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Scuba Diving in Port Alfred, Sunshine Coast, Eastern Cape

Some of the best winter scuba diving along the Sunshine Coast can be found at Port Alfred. This exceptionally pretty little Eastern Cape town, so famous for its natural environment, has its underwater delights too…read further for info if you are looking for dive spots, dive charters or a dive course in Port Alfred.

Diving along the temperate Sunshine Coast is dependent on sea conditions which can vary greatly from season to season, and summer is not always the best time to go diving. Even though the water is warmer, visibility and general conditions can be poor due to the effect of strong easterly winds that bring swell and sediments.

The best diving conditions can be found when there is a westerly wind which brings in the westerly ocean currents or a very light easterly. This usually occurs during the winter months, so there is a trade-off between better visibility and calmer conditions and water temperature, which is usually between 12 – 18 deg. At this time visibility ranges from 6-10m, with up to 20m on really good days.

An exception to the above ‘rule’ sometimes occurs in January, when a combination of flat and warm water with good visibility entices divers and snorkelers alike.

Some of the fish species you are likely to see include Yellowbelly Rock Cod, Musselcracker, Zebra fish, Geelbek, Blackspotted electric rays, Red Roman and Ragged Tooth sharks. Other colourful reef denizens include: giant fanworms, sponges and hydroids. Ocean going fish you might be lucky enough to see passing by include the magnificent Mola Mola, and of course there is always a good chance of seeing dolphins, Humpback and Southern Right Whales.

All the dive sites are offshore and are reached by boat. Boats can launch from the Kowie River Mouth and rubber ducks can also launch off the beach at Kleinemonde.

There are several reef dive spots in Port Alfred at Fountain Rocks Reef and also a great dive at Riet Point. You may have heard of a 150 yr old wreck called the Briseis near Port Alfred, but this is not a great dive according to locals as it is too broken up and offers little more than chunks of metal scattered over a 150m radius. Reputed gold and silver cargo, if it was ever there at all, is nowhere to be found.

Fountain Rocks – ‘Fish Tanks’, ‘Chain’, ‘Soft Coral’.

Fountain Rocks is a large reef situated south-east of the Kowie River mouth, and includes a number of individual sites – some suitable for beginners and some for experienced advanced level divers only. Many species of fish and various forms of reef life can be found here, including ragged tooth sharks and rays.

According to Port Alfred Dive Operator Keryn’s Dive School, the best of these reefs are ‘Fish Tanks, Chain and ‘Soft Coral’.

‘Fish Tanks’

The name says it all! Plenty of soft corals, pinnacles and a gulley teeming with fish. This is also a nursery for juvenile ragged tooth sharks. The max depth is 14m.

‘Chain’

Located a few hundred metres from Fish Tanks is an old anchor chain draping over pinnacles. It is a deeper dive with a maximum depth of 18m and great overhangs sheltering plenty of fascinating sea-life.

‘Soft Coral’

Soft Corals is the most colourful site on the Fountain Rocks reef. An abundance of soft corals with several pinnacles rising up from a depth of 24m to 14m below the surface and a swim through cave with lots of corals make this a colourful and interesting deeper dive. Max depth 14m.

Riet Point

Riet Point is a very colourful reef situated three kilometres offshore east-south-east of the Kowie River Mouth. The Reef features a pinnacle point that juts up 4m from an average depth of 10m, and a drop off down to 21m. It is a spectacular dive in the right condition thanks to an abundance of sea-life, many coloured soft corals, huge sponges and plenty of the larger reef fish species that flourish here thanks to the unsuitable anchorage for fishermen. Max depth 21m.

This dive is fairly exposed to currents and so is more suitable for experienced divers, and there is also an opportunity to dive the deeper Kilbrennan site nearby, so take 2 tanks.

For more info and to book a dive or NAUI course with Outdoor Focus (Keryn’s Dive School)

More info on the town of Port Alfred More info on the Sunshine Coast area



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