Cape Town Dive Festival: Dive Site – Partridge Point

Cape Town Dive Festival:  Dive Site – Partridge Point

The fourth site we will be diving on both days of the Cape Town Dive Festival will be Partridge Point.  Launch time will be 13:50.

This is a really stunning site and one of the best places in False Bay to dive with seals.  They are very inquisitive here and will follow you around as you enjoy your dive.

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Fish, seals and a wide range of invertebrates can be seen in surroundings which can be spectacular in good conditions.

This site is at the southern edge of the Castle Rocks restricted zone, within the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, where no fishing has been permitted for many years, and the result can be seen in the numbers of fish. This site is second only to Castle Rocks for the variety and numbers of fish to be seen at a Cape Peninsula dive site.

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Depth

Maximum depth is about 26m on the sand to the east of Seal Rock, but is nearer 17m at Big Rock, and about 22m at the swim-through south east of Big Rock on the edge of the reef.

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Topography

This extensive reef is made up of large numbers of granite boulders and outcrops, some very large, and some of these extending above the surface by several metres. The reef is varied, some places it is low and made up of small boulders, rubble and low corestone outcrops, and in other places it is a wild chaotic jumble of huge boulders, perched on even bigger ridges and flatter outcrops, forming overhangs and swim-throughs in a few places.

The reef is bounded by sand bottom to the south and east, and to the north by the continuation of the reef complex which extends almost as far as Castle Rocks in the shallows. The reef at Partridge Point is partly divided by a number of sand tongues, and sand patches, which separate the reef into a number of sub-sites. There are at least three air trap overhangs at Partridge Point.

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Marine life

There are extensive kelp forests in the shallower areas, and a heavy cover of invertebrates on the rocks. Large shoals of small fish such as Hottentot sea bream and Fransmadam are frequently seen, as well as smaller groups of larger reef fish such as Roman, John Brown, Two-tone fingerfin and Galjoen. Cryptic species such as klipfish and Redfingers as well as octopus are fairly common.

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Cape fur seals often visit divers at this site. They also spend a lot of time basking on the exposed rock named Seal Rock, or floating around in small groups with their flippers waving in the air.

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Interesting nudibranchs, such as an undescribed species of Eubranchus, have been seen here. Large gorgonians are often attended by basket stars, Cape long-legged spider crabs and Hotlips spider crabs.

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Large areas of reef are covered in Red-chested sea cucumbers, sometimes so densely that the rock is not visible between them.

Photography

Good site for photography. In good visibility a wide angle or fisheye lens will give some spectacular views of the reef structure, and there are always lots of small invertebrates to keep the macro photographer entertained. There is usually enough suspended matter in the water to make backscatter a problem, so for anything other than macro work, an external flash is recommended.

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To dive this site with us at the Cape Town Dive Festival, please visit the Cape Town Dive Festival site by clicking here and book for Boat G at 13:50 on either the 2 or 3 May.  For bookings and payments: ctdf2014@gmail.com.  We look forward to welcoming you on board!

Source:  http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Diving_the_Cape_Peninsula_and_False_Bay/Partridge_Point

Photos:  Kate Jonker

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