Aliwal Shoal Report August 2007 - Basie Ackerman

General conditions

It’s August. Howling winds in the 30knot range.  One day from the east, next day from the west. It’s like watching a Wimbledon tennis match. Historically it’s a dismal time for diving on the Shoal, and this August was no exception. This was clearly evident by the lack of any spearo’s out there compared to the months before.  The current was predominantly reverse, and the visibility ranged from 4-12m, most days being a green 6-8m.   Temperature was 21-22 degrees Celsius.

We also experienced some huge westerly groundswell, especially on the29th, when I recorded 6.5m swells out on the Shoal. It was very impressive to watch waves 5-6m high break three deep, bowling top to bottom on the Pinnacle Ridge, all the way down past Cathedral.  It looked like backline. And the launch was a slight adrenalin rush too!


The only two days with good conditions were on the long weekend. North south current and 18m visibility, the only time this month.  Surprisingly, only one spearing boat out there, I didn’t recognize them, but reports were that they saw nothing.  The Wahoo were there though, as one of 27kg was caught and two lost right next to the boat by a fisherman in quick succession. 

The Sailfish are still around, as a couple have been seen by scuba divers, and I’ve seen some jumping as well.

Same with the Tuna. Emil Pirzenthal managed a great Yellowfin Tuna of 28kg’s, which gave him a good fight. He was trying out a long gun – 1.8m barrel with a 2.5m 8mm spear and 4x14mm rubbers. Deadly accurate according to him.  It would be interesting to see how it would work on those shy Wahoo come October. 

I have not received any other reports of fish coming out, and I expect this quiet time to last for September as well. Definitely the attention shifts inshore with better chances of Garrick, Salmon, Brusher and Grunter.

Just as a reminder - one of the Scuba dive boats flipped out on the Pinnacles this month. Experienced skipper and only a 4-5foot easterly swell, but he was caught unawares by a rogue wave. We managed to turn him back over and got the motors going again after flushing them, so all’s well that ends well.

Please be aware if you are topman/bakkie boy and you find the boat drifting close to the Pinnacles – not a nice surprise to have. Don’t be lulled by the fact that you are 5kms offshore, one wave and your boat resembles a badly built helicopter.