A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula

Bookshelf: A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula

A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula – Georgina Jones

A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula
A Field Guide to the Marine Animals of the Cape Peninsula

This is the first (and can hold its own as the only) marine life book that I would recommend that a scuba diver in Cape Town purchases for their library of diving books.  It’s focused on the marine animals you’ll find in False Bay and on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula – a fairly small geographic region, but one with upwards of 150 dive sites and with incredible biological diversity. (The second book I recommend to local divers is Two Oceans, which has a far broader geographical focus and is thus less useful to Capetonian divers.)

The author, Georgina Jones, is a diver herself, and a member of the Southern Under Water Research Group (SURG), which published this book. SURG aims to bridge the gap between recreational divers and the scientific community, and apart from several fantastic book publications, their website provides a forum for divers to submit photographs of marine life for the experts to identify. Sightings of strange and exotic creatures (many of them at Tony’s favourite Long Beach hangout) are listed, too – often creatures from warmer waters up north get washed into False Bay and are then spotted by lucky divers.

The book has a photograph of each organism, and a brief description of its size, habitat, behaviour and feeding habits. The creatures are photographed in their natural environments, so the colours are representative and the creatures are alive (I didn’t realise how important this was until I used Rudy van der Elst’s book).

Two Oceans covers sea plants, and devotes more space to crabs, molluscs and the like than this book does, but particularly for beginner divers this isn’t an issue at all. It takes quite a few hours in the water before one discovers the joy of hydroids!

You can purchase this book from SURG – there are order details on their website and they will post it to you directly. Otherwise it’s available in good dive shops in Cape Town.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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