Knysna 2007

Knysna is situated around a lagoon and has some of the most expensive housing that I saw in the whole of South Africa. There were a few bars, but it was pretty quiet as the holiday season had finished. I stayed at a B&B and it was the most expensive room I booked in the whole trip. But it was definitely worth it. For 350 Rand, I had an enormous room, big bathroom, balcony overlooking the lagoon, use of the swimming pool and a cooked breakfast so big that I didn't eat any lunch the two days I was there.

At the entrance to the lagoon is a wreck called the Paquita. The ship left Newcastle with a cargo of coal which it landed in October 1903. It then took on sand ballast at Featherbed bay and on 6th October 1903, the anchors fouled in a strong wind. The ship was refloated and then on the 18th October the anchors fouled again in the current position. Most of the crew had been paid off despite the fact that the ship was supposedly going onto Barbados and the anchor and cable were found intact after the wrecking, so the insurers refused to pay out.

There was a dive shop right on site, though it was due to close and the guy running it was teaming up with a shop in town. His number should still work though. It's 044 384 0831. As the site is at the entrance to the lagoon, there's a fair current, so it's a slack water dive. I was diving with just the shop owner, which was nice. He took his camera in too, though his was playing up. Fortunately mine wasn't.

As you'd expect for a wreck that went down over a hundred years ago, it's pretty smashed up. We swam around the wreck for a bit then followed the rocky reef for a while before looking for some rays on the sand. There weren't any rays, but there was plenty of life. I saw blennies, gobies, little gulley sharks, loads of small cuttle fish and a big octopus. There were also shoals of a fish I didn't recognise over the wreck.

The viz wasn't great. It was about 5m and it wasn't that warm either, with a water temperature of 22°C. The other instructor in the shop went in wearing a shorty. I was pleased to have a 7mm suit myself. My maximum depth was just over 17m and we had a reasonably lengthy dive at 48 minutes. The current changed around during our dive, but it wasn't that strong at any time.

Driving out of Knysna, the road is called the Garden Route. It's quite scenic and the road has a fair few bend on it. There are also a number of speed cameras and mobile speed traps along it, so it's best sticking to the limit, even if it is quite low on some of the curvy sections. I spent the night in Mossel Bay, before driving onto Stellenbosch.