Port turns 20

Port St Francis celebrates 20 years!

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the completion and opening of Port St Francis, one of the few privately owned and managed harbours in South Africa, as home to the more than 50 “Chokka” (calamari squid) fishing boats of the St Francis Bay fleet, and also as a substantial small craft harbour and marina.

The Port is unique in that not only is it a viable, working, commercial harbour, but is also a residential marina, boasting a wide selection of residential units, with its own retail outlets, excellent restaurants and bars, and marine supplies right on the premises.

The waters off St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis are prime fishing grounds for Calamari, a favourite delicacy both at home and abroad. Following the construction of the Canals and the small-boat  harbour at the canals, fishing boats based in Port Elizabeth found it useful  to use the facilities there. However, this soon became impractical and the need for a suitable harbour, right here in St Francis Bay, was becoming increasingly evident. That is when the idea of combining a working harbour with residential and holiday accommodation was conceived and soon became a reality, and Port St Francis was conceptualised and born.

There being no natural inlet for the harbour, a suitable site was selected, and excavations of the inner harbour and construction of the breakwaters commenced. This was after all the necessary EIA’s were carried out and approved. Much of the rock dug out of the new harbour basin was effectively used for the construction of both the main and secondary breakwaters, as well the reclamation for the housing development adjoining the secondary breakwater.

The Port St Francis small craft harbour and marina provides a protected water area of about 2,5 ha, with around 200 moorings for recreational and fishing craft. An innovative breakwater design saw the first deployment of Core-Locs, an economical single layer armour unit developed in the USA.

Construction was completed in November 1997 and today more than 50 “Chokka” boats from various commercial companies utilise the Port as their home base. This industry has a massive economical effect on the financial success of St Francis Bay and surrounding area.

With its 236 accommodation units already developed around the harbour basin, and plans for more to come, the financial impact of the Port on the local economy is immense, when one considers that retailers, wholesalers, building contractors of every description, the marine boating industry, building material suppliers, food and beverage outlets, estate agents and many others get a major share of their annual income from the harbour and the residential sectors at the Port, not to mention the many employment opportunities created for the local community.

During the tourist high seasons, Port St Francis fills to capacity as holiday makers flock to our shores, either as residents at the Port or in St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis villages.

The visitor gets an up-close experience of the “Chokka” fishing industry, with the added advantage of being able to take a leisure sea cruise, a deep-sea fishing charter or even a whale and dolphin watching charter directly from the Port! Twenty years on, and Port St Francis has become a “must visit” tourist attraction, a solid residential investment opportunity as well as an integral part of the local St Francis Bay community.

To celebrate this anniversary, all restaurants, retail outlets and charter operators are offering “Birthday Specials” during the month of November, so join us in our celebration in wishing Port St Francis a Happy Birthday!

For more information conyacy General Manager: (Mike Nunan), Port St Francis Property Owners Association.  042-2940954 or visit www.portstfrancis.org

Might Men in Sea Vista

Mighty Men service in Sea Vista

Mighty Man Breakfast at 6312 Restaurant St Francis Bay

Migty Men breakfast at 6312 Restaurant at Port St Francis

Over last weekend of 3rd and 4th December, a men’s weekend in St. Francis Bay, with guest speaker Arno van Niekerk who is a seniour lecture / economist at the university of Free State. He is also a speaker at the Mighty Men conferences with Angus Buchan. The purpose of the weekend’s event was to bring men of all colours, languages and cultures together to build a relationship and unite to build our Rainbow nation on a Biblical foundation.

The weekend started off with a men’s breakfast at the 6312 restaurant at St Francis Port at 6312 restaurant which was attended by well over 70 men across the racial spectrum who enjoyed a great start to the day. The days’s events closed with a men’s service in a marquee erected for the occasion next to the Shekinah Church run by well Sea Vista’s well known Andrew Vena who was the catalyst in organising the event.

The weekend ended with a Sunday morning service which included both men and women in the congregation.

Andrew said his aim was to continue with these typeof services an to eventually bring the Big Mighty Men with Angus Buchan to St. Francis Bay.

Arno van Niekerk and Andrew

Arno van Niekerk and Andrew Vena at Saturday service at Shekinah Church

NSRI St Francis Bay aid in vain

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

NSRI St Francis Bay rush to aid of Chokka fisherman

At 16h07, Sunday, 27th November, NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated following a request for medical assistance from the local Chokka fishing vessel Derma reporting a 50 year old crewman on-board collapsed unconscious suffering suspected dehydration in the vicinity of Aasvogels and the vessel reporting to be headed towards the Port of St Francis.

The sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II launched and on arrival on the scene the sea rescue crew found the fisherman pulseless and breathless.

He was transferred onto the sea rescue craft where CPR was initiated.

CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts continued onboard the sea rescue craft and on arrival in Port Private Care ambulance services paramedics took over care of the patient but after all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted he was declared deceased by paramedics.

Sincerest Condolences are conveyed to family, friends and his fellow crewmen.

In other NSRI action this past weekend NSRI Wilderness duty crew dispatched a sea rescue vehicle to Leentjies Klip, near to the Kaaimans River Mouth, West of the Wilderness sea rescue station, following eye-witness reports of a paddle canoe flooded with a man hanging onto the paddle canoe in the surf line.

On arrival on the scene the sea rescue crew waded into the surf and assisted the 47 year old local man ashore safely and the canoe was recovered.

No further assistance was required.

And in Struisbaai on Sunday morning NSRI Agulhas duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Spirit of Agulhas and I&J Rescuer IV following a request for assistance from a small craft suffering mechanical motor failure and being swept into the surf-line approximately 3 nautical miles from Struis Baai off-shore of De Plaat, with a young male and a young female onboard.

On arrival on the scene we towed the craft out to sea and out of danger of the surf-line and once in deeper, safer, water the tow-line was adjusted and they were towed safely to Struisbaai harbour without incident and they required no further assistance.

What a fantastic service the brave crews of NSRI offer!


Nautical Festival 2017

Working together to make the Nautical Festival 2017 a success

Nautical FestinalDespite of the awful, cold windy weather late last Wednesday evening a surprisingly large group of interested locals gathered at the Balobi Seafood Market & Deli to listen to Janet Harrison give some feedback on this year’s Nautical Festival and her thoughts on planning for the  Nautical Festival 2017. Some discussion on the date for next year’s festival points to the ideal period for the festival being held over the long weekend incorporating both Freedom and Workers Day which truly could be most beneficial to virtually every business, particularly the hospitality purveyors, in the greater St Francis region.

Herein lies the importance of planning for the Nautical Festival 2017 and what it could mean to the St Francis, particularly as it precedes winter when business traditionally slows down. Several towns in our close proximity hold extremely well supported festivals attracting not only exceptional visitor support but also the financial support of some of South Africa’s largest companies. The Knysna Oyster Festival has Pick ‘n Pay as it headline sponsor, The Kirkwood Wildefees has SPAR, Grahamstown’s Art Festival enjoys the support of Standard Bank and the Oudtshoorn KKNK is well supported by Oudtshoorn & De Rust Tourism.

Certainly to attract major sponsorship for a festival requires huge effort in growing a festival that attracts large crowds giving the sponsor a return on investment. Thus the goal here must be for the St Francis Nautical Festival 2017 to create an event that rivals our nearby competitors. St Francis has an a huge advantage in not only is the festival held in the perfect window of the public holidays at the end of April beginning of May but St Francis has more to offer than any of the aforementioned towns providing we tap into all we have to offer. With regard to the ‘window’, with Freedom and Workers days falling just three days apart it offers an extended long weekend that with the right mix of events could attract not only visitors from the Eastern Cape but also from Cape Town, the Free State and even KZN and Gauteng but it will require every business in St Francis to work together towards a common goal to achieve the biggest and most popular event on the Southern coastline.

Speaking to several locals it appears that some feel the Nautical Festival is a Port St Francis event and has little to do with St Francis Bay or Cape St Francis but it is this belief is what needs to change. The Nautical Festival has to become a St Francis event incorporating every aspect of what the entire region has to offer, not just the Port. Every one of the sporting codes from paddling to golf, swimming to squash has to climb aboard with an event tailored to support the nautical theme. Restaurants need to work together to ensure they don’t compete with each other but for this one weekend actually support each other and guesthouses and bed & breakfasts need to look at offering rates that entice visitors to stay longer so as to enjoy all that our region has to offer.

Janet is inviting anyone interested in joining the Nautical Festival committee to give her a call and a further meeting is planned where hopefully every business owner and sport committee and indeed the public at large will attend. St Francis Today will keep readers up informed as to the date of this meeting which we hope will need a bigger venue than the Seafood Market and Deli at the Port. The Nautical Festival could become the biggest event on the Cape coastline and certainly could attract a major sponsor but the whole region has to work together in making the Nautical Festival 2017 event the biggest and best yet thus attracting that major national sponsor it deserves for future events.

Janet can be reached on 042 294 0162 or by email seafoodmarket@balobi.com