December 2004 Dive Report for Port Elizabeth by Gletwyn Rubidge

December saw el Nino conditions with the sea remaining warm and mostly clean. Such conditions were not conducive to good reef fish catches. The warm water (mostly over 20 deg C and often 23deg C) resulted in a scarcity of reef fish unless thermoclines came up during east winds. I saw a small sailfish in 10 m of water just off Noordhoek and other divers saw rainbow runner while hunting tail at Thunderbolt reef. Perhaps we will take some kaakap again in late summer, as was the case last year. Yellowtail and bonito were relatively scarce – possibly the water was a bit too warm.

Massive shoals of small cob and geelbek (and sometime including shad) showed up around Cape Reciefe. Soldiers arrived in their platoons with the thermoclines but were mostly small. Luan got a fine specimen of 5 kgs. Some bank steenbras and red stump were also taken. As usual the galjoen seem to take full advantage of the well selected closed season – on almost every dive large specimens can be encountered.

Sharks have been rather scarce with no recorded white encounters and bronzies and raggies being the most prevalent.

Cape Receife and the west side (Noordhoek to Seaview) produced cracker which generally small fish. St Francis produced some good catches of yellowtail, cracker and other reef fish. An angler reported seeing a prodigal son and a cuda at Shark point at Cape St Francis.

A flood occurred during late December muddying up the water to some degree but the effects seemed short-lived. The beach at Maitlands has been too eroded to permit pushing a boat down to launch there. The Coega harbour dredging still seems to dirty the water a lot preventing good viz at the reefs near the islands in Algoa bay.