Download GPX file for this article
-34.22388318.475783Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The dive site Caravan Reef is a large area of inshore rocky reef between Miller's Point and Rocklands Point on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Understand[edit]

Map showing the layout and position of the dive sites at Caravan Reef
See also: Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Understand

Caravan Reef is a large area of granite reef to the north east of the slipway at Miller's Point, and as such is very close to the launch area. One would think that it would be a popular dive site, but it is largely unexplored, unlike the adjacent wreck of the SAS Pietermaritzburg, which is one of the most frequently dived sites on the Cape Peninsula.

Position[edit]

Approximately half a square kilometer of reef centred about 750 m north-east of the Miller's Point slipway, and about 700 m in diameter.

  • 1 PMB Pinnacles: S34°13.311' E018°28.564' — named for its proximity to the wreck of SAS Pietermaritzburg
  • 2 North Caravan: S34°13.352’ E018°28.733’
  • 3 Caravan Central north pinnacle: S34°13.408’ E018°28.528’
  • 4 Caravan Central east pinnacle: S34°13.436’ E018°28.562’
  • 5 South Caravan: S34°13.513' E018°28.721'
  • 6 Inner Caravan: S34°13.500' E018°28.450' — (estimated)

This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required.

Name[edit]

This site is offshore of the caravan park at Miller’s Point, which may be the origin of the name "Caravan Reef".

Depth[edit]

  • Central: Maximum about 19 m, Top of reef about 3 m
  • North: Maximum about 22 m, Top of reef about 12 m
  • South: Maximum about 20 m, Top of reef about 4 m
  • PMB Pinnacles: Maximum about 22 m on the sand to the east. Top of highest pinnacle about 6 m.

Visibility[edit]

Topography[edit]

Map of the dive site at PMB Pinnacles

This is an extensive area of granite reef. It can be subdivided into a number of sections:

North Caravan Reef: Sand at about 26 m on the north-east side, 21 m to the south-west. Top of the reef is at about 12 m. There is a long ridge running roughly north-west/south-east which is high to the south-west side, with a steep wall and occasional transverse jointing, and lower to the north, with steeper parts further south. Below the wall there are some clusters of fairly large boulders on the sand. This section is separated from Central Caravan Reef by a band of sand bottom at about 20 m depth. The reef has a relatively low area to the north east of the high reef, and a long rather broken lobe extending further east, about 22m deep on top, with sand bottomed cracks running deep into the rock on the south side, where the sand is about 2 m shallower than on the north side, only a few metres away over the rocks outcrop. To the south east, over a narrow sand gap is another lobe of the reef, on fairly level sand between 21 and 23 m deep, with a flattish top at 16 to 17 m, and a long, deep crack along the length.

Central Caravan Reef: The largest contiguous section of reef, and roughly central to the other sections. Much of this section is low profile outcrops and scattered boulders, with quite a lot of narrow sand tongues breaking the reef up, but there is a group of a few pinnacles in an area of high and medium profile reef, several reaching to within 6 m of the surface, with the highest at about 3 m depth on top. Depth on the surrounding sand varies from around 16 m on the inshore side to about 19 m on the north-eastern side, with a minimum of about 13 m to the south west in the gap between Cenral and Inner Caravan Reefs. There are several enclosed sand patches of various sizes scattered around the reef, which is only partly surveyed.

South Caravan Reef: Separated from Central Caravan Reef by a narrow belt of sand. Huge granite outcrops with scattered smaller boulders on a shelly sand bottom. Quite a lot of cracks, but mostly quite narrow and not very deep. A few small overhangs. The pinnacle is quite shallow, at about 4 m, but most of the outcrops are much lower, and are seldom as shallow as 10 m. The pinnacle is at the south-eastern end of the outcrop. To the northwest the reef is much lower, with a large area of medium- to low-profile boulders and small outcrops to the northwest. There is a tall spike of rock to the southeast of the reef, with its base at the sand edge, rising from about 20 m to about 13 m on top

Inner Caravan Reef: Separated from Central Caravan Reef by a narrow belt of sand. Not yet surveyed.

PMB Pinnacles: Separated from Central Caravan Reef by a narrow belt of sand. This section has a compact group of fairly massive boulders, including an almost pyramidal pinnacle, standing on a flattish base of rock at about 15 m, and rising to a small peak about 4 m from the surface. Nearby to the south, across a very narrow sand belt, there is a patch of mostly low reef with a few boulders rising above 15 m. The adjacent sand is at a depth of 18 to 22 m.

Geology: Late Pre-Cambrian granite corestones of the Peninsula pluton on a sand bottom.

Conditions[edit]

The site is moderately protected from south westerly swell. South east chop may make it unpleasant on the surface, but it may be quiet below the wave base, however a strong south easter or one that blows for a long time will push up a swell that will make it unpleasant all the way down. Generally considered a winter dive site but there are also occasional opportunities in autumn and spring.

Get in[edit]

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

Boat dive from Miller's Point slipway or Simon's Town jetty. About 1 km from the slipway to (Caravan North) or less to the other sites. From Simon's Town jetty it is about 6.8km to Caravan Central.

See[edit]

Strawberry anemones

Marine life[edit]

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

A wide range of typical False Bay invertebrates may be found on the reefs.

The sand patches of the central area are known for lamp urchins.

Southern area: In the 15 to 20 m depth range the cover is split between a dense turf of large sea squirts with common feather stars on the steeper surfaces, occasional gaps with strawberry anemones or encrusting sponges, and upper surfaces often covered by red-chested or mauve sea cucumbers, with a scattering of golden cucumbers. Some low areas with serpent skinned brittle stars. A fair number of gorgonian sea fans, a few cauliflower and sunburst soft corals. Quite a number of smallish thickets of arborescent hydroids. Occasional small plocamium. In shallower areas a lot of red-bait or similar on top of the reef. Lamp urchins are relatively common on the sand patches. There is not much kelp, and most of it is Laminaria (split-fan kelp).

Photography[edit]

Routes[edit]

No particular routes recommended.

Stay safe[edit]

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

Hazards[edit]

This is an area where boat traffic may be heavy. Great white sharks have been sighted near this site.

Skills[edit]

No special skills required, though the ability to deploy a DSMB is useful in case you need to surface away from the shot line.

Equipment[edit]

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

Surface marker buoy recommended if you ascend away from the boat as this is an area with a lot of boating traffic, not all of which pays a great deal of attention to diving flags.

Nearby[edit]

Caravan Reef and nearby dive sites. Orange line indicates the border of the Castle Rocks Restricted Area of the MPA.

Back to the list of dive sites in the Miller's Point area

Other regional dive sites:

This dive guide to Caravan Reef is a usable article. It has information on location and equipment as well as some complete entries on what to see. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.