Tony in the boat under the Sentinel

Dive sites: The Sentinel

Tony in the boat under the Sentinel
Tony in the boat under the Sentinel

I don’t think this dive site has a name (other than what we call it), or that it’s high on anyone else’s list of fun places to dive, but it’s proved to be a reliable and quite lovely site that’s specially suitable for new divers.

The Sentinel is that striking mountain outcrop that stands at the entrance to Hout Bay, dropping off steeply into the Atlantic. Beneath it is a fairly dense kelp forest and a scattering of smallish round boulders that add variation to the underwater landscape. The maximum depth in the area is not more than about eight metres.

Kelp forest
Kelp forest

We dived the site after a dive on the SS Maori, on a day when the visibility was not magnificent, but tolerable. Tony has on many occasions taken students there and found that the water is far cleaner than it is at Duiker Island nearby (probably less run off of seal bodily fluids…) and inside Hout Bay. The site can be a little uncomfortable when it is very surgy, as the movement of the kelp and the seaweed beneath you on the rocks is disconcerting.

Kate is neutrally buoyant
Kate is neutrally buoyant

There are not many large fish – this is typical of the inshore Atlantic sites we dive – but in summer clouds of West coast rock lobster larvae and other fish fry may cause the water to shimmer hazily. I can guarantee you that you will not see a single abalone, though if you swim right up to shore in this area you will see thousands and thousands and thousands of empty abalone shells in the shallows and on the beach. This is where the poachers who rule Hout Bay shuck the perlemoen before carrying them up the mountain to dispose of them.

Dive date: 17 February 2013

Air temperature: 25 degrees

Water temperature:  10 degrees

Maximum depth: 7.6 metres

Visibility: 6 metres

Dive duration:  22 minutes

Coral and seaweed encrusted rock, with limpets
Coral and seaweed encrusted rock, with limpets

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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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