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Scuba Diving in Cape Town

Me diving with Raggie in aquarium 49 years ago I took my first breath of compressed air in the icy blue Atlantic water. Something long-undiscovered fell into place, I knew I was home at last. Now I'm a nitrogen junkie and little else fills me with the same simultaneous deep peace and excitement. If I'm not in the ocean, I'm working in one of the tanks at theTwo Oceans Aquarium as an "unpaid underwater janitor" every second Friday afternoon, keeping a beady eye on the 5 big raggies as we scrub and vacuum!
The stick we use to 'shotgun' is just a piece of broom-stick, not any kind of electric prodder, the idea is to keep the sharks away from the diver who might be cleaning, so he can concentrate on what he's doing without regard for his own safety. Raggies as we know them, are called Sand Tigers in the USA.


These 4 big grey ladies and one gent are mostly well behaved, and only one diver has been bitten in the aquarium. The teeth from the raggies fall off naturally and can be picked up from the aquarium sand if you have sharp eyes. New teeth grow to replace lost ones. They are about 2cm long and needle-sharp.

Cape Town diving is not for scuba-wimps, we have icy water (8 to 20 degrees) , the scariest Great Whites in the world, swirling kelp forests, calving whales, terrific storms, great wrecks and rich reefs. I am a NAUI Dive master and a Class 4 commercial diver, and would love to take you diving when you're in town. Phone (+27)21 715-1428 [hm], (+27)21 713-1334 [wk], 082-419-1334 [cel]


Maxine the raggie shark Cape divers do get the chance to see the odd Raggie or Sand Tiger as the Americans call it, this is Maxine, in the Two Oceans Aquarium. Raggies, (Carcharius Taurus) grow up to 3m and 294kg. We know each other fairly well, she's moody and not very bright! I've literally "rubbed noses" (quite unintentionally) with her! She was rescued from certain death from the shark nets in Natal and has a noticeable collar shaped scar round her gills.
See Also   Dive Sites of Cape Town      Shark Attacks      Diving with Great Whites

The Aster, an artificial reef project

Aster sink

Click pic to enlarge
In April 1997 the Aster, a lobster catcher (27m long and 340 gross tons) was going to be scrapped. Cape Town divers, under the leadership of Cleeve Robertson saw this as an ideal opportunity to extend an existing artificial reef system within the protected environment of Hout Bay. She was cleaned, freed of oil, and sunk by us in August. She now lies peacefully, 20m to the north of the Katsu Maru in 33m of water, providing a thrilling penetration dive in relative safety. (34o 03' 48S, 18o 21' E). (drawing of Katz).
There once was a ship called the Aster
So rusted, cray fishing was past her
So we pulled out the plug, she sank with a glug
Now we'll dive her, our own planned disaster!

We have many other little-known dive sites that I can escort you to, or arrange charters for. If you are not a local, bear in mind that we were not named "The Cape of Storms" by the early explorers for nothing. The conditions can change from splendid to extremely hectic in 3 or 4 hours, and you have to be very flexible in your plans. Fortunately we have two oceans to choose from, and when one is in a complete mess the other is often dive-able. I am often asked for recommendations to dive charters and places to hire equipment. I recommend Grant Whitford of Enviro divers, 073-167-6677 or whitford@netactive.co.za, please mention my name.

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