Cape Town diving is convenient with a lot of shore entries, but it definitely pays off taking a boat ride to the deep. With a handful of PADI Advanced Open Water students doing their Deep Adventure dive, we made our way to a reef called Sherwood Forest. This for us still unknown reef lies just North of Partridge Point in False Bay and is known for its – as the name suggest – underwater ‘forests’.
The weather was definitely on our side this morning with just a light wind, sunshine all over and minimal swell. Where the water in the Cape can sometimes be a little green and murky, today we got treated to clear and relatively warm water of 14 degrees on the bottom. Descending to a depth of 29 metres the reef doomed up clearly and it did not disappoint!
As the name suggests, the reef resembles some sort of forest. There are big structures and these are covered in all kinds of big sea fans large enough to hide behind. Having a closer look at the fans will reward you with noticing Basket stars. They are easily recognisable with their ten arms that branch into finer and delicately striped tendrils. They are called Basket stars because of their outstretched arms like a basket trying to catch passing sea life for food.
Besides the immense orange sea fans, the reef is covered in all kinds of sponges, different types of anemones, and if lucky you can spot a filter feeding Tubular hydroid. All provides the reef with spectacular colours. Add schooling Hottentot and a playful Cape Fur Seal to the mix and you end up with a bunch of very happy divers!