Kelp forest in Sandy Cove

Dive sites: Sandy Cove

On the surface in Sandy Cove
On the surface in Sandy Cove

Sandy Cove is a beautiful little bay that serves as the entry point for a number of the dive sites at Oudekraal, as well as being quite a pleasant dive in its own right. It is located just north of the Twelve Apostles Hotel, and access to the site is down a steep slope from the road. There is a small sign on the roadside, and the path starts around about there. If you drive past the site on a weekend in summer, you’ll see numerous divers’ cars parked in the yellow line as the traffic whizzes by. This, and the fairly steep climb (which is actually no worse than the one at Shark Alley) are the major negatives of diving here.

The path down from the road takes three branches. The first is to Justin’s Caves, the second leads to quite a difficult entry point to Sand Cove, over a boulder beach between large granite boulders, and the third – which is the longest – leads to a small sand beach with convenient resting places that provides the easiest entry at this site.

Tony in the kelp
Tony in the kelp

The cove itself is ringed by kelp forests, with a sandy patch in the middle. The depth is only four to five metres inside the cove, and it’s sheltered enough that it could be used for confined water skills training. The anchor of the Het Huis Te Kraaiestein, a very old wooden wreck that lies just outside the cove, is located on the fringe of the cove closest to the road.

Tiny klipfish on a rock in Sandy Cove
Tiny klipfish on a rock in Sandy Cove

The other dive sites that can be reached via Sandy Cove are Geldkis, Strawberry Rocks, Mushroom Pinnacle, and Geldkis Blinder. You could also swim around to Justin’s Caves from here, but it’s not the shortest route. Negotiating the kelp forest can be a bit tricky, but there are sufficient distinctively shaped rocks and granite formations that with a bit of practice navigation will come quite naturally.

Hottentot feeding off the sand
Hottentot feeding off the sand

Dive date: 25 December 2011

Air temperature: 26 degrees

Water temperature: 13 degrees

Maximum depth: 5.8 metres

Visibility: 10 metres

Dive duration: 42 minutes

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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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