Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Rocklands blinder
The dive site Rocklands Blinder or Seal Colony is an inshore rocky reef in the Rocklands Point area on the False Bay coast of the Cape Peninsula, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
S34°12.9’ E018°28.0’ (Middle of main reef)
- About 170m at 080° magnetic from the north entry point ar Rocklands Point.
The position of the reef can often be identified by the breaking swell over it, particularly at low tide.
This site is in a Marine Protected Area (2004). A permit is required.
The name "Rocklands Blinder" is a simple description. The site is a submerged reef which breaks in a moderate swell, and it is off Rocklands Point. The alternative name "Seal Colony" refers to the congregation of seals often seen at this site.
Maximum depth is about 13m on the sand beyond the rocks. Top of the reef at about 3 to 4m.
The reef is an outcrop of granite corestones in two main sections divided by a north/south gulley. The bigger western outcrop is high, with the highest point within 4m of surface, sloping up from the low reef to the south then falling away steeply to the sand. The eastern section is fairly steep sided all round, with a small, low outlier to the north. The main reef extends approximately 80m from east to west and the smaller reef about 18m from east to west. The gap between them is about 4 to 5m wide. Low reef extends south from the main reef to Spaniard Rock, with occasional small sandy gaps between rocks.
Geology: Late Pre-Cambrian granite of the Peninsula pluton
Suitable if entry conditions are OK. Best if swell very low. Winter dive site, should be good after north-westerlies. Shore entry/exit could be a problem in a strong offshore wind (North West).
Adequate parking on the gravel at the side of the road. The paths down to the shoreline are steep and slippery.
This site is dived from shore or boat.
Boat dive 1.8km from Miller’s Point.
Shore dive from Rocklands Point. There is adequate parking on the gravel lay-bye on the seaward side of the main road (M4), near the signpost warning against baboons. Access to the shore is poor. There are several steep eroded paths, some worse than others. Choose the one that looks best on the day. All are slippery and steep, with loose gravel. If you have a large group it may be worth arranging a rope for safety, otherwise a walking stick or staff could be useful.
The reef has a zone of heavy red-bait at the top, with sparse Split fan kelp, and lower down is mostly covered by common feather stars with patches of Red-chested and Mauve sea cucumbers, Striped anemones, and Strawberry anemones. About 10 species of nudibranch have been seen at this site, though some are quite rare and some very small. Seals are often seen.
This is a good site for invertebrate photography. Macro and wide angle lenses will usually produce good results
Either swim out on the surface to the reef of go by boat. Position is most easily fixed by GPS, but it is usually possible to see the reef from the surface. Dive anywhere on and round the reef. After you have seen the reef, either return to the boat or swim back to shore on a compass course. 250° magnetic from the west end of the high reef, or 275° magnetic from the east side of the east pinnacle.
Offshore wind may increase in strength significantly during the dive. The path is steep and slippery, specially after rain, and usually in poor repair.
No special skills required for boat dives. Ability to navigate by compass, and reasonable fitness and agility are required for a shore dive.
A compass is recommended for shore dives to this site as there are sections where there are no reliable landmarks.