I should have known better than to rave about the great visibility last Wednesday. Almost every time I mention that we’re having great vis during the week, by the time the weekend comes along, it’s not like that any more. Sometimes swells and a strong SE wind can change things but when there are no swells and no wind, one expects things to stay great. Unfortuntely that wasn’t the case this weekend and we had a boatload of very sceptical divers when we reached Steenbras River Mouth on Saturday morning – the water had looked green on the surface all the way out – but as we know, this can be misleading!!
We’d hoped for clear water at the bottom (which we often get at Steenbras) and once we’d descended into deeper water, the bottom opened up and we had about 6 – 8 metres visibility. The highlight of our first dive just had to be the two seals who zoomed around us, blowing bubbles in our faces and bravely coming in to expect their reflections in our masks. They stayed with us for most of the dive, making it difficult to concentrate on anything else!
I was peacefully taking some “scenery” shots when I came face to face with the largest, hugest ray I’ve ever seen in the area before. Screeching into my regulator to try to get someone’s attention had no effect so I shook my rattle a bit and Bossie looked up – but too late, it had swum off (probably frightened by all the noise I was making). I followed for a little but at this stage we were still in the shallower area and vis was not so great. I managed to get a few seconds of footage, even though I was shooting into the sun 🙁 and you can check this out on our latest video.
When we surfaced after our first dive, Edu, Rebecca and I had the two seals with us on the surface, making a very cosy group whilst we waited for the boat to pick us up – I think we’d made friends for life!
By the time we did our second dive, the water temperature had dropped to 13 degrees and visibility had cleared up even more on the bottom. By this time our seal friends had grown bored of us so we were left in peace to enjoy everything Steenbras River Mouth has to offer. Puffadder shyshark, a huuuuge Pyjama Shark hiding in a cave, a beautiful basket star (we don’t see many of these anymore), a forest of sea fans, gasflame, silvertip and fiery nudibranchs and black nudibranchs which everyone swore were smiling at them…. A great outing!!
Unfortunately a South Westerly / Westerly wind picked up on Saturday afternoon and the visibility dropped to about 1 meter. We had to cancel our training dives for Sunday morning which was very disappointing.