First of this season’s summer dives – Coral Gardens at Rooi Els!

With the South Easter having blown strongly this past week, we decided to dive Rooi Els this morning. The South Easterly wind blows during summer in the Cape, bringing clear water and great dives to the Eastern side of False Bay.

One of our favourite shore entry dives here is Coral Gardens. The entry is in a narrow channel which can sometimes cause a bit of a swell, so getting in and out of the water needs to be timed quite well.

After a short climb over the rocks, made easier by a special clip (new to our dive shop!) that enables you to attach your fins, mask and gloves to a D-ring on your BC (freeing up your hands to steady yourself on the rocks), we kitted up and entered the water.

We had a fantastic dive, exploring gullies and cracks in the reef running close to shore. Visibility was about 8 metres and water temperature was 15˚C.

This is the first time we’ve dived Rooi Els this season and it was great to see new corals and sea fans taking root on the sides of the gullies and many varied eggs waiting to hatch. There was so much to see – forests of feather stars with their waving arms adorning entire walls, pale orange lacy false corals delicately covering huge boulders; overhanging walls covered in sinuous and flagellate sea fans and stubby pink and purple noble corals growing in sheltered parts of the reef.

We were followed on our dive by smaller hottentot and, for quite a while, we were accompanied by a small shoal of yellow strepies. We came across a “baby’s toes” snail which is rarely seen, and spotted numerous orange and blue gas flame nudibranchs. There were also many crabs and crayfish of different sizes hiding in holes amongst the rocks. The marine and plant life here is colourful, diverse and prolific with colours ranging from bright blue, bright pink, purple, orange and red.

Hopefully this is the start of summer diving and many more visits to this top dive site!

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