(Article, January 2008)
You are indeed privileged to spend a quick and powerfully refreshing weekend away diving along one of the lesser spoken of areas of Durban and Umhlanga, South Africa with a great group from scubaversity!!!
The reefs and wrecks are definetely something to be experienced in your diving career. Although this area is not always that great with regards to conditions, believe me the diving can be very rewarding.
We started off with diving two reefs just south of the Durban harbour. Situated close to the whaling station that was decommissioned in 1972 are the reefs called Birthday Ledges, and Doug's Cave. In those days these same reefs were know as Blood Reef, a stark reminder of days gone by. Nowadays the whaling station is used as training grounds for our "rekkies" (local S.W.A.T :-).
The reefs are at around a depth of 18 meters with Doug's cave a reef with a number of really cool deep overhangs to explore.
The sea is calmer than a bathtub on this glorious day, and we find no current or surge which was a nice bonus. The visibility a respectable 7m.
I managed to spot my very first Tiger Moray Eel, which is a very snakelike creature indeed. Lots of life all over the place, with puffers, ornate lobsters, nudibranchs, etc. making the two almost hour long dives, a very worthwhile experience.
T-Barge (near Umhlanga)
The second part of this diving weekend covered the most popular wrecks in the area.These included Cooper's Wreck near Amanzimtoti as well as the T-Barge and Fontao in the Umhlanga Rocks area. It's always amazing the visitors these wrecks attract, and even if you're not into penetrating wrecks you will be amazed by the diversity you come across.
They're all recreationally deep wrecks located at around 22-32 meters it was good to make use of Enriched Air fills which gave us a longer bottom time.
The accommodation at the Happy Hippo one block from Ushaka Marine World was really pleasant, clean, open, fresh, new affordable and convenient.
I hope to be back there sooner rather than later.
All photos in this article © René C Schutte