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Cape Town's best dive site?


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#1 jtresfon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:49 AM

Cape Town, South Africa: Following reports of a band of warm blue water along the Overberg coastline, Steve Benjamin and I decided to spend the day diving in the De Hoop Marine Protected Area. In my opinion this is one of the top dive sites on the planet! We were primarily there to capture photographic stills, but I stuck a GoPro HD Hero 2 on top of my camera housing and this was the result...

De Hoop Marine Protected Area, Cape Town, South Africa

Regards
Jean.

#2 loftus

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:54 AM

Great Jean! Very cool.
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#3 elbuzo

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:57 AM

IMPRESSIVE FISH LIFE !

How was the temp. of the water ?

Say hello to Benjamin , i was diving with him @ blue wilderness about 4 years ago, great buddy !

Thanks for sharing

#4 ErolE

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:20 AM

Looks great Jean. When are you and Steve back there next?

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#5 Drew

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:01 AM

Ah the famous 250 species of fish area? Jealous Jean, but that looks cold! :D

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#6 newmanl

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:26 AM

Awesome video! Thanks for sharing.

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#7 johnjvv

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

Wow!!!! That is amazing....

#8 errbrr

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:59 PM

Lots of fish! What species are the sharks? Looks like they let you get nice and close.

#9 ilanbt

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:20 PM

Looks very impressive, can you add some info about the dive site?
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#10 jtresfon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:51 PM

@elbuzo the water temp was warm for our part of the world, 20 degrees celcius. Will say hi to Stevie...

@ErolE depends on the conditions. When it's good it's world class, when conditions are bad it's really crap. Soon as the conditions are good we'll go back.

@Drew nope, warm as toast!

@errbrr sharks featured were ragged tooth shark, pyjama shark and spotted gully shark. Also there but too shy to get on camera were bronze whaler shark and juvenile hammerhead shark.

@lianbt here is an extract from an article I wrote on the area:

The De Hoop Marine Protected Area (MPA) is probably South Africa’s oldest and largest marine reserve. Following the coastline of the reserve and extending five kilometers out to sea, the De Hoop MPA runs for forty-eight kilometers from Stilbaai Point (the name of a small bay just south of Saint Sebastian Bay and not to be confused with the town of Stilbaai near Jongensfontein) in the east to halfway between Skipskop and Ryspunt in the west.

The De Hoop MPA was declared in March 1986 and is a no-take reserve, meaning that no fishing or harvesting of any sort is allowed. The MPA is situated close to the Agulhas Bank making it a crucial habitat for recovering fish stocks.. The reserve is also home to around two hundred and fifty different fish species as well as many mammalian species such as dolphins and otters. Sharks also occur in abundance, and there are few better places for shark photography. Diving in the reserve is like diving in an aquarium. The fish life is plentiful and the individual fish are all a decent size. Older divers diving here for the first time often remark that it is like diving “in the old days” when there were still lots of fish around. To me this is clear evidence of the efficacy of the MPA concept.

The diving to be had in the De Hoop MPA is on a par with the world’s best dive sites. Whilst being extremely beautiful, the area is also potentially very hazardous and the diving is certainly not easy. This is not an area for first time divers, but more experienced divers should have no issues. It should be pointed out that the conditions are not always consistent and temperatures, visibility, currents and surface conditions can vary greatly, even from day to day. During the summer months the wind often picks up strongly from late morning. The entire piece of coastline is exposed to the ocean swells without the protection of a headland. Although the De Hoop Nature Reserve and MPA are well advertised, there are not many people that have actually dived there. Snorkeling is possible from the shore inside the nature reserve, however for SCUBA diving a boat remains the only real option. Access is either from Witsands and the Breede River mouth in the East, or from Arniston in the west. Both launches are potentially very hazardous when the swell is running so take care. Those fortunate enough to have dived here will have experienced the fact that often while still descending, even before the reef comes into view, divers are surrounded by shoals of small baitfish such as the Karel Groot-Oog. Many of the offshore reefs are made up of huge rocky structures that stand well proud of the sea bed. The sheer biomass on the reef is incredible. Game fish such as Yellowtail and Leervis often patrol the surface near the top of the reef. Musslecracker are in abundance and I have had a shoal of large Poenskop follow me around for most of a dive. Big Coppers are slightly rarer but are there and at the bottom some really big Yellow Belly Rock Cod can be found.

Of course any place that has fish in such abundance also attracts its share of predators and many different species of sharks can be found here. Patrolling the top of the reef the Spotted Gully Sharks circle about, often in groups. There are many depressions in the reefs that form natural amphitheatres and at the bottom of these areas Ragged Tooth Sharks can often be found circling slowly. It is a truly magical experience to sink slowly to the bottom and have the Raggies circle slowly around you, often no more than an arm’s length away.

Thanks for the comments, video's not really my thing but every now and again it serves a purpose!

Rgds
Jean.

#11 pdemaagt

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 11:52 PM

great stuff!!