Aliwal shoal

Diving Destinations – Aliwal Shoal

After my fantastic time on Safari at Pondoro Lodge, I was ready to see more animals, of the marine variety.  I had decided to go diving at Aliwal Shoal because I had read about how amazing the sardine run was if you could hit it.  What I didn’t know is that the sardine run was actually further south around the St. Johns area…. but here I was in Umkomaas, South Africa and I was going to dive the Shoal.

I was staying at Agulhas House in Umkomaas.  First off, I have to say that Brett the owner, and divemaster Nikki are FABULOUS hosts, they hung out with the guests every night, whether it be a BBQ or heading into town to have dinner.  My first night here, I was exhausted, but they came to my room to invite me to a BBQ with the other guests:

Aliwal shoal
Bananas flambe

I had booked a baited shark dive, but Brett said no one else wanted to do it while I was there, so sadly… strike two against me getting to play Jaws.  You no fun, South Africa.

No one else at Agulhas was diving Aliwal Shoal the next day except for me, so they sent me out with another dive operator in town.

Aliwal shoal
Looks like its going to be a beautiful day

On our two dives that day we luckily saw some ragged tooth sharks and some potato bass.  The rip currents were unbelievable.  I guess they joke that if you can dive in South Africa, you can dive anywhere.  My rental regulator mouthpiece broke while on my dive, and it was really difficult to keep my regulator in during the dive, but I stuck it out.

Here is a video of diving with the Raggies:

As I’ve been diving the last few months in Asia, I’m not too used to 23C water, poor vis, a 5 mil wetsuit AND wearing a hood… but actually didn’t feel too cold under water.

We also saw a family of Humpback Whales:

As hot of my dive mates that day on our way back to Umkomass from the shoal:

Aliwal shoal

All in all, it wasn’t too bad of a first day out there, glad I saw the ragged tooth sharks, sad I couldn’t get a good picture of their teeth.

aliwal shoal
“Lekker” is South African for “good”

That night I went out with the guests from Agulhas to a restaurant called Enzos.  We had a great time and bought a bottle of homemade lemoncello liquor:

aliwal shoal

The next day I went out diving with the other guests at Agulhas.

First dive was a wreck dive that was a huge waste of time.  You couldn’t see 3 feet in front of you which also made it super dangerous.  We ended up surfacing at 22 minutes.

Saw this pod of dolphins on the surface interval:

Aliwal shoal

Second dive, we headed to the shoal and Nikki and I found these shark teeth while at Cathedral and we also saw an electric ray.

Aliwal shoal

And finally at the end of the dive there were a few black tips:

Aliwal shoal

I was a bit disappointed about my dives at Aliwal Shoal.  Maybe if I would have been able to do the baited shark dive, which is the reason I went there in the first place, I would have had a better experience….

After diving was complete, I drove around the Durban area a bit to check out the sites:

Now I’m off to Rwanda to see the Mountain Gorillas and meet up with some friends in Kigali!

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