Sea fans on the SAS Good Hope

Wreck specialty course… Part 2

Tami, Kate and I are busy with the PADI Wreck Specialty course, and did our third of four dives on Sunday 21 November. It was miserable weather, pouring with rain, but Kate demonstrated the virtues of organising a rental car with ample boot space.

Dive 3: SAS Good Hope

Sea fans on the SAS Good Hope
Sea fans on the SAS Good Hope

The SAS Good Hope is one of the five ships scuttled in Smitswinkel Bay. This was the second dive I’ve done on it. (The first one involved an unfortunate case of nitrogen narcosis – I had to briefly stop my descent because I felt it again this time, but nowhere near as badly.)

Strawberry sea anemones on the SAS Good Hope
Strawberry sea anemones on the SAS Good Hope

The water was a chilly 13 degrees at the bottom, and while the visibility was excellent – perhaps 10 metres – it was very dark. The wreck is spectacular, of massive dimensions (94 metres long) and with large sections caved in. There are numerous bits of metal to swim under (we did try one or two under Tony’s instruction) and overall it is incredibly dramatic. The darkness, however, meant that even though my eyes could see the entire structure in front of me, my camera couldn’t see more than a foot or two. So the only pictures that came out were of a macro nature.

Horse mussel on the SAS Good Hope
Horse mussel on the SAS Good Hope

Our skills on this dive involved use of a reel and line. We tied off the reel on the wreck, and then swam into the current, keeping it tight as if we were going to using it in penetration. We turned two corners and tied it off each time. I really do not like the way I feel at depth – I feel noticeably stupid – but I was quite proud of our performance.

Tying off the reel
Tying off the reel - sorry anemones!

We did a good safety stop in very green murk, and deployed an SMB from seven metres or so. There was a fairly large swell so surface conditions were not ideal, but I managed to keep my breakfast down which pleased me no end.

Soft corals on the SAS Good Hope
Soft corals on the SAS Good Hope

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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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