What Lies Beneath: Not a Horror Story

Waterfront Charters don’t only offer the best scheduled and charter cruise options at the V&A Waterfront. Behind the scenes our organisation is focussed very strongly on the environment we love and that serves as our playground. The threats to our oceans are many, varied and very real. Some threats we can only talk about and educate – there is little that we can do to change the environment in the Pacific Ocean, for instance, where global weather is essentially created, other than spread the word about global warming and its consequences – but we can, and do, make a difference here in the Cape. Our cruises aren’t just about fun: we want to show every guest that steps aboard one of our seven vessels that the ocean is a magnificent place; a world apart from our familiar places; a world of exquisite creatures, natural beauty and varied terrain. A world that, although largely unseen, reacts to our pollution, our offal, our bad habits and our presence.

We get glimpses of that underwater world when some of its more adventurous creatures hit the surface. The southern right whales, the sunfish, the occasional shark (cue hiss of indrawn breath when a Great White’s dorsal fin breaks the surface alongside a boat), the pods of elegant dolphins, the playful seals and the penguins that transform from little waddling clowns into astoundingly manoeuvrable torpedoes in the sea. But there is so much more, as any free diver or SCUBA enthusiast will tell you. Not everyone wants to submerge themselves – we understand that – but we have found a way to show everyone that magical world. Meet Cape RADD: an amazing team of marine researchers that are based in Simon’s Town, and have joined forces with Waterfront Charters to offer a unique opportunity to learn about – and see – the submarine world from the comfort of a luxury catamaran.

“But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.”

H.P. Lovecraft

A bit more about CapeRADD. The name is an acronym for Cape Research and Diver Development, but that hardly scrapes the surface of their mission. In fact, the best way to give an idea of what they do is simply to let them tell you in their own words:

“Cape RADD is a marine field station that serves as a platform for researchers in the Cape Town and False Bay area. We specialise in long-term projects that serve to monitor the biodiversity of a global hotspot with more than 3500 endemic marine species. Our research includes assessing the success of different management strategies in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), monitoring the diversity and abundance of marine species, white shark population estimates, shark deterrent strategies, and some large-scale citizen science programs. Our research utilises various techniques including Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUV), SCUBA roving divers, line transects, quadrats, photo quadrats and dropcams, mark-recapture, and other novel techniques. At the core of our values is passing on our expertise to early-career scientists and those with a passion for the ocean.”

An incredibly worthy mission, and one that gets Waterfront Charters complete support. But what does that mean for you, our clients? As an Add-on to a charter you will have an accompanying expert; a marine biologist who knows the ocean intimately, and who can share that information in a way that not only fascinates but also educates. Whether you are a teacher, a diver, a conservationist or an involved citizen, this knowledge is phenomenal. The accompanying BRUV (sounds like a Cockney term of endearment, but is an acronym for Baited Remote Underwater Video), the underwater camera, is a brilliant way of taking guests into the underwater world without getting their toes wet; it is non-invasive, and the myriad creatures explore the camera and the bait-box with curiosity, giving you a seal’s eye view of what goes on underwater.

Check out www.caperadd.com for more details about this team of dedicated people, and get a sneak peek of a BRUV moment at BRUV Camera deployment.
Waterfront Charters – our cruises offer everything from unadulterated enjoyment, unsurpassed relaxation, visual splendour and scenic majesty to amazing education about our chosen environment.

The Cape RADD Documentary
Baited remote underwater video (BRUV) footage