On Saturday we did two launches from Harbour Island in Gordon’s Bay, the first to Steenbras River Mouth just round the corner from Gordon’s Bay and the second at Pinnacle, closer to Harbour Island.
Just after leaving the harbour we came across a small pod of feeding common dolphin and we stopped to watch them for a couple of minutes. They didn’t hang around so off we went to Steenbras River Mouth.
At Steenbras River Mouth, there was a slight surface chop as an unforecast NW wind has come up overnight (no wind had been forecast at all!). After kitting up and rolling backwards, we were woken up by some pretty chilly 13C water. Descending, we had about 5m visibility on the reef and the water at 8m actually rose to 16C!
As usual, it was a beautiful dive and the huge reef was covered with marine life. There were quite a lot of redfingers, red roman and hottentot swimming in between the rocks and we found many different nudibranchs – from tiny candy nudis to larger black and variable nudibranchs, lots of silvertip and red spotted nudis too.
We came across a tiny rock sucker as well as a beautiful octopus who flitted from rock to rock and finally spread himself out, trying to make himself look big and scarey. Just before we ascended, I found a discarded St Joseph’s shark egg. Quite a rare find as you don’t often see these interesting fish. I am not sure how long it had been there, but it does mean that they have (and probably still do) frequent Steenbras River Mouth.
Our second dive was at Pinnacle where the wind had calmed down and the surface was nice and flat. Unfortunately the visibility here was not good and we had a very disappointing 2 metres. The change in wind direction overnight had caused the visibility to drop very rapidly. Water temperature was 17C.
Despite the low visibility, we had a stunning long dive, concentrating on all the macro creatures that Pinnacle is so well known for. As usual, there were so many different types of nudibranchs and we came across a lot of sea fans with well camouflaged whip fan nudibranchs; a huge orange wall sponge covered with teeny tiny giraffe-spot nudibranchs; lots of rock suckers; hotlips spider crabs; irridescent, fiery, silvertip, gasflame and inkspot nudibranchs, red spotted and Cape dorids; shyshark… a great dive was had by all and judging from everyone’s photos, there were a lot of very interesting and beautiful finds.
On Sunday we popped through to Rooi Els to finish off an open water course for the Aspeling family who are on their way to Mauritius. Conditions were dreadful, with 50cm visibility on the sand and about 3 – 4 m in the kelp. it was also pretty surgy. Good buddy procedures were order of the day! We were serenaded by two Southern Right whales who were breaching a few hundred metres from where we were diving but with the visibility we had, we wouldn’t have seen them if they were 5 metres from us!
This week sees (eventually) the digging of our pool as the “Pool Project” finally gets underway and we look forward to having our own pool soon! We’ll keep you updated.