St Francis Bay visitors and residents

Important message for St Francis Bay visitors and residents

The South African Police Services, Community Police Forum & Sector Police Forum welcome you to greater St Francis. Crime is on the increase and your safety is our concern so please help us help you to ensure that your stay is pleasant and safe:

Some precautions to ensure your safety

• Lock doors and keep windows closed at night. Ensure cell phones, handbags, lap tops etc are secured.
• Activate the alarm when you retire at night or are away from your house
• Lock your vehicle when it is parked
• Please report acts of vandalism – a crime we will not tolerate
• Parents must ensure that motorised scooters & quad bikes are licenced and properly supervised at all times
• Consider your neighbours’ rights with respect to high volume sound day or night
• Alcohol abuse is dangerous. Drinking in public places including the beach and kromme river is illegal
• Adhere to the rules of the road & waterways
• Keep to the 50 kms speed limit on main roads and 40 kms on all satellite roads
• Waterfights and fireworks are strictly prohibited
• No dogs permitted on bathing beaches. Dogs must be kept on leash on other beaches and owners responsible for cleaning up after them
• Water is scarce. Please use water sparingly at all times

For your safety and that of others we urge you to report all crime and suspicious persons or incidents to the saps

Emergency numbers:

Police: 10111 or 042 200 1800 / 042 200 1817

Hospital: 042 295 1100 – fire brigade 042 291 0250

NSRI: 042 294 0131 – doctors 042 294 0719

Egrets, herons, cormorants cause a stir

Egrets, Herons and Cormorants – problem and solution

A hostile up-roar ensued when egrets, herons and cormorants chose to breed in alien pine trees growing on the pavement in a residential area of St Francis Bay. The Kouga Municipality, Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, health officials, and nature lovers were all drawn into the affair (and certainly did not flock together in opinion) and the conflict had the potential to become a legal issue with huge costs involved.

On the one hand, the municipality was called in to remove the trees and a potential health hazard, and at the same time nature lovers insisted that the birds be allowed to breed once nest building had started. Such an up-roar ensued that the municipality halted the felling process and the birds continued with the breeding cycle.

What is not generally known is that birds in numbers such as this excrete an enormous amount of ammonia-smelling excrement which covers all ground in the vicinity, roofs, walls, fences, plants etc. Noise from chicks soliciting for food continues throughout the day and night; dead chicks fall to the ground attracting flies, lice etc. and the accompanying odour is appalling. This becomes a health hazard as it did in this case.

Matters came to a head when the health of the person concerned developed a respiratory problem and medical help was necessary and intervention called for. The municipality was recalled and the trees were thus felled.

The owner of the affected house, once the trees were removed, incurred enormous expense trying to rectify the physical mess that had been left, as well as her health which has not yet recovered. Her home had to be fumigated twice; excrement (several centimetres thick in some places) removed from walls, roofs, fences, and the ground below. A pressure hose had to be hired. All the ammonia impregnated soil had to be removed completely and new soil brought in to the area below the trees.

All this could have been avoided had timeous action been taken before the actual breeding cycle had started. Unfortunately the breeding had started and some chicks were rescued and taken to the local vet. The birds suffered trauma when the trees were felled and flew round frantically looking for their nests and chicks.

To avoid a repetition of this unfortunate occurrence on municipal or private property timeous steps should be taken to discourage the birds from breeding in a place that would cause conflict with human habitation. They might be driven off by noise when they first show a preference for a tree that is too close or perhaps branches that could be used for nesting purposes could be trimmed or the chosen tree might even have to be felled before nesting takes place if there is no other solution.

The problem is not an easy one but a lot of heartache could be avoided by doing the right thing in time.

Wildlife photographer, Carolyn Greathead, witnessed the distressing scene when the birds returned to their nests and chicks to find them gone, and filmed them flying or sitting around in confusion.

Birds causing health problem in St Francis

Some of the concerned birds settled on nearby bushes

Birds causing health hazard in St Francis Bay

Birds not understanding

Article by Yvonne Bosman – Photographs by Carolyn Greathead

Message from NSRI and Lifesaving SA

NSRI and Lifesaving SA working towards drowning prevention – Safety message:

Sea Rescue and Lifesaving SA are working with all rescue services in an effort to reduce the number of drownings in South Africa this summer season.

The 7 top safety tips for the Summer holidays that should always be top of mind are:

  1. Only swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty. If lifeguards are not on duty do not swim.
  2. Swim only between the lifeguards red and yellow flags.
  3. Don’t drink alcohol and swim
  4. Don’t swim alone
  5. Competent adults supervision for children and barriers which prevent access to water are vital.
  6. Know what rip currents are and how to survive them
  7. Don’t attempt a rescue, call a lifeguard or dial 112 from any cell phone

Have a plan in place to prevent panic:

  • Make sure you have emergency numbers saved in your cell phone.  Dial 112 from any cell phone in any emergency.
  • Put the local Sea Rescue number in your phone http://www.nsri.org.za/emergency-numbers/
  • Check the wind, weather and tides before you go to the beach.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, make sure they know your route.
  • When climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks – never ever turn your back on the sea.
  • If you are paddling or if you are on a boat download NSRI’s free SafeTrx app.   http://www.nsri.org.za/safetrx
  • Check that your craft and equipment are in good working order and carry the correct safety approvals and certifications and safety gear.
  • Wear a Life-Jacket at all times.
  • Store your communication devices,  cell-phone and VHF radio, with fully charged batteries in watertight plastic sleeves.
  • Carry red distress flares, a signaling mirror or CD disc, a referee’s whistle, a waterproof torch and wear the correct brightly coloured  gear, a hat and sunscreen and keep well hydrated.

Teach your children about rip currents:

  • Rip currents are the greatest cause of drowning accidents along our coast.
  • A rip current looks like a calm patch of water but is actually a river of water flowing fast out to sea against the incoming waves.
  • If you are caught in a rip-current you’ll be swept out to sea faster than you’re able to swim towards the shore.
  • Don’t panic or try to swim against the current.
  • As tough as this sounds, let the current take you out to sea.
  • Raise one arm in the air and wave and scream to alert people on the shore that you’re in trouble.
  • At the first chance you get … swim parallel to the beach until you’re free of the rip, then use the incoming waves to aid your progress to get back to shore

The biggest danger that people face on the beaches this summer are Rip currents.

See http://www.nsri.org.za/2015/09/beware-of-rip-currents/ for more on Rip currents

How to avoid rip currents

NSRI St Francis Bay

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

On Saturday, 10th December, NSRI St Francis Bay dispatched the sea rescue craft Spirit of St francis II to patient evacuate a 24 year old fisherman, from Uitenhage, suffering a swollen femur on the Chokka fishing boat Santa Lara, 7 nautical miles off-shore of Jeffreys Bay.

The crewman was safely brought aboard the Spirit of St Francis II  sea rescue craft and taken to the Port of St Francis from where he was transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance without incident.

IMPORTANT – Please read

Good advice for the holidays from NSRI and Lifesaving SA

Ukupha (meaning “to give”)

Ukupha (meaning “to give”)

Ukupha St Francis

Santa Francis started as an “idea ” when Ukupha (meaning “to give”) decided that we wanted to give back to our children as well as raising funds for a charity in need. It has become an annual event and we have just completed our third year! We raise funds for
SONRISE (www. stfrancisunitedchurch.co.za) and we are looking at funding three Talhado Montessori  Pre-school kid’s school fees for the year . We also invite 20 Sea Vista Primary school kids to join Santa Francis via Rotary ( Lynn Aitken) They are rewarded on an academic performance basis and are given their ticket during their school awards evening.

Ukupha began 8 years ago, when a group of friends wanted to give back to the St Francis Bay Community. We organise charity events throughout the year to raise funds for various Kouga based charities, including Hospice , Talhado , SPCA, Sonrise , Victory4all Children’s home etc

St Francis Pharmacy is the main sponsor for the event . This year we had sponsors from St Francis Brewery, Viking Bakery, Blue Bottle Liquors, Kouga Print and the Homestead Equestrian Estate. Members of our amazing community also gave of their time to ensure this event was, yet again, a great success.

Santa Francis is a Christmas celebration held at the Homestead Equestrian Estate on the Oyster Bay Road. On arrival, kids and parents are escorted by trailer rides into the estate and delivered to the barn, which is set up with hay bales, a stage, and lots of Christmas decorations. The kids got to enjoy pony rides (Tracy Kennedy), face painting (Mel Mienie) and a jumping castle while they wait for the show to begin and the eminent arrival of Father Christmas!

Characters involved in the show called ” The elf who lost the Christmas spirit ”  were Tinkerbell (Chene Mienie) , Elf (Warren Manser) , Clown (Courtney Juries), Ninja Turtle (Tyron Stewart) , Jack Sparrow (Jarrod Mienie) and a Santa (Pete Mitchley) . All music and extra effects  were compiled by DJ Robert Stark .

The main highlight is Santa arriving on a motorbike (Brandon Kennedy) with a big bag of presents for all our children (all pre- arranged).

The reward… Happy children with big smiles on their faces. And we get to give back to those in our community who need a little extra love and assistance.

Santa Francis has become a yearly event and we are hoping to continue and give back to the community for as long as possible.
The Ukupha group would like to thank the community and sponsors for their ongoing support. For more information regarding Ukupha, or to see what we’re up to, or if you’d like to join us, please visit our facebook page https://facebook.com/Ukupha/ or call any of the ladies below.

Ukupha : Louise Niven, Ezna Kennedy, Heather White, Jacky Hay, Kyle Legg, Georgie Tovell, Kelly van Eyssen, Cath Mitchley, Daniella Reynolds, Bobbie Hart, Jennifer Manser.

Ukupha St Francis