Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Moddergat

The dive site Moddergat is an offshore rocky reef in the Gordon’s Bay area of False Bay, near Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

. . . Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Moddergat . . .

This is a dive site which is conveniently close to the slipway at Harbour Island, and deep enough that the visibility at the bottom may be significantly better than in the shallower water of the shoreline dive sites of Gordon’s Bay. It was known as a good fishing spot for many years, though the big fish are now more of a memory. It is similar to the dive site at Drop Zone which is about 6 km further west.

  • S34°09.150 E018°49.650 -34.152518.82751 Moddergat Nominal position. This does not appear to be critical as the reef is quite large and quite flat.

This site is not in a Marine Protected Area. A permit is not required.

The origin of the name is not clear. Moddergat means mudhole in Afrikaans, but there is no mud and it does not seem to be a hole, as the reef is higher than the surrounding sand bottom. There is a Moddergat river discharging into False Bay, but it in Macassar, not near the dive site.

Maximum depth is about 16 m at the sand edge to the north. It may be deeper to the south. The top of the reed is about 13 m. (Average depth is likely to be about 14 m.)

Visibility on the east side of False Bay is generally worse than on the Cape Peninsula, but Moddergat is just far enough offshore to be unaffected by most rain runoff and just deep enough to be relatively unaffected by swell, particularly as it is quite a large area without much silt. On the other hand, it will not have the advantage of upwelling clear water in an offshore wind and is exposed to the wind from all directions. Plankton blooms may reduce visibility in the upper layers while visibility at depth remains relatively good, though fairly dark. This can only be determined by diving. Visibility has been recorded up to about 10m, but will usually be less.

Moderate and low profile rocky reef with fairly high rugosity on the decimetre scale. The ridges and gullies are generally small and broken up. There are few, if any, landmarks of note.

Geology: Hard, resistant, sedimentary rock, possibly of the Precambrian Tygerberg formation. Strike and dip not obvious.

. . . Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Moddergat . . .

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. . . Diving the Cape Peninsula and False Bay/Moddergat . . .

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