Posts Tagged ‘Mariculture’

Saldanha Bay.

Situated on the west coast, about 140 km’s from Cape Town, is the picturesque sea side town of Saldanha Bay. It is also positioned  on the northern corner of the largest natural bay in South Africa. The natural deep, sheltered harbour played an important part in the long and colourful history of the area and today still plays a central role in the export and import for the industries of the region.

Saldanha, due to its sheltered harbour, provides excellent conditions for water sport and fishing enthusiasts. During the Second World War it was also extremely important because of its strategic location and safe anchorage as a convoy assembly point. Even today Saldanha is host to a training naval base and the SA Military Academy.

View of Saldanha Bay.
View of Saldanha Bay.
Another view looking more toward the fishing harbour area.
Another view looking more toward the fishing harbour area.

The rock formation seen on the right side of the photograph is known as “Adam & Eve”.

Closer view of the town centre and harbour area.
Closer view of the town centre and harbour area.

The local economy is strongly dependent on fishing, mariculture , mussels, seafood and the harbour trade as well as the established steel industry. The popular SAS Saldanha Nature Reserve, which I unfortunately did not have time to visit, has displays of wild flowers in late winter & early spring and Southern Right whales also visit the safe waters in and around the reserve.

Still a strong military presense.

Still a strong military presence.

Fishing trawler in the harbour.
Fishing trawlers in the harbour.
More fishing boats.
More fishing boats.

Took a stroll to the end of this wharf,  where you can just see that white car,  to see what was going on and found this.

Yes there are fish in the water and some are even catching them!
Yes there are fish in the water and some fishermen are even catching them! The fish is a Stompneus and of legal size.
Came accross 3 young guys practising on their skate boards and managed to get this shot with my trusty Canon G7.
Came across 3 young guys practising on their skate boards and managed to get this shot with my trusty Canon G7.
Nice looking sea food restaurant in the harbour area.
Nice looking sea food restaurant in the harbour area.
Looks like quite a large and active yaucht club.
Looks like quite a large and active yacht club.
Flowers and boats - not your normal mix.
Flowers and boats – not your normal mix.

Saldanha Bay has the normal mix of shops, restaurants and 2 hotels. I would imagine that some of the local shops are really going to battle as there are now 2 big shopping centres that have opened nearby.

The Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay.
The Protea Hotel, Saldanha Bay.

I had been quite keen to stay at the local caravan park but to be honest had heard some not very nice things said about the park so gave it a miss. I decided to go and have a look and see for myself.

Entrance to caravan park.
Entrance to caravan park. Good securit, friendly manager and the price was good.
Some of the well grassed stands.
Some of the well grassed stands.
The ablution block was pretty well maintained and looked clean.
The ablution block was pretty well maintained and looked clean.

I don’t know if things have maybe changed dramatically recently but I thought the park looked pretty good and I would not hesitate to stay there if I was in the area again. They also have cottages ranging in price from R160.00 (small 4  bed)out of season to the largest (6 bed) at R574.00 in season.

On my way back to Langebaan I saw these iron ore railway trucks waiting to be off loaded.
On my way back to Langebaan I saw these iron ore railway trucks waiting to be off loaded.

The Sishen-Saldanha Project, constructed during the early 1970’s, is the only dedicated iron ore export facility in South Africa. The dedicated railway line runs from the Sishen mine in the Northern Cape directly to the off loading facility in Saldanha Bay harbour. These trains are kilometres in length and if you get stack at a level crossing can take more that 10 minutes to pass.

Jacobsbaai.

Situated on the coast between Saldanha Bay and Paternoster lies the picturesque retirement and holiday village of Jacobsbaai. The turn off to get to Jacobsbaai is on the Saldanha Bay – Vredenburg  road, just outside Saldanhna, and the road, until fairly recently was a not so good gravel road.

Jacobsbaai is out of sight of the bordering developed towns and the main traffic flow of the area and is also surrounded by agricultural land and natural vegetation. It is the kind of place you don’t just stumble upon but rather have to know about and make an effort to get there.

Welcome to Jacobsbaai.
Welcome to Jacobsbaai.

IMG_2323Part of Jacobsbaai’s 2km coastline.

The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village.
The pristine beach area which is on the northern side of the village called Hospital Bay.

As one arrives in Jacobsbaai there is an extraordinary sight that greets you. On the 24th June 2009 a barge, the Margaret that was being towed from Durban to the Netherlands, ran aground and is still stuck on the rocks. It is a huge multi decker barge and there is no way that you can miss seeing it.

The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.
The Margaret stuck hard and fast on the rocks.

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Salvage Operation.

There are plans to try and salvage either the barge or at least the cargo.

Weskusplek.
Weskusplek.

Weskusplek is an 80 seater restaurant, holiday and conferencing resort, uniquely situated on a narrow peninsula between  Jacobsbaai bay on the one side and the white-sand beach of Hospital Bay on the other side. Weskusplek is also sometimes referred to as “Steve’s place” after Steve Hofmeyer, a well known South African entertainer, who is a part owner.

The multifunctional conference fascility.
The multifunctional conference facility.

I say multifunctional as it is also used as a wedding chapel and on the day I was there was being prepared for a whole crowd to gather and watch the semi finals of the Currie Cup rugby competition.

Another view of Weskusplek.
Another view of Weskusplek.

Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
Fishing boats waiting for the right conditions to put to sea.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
As with many of the coastal towns there is a lot happening in the Mariculture Industry.
looking accross another small bay at the Crayfish
Looking across another small bay at a place called Live Fish Tanks.

At Live Fish Tanks they pack live West Coast Rock Lobster (crayfish) for export to to Europe and  the far east.

Another old look out building on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
An old look out tower on the south side of Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.
1st house built at Jacobsbaai.

Stopped and had a chat to the owners of this house who told me they were the first to build at Jacobsbaai only 17 years ago. An interesting fact is that of the over 300 houses here 80% are occupied all year round. They reckon that once you stay here you never want to leave.

As you can see there are some good looking houses.
As you can see there are some good looking houses.
They got the rugby result correct - Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.
They got the rugby result correct – Blue Bulls on top and WP at half mast.

Probably the most practicle finish you caould have for a house at the sea.
Probably the most practicable finish you could have for a house at the sea.

This was only the second time I had been to Jacobsbaai, the first was for a photographic assignment some months ago, and after having had some time to explore and have a good look round I really enjoyed the village and can understand why people don’t want to leave. It is only 140km’s from Cape Town and also close to a new modern shopping centre outside Vredenburg. It has a moderate climate, great seafood restaurant and there is good fishing, crayfish diving in season, small boat access, bird life and walking trails.

Hondeklipbaai – Part 1

Woke up to a beautiful day on Saturday 15th – sun shinning and no wind – so decided that this was the day to take a drive down to the coast and visit Hondeklipbaai.

The road from Kamieskroon to Hondeklip, about 85km’s, is gravel and you travel over 2 small passes. All in all it was not too bad but there were a few really bad patches so one had to concentrate all the way or risk some major damage to the vehicle. No way would I tow a normal caravan on that road.

On arrival at Hondeklipbaai I  got the feeling that it was going to be a special place and that’s the way it turned out for me.

Entrance to Hondeklip Baai.

Entrance to Hondeklipbaai.

This little village was once the main harbour from which the copper ore of Namaqualand was exported in the 1800’s. It is now a settlement of about 750 people and for the 4×4 enthusiast it offers a vast, unspoilt, coastline to explore. One of the major attractions is the wreck of the Aristea that ran aground in 1945 and is situated about 5 km’s south of the village.

Info about the Aristea.

Info about the Aristea.

The wreck of the Aristea.

The wreck of the Aristea.

Amazing to think that this wreck has been lying exposed to the element s for over 64 years.

Amazing to think that this wreck has been lying exposed to the element s for over 64 years.

Braai (barbacue) set-up.

Braai (barbecue) set-up.

Obviously a popular spot as they have braai facilities at the site.

Also met up here with 4 students from Cape Town who are studying at the African Film and Drama Academy. They were in the area for the weekend location scouting for a student film. Two of them were very lucky to have escaped virtually unscathed after rolling their car on the road to Hondeklipbaai.

Spotted tis guy sunning himself on the rocks.

Spotted this guy sunning himself on the rocks.

I was not really a flower photographing person, before this trip, but now love the challenge to show them off as best I can, so took these pix right at the beach.

Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.
Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.

Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.

Info on The Dog Stone.

Info on The Dog Stone.

The Dog Stone.

The Dog Stone.

Info on crayfish/rocklobster.

Info on crayfish/rock lobster.

This old structure, in the harbour, was used in the old days for unloading and processing the crayfish.

This old structure, in the harbour, was used in the old days for unloading and processing the crayfish.

Hondeklipbaai is renowned for it’s crayfish but the income from crayfish can be very erratic as it is seasonal and sometimes the weather does not play ball. They have now started a pilot abalone mariculture project that is looking very positive. Unfortunately it being a Saturday I could not get in to have a look around.

Abalone piolet project.

Abalone pilot project.

I was originally going to cover Hondeklipbaai in 1 post but it would  really be too much as I have not even started on the people and the village itself so – to be continued.

Kleinzee – part 1

On Monday the 3rd, at the invitation of Gert Klopper – Public and Corporate Affairs Manager, De Beers, Namaqualand, I  spent the the day at the diamond mining town of Kleinzee on  the West Coast.

I am doing 2 posts, this one about the town itself and part 2 about some of the exciting new tourism ventures that are being developed.

Situated about 50 kilometres south of Port Nolloth, Kleinzee was established as a town in 1942. Diamonds had been discovered on the farm Kleyne Zee in about 1927 and in 1930 the first recovery plant was built. Diamond mining went through many ups and downs because of diamond market crashes and also due to the start of World War 2. It was only toward the end of the war that mining started again.

The well maintained Kleinzee Museum

The well maintained Kleinzee Museum

Boulder Heritage Route

Boulder Heritage Route

This is where the mining at Kleinzee began in the late 1920s. The neatly stacked mounds of rocks are kept intact to remind us of days gone by when mining diamonds was hard manual labour. In the foreground  is one of the boulders with the pick and shovel that marks this site as part of the “Boulder Heritage Route” – an easy 5 km walk down the rich history of diamond mining at Kleinzee

Early pick and shovel mining.

Early pick and shovel mining

The Golf Course.

The Golf Course.

The first thing that one notices while driving through the town is how clean and neat everything is. The population of the town has dropped from a high of about 7000 inhabitants to less than 1000 today because of the closing down of much of the mining operation. As Gert explained  diamonds are a finite resource and once an area is mined then that’s it. But the difference that I saw and heard here is that there are plans in operation to keep the town not only going but to increase the population with the establishment of new types of sustainable businesses to take over from the diamonds in the near future.

An area between the beach and town that is being restored.

An area between the beach and town that is being restored.

Abundant birdlife at the Buffels River estuary at Kleinzee.

Abundant bird life at the Buffels River estuary at Kleinzee.

The seal colony.

The seal colony.

The Kleinzee Cape Fur Seal colony just north of Kleinzee is, with its 300 000 to 400 000 animals, the largest on-land colony in South Africa.

The local Angling Club

The local Angling Club

There are many sporting facilities, fishing , golf, rugby, cricket, netball, bowls, squash etc. and from what I saw all the fields and courts are in tip top condition.

The oyster farm of Kleinzee Mariculture

The oyster farm of Kleinzee Mariculture

The current dam is used to grow out oysters to specific sizes before they are passed on to other farmers for growing to market size. This will change in the future when the dam is extended,  see below, and full size oysters will be grown and exported from Kleinzee.

A basketful of the “big ones that got away”.

A basketful of the “big ones that got away”

Looking down from the recently constructed platform of the abalone farm

Looking down from the recently constructed platform of the abalone farm

These dams came about as a more productive way of using mined-out areas to create an industry that has the potential of sustaining itself – and the economy of the region – for a very long time to come. Apart from the Mariculture there are plans to establish wind farms for the generation of electricity.

Bucyrus Erie dragline machine which is powered by electicity.

Bucyrus Erie dragline machine which is powered by electicity.

In previous years, De Beers Namaqualand Mines used this Bucyrus Erie dragline as a cost-effective means of removing millions of tons of overburden to expose diamond bearing gravels. Today, this 3500 ton monster is being used to rehabilitate the disturbed land and move the soil back into the pits it created – ready for reprofiling and restoration.

The Final Recovery plant.

The Final Recovery plant..

The checkpoint building and security offices at the entrance to the Buffels Marine Mining Complex north of Kleinzee.

The checkpoint building and security offices at the entrance to the Buffels Marine Mining Complex north of Kleinzee.

All in all I found Kleinzee to be a great little town and I believe that with all the planning and hard work that is going on that it has a really bright future. If I am still around in 5 years from now I would love to go back and see all the progress that would have been made.

If you want to have a look around Kleinzee make sure you have your ID Book with you. If you plan to spend a night or two there then you must get security clearance at least 5 days prior to arrival. There are caravan parks, guest houses and a backpackers in the town and surrounding area.