Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Duiker Island
The dive site Seal Island or Duiker Island is an inshore rocky reef in the Karbonkelberg headland area on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
This is a site where you will see Cape fur seals, close up and in your face, both in the water and on the rocks. Other than kelp there is not much else to see.
This little island is just round the corner from Hout Bay, below the Sentinel peak.
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2009). A permit is required.
The small rocky islet marked on maps and charts as "Duikereiland" has become known locally as "Seal Island" due to the resident colony of seals which has become a tourist attraction. It should not be confused with Seal Island in False Bay.
The site is shallow, at about 6m depth, but will vary a bit from place to place.
Granite boulders and outcrops over an extensive area. No sand seen, but lots of kelp.
Geology: Granite of the late Pre-Cambrian Peninsula pluton
The site is exposed to south westerly swells, and is near to the famous "Dungeons" big wave surfing reef. It is also exposed to the south easterly winds, but is protected from the wind chop as it is in the lee of the island. The site is usually at it's best in summer but there are also occasional opportunities in autumn and early winter
This is an area which sometimes has upwellings, caused by the south easterly winds, resulting in cold clear water, which may develop a plankton bloom over a few days, which will reduce visibility again
This site is only accessible as a boat dive. It is about 4km from Hout Bay harbour. Anchorage is not good as there is a high risk of fouling among the boulders and dense kelp forests. Most diving is done in the kelp forests to the north west of the islet, to keep clear of the channel which has quite a bit of boat traffic, and lacks space for the larger tourist boats to manouever if there are divers in the water.
Seals and kelp. More seals, extra kelp.
Good site for photographs of seals. Ambient light and wide angle lens. Seals are fast and will often come very close to a diver.
No routes needed, the seals will come to you. Hang around until you have seen enough, or get too cold, or the boat has to leave, and watch seals.
Cold water, but it is shallow and you can get back on the boat at short notice. However, you will have to wait for the last diver to get back before the boat will return to Hout Bay, and the wind chill after the dive may be significant.
No special skills required, suitable for novices and for snorkelling)
No special equipment recommended.