We’ll be diving Ark Rock as our second dive of the day at the Cape Town Dive Festival (2 & 3 May 2014).   This launch will be at 10h50 on both days.

Marked on the SA Navy charts as Noah’s Ark, this large granite rock measuring 55 metres (from east to west) by 30 metres (from north to south) is known by local divers as Ark Rock.  A number of small wrecks are also found here.  Click Here for a larger format of the following dive site map:

Noah's Ark and Ark Rock Wrecks map

There is a wreck of a barge just south of the rock, the wreck of a small steam powered vessel to the west and a larger iron or steel vessel, probably the “Parana” 1862”, to the north west. Another small wreck of a steam powered wooden vessel lies to the south of the barge wreck, near a small group of large rocks, and a third boiler lies near a small group of rocks some distance to the east.


Maximum depth is about 14 metres on the north side of the main reef and in the area of the main section of the “Parana” wreckage. Most of the area south of Ark Rock is sand bottom at 10 to 11 metres depth, and most of the wreckage and rocks extend less than 3 metres above the bottom.


Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton, surrounded by fine white quartz sand.

Marine Invertebrates on Ark rock

Noah’s Ark (Ark Rock):

This is a huge flat topped granite boulder standing on even larger granite outcrop which extends above the sand level. Mostly sheer sided with small overhangs and some deep crevices. The bottom is sand, sloping very gradually from about 10m at the south of the rock to about 8m near Penguin Point. There are a few pinnacles around the main rock, including one to the west, and at least two to the south.

Smoothskin Scorpion fish at ark rock

Ark Rock Barge:

This wreck comprises the central section of a steel barge, probably a dredging hopper. The hold is about 3m wide, with buoyancy compartments port and starboard, each about 1.2m wide. The hull is level and projects about 2m above the surface of the sand. The hold is of heavier metal and is substantially intact, with heavy beams at deck level spaced about 2m apart. A good wreck for beginners as it is not possible to get lost in it.

Boiler wreck 1:

This wreck is the remains of a small unidentified iron or steel vessel which has mostly rusted away, except for the boiler, what might be the engine crankcase and some of the nearby structure. Everything is heavily encrusted by crinoids, ascidians and other growth, making identification of the components difficult. The wreckage is about 19m long, 6m wide and 2m high (boiler).

Boiler wreck 2:

This wreck is the remains of a small steam powered wooden vessel. The most notable feature of the wreck is a small boiler, about 1m in diameter and 2m long, standing upright on the remains of the hull. A couple of metres away is what is almost certainly the remains of the steam engine, but it is very heavily encrusted, and not possible to make out the details.

Boiler wreck 3:

All that is visible of this wreck are two boilers. They are apparently identical, and about 2m diameter and about 5m long, with two fireboxes. Both are fairly intact, and the casing of boiler 3a has no visible openings through the pressure vessel, while an access opening to the pressure vessel is visible on boiler 3b partway along the left side looking from the firebox end.

Wreck to east of ark rock

Eastern Wreck:

To the east of Ark Rock is a small iron or steel wreck. The hull is almost complete in outline, with a few gaps. The wreck lies upright on the slightly sloping sand bottom at about 14m depth, with the bow to the north west. The hull is about 4m wide, and probably about 10m long. The remains of the topsides extend a bit over a metre from the sand in most places.

“Parana” 1862:

The wreckage of an iron or steel ship which may be the “Parana”. The wreckage is mostly buried under the sand, with a long strip of hull plating and frames projecting about 0.5 to 1m above the sand. The frame spacing is about 0.5m, and a stringer can also be seen. There are two vertical cylindrical objects about 1.8m diameter and a bit over a metre visible height with small rectangular horizontal openings on the sides, and some door frames and cast iron porthole frames mostly buried in the sand. The main debris field is about 40m long and about 2 to 5m wide at about 120° magnetic.

Boiler of Eastern wreck

Twin Barges

Two small steel barges, each about 17m long and 4m wide, in reasonably intact condition about 320m north of Ark Rock, lying on sand at 23m.

To book your dives on our boat  (BOAT G) please contact the Cape Town Dive Festival organisers at the Cape Town Dive Festival site: www.ctdf.co.za.


Peter Southwood
Sidescan sonar image of eastern wreck – Grant Whitford