The SAS Haerlem is a popular old navy frigate wreck site re-purposed as an artificial reef perfect for divers. The Haerlem was built in 1958 and disarmed in 1963. The ship was scuttled in Algoa Bay on 30 November 1987, close to the Bell Buoy.
She settled 21 meters below the surface, with her bow to the south and has created holes, nooks and crannies for the curious diver keen to encounter some shy sharks, a variety of fish and soft coral.
The deck has broken in two. Big cob can be seen inside the hull. On top of the deck the depth is about 18m average and 21m at the stern. Due to the protection of the bay, it makes for a very safe wreck dive.
Port Elizabeth based ProDive have alerted the public to the plunder of this dive site, saying:
The SAS Haerlem, completed on the 28th November 1958, commissioned on the 2nd of June 1959, served first as anti-submarine and then survey ship, was decommissioned and disarmed in 1963. On the 30th of November 1987 she was scuttled by the SA Navy with the purpose of creating an artificial reef. A wreck for all divers to enjoy, to explore and to discover. She delivered! Since she came to rest on the white sands of Algoa Bay she has entertained thousands of recreational divers both local and international. She has become a haven to sharks, rays, octopus, nudibranchs, and large schools of fish. She has dressed herself in all the colours of the sea. She has bejewelled herself with anemones, sea squirts, soft corals, sponges and bryozoans.
BUT now after more than two decades of faithful service to the diving fraternity and as refuge to many marine organisms, it has come to our attention that a group of divers are disassembling this doyenne. They are plundering this magnificent old lady. They are taking her apart, bit by bit; they are selling her for scrap metal. Really, seriously, truthfully!
WE NEED YOU! We need all divers and friends of Algoa Bay to act. Tell a friend, distribute the news! Tell everybody! Keep your eyes open and your camera lenses clean.
Posted to Youtube on 20 April 2014 by Anton Roland:
The Haerlem is one of many dive sites in Port Elizabeth which include: Avalanche, Bell Buoy, Chelsea North, Cracker, Crossroads, Devil’s Reef, The Doddington, Evan’s Peak, The “SS Fidela” wreck, Gasmic Gorge, The “Haerlem” wreck, The Inchcape Rock, “MV Kapodistrias” wreck, Mark 4 Safepoint/Mark 4 Wall, Mark 4 Tables, Moonie, “MV Pati” wreck, Phillips Reef, Pinnacles, Riy Banks, Roman Rock, Slipway, Suicide Reef and Thunderbolt Reef.