Teams Bridge Tournament

Annual Teams Bridge Tournament

Compliments were the order of the day at the Annual St Francis Bay Teams Bridge Tournament which was run from Friday 12 May to Sunday 14 May 17.

This tournament has built up a reputation for excellence and this year was no exception. From the perfect venue at the St Francis Links to the slick organisation of the committee it could not be faulted.

Such is the reputation and popularity of this tournament, twenty-six teams of four competed this year, packing the venue to capacity. Joy Faulkner of from Port Alfred commented that they fight to be included in the team to St Francis Bay as the tournament at the Links is such an excellent one. Seven teams came from Port Elizabeth alone, and others travelled from Port Alfred, Kenton-on-Sea, Cradock, Bedford, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George, Jeffreys Bay and even one team from Johannesburg, to compete against the local participants.

Hanne Kroyer, a competitor from George who is a “swallow” from Denmark and who plays regularly at the club there said: “You could not find a tournament of this quality in Denmark, at this price, and another thing that impressed me most was the kindness I experienced.”

Prue Gillespie from Port Elizabeth said that the tournament was amazing and the organisation excellent as was the food.

In his closing address Geoff Ellis, President of the St Francis Bridge Club, thanked Jeff Clause for outstanding food and service provided by the St Francis Links. There was loud applause from the entire room at this. The staff had pulled out all the stops to provide assistance wherever needed and the venue itself is conducive to the quiet concentration required by the game. He also expressed thanks to the ladies of the Committee who had presented the venue so perfectly, to Roger Lea who ran the computer scoring with help from Judy Beck, and to John Boonziaer for liaison with the Links on the food and beverage side.

A tournament director plays a major role at any bridge session and to run one of this size is no easy task but Eileen Ellis, performing this role for the first time, succeeded admirably. John Boonzaier, Deputy President, complimented on her patience and for coping with the hectic demands made on her services in such an excellent manner.

The winners were Vernon Rice and his team from Knysna: George Raymer, Mike Wright and Viv Lloyd. Runners   up were Arie Ridderhof (Port Alfred) and his team from Kenton-on-Sea Bridgit Pote, Yvonne Malherbe and Lorraine Knowles.

Winners of the St Francis Bay Bridge Teams Competition: (l to r) George Raymer, Mike Wright, Viv Lloyd, with Geoff Ellis (SFB Bridge Club President) and Vernon Rice.

Tournament Director Eileen Ellis, in typical pose organising and making sure things go well, with John Boonzaier Vice-President of the club who thanked her for her excellent handling of the competition.

Article & photographs – Yvonne Bosman

What a weekend in St Francis

s

What a weekend in St Francis and a little further afield

The weekend kicked off early with the ‘Meet the Teams’ function at Cape St Francis Resort. The Sea Vista Marimba Band set the mood with their energy and even had a member of the Japanese Expedition Africa team joining ig the dance antics of this vibrant group of youngsters that have improved in leaps and bounds since their recent return from China.  It was great to see the support of the local community joining in the celebration of what is undoubtedly the biggest event yet hosted in St Francis. Let’s hope this encourages other big event organisers to look at St Francis as a potential host to their event. Possibly golf’s SA OPEN?

Come Saturday morning and all the participating teams in Expedition Africa gathered on our beautiful Cape St Francis Beach for the Flag Ceremony. From the beach they wound their way, flags aloft and waving, to the Lighthouse.  An awesome spectacle that was enjoyed by a good crowd who had gathered to witness the teams as one by one they laid their team tiles on a map of Africa that will remain in place, hopefully for generations to come.  Those who chose not to make the effort missed a truly memorable event that culminated with Mayor Elza van Lingen unveiling a plaque marking Cape St Francis and the most South Eastern point of Africa. If you did not attend this splendid event you really should take yourself over to the lighthouse and have a look at the memory Expedition Africa team has left behind.

Expedition Africa organiser Stephan Muller with Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen

And so Sunday dawned, well not quite, for before sunrise the Expedition Africa teams assembled for the start of this epic race. And before the sun peeked over the horizon the teams came under starters orders and then they were off, 156 souls embarking on an adventure that will take them through some of the most beautiful parts of Kouga including some areas seen by few.

Chasing the race as a spectator was not without its challenges for these guys really get a move on and in no time at all the had run through the port and on to the canals where at last followers could catch their breath as the teams took to kayaks to paddle the canals and up the Kromme then the Geelhout, a paddle that would challenge even some of the more paddling community of St Francis Paddling Club. It was soon apparent that some were more accomplished than others at the art of paddling as the field stretched giving spectators a chance to see the teams in action.

Once out of sight spectating became a little more challenging and required a drive to Checkpoint Two atop a hill above the river valley. Some four hours after leaving the flat terrain of Cape St Francis beach and exhausting paddle, teams had to carry their kayaks up the steep and long climb uphill to the checkpoint before packing their kayaks into supplied bags for onward transportation to the dam where teams would again take to the water but not before a six or seven kilometre run,  back down into the valley and onto the dam at Checkpoint 3.

Checkpoint 2

 

At this point this scribe’s keeping up with the race was unfortunately done. The spirit was willing but the body sent more than a few warnings so I was unable to see all I had planned to on the opening day of Expedition Africa. Unlike the competitors in this awesome event I was able to traverse the general direction on the course  in the comfort of a vehicle, challenged  by climbing a couple of farm fences and a few hills yet by midday I conceded defeat and headed for the comfort of a Car Park John draught beer back at the resort.

Not too sure if I will be covering the next couple of days of the race as they navigate to more remote areas of Kouga and the Baviaans for the old ticker protested a little too much during the first days activity so I will take medical advice to slow down and rather follow the race on my PC monitor  for a day or two while I recover so that I can join in the spectating as the leading teams get closer to the end of the race come Wednesday. Crazy to think these amazing athletes can cover 500 kilometres in three days using their feet, kayaks and bikes but apparently they will, although a few of the slower teams will take the full seven days which is still an amazing feat.

And lest we forget! Congratulations to Hadyn Holmes of Liquid Lines and Byron Lockett on winning the Kromme Descent (more on that tomorrow).  And of course let us not forget the Southern Kings defeating The Sharks on Saturday. As an avid Sharks supporter it was not a result expected nor one easy to live with but the Kings were quite simply, OUTSTANDING.

To follow Expedition Africa visit http://www.kineticgear.org/live-coverage/

There are also a myriad of Facebook sites where you can get news and photos as the race unfolds.

More photos on https://web.facebook.com/groups/399708023551486/

UK ROTARIANS ASSIST TALHADO

UK ROTARIANS ASSIST TALHADO MONTESSORI SCHOOL

St Francis Rotary chairman, Arthur Baggott presenting the new teaching aids to delighted teachers Virginia Brown (Grade R Afrikaans) and Loreka Coetser (Grade R Xhosa) and school administrator and founder Lesley Moore.

Early this year, St Francis Rotarians were given a tour of the Talhado Montessori School (formerly Talhado Children’s Haven) in Sea Vista. Visiting UK Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Woking District, Robin Jackson and his wife Esther, were so impressed with the tour that they made a recommendation to their home club to support this wonderful little school.

This week Arthur Baggott, chairman of the Rotary Satellite Club St Francis officially handed over a R7000.00 donation from the Woking Rotarians to be used to purchase specialised Montessori teaching aids.

“It has been on my mind for a while that we are in desperate need of certain materials in the classrooms, so I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this donation and interest in Talhado Montessori School.  It is through organisations such as Rotary that we are able to offer such a highly functional educational service to the local community of Seavista,” said Headmistress, Cathryn Hempel. “Our aim is to enrol two more teachers in the NAMC curriculum and equip another classroom by next year, which will cater to an additional 30 children.  The materials will be used in all three classrooms.”

 

Official Opening of Expedition Africa

The ‘BIG EVENT’ kicks off with Official Opening of Expedition Africa

The opening ceremony at 2:00 pm today is open to all so get yurself over to Cape St Francis and come and meet the teams participating in this exciting but gruelling event.

Expedition Africa logoAll is in place for the start of the biggest event yet hosted in our tiny enclave on the south eastern tip of the African continent. Today sees the official opening of the event here you can get to meet the organisers, the sponsors and of course the TEAMS!

The general public will get their first glimpse of the competitors tomorrow when they unfurl their team flags at the ‘flag ceremony’ before gathering at SANCCOB for the ‘stone laying’. The best vantage point will possibly be to gather at or near the lighthouse but maybe get there early as hopefully most of St Francis will be there to support this wonderful opportunity to promote our region and show our support for the competitors.

The race proper will start at 7:00am Sunday and although at time of publishing this article there was no word as to where the starting line will be, SFT has a sneaky suspicion it will start from the host venue, Cape St Francis Resort, or certainly in close proximity. If you can get your nose out from under the duvet early Sunday morning it could be worthwhile to make your way to the resort to watch and give these fearless adventurers an enthusiastic send off to their journey into the unknown.

Expedition Africa is not the only sporting event taking place in St Francis this weekend and the annual Kromme Descent also is being held this weekend. More’s the pity that there wasn’t a bit more coordination of the events for it really would have better to have held the events on different weekends. But too late for that now and possibly there may be a spectator spin off for again, and we (SFT) has no confirmation of this, we have a feeling the Expedition Africa route on day one may just see competitors kayaking up the Kromme.

If the EA and swimmers do end up on the river at the same time it may result in a little more boat activity on the river than normal at this time of the year and thus it may be an idea that boats either supporting spectating the swimmers respect the kayakers if they do indeed meet on the river.

The weather  is looking good for the weekend with sunshine forecast although the snow on the Southern Drakensberg may cause it to be a little chilly.

If you would like to track your team’s progress over the coming days there is a live tracking facility available at www.expafrica.live

Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there. Let’s hope you are spoiled rotten and the family treats you to lunch as breakfast in bed will be out of the question as you will no doubt be supporting the Expedition Africa or Kromme Descent swimmers.

Interesting talk by Dr Kaz

Interesting talk by Dr Kaz at Dune Ridge

Dr Kaz - Happy Bodies - Happy Minds

Old habits die hard and the older one gets the less likely and certainly the harder it is to change. We all know we should eat more vegetables, eat less fatty foods and less sugar, drink less, give up smoking, exercise regularly but many of us go on with our lives with an attitude of why change what isn’t broken. Well that is until something breaks and a serious health episode interrupts one’s normal way of life and causes one to ‘catch a wake-up’ and start paying attention to how we live our lives.

St Francis Animal Rescue has over the past years heldsome interesting talks on all manner of subjects including a few of which this scribe has attended. A year or so back Alison Jones gave a very informative talk on healthy eating as a way of retaining a healthy weight and life.  Another truly interesting talk was by Jenny  Rayment, a hypnotherapist,  explaining the many benefits of hypnotherapy and how by delving into the sub-conscious and uncovering experiences, many from childhood, assists patients overcome fears or habits.

The talk yesterday at Dune Ridge Country House by Dr Kaz, a Durban-based GP who is also an Holistic Healer dealt had a subject of a healthy body – a healthy mind and as with the two aforementioned talks proved not only extremely interesting but more importantly, touched on some of the things we need to pay attention to if we are not already.

Those of us born prior to the days of fast foods, television, plastic, microwave ovens, genetically modified food, laptop computers and of course cell phones, truly had a good head start in life. Our bodies and brains were not contaminated by the many health problems these advances are said to have had and continue to have on our health.

There is little doubt that the incidence of cancer seems to be on the increase. Twenty years ago it was unlikely to have association with more than one or two people with cancer. Today most of us would probably need more than both hands to count the number of people we know, or have known, with cancer of one type or another. That more and more is being written on the subject there can surely be no doubt all these changes, be they what we eat or what we use in our daily lives and previously unbeknown to us oldies when we were kids, have an effect on our health.

One eye opener during the talk was a physical demonstration on the effects of a cell phone on our bodies. Dr Kaz had a member of the audience go through a series of tests with her cell phone and it was visually apparent that there is something to the warnings. As they say there is no such thing as a free lunch so are we not paying the price for the convenience of the cell phone.

It was a pity there were only two of us of the male gender in the audience for some of the case studies Dr Kaz spoke of in her talk were on male patients. Belief that we are ‘bullet proof’ should to diminish as we grow older and maybe listening to advice on how to live a better life is not such a bad idea.

Thanks for an interesting and hugely informative talk Dr Kaz.

If you want to listen to a little of what Dr Kaz has to say on fatigue there is a podcast on ECR

or visit her website http://www.doctorkaz.com/

And to my health mentor Sacha Park – I promise I will start taking your advice in future! What you have been telling is starting to make sense.

Flag Ceremony

Flag Ceremony – not to be missed

A not to be missed event is the Flag Ceremony on Cape St Francis beach on Saturday (13 May) morning where the teams competing in Expedition Africa will fly their flags. Starting on the beach in front of Cape St Francis Resort at 11:00am the flag ceremony will then continue along the beach to the Cape St Francis Lighthouse and environmental project at SANCCOB.

Heidi Muller of organisers Kinetic Events explains that as the African adventure racing organisers have chosen to assist SANCCOB in their work with endangered African penguin and other sea birds. “The competing teams will be introduced to the invaluable work done by SANCCOB and get the opportunity to adopt a penguin. Thereafter teams will each lay a stone into the Expedition Africa landmark, which will be part of the event’s legacy. Another unveiling will take place thereafter, marking of Seal Point as the south eastern most point of Africa”.

The flag parade offers a perfect opportunity for locals to see the athletes before they set off on their gruelling adventure on Sunday morning 14 May 2017 at 7:00am. The venue of the start is being kept secret but SFT will endeavour to bring you more on the start as soon as the information is revealed so spectators can gather to support their chosen team.

According to Muller the race explores the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the largest of its kind in Southern Africa.  The 225 000 hectare mega-reserve boasts unspoiled, rugged mountainous terrain featuring spectacular landscapes exposing athletes from far and wide to an entirely new kind of beauty. For the first time in the history of Expedition Africa there will be a “Dark Zone” along one of the hiking legs, as teams will not be allowed to travel during night. This is to ensure the safety of the teams as they will traverse though an African Wildlife area.

Worth noting from Heidi’s comment above is the mention of a “dark zone” where teams will not be allowed to travel at night. Other than the dark zones competitors apparently forego sleep and often continue through the night in their quest to finish in the shortest possible time.

So next week, whilst snuggling under your duvet tracking your favourite team on your phone, tablet or laptop, give a thought for these intrepid adventurers, even if they are a bit crazy, as they navigate through unknown, unfamiliar terrain in the dead of night.

Keep up to date as the race unfolds including tracking the teams – visit Kinetic Events website, the Expedition Africa organisers, at http://kinetic-events.co.za/Events/Expedition-Africa.

See you at the flag ceremony!

More on Expedion Africa on St Francis Today

Expedition Africa - Team Cape St Francis

Meet Team Cape St. Francis Resort from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans.

Meet Team 3 Dutchmen and a Lady from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans.

Meet Team 3 Dutchmen and a Lady from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans.

 

 

Meet Team Ubhejane from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans.

Meet Team Ubhejane from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans.

Meet Team Ecobound from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans.

Meet Team Gone Racing from South Africa. They will be at Expedition Africa 2017 Baviaans