6 Types of Dives for the Uncertified Scuba Diver in Cape Town
Not a certified scuba diver? You can still go diving in Cape Town.
A common misconception about scuba diving in is that one has to be a certified diver in order to be able to experience the underwater world. Here in Cape town (and all over the world) we offer a Discover scuba diving program, in which we give uncertified divers a chance to experience the thrill of scuba diving in flat ocean conditions, and under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
Cape town has a diverse range of spectacular dive sites fit for the Discover scuba diving experience where you can see anything from shipwrecks to sharks and nudibranchs, depending on the ocean conditions on the given dive day. For some, the Discover scuba diving in Cape Town experience is just the start, resulting in a newfound love for the ocean and plenty more dives.
Let’s get right to it. Here’s a list of the dives you can experience as an uncertified diver with the Discover scuba diving Cape Town program:
False bay is home to a great number of reefs that are easily accessible from both boat and shore. Most of them are fairly shallow, which makes them a perfect dive for a Discover scuba diving Cape Town experience.
The reefs are covered in sea life, including sponges, sea fans, coral and feather stars with several boulders and swim-throughs, wedged into gaps between outcrops. There’s also an abundance of marine life calling these reefs their homes, like pyjama sharks, dogfish, the occasional seal, and large groups of fish. Reef diving in Cape Town, in the right conditions, can make for a very colourful and relaxed scuba diving experience, even if it’s your first time underwater.
The South African coastline is marred with nearly 3000 wrecks, of which most are lying along the coastline of the cape.
Some of the wrecks on the cape peninsula are fairly shallow with great diving conditions on a windless day, fit for the unqualified diver. Whether you dive the Antipolis wreck on the Atlantic seaboard, or the SS Clan Stuart in Simon’s town, you are bound to get a glimpse back in time, and see what exactly it is that attracts thousands of divers from all over the world every year. These shipwrecks commonly have the same kind of marine life as reefs, with an abundance of crayfish and interesting invertebrates calling these vessels their homes.
Kelp forests have a greater variety and higher diversity of plants and animals than almost any other ocean community.
These dives make for an almost enchanting experience, with plants growing as tall as trees and the sun’s rays peeking through them from above. A great number of fish and larger specimen can be found drifting among the swaying kelp, with boulders and swim-throughs often found throughout the dive. These dives are often shallow, easily accessible, and an adventurous experience for any uncertified diver, diving in Cape Town waters.
A nudibranch is a type of seasonal sea-slug, but don’t be fooled. They are one of nature’s most colourful and detailed creatures with over 3000 different species around the world, making them a favourite among marine photographers and recreational divers.
Among recreational divers, it’s always fun to see how many can be spotted and named on a single dive. Fortunately, many nudibranchs can be seen on shallow reef dives on the cape peninsula, and our experienced instructors will easily point them out. Nudibranch spotting is a great and fun way for unexperienced divers diving in Cape Towm to familiarise themselves with the reef, and a perfect dive for the Discover scuba diving experience.
There is a great number of harmless shark species calling the cape peninsula their home, of which quite a few can be seen while diving in Cape Town waters.
With names like the pyjama catshark and shyshark, these dives often change how sharks are generally perceived, and can easily be the highlight of any given dive. Even though bigger sharks like sevengills and gullies can also be seen in the cape waters, the ocean conditions we usually spot them in is often not fit for unqualified divers. However, exploring sharks on the Discover scuba diving experience can be both an adventurous and interesting experience, often leaving a diver with a newfound admiration of an often misunderstood species.
Since only few people get to experience our underwater world, we as divers usually take on the responsibility to remove trash from the ocean’s floor whenever spotted. Even as an unqualified diver, you can do your part in protecting our ocean by going on an ocean clean-up dive with one of our qualified instructors. On said dive our main objective will be to remove as much trash as possible, while keeping the dive itself fun and interesting. An ocean clean-up expedition is a great way to get familiar with the underwater world, while doing your part to make our oceans safer.
There you have it. As an uncertified scuba diver, you can still experience the wonders and vastness of our oceans in pool-like conditions, under the watchful eyes of a qualified scuba diving instructor. Who knows, this might just be the start to a lifetime full of underwater adventures.
The reason for giving five stars is not because my dive day was good - it was horrible, a complete washout, no viz, unpleasant swell, just all round yucky conditions.
However, that's nature, and dive operators can do nothing about it. What all dive operators should do is be as professional and customer-focused as the guys from ITB diving.
First thing to note is that ITB is considerably cheaper (by almost 1000.- Rand) than Simonstown operators, which is baffling considering that they also have the transport cost from Cape Town to budget for.
DMs, Instructors and Shopfloor staff are all super friendly and helpful; I even got picked up from my Cape Town digs and dropped off afterwards, free of charge.
On the boat, I saw all the emergency and redundancy gear I like to see: twin engines (VERY important!), Oxygen, comms gear, flares, the lot. Briefings were thorough, and buddy check was insisted on.
The trip to Seal Rock in the RIB was fun in the swell, but when we got there the captain did not let us dive because of the unsafe conditions. Disappointing as this was, he was totally right. Low tide and heavy swells are a dangerous combination this close to the rocks, and as for trying to get back into a RIB in seas like this....
We then tried the PMB wreck, where zero viz and nasty vertical swell separated the group and forced us out of the water after 25 minutes.
The captain did offer to try another spot but was honest enough to tell us that in his opinion it was going to be rubbish everywhere, and so we called it a day.
Back at the dive shop, we were all offered a re-schedule, but as I'm out of time I was given half my money back. I know from experience that this is not the norm in the industry, sadly.
Into the Blue is a top notch outfit that does things by the book, with a strong safety focus and very customer centered, on top of offering reasonable pricing and a fair refund policy. You'll have a hard time to find a better operator anywhere around. They'll definitely be my first choice when I pass through next, and for doing my IDC sometime this year.
Just hope mother nature will be in better mood then.
Visited April 2017
I grew up on the sea, always wondered how it must be into the deep blue sea. Then one day me and my wife decided to do an attempt to do scuba diving and I was quite nervous about going under water but thanks to the Into the blue crew and their patience and determination me and my wife found a new hobby and looking forward to go around the world and scuba dive all around the world. So from me and my wife we want to thank Cape Town, South Africa, Into the blue, for what we have experienced and thank you for opening a new world to us! I recommend anyone that is nervous or thinking twice to do scuba diving, it is the best choice you can ever make!