January 15, 2019

Diving in False Bay, South Africa: it's time to travel!

Diving in False Bay, South Africa: it’s time to travel! Reviewed by on . Array Array Rating: 3.5

South Africa’s False Bay is known as the ‘Serengeti of the seas’, such is the diversity of its marine life, providing incredible scenes for scuba divers.
Read this advanced article from The Guardian and learn how to describe an underwater landscape.


Sitting in a forest holding on to a tree, I wait for the big beasts to arrive. All I can hear is the sound of my own breathing, but there is plenty to see: bright orange and blue creatures crawling around the forest floor, or tucked in rocky crevices waving their metre-long antennae at me. The trees are uniformly bronze, as thick as my wrist, rising to a mop of flattened fronds that move in a dream-like manner. My buddy, Matt van der Venter, has settled down too. A few small animals hover in front of us, but we are hoping for something much bigger.

Why do people want to fly to Mars, I find myself wondering, when several metres under the sea, you can be in a totally alien environment? At that moment, a 3m-long grey shape rises behind the kelp stems and eases itself gently, but powerfully, in my direction.

When asked to name our top three natural wonders, how many of us would consider an underwater option? Compared with dry land, the sub-marine world usually fails to get a mention. The place where I am diving, False Bay, takes a 30km-wide bite out of the rump of South Africa, right on Cape Town’s doorstep, next to land that is a Unesco biosphere reserve. But few people consider the extraordinary diversity beneath the waves: so far 11,500 species of creature have been found in this one relatively small bay. Contrast that with the global total of 7,500 species of bird.


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What does it mean? Click and find out!

beast (n) animal
to crawl (v) to move slowly, either by dragging the body along the ground or on the hands and knees
to tuck (v) to put something in a particular place, especially in order to keep it safe or hidden
crevice (n) a narrow crack in rock or in a wall
mop (n) a lot of thick untidy hair, an object with a long handle and a mass of thick strings
kelp (n) a large brown type of seaweed (=a plant that grows in the sea)
stem (n) the long thin central part of a plant from which the leaves and flowers grow
to ease (v)  to move somewhere slowly and carefully
beneath (prep) directly under something or at a lower level
species (n) a plant or animal group whose members all have similar general features


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