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Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Phone Reef

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The dive site Phone Reef is an offshore, rocky reef in the Castle Rocks Restricted Zone on the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

Understand[edit]

Map of Phone Reef

This site is moderately deep, but shallow enough for a fairly long dive on nitrox. It is deep enough to avoid much of the surge if there is a moderate swell running, and makes a convenient alternative for days when the surge is a bit strong at the shallower sites. It is quite a nice site and worth a visit at some time.

Position[edit]

  • S34°14.225’ E018°29.202’ 1 Phone Reef (Eastern pinnacle)

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

Name[edit]

The name "Phone Reef" describes the appearance of the side-scan sonar image of the reef, which looks a bit like the profile of a landline telephone handset.

Depth[edit]

Maximum depth is about 24 m. and the top of the pinnacle is about 14 m. (Average depth of a dive is likely to be about 18 m.)

Topography[edit]

There is a wall sided pinnacle at the far east end of the reef which drops from a narrow top at about 14 m to the sand at about 24 m, and a cluster of fairly high boulders and outcrops adjacent to it to the west and north. Most of the rest of the reef is relatively low profile bedrock and boulders extending over 100m to the east. The full extent of the reef to the east and south have not yet been surveyed, and there may be more high profile areas not yet reported.

Geology: Granite corestone boulders and outcrops of the pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton.

Conditions[edit]

The site is exposed to wind ans wavws from the south-east, so should be dived in flat seas or westerly swells. It is reasonably protected from westerly and south-westerly swells.

The site will usually be at it's best in winter but there will also be occasional opportunities in other seasons.

Get in[edit]

Phone Reef and nearby dive sites

This is exclusively a boat dives: It is too far (roughly 1 km) offshore for most people to swim and is in a high boat-traffic zone as it is on the way from the nearby slipway at Miller's Point to most of the local fishing areas.

The site is approximately 1.8 km from Miller's Point slipway and 9.1km from Simon's Town jetty.

See[edit]

Marine life[edit]

The upper part of the pinnacle is covered by a dense colony of strawberry anemones Corynactis annulata, and the deeper reef has large numbers of the local gorgonian sea fans.

Features[edit]

The main topographical feature is the steep and pointed pinnacle

Photography[edit]

As is the case with most of the local reefs, macro photography is likely to deliver the most consistent results. Artificial light will be necessary for macro, and useful for any reasonably close subjects.

Suggested routes[edit]

There are no special routes recommended. Start deep near the pinnacle and work your way up as available no-stop time decreases. It is possible to do a no-stop dive for an hour on a single cylinder on nitrox.

Stay safe[edit]

Hazards[edit]

No site-specific hazards other than moderate to fairly heavy boat traffic in the vicinity.

Skills[edit]

The site is too deep for entry level divers. There is very little reef above 18m. The ability to deploy a DSMB is strongly recommended in case you need to surface away from the shotline.

Equipment[edit]

A DSMB and reel or spool is recommended to warn boats of your presence while ascending, and to help your skipper find you after the dive. Nitrox can extend your dive time significantly in this depth range.

Nearby[edit]

Back to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Castle Rocks

This dive guide to Phone 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.