Diving is one of those past times that for those who fall in love with it, can never seem to get enough! Any diver knows that it is not just about what you see when you take the plunge into the depths. It’s about the sense of freedom, like the weight of the world has been lifted. Every time is like the first time and many can agree that diving is without a doubt an addictive adventure.
Each diving destination, whether it is in South Africa, Mozambique, Australia or anywhere else in the world, has its own uniquely interesting facts and tremendously exciting things to see. But the act of diving itself is also quite fascinating.
Facts about Diving
- When divers reach a depth of 10 meters and below, it becomes next to impossible to see the colours red or yellow. This means that if you were to somehow cut yourself while at this depth, your blood would look quite blue.
- The word “scuba” is not something made up with no meaning. Instead, it stands for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus”.
- There is such a thing as feeling drunk while diving. It is called oxygen narcosis and it has been known to affect most divers at some stage of their diving. It will generally happen when Nitrogen is breathed in at depths below 25 meters.
- Sound actually travels quickly when submerged. In fact, it can travel 5 times faster than when above waters. This makes it just about impossible to determine exactly where the sound is coming from which is why sound is not something divers can safely rely on.
- Each year, between 8 and 12 people will be killed by sharks. This sounds quite alarming right? Well actually, it is a drop in the ocean, pardon the pun, when you consider that humans are responsible for killing well over 30 million sharks annually.
- When under pressure, oxygen can become toxic. For this reason, if divers are going down to distances of more than 42m, they will use special gases with lower concentrations of oxygen.
- Diving injuries, although quite rare, do happen. When officially recorded, they are called “barotraumatic injuries” but these generally refer to broken noses or fingers. Often, these injuries don’t even happen in the water, instead they happen while getting into or out of boats and tanks or weights connect with a diver.
- The intense colours of the underwater world, as seen in documentaries or underwater photographs are not always a real representation of what is to be expected. This distinct lack of colour is due to the fact that water quite quickly absorbs light and the one colour that disappears the fastest is red. Professional photographers and documentary film makers will often use filters to counteract the effects of the light, giving viewers a distorted idea of what the underwater world looks like.
- Scuba diving is listed as a risky sport but the facts show that only 1 in 211 864 dives will result in a death.
Discover the wonders of some of South Africa and Mozambique’s finest diving destinations when you embark on a one in a lifetime journey with Dive the Big 5. Book your underwater tour of the great Indian Ocean today.
If scuba diving is not your thing, or should you not yet have the required experience, you can always try your hand at snorkelling and explore the depths from the surface.
South Africa remains one of the African continents best places to enjoy the thrill of deep sea diving. Travellers from all over the world venture to South Africa each year to see the country’s spectacular wildlife as well as the prolific ocean life swimming deep beneath the waves.
South Africa is a land of diversity, and so is the coastline along the southern tip. Home to the marine Big 5, those visiting and diving in South Africa will be in for a treat when coming across any of these ocean inhabitants.
From the Garden Route to the City of Cape Town, this region of the Western Cape Province is already well-known as the Whale Route. But it is also a place for visitors to have an opportunity to see the Marine Big Five. When visiting or diving in South Africa, one of the must do things is to dive in this unique area of South Africa and tick off all these popular sea animals.
- The Great White Shark
- Southern White Whales
- The Cape Fur Seal
- The African Penguin
Great White Sharks
Top of the list of the Marine Big Five is most certainly the Great White Shark. This shark is one of the largest sharks in the ocean, growing to lengths of 4.5 to 6 meters and often weighing up to 2.5 tons. The Great White is equipped with several rows of regenerating serrated teeth. Regardless of its size, this fearsome predator is capable of swimming at a speed of 25km per hour.
Shark cage diving in South Africa centres on giving guests the opportunity to get really up close and personal to the one shark that has not only made headlines in the media but which has also become the stuff of horror movies. Despite appearances, the Great White is not nearly the villain it is made out to be. These sharks are well-known to frequent the Cape coast.
Southern White Whales
In the sheltered bays (False Bay or Hermanus) is where the Southern White Whales have their nurseries. A site to behold is seeing these whales frolicking a mere stone’s throw from the shore. Fully grown Southern White Whales grow to a length of 16 meters, a sight to make anyone’s jaw drop! If you are visiting South Africa during the months from June to December, take the time to visit the “Whale Route”, as this is when the whales move into the shallow waters of the bays to calf.
When we think of the oceans, we usually think of dolphins, so a trip to the ocean without seeing dolphins is considered incomplete. South Africa’s coastline has a rich marine biodiversity, making the spotting of dolphins more than likely the first of the Big Five that will be ticked off. Bottlenose, Long-Beaked and even the shy Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins can all be seen jumping in and out of the surf in both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans of the South African coastline.
The Cape Fur Seal
As cumbersome as they move on the land, so they can move with swift agility in the water. Cape Fur Seals can be found from Namibia and all around the cape and as far up as Port Elizabeth. At the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town, Hout Bay and Kalk Bay these seals are the star attraction. As shy as the seals are on land, so curious they are in the water, so why not go snorkelling in Hout Bay with the Cape Fur Seals.
The African Penguin
This dapper creature was on the brink of extinction, but now has some well-established colonies dotted around the Western Cape while St. Croix Island in Algoa Bay boasts the largest population in the world. For a guaranteed sighting year around, a visit to the penguin colony at Boulder Beach is a must. A walk on the beach or boardwalk will give you a spectacular view of these unique little creatures in their natural habitat.
Planning a diving trip to South Africa? Why not book yours with us? We have over 25 years of experience and we can assist you in planning the trip of a lifetime.
If you looking for the best diving site off the South African Coast, the coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal is blessed with the warm Agulhas current and a mere 8 km offshore is the diving hotspot, the Protea Banks. This dive site ranks amongst the best in the world with indigo blue water and much pelagic fish. This reef caters for a large variety of sharks, so if its sharks you after, this is the place to be.