known for a number of excellent diving reefs. The reefs within the
bay vary from high profile with deep gullies to low profile reefs adjacent to large
sandy areas. The fauna composition varies from reef to reef and diving is varied
and fulfilling. The water temperature in the bay ranges from 10 to 20 °C and visibility
from under 0.5m to 10m on some reefs. A number of wrecks in the bay also provide
some interesting diving. The benthic fauna is mostly sessile soft-bodied animals
represented by sponges, bryozoans and ascidians. Other animals that are commonly
found are a variety of soft corals, sea fans, feather stars and a variety of mobile
invertebrates that live in crevices between and on the sessile inhabitants.
Some of the common dive spots include is a reef originally known as Night reef,
but now more commonly referred to as Philip's reef, after a biologist that did extensive
work on the reef. It lies a little offshore from the Old Slipway at Humewood. The
Old Slipway is frequently visited by shore divers and it is an excellent night diving
spot. Devil’s reef is another shore dive favourite as it is a short swim from the
shore and although it is a small swallow reef system it provides a colourful introduction
to Algoa bay underwater life. The Bell Buoy area, especially Roman Rock, is further
offshore and includes extensive reef with some pinnacles rising to a few meters
of the surface and dropping to between 14 and 18m. The adjacent Whitesands reefs
and Whitesands itself is more to the Cape Recife side of the Bay and can provide
medium high as well as low profile reefs at a variety of depths. If you are however
in the mood for something completely different the extensive sandy bottom close
by is worth a dive. There are a number of interesting animals species that are unique
to the sandy bottom habitat.
A number of wrecks may also be dived within the bay. One of the more common and
well known sites is that of the Navy frigate the Haerlem sunk in 1987 just off Flat
Rock to provide an artificial diving reef. A number of fish species can be found
there as well as some invertebrate life growing on the hull. Other wreck dives include
the North End wrecks on the north side of the harbour and the Itzehoe.
Not to be missed is a dive on RIY Banks about 20km offshore with an average depth
of 25m. Excellent visibility provides an unbelievable animal live and an unforgettable
experience. A number of other dive sites are also explored regularly by divers and
it is best to contact one of the dive shops or charters for more information especially
on current conditions and visibility on the different reefs.
References and more information
Koornhof,A.1992. The Dive sites of South Africa. Struik Timmins Publishers (Pty)
Ltd, Cape Town, pp. 188.
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