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The dive site Bantry Bay is a shoreline rocky reef with inshore pinnacles in the Sea Point area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Understand[edit]

Map of the offshore pinnacles
See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Understand

Position[edit]

  • 1 Bantry Bay: S33°55.56’ E018°22.65’
    This little cove is at the southern end of Sea Point, towards Clifton.
  • 2 Bantry Bay pinnacles: S33°55.535’ E018°22.156’
    A cluster of shallow pinnacles on a flattish rocky base at about 15 m

These sites are in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area since 2004. A permit is required.

Name[edit]

The name "Bantry Bay" has been associated with this cove for more than a century, and this is the name used on maps of the area.

Depth[edit]

  • The shoreline reef is fairly shallow, probably not more than 10 m
  • The pinnacles are further offshore, and reach up to about 3.5 m on top of the shallowest. The depth immediately adjacent to the pinnacles is about 15 m on the bedrock, and 20 m can be found nearby.

Visibility[edit]

like all the inshore dive sites of the Sea Point and Clifton area, visibility is likely to be best after an upwelling event but before the algal bloom that follows it. Upwellings on this coast occur during strong southeasterly winds, although the close inshore waters are in the Lee of Lion's Head, and are protected from the direct affects of the wind.

Topography[edit]

The contact zone between the granite Peninsula pluton and the older Tygerberg strata at Bantry Bay
Mixed granite and metamorphosed Tygerberg rock in the contact zone

The layout of the shoreline reef is simple: a small bay fringed with thick kelp with sandy areas in-between. The reef is large granite boulders and outcrops.

The pinnacles are two compact groups of huge granite corestone boulders standing on a very large, relatively level base of granite outcrop.

Geology: Granite of the Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton. This site is very close to the famous boundary between the intrusive granite of the huge Cape Peninsula batholith and the older sedimentary rock of the Tygerberg formation. A short distance to the north on the shore is an area of metamorphic rock where the molten granite made contact with the surrounding strata. There is considerable variation in the rocks over about 100 m of shore. Worth a visit if you have any interest in geology.

Conditions[edit]

For a shore entry, it is generally better to go at high tide, and important that the swell is very low. The pinnacles are less affected by swell, but as they are quite shallow, a long period swell will produce a strong surge, particularly over the tops of the pinnacles and in gaps that align with the swell direction. The shoreline site is slightly protected from the swell by a ridge outside the cove. This protection is only slight and this spot is quite exposed to the south west swell and it is not often diveable.

The site is usually at its best in early summer but there may also be opportunities in other seasons.

Facilities[edit]

Adequate off-road parking.

Get in[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Boat dives

The shoreline reef is normally a shore entry, but may be done from a boat. The pinnacles will usually be accessed by boat, but could be done from a shore entry. It will be a long swim, about 800 m from the entry area in the cove.

Shore entry: Go along the Sea Point Beach Road and instead of turning left and up to go to Clifton at the traffic circle, go straight. The bay is right at the end of this little road, which also turns up at the end, though the last section is one-way down. Park anywhere near the bay and go down the steps in the corner where the road turns up. Getting in is generally easy, just jump. Getting out is more of a problem and the place will depend on the tide. Most rocks are a touch too steep to get onto, others are too much affected by waves. Judge things carefully as it can be a bit tricky getting out again after the dive.

The sites are about 6.4 km from the Oceana Power Boat Club slipway at Granger Bay.

There are day charter boats which can take a diver to any of the dive sites in the region, but most operators only work from a limited number of launch sites, which limits the dive sites they visit. Visits to a dive site also depend on the weather and are generally not predictable or bookable more than two to four days in advance. See the listing for Cape Peninsula and False Bay boat dive charters and the associated services directory for contact details.

See[edit]

Marine life[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#The marine ecology

Fairly dense kelp forest of sea bamboo on the inshore reef. The sand is quite heavy and has many bits of shell it. It is one of the few places where one can quite easily find the Leprous Platanna klipfish Xenopoclinus leprosus. These are well hidden, but a patient search may reveal them. This is also a place where you may see Bobtails.

The pinnacles have typical reef cover for this region, and are quite colourful on the steeper surfaces, which are encrusted by a variety of soft corals, sponges, bryozoans and anemones. The shallower upper surfaces are dominated by the usual red bait and laminaria kelp, and deeper relatively horizontal areas have Cape sea urchins and encrusting coralline algae.

Photography[edit]

Macro equipment will usually produce good results, and in good visibility the site will be well illuminated by natural light, so wide angle shots may capture the scenic topography.

Routes[edit]

No special routes suggested.

Stay safe[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Stay safe

Hazards[edit]

Difficult shore exit if the swell comes up.

Skills[edit]

No special skills required, Suitable for night dives in good conditions

Equipment[edit]

See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Equipment

No special equipment recommended.

Nearby[edit]

Bantry Bay and nearby dive sites. The yellow lines are boundaries of the MPAs, and the orange lines are boundaries of restricted zones within the MPAs.

Back to the Alphabetical list of sites, or list of dive sites in the Sea Point area

Other regional dive sites:

This dive guide to Bantry Bay has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including location, conditions and equipment, and info on marine life and other sights. Please contribute and help us make it a star!