Diving Algoa Bay

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Algoa Bay, South Africa

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Country: South Africa  Area: Eastern Cape Province

Water Temp: 16 - 22°C (61 - 72°F)

Visibility: 1 - 15m (3 - 49 ft)

Depth Range: 6 - 30m (20 - 98 ft)

Sardine Run Early May Late July
Ragged Tooth /Grey nurse shark November March
Southern Right whale July November
Humpback whale June November

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Algoa Bay and surrounds hosts a number of dive sites. The accessibility of shore diving and the ease of boat diving, the close proximity of reefs to the launch site and the professional and personal care ensures that diving is a pleasure, an adventure and thrilling every time.

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Algoa Bay is a crescent shaped bay from Cape Recife to Cape Patrone that embraces two groups of islands.

The St Croix Island group consisting of St Croix Island, home of the African Penguin and Cormorants, and flanked by Jaheel Island and Brenton Island. Bird Island is home to the world’s largest colony of Cape Gannets and African Penguins. Black Rock has a Cape Seal colony. The frequent sightings of large marine mammals and the opportunity to safely dive with Ragged Tooth  Sharks (also called Grey Nurse Shark) and the exceptional diversity of soft corals, sponges, sea fans, bryozoans, nudibranchs and ascidians makes Algoa Bay a rewarding and exciting place to visit and to SCUBA dive.

Algoa underwater, Credit

Climate

Moderate winters and hot summers, intermitted rain and some wind. Water temperature generally between 17-19°C. Lots of great people and even better diving!

Other Year round Marine Life

Nudibranchs,Cape fur seal, Octopus, African penguin, Bryde’s whale, Bottlenosed dolphin, Humpback dolphin,Pajama shark, Leopard shark , etc.

Diving with a school of fish, Credit

 

Information & photos kindly provided by: Pro Dive

 
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Shore Diving

Slipway and Postmans (Depth: 2m-8m) Qualification: All Levels

Very easy shore entry dive and great for night dives. The Humewood Slipway is an iron and cement structure between Hobie Beach and Humewood. It was built as an old dry dock used for ship repairs and service prior to the construction of the harbour wall in the 1930’s. Postmans is the name is the surrounding reef. During you dive you are likely to encounter octopus hiding between the iron bars covered with bright sponges and soft corals.

Spectacular Chior boys – colonial sea squirt! Credit

Devil's Reef (Depth: 3m-8m) Qualification: All Levels

A sort 150m swim gets you to this vibrant reef that plays host to fish such as blacktail and strepies with the opportunity to spot rays in the sandy gullies and rocky outcrops.

Shark Rock Pier (Depth: 3m-8m) Qualification: All Levels

The Pier is surrounded by small scattered reefs providing an enjoyable shore entry directly in front of the Pro Dive Hobie Beach office and promises encounters with yellow-bellied rock cod, rays, sandsharks and catfish amongst large sea fans and soft corals on patches of reef.

Frilled nudibranch, Credit

Boat Diving

Inside the Bay

Bell Buoy or Roman Rock and Philips Reefs (Depth: 5m-18m) - Qualification: All Levels  

The dive site owes its name to the large number of red roman fish that are found here. Bell Buoy is a pinnacle reef marked by a belled buoy to alert boat and ships of the shallow water. It is a short boat drive from Hobie Beach and is a favourite with most divers. The reef complex is made up of gullies and pinnacles teeming with large sea squirts, fish, soft corals, feather stars, starfish, sea fans and anemones. It is an excellent place to spot large Ragged-tooth sharks cruising up and down in the high walled gullies.

Shy Shark Reef (Depth: 6-17m) Qualification: All Levels

Shyshark reef includes a main pinnacle reaching up to 6m from the surface. It is densely covered by hard and soft corals that display an array of vibrant colours. As the name suggests, sightings of shysharks, pajama and leopard sharks are common. It a great place to explore.

Roxy, White Sands and The Colosseum (Depth: 12-24m) Qualification: All Levels and Advanced (depending on depth) 

Wide gullies, colourful reefs and large colossal rocks scattered in deeper water gives a district feeling of space and magnitude. The reef is covered with soft corals, sponges, sea fans, keyhole limpets, crustaceans, nudibranchs and abundant fish.

Beautiful False plum anemone, Credit

Far side of the Bay

RIY Banks (Depth: 15m-40m) Qualification: Advanced 

An extensive reef system situated 20km from Hobie Beach, a boat trip often rewarded with penguin, dolphin and whale sightings. The reef complex boasts spectacular drop offs and walls, soft coral and sea fan gardens. Crystal clear water, schools of game fish and a vibrant reef await the adventurous diver.

Evans Peak (Depth: 15m-36m) Qualification: Advanced 

Situated close to St. Croix Island and showcases some of the best diving in the area. A single, striking pinnacle rises to within 15m of the surface, covered in soft corals on top and large orange giant sea fans near the base. Ragged Tooth sharks and other species of sharks are often spotted here.

Brenton Island (Depth: 5-28m) Qualification: Advanced 

Situated 800m from St. Croix Island with gullies, caves, drop offs and walls enchant and thrill the diver. The area is overgrown by soft corals, sponges and fans and sightings of Ragged Tooth sharks are common. The boat trip to this site is often interrupted by sightings of whales and dolphins.

Violet spotted anemone, Credit

The Wildside

Avalanche Reef (Depth: 15m-25m) Qualification: Advanced 

An extensive reef densely populated with Noble corals and fish. It comprises of a spectacular wall with awesome topography and spectacular colours.

Gasmic Reef and John Dory's Reefs (Depth: 16-28m) Qualification: Advanced

Gasmic is characterised by a narrow gorges and dramatic walls covered in cream tipped Noble corals, soft corals and teeming with fish. The elusive horse fish is often spotted. Simply a breath-taking dive!

Raggie Sands (Depth: 10-15m) Qualification: All Levels

Raggies! Gullies are frequented by Ragged Tooth sharks of all sizes; this is an excellent opportunity to view these magnificent creatures up close. Up to 40 sharks have been seen on a single dive. This shallower site is ideal for the adventurous diver.

Nudibranch! Credit

Thunderbolt Reef (Depth: 15-30m) Qualification: Advanced

Thunderbolt reef has a dramatic topography with huge boulders, deep gullies and drop offs. Ascidians, sponges and soft corals are abundant. Large black and white basket stars hang off large sea fans, arms outstretched.

Zephyr's Wall (Depth: 28-40m) Qualification: Advanced

As spectacular spot. A massive ridge approximately 80m long that rises from the sandy bottom. Sightings of game fish are common due to the strong current that is often experienced at this site.

Haerlem Wreck (Depth:18-21m) - Qualification: Advanced

The Haerlem is a navy frigate, scuttled in 1987 to form an artificial reef for diving, which lies close to Bell Buoy. Built in 1958 and disarmed in 1963. After many years of hard work, first as an anti-submarine ship in the River Thames and later as a SA Navy survey ship in all of South Africa's waters. She was finally scuttled in Algoa Bay on 30 November 1987. Twelve holes were blasted in both sides to ensure she filled with water equally and settled evenly in. It’s a fascinating wreck and at times of clean clear water is a wonderful sight as you descend on the old lady. Holes, nooks & crannies are inhabited by shy sharks, nudibranchs, soft corals and a variety of fish.

Colonial sea squirt and sea fan! Credit

Brenton Wreck (Depth: 28-34m) Qualification: Advanced

The Brenton Wreck lies upright embedded in fine sand. Below the stern the prop is sticking out, with one of the blades over a meter in length. If you slowly descend on to the broken up deck, you will find huge schools of juvenile cob and other fish, the reason why this is a popular fishing site. Bring a torch and explore!

Patti Wreck (Depth: 10-15m) Qualification: All Levels

The cargo vessel, the Patti, struck reef in dense fog in 1976. The vessel lies in shallow water and can be dive in suitable conditions.

Inside the Bay

 

Bell Buoy or Roman Rock and Philips Reefs (Depth: 5m-18m) - Qualification: All Levels

The dive site owes its name to the large number of red roman fish that are found here. Bell Buoy is a pinnacle reef marked by a belled buoy to alert boat and ships of the shallow water. It is a short boat drive from Hobie Beach and is a favourite with most divers. The reef complex is made up of gullies and pinnacles teeming with large sea squirts, fish, soft corals, feather stars, starfish, sea fans and anemones. It is an excellent place to spot large Ragged-tooth sharks cruising up and down in the high walled gullies.

 

Shy Shark Reef (Depth: 6-17m) Qualification: All Levels

Shyshark reef includes a main pinnacle reaching up to 6m from the surface. It is densely covered by hard and soft corals that display an array of vibrant colours. As the name suggests, sightings of shysharks, pajama and leopard sharks are common. It a great place to explore.

 

Roxy, White Sands and The Colosseum (Depth: 12-24m) Qualification: All Levels and Advanced (depending on depth)

Wide gullies, colourful reefs and large colossal rocks scattered in deeper water gives a district feeling of space and magnitude. The reef is covered with soft corals, sponges, sea fans, keyhole limpets, crustaceans, nudibranchs and abundant fish.

 

 

Far side of the Bay

 

RIY Banks (Depth: 15m-40m) Qualification: Advanced

An extensive reef system situated 20km from Hobie Beach, a boat trip often rewarded with penguin, dolphin and whale sightings. The reef complex boasts spectacular drop offs and walls, soft coral and sea fan gardens. Crystal clear water, schools of game fish and a vibrant reef await the adventurous diver.

 

Evans Peak (Depth: 15m-36m) Qualification: Advanced

Situated close to St. Croix Island and showcases some of the best diving in the area. A single, striking pinnacle rises to within 15m of the surface, covered in soft corals on top and large orange giant sea fans near the base. Ragged Tooth sharks and other species of sharks are often spotted here.

 

Brenton Island (Depth: 5-28m) Qualification: Advanced

Situated 800m from St. Croix Island with gullies, caves, drop offs and walls enchant and thrill the diver. The area is overgrown by soft corals, sponges and fans and sightings of Ragged Tooth sharks are common. The boat trip to this site is often interrupted by sightings of whales and dolphins.

 

 

The Wildside

 

Avalanche Reef (Depth: 15m-25m) Qualification: Advanced

An extensive reef densely populated with Noble corals and fish. It comprises of a spectacular wall with awesome topography and spectacular colours.

 

Gasmic Reef and John Dory's Reefs (Depth: 16-28m) Qualification: Advanced

Gasmic is characterised by a narrow gorges and dramatic walls covered in cream tipped Noble corals, soft corals and teeming with fish. The elusive horse fish is often spotted. Simply a breath-taking dive!

 

Raggie Sands (Depth: 10-15m) Qualification: All Levels

Raggies! Gullies are frequented by Ragged Tooth sharks of all sizes; this is an excellent opportunity to view these magnificent creatures up close. Up to 40 sharks have been seen on a single dive. This shallower site is ideal for the adventurous diver.

 

Thunderbolt Reef (Depth: 15-30m) Qualification: Advanced

 

Thunderbolt reef has a dramatic topography with huge boulders, deep gullies and drop offs. Ascidians, sponges and soft corals are abundant. Large black and white basket stars hang off large sea fans, arms outstretched.

 

Zephyr's Wall (Depth: 28-40m) Qualification: Advanced

As spectacular spot. A massive ridge approximately 80m long that rises from the sandy bottom. Sightings of game fish are common due to the strong current that is often experienced at this site.

 

Wrecks, Experience Levels, Conditions (Fill in if Applicable)

Haerlem Wreck (Depth:18-21m) - Qualification: Advanced

The Haerlem is a navy frigate, scuttled in 1987 to form an artificial reef for diving, which lies close to Bell Buoy. Built in 1958 and disarmed in 1963. After many years of hard work, first as an anti-submarine ship in the River Thames and later as a SA Navy survey ship in all of South Africa's waters. She was finally scuttled in Algoa Bay on 30 November 1987. Twelve holes were blasted in both sides to ensure she filled with water equally and settled evenly in. It’s a fascinating wreck and at times of clean clear water is a wonderful sight as you descend on the old lady. Holes, nooks & crannies are inhabited by shy sharks, nudibranchs, soft corals and a variety of fish.

 

Brenton Wreck (Depth: 28-34m) Qualification: Advanced

The Brenton Wreck lies upright embedded in fine sand. Below the stern the prop is sticking out, with one of the blades over a meter in length. If you slowly descend on to the broken up deck, you will find huge schools of juvenile cob and other fish, the reason why this is a popular fishing site. Bring a torch and explore!

 

Patti Wreck (Depth: 10-15m) Qualification: All Levels

The cargo vessel, the Patti, struck reef in dense fog in 1976. The vessel lies in shallow water and can be dive in suitable conditions. 

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How to Get there

Cape Town International or O.R. Tambo International with a connecting internal flight to Port Elizabeth Airport. Port Elizabeth Airport is 10 minutes away from the beach and great accommodation.

Algoa Bay Yacht Club, Credit

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Where to Eat & Drink

The Humewood beachfront provides various accommodation options, take-a-ways and restaurants. The central district has various cosmopolitan eateries.

The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth, Credit

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Other Activities

Kayaking, boating, fishing, surfing, boarding, SUPing, cycling, camping, game watching, birding and hiking. restaurants, bars and clubs, opera house and shows for late night entertainment.

Lighthouse just outside Port Elizabeth at Algoa Bay, Credit

The friendly city of Port Elizabeth is the gateway to Algoa Bay. White Blue Flag beaches are an inviting sight. Port Elizabeth is a large and upmarket city close to the Addo Elephant National Park and may private game reserves such as Shamwari, Pumba and Schotia Safaris. It an easy drive from Jeffries Bay and Plettenberg Bay.

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Tips

You can bring your own SCUBA gear or hire. The bay also boasts great surfing, kite surfing, SUPing, kayaking, sea swimming and adventure boating. When you plan your trip contact and feel free to ask any questions about desired accommodation, entertainment and security. Port Elizabethans are known for their hospitality and friendliness. The city strive to ensure the safety of all visitors. There are some golden rules to follow and we are able to give personal tips, just ask.

Rose Coral in brilliant hue, Credit

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Rating 9/10

Blue Hole

Algoa Bay16 Mar 2016 - 20 Mar 2016

Love the place. Really excited to return here and dive even deeper

scuba diver 954785 m

Leon Dubose

Nice! It is scary deep! :D

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