Diving in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Sunrise at Noordhoek Skiboat Launchsite
Port Elizabeth is way down south at the bottom of Africa, more or less in the middle. This is a great dive area as there are a large number of fish that are endemic to South Africa - examples include: silver musselcracker (called brusher in Natal), black musselcracker (poenskop), white steenbras, red steenbras, red stumpnose, red roman, galjoen, bank steenbras (pink and grey), bronze bream, daggerhead, etc. There are also unique corals and invertebrates. In addition to these species there are the more common pelagic species such as cob (salmon, corvina), rock cod (yellowbelly and catface as well as numerous other species including brindle bass and potato bass).
Game fish include yellowtail, amberjack, marlin (black, blue and striped), cuda (Spanish mackerel), snoek (queen mackerel), wahoo, kingfish (caranx - numerous species including bigeye, bluefin, ignoblilis), bonito, yellowfin, swordfish. Sharks can also be found - these include great white sharks, bronze whalers, copper shark, raggedtooth shark (sand tiger), zambezi (bull shark), hammerheads, cowshark, spotted gulley shark, whale shark and numerous others. Note: Fortunately great white sharks are scarce - in over 1400 dives I have seen only 7 specimens of which two were rather aggressive - so your chance of encountering one is 1 in 200 if you have bait and fishblood in the sea.
When you dive PE you are diving in the Indian Ocean. Visibility ranges from 2 -30 m with an average of around 5-8 m. Water temperatures range from 26 degrees centigrade down to about 8 degrees. These are extremes and generally it ranges from 14 - 19 degrees Centigrade.
Islands are rather scarce along the South African Coast - Port Elizabeth boasts three islands in Algoa Bay. These include St Croix (home to a colony of over 50 000 Jackass penguins), Brenton and Jaheel. Tour trips are regularly run to these islands by Raggy Charters. The Bird Island archipelago lies 55 km east of Port Elizabeth harbour and has been declared a marine reserve - this is an area where great white sharks can be consistently observed due to the local seal population.
Jaheel Island St Croix Isalnd Brenton Island
Why would you visit PE?
Great weather - generally warm, fresh air.
Friendly people, relatively low crime levels.
Excellent accommodation and eating houses.
Good fishing and spearfishing close by to where you stay.
Great tourist attractions - boat charters to the islands, bird-watching, awesome beaches, game reserves, museums, oceanarium, casino, shopping malls, etc. etc.