“There is nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realise that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean.” Dave Barry
Plettenberg Bay is probably best known for kilometres of pristine beaches, whale and dolphin watching and sublime summery days. We are fortunate to host 4 International Blue Flag beaches, hold the title of International Hope Spot and border the magnificent Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area, the oldest MPA in Africa.
If you are a scuba diving enthusiast, then this stretch of coastline is not to be missed as it offers a unique look at the South African coastline and the vast differences between the Cape South Coast and the Northern, more tropical, coastline. While Cape Town has kelp forests and Durban has tropical fish – the Southern Cape coast is a dramatic mix of vibrant soft corals, anemones and sponges and offers divers, and in particular macro photographers, an endless canvas of colourful reef to explore.
While the fish generally aren’t tropical and the water temperatures may be on the colder side of 20°C, the positives far outweigh the negatives with common sightings of Ragged-Tooth sharks, endemic shysharks, large schools of fish and nudibranchs covering reefs with delightfully dramatic topography.
The shallower reefs off the Beacon Island can be reached by shore entry and they, especially in summer, act as a nursery to all sorts of juveniles including Red Roman, Blacktail and Butterfly fish. Rays are common sightings on the sandy patches between reefs and lucky divers may even encounter a school of passing dolphins.
The deeper reefs are accessed by boat and feature the more interesting topography of the area including walls, pinnacles and drop-offs. Sharks and pelagic fish are common and the reefs offer a fireworks display of colour in sponges, fans and anemones – a treasure trove of soft coral waiting to be discovered.
If you aren’t a scuba diver, you can still enjoy the underwater world of Plettenberg Bay including a snorkeling excursion off the Beacon Island to the shallower Red Bait Reef. For an unforgettable marine experience, hop on a seal swimming boat to the Robberg Peninsula where you can snorkel surrounded by hundreds of playful Cape Fur Seals in the shallows off the peninsula.
- While the water is generally warmer in the summer months, scuba divers will be delighted to know that the winter conditions are highly recommended with calm, clear conditions.
- 5mm wetsuits and booties are recommended throughout the year
- Scuba Diving and Snorkeling visit: www.prodive.co.za
- Swim with Seals visit: www.offshoreadventures.co.za