Download GPX file for this article
-34.0412518.30483Full screen dynamic map

Africa > Southern Africa > South Africa > Diving in South Africa > Diving the west coast of South Africa > Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay > Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Sunfish Pinnacle

Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Sunfish Pinnacle

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The dive site Sunfish Pinnacle is an offshore rocky reef in the outer Hout Bay area on the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

Understand[edit]

Map showing the site in relation to the Star Wall reef complex
Sunfish and Lollipop Pinnacles detail map

A fairly large pinnacle on a rocky bottom on the way to Duiker Point from Hout Bay harbour, which has been picked up quite frequently on the echo sounders of dive boats passing over it. It has now been dived, and to some extent mapped. The site is quite pretty and should make a pleasant alternative site. Topography is rugged, with high vertical walls on two sides of the pinnacle.

Position[edit]

  • 1 Sunfish Pinnacle: S34°02.475' E18°18.290'

This site is in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area since 2004. A permit is required. The site is entirely inside the Karbonkelberg Restricted zone.

Name[edit]

Sunfish (photo not from this site)

The name "Sunfish Pinnacle" is derived from the oceanic sunfish Mola mola, one of which was seen at the site the weekend before the first recorded dive.

Depth[edit]

Maximum depth is about 34 m on the sand to the south of the pinnacle. The top of the pinnacle is about 7 m deep. The immediate vicinity of the base of the pinnacle is from 18 to 21 m deep.

Visibility[edit]

Like other sites in this area, the visibility is usually best shortly after or during south easterly winds, which bring up clear, cold waters, but then often reduces again due to plankton bloom.

Topography[edit]

A large pinnacle, about 60 m east-west and 30 m north-south, with a rounded top at 7 m, and split by a deep narrow crack running north south, with a shallower and narrower crack crossing it from east to west. The north and east faces are nearly vertical from around 10m down to nearly 18m. The south and west sides are less vertical, particularly the south side, which steps down over a few metres. To the north there is a fairly large boulder with quite a narrow gap to the pinnacle, and north of that a gulley at about 20 m with another outcrop to the north several metres high. The reef to the south west is deeper, and gets down to 26m within a moderate distance. To the north west at a distance of about 50m there is an extensive patch of sand, separating the Sunfish Pinnacle from the Star Walls reef complex of Star Wall to Kanobi's Wall.

Geology: Pre-Cambrian granite corestones of the Peninsula pluton.

Conditions[edit]

The site is exposed to south westerly swell and winds, so should be dived when the swell is low, and is often good in south easterly winds.

The site is usually at it's best in summer but there are also occasional opportunities at other times of the year

This is an area which sometimes has upwellings of cold clear water, caused by south easterly winds, resulting in good visibility for a few days until the sunlight and nutrients cause a plankton bloom, reducing the visibility again.

Get in[edit]

Boat access only. The site is about (distance)km from the slipway at Hout Bay harbour

See[edit]

Marine life[edit]

The top and upper sides of the pinnacle are covered by a forest of Laminaria kelp. The near vertical faces of the sides of the pinnacle and the deep narrow cracks are covered with an assortment of sponges, noble corals, soft corals, sea fans, false corals and hydroids. Sumo crabs and basket stars have been seen.

Photography[edit]

Macro photography is most likely to produce good results over the widest range of conditions. If visibility is good, wide angle is a possibility.

Suggested Routes[edit]

The site is fairly small. The whole pinnacle can be comprehensively visited on a single dive.

Stay safe[edit]

Hazards[edit]

The site is on the route that small craft take between Hout Bay and Duiker Point. There is a slightly higher than usual risk of being run down by a boat if you surface without warning.

Skills[edit]

The ability to deploy a DSMB is recommended.

Equipment[edit]

Dry suit recommended as this area is usually cold. Each group should carry and deploy a DSMB if there is any chance of surfacing away from the shot line, so that boat traffic can see where you are surfacing. Nitrox can significantly extend your dive if you are warm enough.

Nearby[edit]

Back to Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay#Outer Hout Bay


This dive guide to Sunfish Pinnacle 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.