Simonstown, False Bay
Some people love it, others hate it: winter. Being from The Netherlands winter in Cape Town 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 False Bay is not different. In general it can be stated that summer winds (from the southeast) are less favourable for the area of Simonstown in False Bay as it can strongly decrease the visibility in this part of the bay. However, we are lucky to have more options like Gordon’s Bay on the other sides of False Bay or the more chilly Atlantic side, which clean up in summer. Simonstown is by far the place to be in winter – due to mostly a north-northwesterly wind blowing – which means amazing visibility and an often flat ocean. So even for those who dislike winter – including myself – the great diving makes up for it by far.
Without a doubt it can be stated that we 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 and no swell for most of the shore dives. Therefore every free moment was spent diving – teaching, fun diving, and photographing or beautiful reefs – and it was worth every chilly minute of it. Dive sites as Windmill Beach, A-frame and Castle Rocks were so clear that we got lost because we saw areas we never noticed before.
The above mentioned 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 goldies or Moorish idols and we don’t have clown fish, but what we do have is overwhelmingly beautiful in its own unique kind. On those winter days when the bay is flat and the water crystal clear, there is no more exciting or stunning place I rather dive than at home in the Cape waters.