Popular Aliwal Shoal Dive Sites
As the name suggests, this cave is frequented by ragged-tooth sharks during the winter shark season. The cave itself is not very large, and is part of a long overhang that forms the outer rim of a site called The Amphitheatre. There is a large sandy patch nearby, which provides an ideal place for students to practice course skills. The maximum depth in this area is 18 meters, putting it within reach of Open Water divers.
Shark Alley is a gully that drops off from Raggie’s Cave. The bottom is mostly sandy with some rocky outcrops, and there are a number of caves in the rock wall. Potato bass have made their homes in these caves, and on the southern wall, a beautiful sea fern provides fantastic photo opportunities. The maximum depth is 24 metres.
With a maximum depth of approximately 26 metres, Cathedral is an advanced dive site. It boasts a spectacular circular cavern that spirals upwards to a pothole entrance 18 metres from the surface. For its incredible topography and its popularity with the raggies during shark season, it is one of the best-loved dive sites on the Shoal. Cathedral is also home to various species of ray, several cuttlefish and a resident frog fish.
With a depth of only 17 meters, South Sands is a popular site for training dives. There is plenty of life to be seen here, including rays, guitarfish and sand sharks, all of which like to bury themselves in the wide expanses of open sand. In strong current, South Sands is a great starting point for a rewarding drift dive.
A long ridge of sharp rock formations and jutting overhangs, the Pinnacles provide a haven for hundreds of colourful fish species – while deep potholes and hidden caves often reveal sleeping turtles and rays. On the one side, the Pinnacles slope down toward Raggie’s Cave and Manta Point; while the shore-side slopes down towards the North Sands area. There are a few metal shards still lying on the reef believed to have come from the Produce, the last ship to wreck on the Shoal.
Situated on the eastern side of the Pinnacles, this is a great place to spot the magnificent manta ray during the summer season. Throughout the year, Manta Point boasts a profusion of colourful soft corals and beautiful reef fish, making it one of Aliwal Shoal’s most photogenic dive sites. It has a maximum depth of around 20 metres.
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