Some people love it, others hate it: winter. Being from The Netherlands winter in the Cape cannot be compared to winter up North. Sure, the temperature occasionally drops below zero degrees and we do get some snow in the mountains, but overall the winters are rather mild and (if we are lucky) bring some much needed rain. In between all that, you can expect sunny skies and a pleasant 18-ish degrees. And even better, with winter comes amazing diving and that is exactly what we have been having in False Bay over the last two months.
As for most diving destinations, the wind plays a large factor in how the conditions underwater will be and the Cape is not different. In general it can be stated that summer winds (from the southeast) are less favourable for the area of Simon’s Town in False Bay as it can strongly decrease the visibility in this part of the bay. However, we are lucky to have more options as the Atlantic and Rooi Els on the other sides of False Bay, which clean up in summer. Simon’s Town is by far the place to be in winter – due to mostly a north-northwesterly wind blowing – which means amazing visibility and a flat ocean. So even for those who dislike winter – including myself – the great diving by far makes up for it.
Without a doubt it can be stated that we currently have been spoiled for weeks. The northerly wind has done its job well and turned False Bay in a “lake” with visibility over 15 meters on most of the shore dives. Therefore every free moment was spend diving, training or for pure pleasure, and it was worth every minute. Dive sites as Windmill Beach and A-frame have been so clear that we got lost because we saw areas we never noticed before.
Both these dive sites are known for its incredible colourful walls and boulders. The corals and sea fans flourish in abundance and especially the macro life is mind blowing. There are people claiming the Cape isn’t that colourful as some of the more tropical reefs, but those divers definitely have not giving it a fair change then. Sure, the there are no big schools of guppies or moral idols and we don’t have clown fish, but what we do have is overwhelming in a complete different manner. And on those winter days when the bay is flat and the water crystal clear, there is no more exciting or beautiful place I rather dive than at home in the Cape.