I have been under the impression that Scuba diving is a summer sport. It made sense to swim in warmer water. My curiosity and confusion however led me to a marvellous discovery. Turns out it is a year round sport with some amazing winter benefits - especially in our local waters.
Scuba diving is about the same as eating ice-cream in winter, it is advertised as a summer activity but we all know only the brave benefit from trying something new.
So now you might have some questions as to why you would consider plunging into cold water on an equally chilly day? To put it plainly, the visibility during winter months is better and thus gives you better sightings. Not to mention some beautiful creatures that love to come out during these colder months. Some have even said that scuba diving in Cape Town is better during winter than summer – possibly because they don’t mind being wet and cold on account of the winter rain.
And for those who aren’t keen to scuba dive locally because of the cold water, check out False Bay - the water is warmer than the Atlantic. Speaking of great visibility during winter, False Bay is surrounded by mountains and thus protected from the wind.
So .. diving in the winter. It might require a bit more gear and prep, but the results are phenomenal. A good mind set and preparation is also key – when you expect the cold you can prepare for that initial rush and drop in temperature. It is also important to dress appropriately (perhaps trade in your 3mm wetsuit for a 7mm and add a chicken vest). Once you are in the water and surrounded by great sights, the cold does not feature.
Here are 6 diving spots in SA to visit:
- Aliwal Shoal (such as Raggie Cave / Shark Alley)
- False Bay
- Mabibi and surroundings
- Mossel Bay (such as the Storms River Mouth)
- Protea Banks (such as the Sardine Run in June and July)
- Sodwana Bay (such as Uniforms and Hotspot)