Santa to visit canals

Don’t miss Santa’s visit to the St Francis Bay Canals

Santa on the Canals is an annual fundraising event held by NSRI Station 21 – St Francis Bay. On Christmas eve, each year, Santa delivers gifts in person with the help of the NSRI Station 21 crew and their boat – Spirit of St. Francis II.

Here are some facts to assist you in making your kids part of Santa on the Canals

  • When and where – do we (the parents/ grandparents/ aunts & uncles) drop off the presents?
    Parents can drop off presents at the NSRI Lecture Room in Port St Francis on Saturday 23rd December between 11am – 4pm. Hard working Elves sort and pack presents into color coded piles ready for Santa’s delivery. All presents must be wrapped and clearly marked with the receiver’s name and erf number (if you can).
  • Is there a limit on the value of present I may purchase?
    No, we do however ask parents to get practical gifts considering they will be delivered via boat.
  • When does, Santa visit the houses on the canals?
    Santa & his elves deliver the presents on the 24th December 2017. – CHRISTMAS EVE from 9am.
  • What time will Santa be at my house?
    When parents drop off the presents at the NSRI Lecture Room on the 23rd December 2016, the Elves will be able to provide all parents & grandparents with approximates on times for the delivery.
  • What if I don’t live on the canals?
    No Problem, Santa’s first stop on the 24th December 2016 is The Cove (Shore Road) at 9am where he gets off the boat and hands out presents to children (and sometimes grownups too!)
  • How much does it cost?
    A donation of R60.00 per present – it’s for a good cause!
  • What if I have more questions?
    You are welcome to contact Sky on 081 734 9720 or Sara on 082 895 5579.
  • What can I do to build on this great tradition?
    Please spread the word. Santa and the Elves get very sad when someone feels left out.


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

Blue Flag Awards


Godfrey Louw (Kouga Municipality), WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger, Mayor Elza van Lingen (Kouga Municipality), Cllr Danny Benson (Kouga Municipality) and Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Ms Tokozile Xasa

Dolphin Beach in Jeffreys Bay provided the ideal setting for the 2017/18 Blue Flag launch. The wide, sandy beach makes it popular with families, while its legendary surfing spot “Supertubes” has given the beach international fame. The Executive Mayor, Cllr Elza van Lingen, who delivered the opening address at the event spoke about the value which Blue Flag adds to tourism, adding that while Kouga Municipality only has one beach on the programme their approach is to raise the standard of all Kouga beaches to that of Dolphin Blue Flag Beach.

Sixty-two Blue Flags will be proudly flown at 44 beaches, seven marinas and by eleven sustainable tourism boats around South Africa over the forthcoming 2017/18 South African Blue Flag season, which opens officially on 1 November this year. This was announced at the prestigious national Blue Flag launch hosted by the Kouga Municipality at Dolphin Beach, Jeffreys Bay, in the Eastern Cape earlier today.

Earlier this year all applications for the Blue Flag eco-label were reviewed through a rigorous multi-stage approval process involving both national and international assessments, by a South African and International Jury Panel.

The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 28 of the beaches, all eleven boats and six of the seven Blue Flag marinas falling in the province. This shows an increase of three Blue Flag boats from the previous season, and one additional marina.

KZN again has nine Blue Flag beaches for the 2017/18 season. Seven beaches and one marina have been awarded the eco-label in the Eastern Cape, which is on par with the previous season.

An additional 22 beaches across the three provinces will participate on the Pilot Programme. This is an important developmental stage for potential Blue Flag sites, during which WESSA works with beach managers and Tourism Blue Flag Beach Stewards towards the longer-term goal of achieving full Blue Flag status.  Internationally, over 4,400 beaches, boats and marinas currently hold Blue Flag status in 46 countries.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Ms Tokozile Xasa thanked WESSA for the work the organisation is doing through the Blue Flag programme.  She said that the department is looking to attract five million tourists to South Africa over the next five years, and Blue Flag must be used as a selling tool to bring these visitors to our shores, and to ensure that visitors have a positive experience in our country.  She added that by entering into a partnership with WESSA in 2016 to implement the Tourism Blue Flag project the department is utilising the Expanded Public Works Programme to ensure that jobs are created for young people in the tourism industry.

The annual Blue Flag Awards also celebrate the sustained partnerships that WESSA has built with key municipalities around the country, who have recognised the value of Blue Flag not just to environmental management and education, but also to tourism, economic development and job creation. Their commitment to the programme is evident in the fact that 25 beaches have been on the programme for five or more consecutive years, while eleven beaches have achieved Blue Flag status for more than 10 consecutive years. Dolphin Beach, which provided the backdrop for the season launch, celebrates a remarkable 16 consecutive years on the programme this year. Humewood Beach in Port Elizabeth along with Grotto Beach in Hermanus has participated for all seventeen years that the Blue Flag programme has been running locally.

Says Vincent Shacks, WESSA Ecotourism Manager: “Blue Flag is an excellent example of what is achievable when government, both local and national, partner with civil society. Not only does the programme encourage adherence to very high, international standards for beaches, boats and marinas but it has also created an excellent platform from which to develop young and enthusiastic, sustainable tourism ambassadors. Through the Tourism Blue Flag project, the National Department of Tourism has partnered with WESSA to demonstrate its commitment to the development of South Africa’s youth. Over the past year these Blue Flag “Beach Stewards” have played a critical role in the maintenance of the Blue Flag standards at our beaches as well as conducting valuable environmental education activities and campaigns all along our beautiful coastline.”

Since its launch in 1987, the Blue Flag programme has continued to grow, not only regarding the number of member countries and sites involved, but also in its range of expertise within marine and freshwater environments.  WESSA is proud to have been the national implementing partner for Blue Flag in South Africa since 2001.

View the full list of 2017/18 Blue Flag Beaches, Boats and Marinas

WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger, Godfrey Louw, Director of Social Services Dadamasi (Kouga Municipality), Cllr Danny Benson Dadamasi (Kouga Municipality), Greg Miller from Cape St Francis Canals (Blue Flag Marina), Gcobisa Dadamasi (Kouga Municipality) and Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Ms Tokozile Xasa

About Blue Flag:

The Blue Flag Programme, now in its 30th year, is focused on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to raise environmental education and awareness, and increase sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach management.

To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management must be met and maintained:  water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services.  Each Blue Flag site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year, and to practise effective and efficient conservation management.

In South Africa, the Blue Flag programme is managed by WESSA and participating coastal municipalities. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Blue Flag season runs from 1 November to 31 October each year. Beaches are required to apply for Blue Flag status each year and the Blue Flag standards are only enforced at the beaches over the participating beach’s stated season, which varies from just two months of the year to the full 12 months. 

The Blue Flag programme is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. The criteria are set by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). Through close collaboration with their members on all issues, the Foundation for Environmental Education works to ensure the programme’s expansion, and that the unrivalled standards of the Blue Flag are maintained internationally. The detailed criteria and award process is available on Blue Flag’s international website

About WESSA:

WESSA implements effective environmental, ecotourism, education and youth development programmes throughout South Africa.  The organisation improves the school curriculum through education for sustainable development and provide critical work skills training, which creates job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods in local communities. WESSA’s environmental initiatives contribute towards the restoration of ecosystems, while their Blue Flag, Green Key and Green Coast ecolabels – and associated Tourism Blue Flag and Tourism Green Coast projects in partnership with the National Department of Tourism – support tourism growth and development by encouraging responsible tourism practices and the improved management of our coastline.  For more information visit

For more information contact: Catherine Ritchie, WESSA Marketing & Communications Manager – Tel 021 701 1397   Cell 082 321 2794   Email

Canals Winter Challenge

Pam Golding Properties Canals Winter Challenge

Pam Golding Canal winter challenge

Pam Golding Canal Challenge TrophyThe 11th annual holding of this popular paddling race on the St Francis Canals will be on Sunday 23rd July at 10am.

For the last year two years the race was won by the top doubles combination in the Eastern Cape, national paddler Greg Louw together with paddling legend Rob Welsh. Will they make it three in a row? Or will locals Phil Smith and Graydon Mitchley, pip them?

The start and finish will again be at Quaysyde Restaurant, Seaglades Drive, St Francis Canals, where breakfast, coffee and lunch can be enjoyed while watching the paddling. The entry fee is R100 per paddler. The race has been sponsored since inception by Pam Golding Properties, who have become synonymous with paddling in St Francis.

Because the race is held on the sheltered canals, it will go ahead in any weather conditions, and compliments the other paddling races hosted by St Francis Paddling Club during the year, namely the Pam Golding Properties King of the Kromme, held at Easter each year, and numerous surfski races we hold on the sea, most notably the Investec Sporty Anderson Surfski Challenge, held each year on 28 December.

Canal residents are asked to encourage paddlers coming past their houses, and if on their boats, to give way to the racing paddlers. Lifejackets are not required, and beginners are welcome to enter the shorter 10km course. Even if they don’t finish, it might be the start of a long love affair with paddling!

It is a doubles race, with the prizes only for doubles, but singles are very welcome, as are K3’s. As usual, Carbonology, the PE-based surfski manufacturer have sponsored a lucky draw, a Carbonology split paddle and cover, with a retail value of R2500.

The main event is the 20km long course, with a prizes as follows: 1st 2 x R750 plus trophy, 2nd R500 x 2, 3rd R250 x 2. The balance of the prizes are a bottle of very fine Pam Golding wine for each paddler for both the 20km and 10km race: 1st mixed double, 1st ladies double, 1st local double, 1st over 50’s double, 1st U18 double.

  • Quaysyde, Seaglades Drive, St Francis Canals – 10am Sunday 23 July 2017
  • Prizes only for doubles, singles very welcome. 20km or 10km
  • SUP (5km) and Guppie races (medals)
  • R100 pp includes coffee on arrival, coolie, beer and lunch after.
  • Lifejackets optional
  • For more info contact Richard Arderne 083 284 0168.

Pam Golding Canal winter challenge Podium 2016


St Francis Bay Canals

Riparian committee chairman’s feedback on the St Francis Bay Canals

Below is and edited report of an address by Riparian chairman Simon Picton-Turbervill on the St Francis Bay canals presented to the Riparian Home Owners association AGM last week. The full, unedited report can be read on the Riparian website.

Mid way through the year Norman Dyer of the Kromme River committee negotiated an agreement with Kouga to manage the river using funds from the sale of river licences. Through Louis Fouche we continue to work closely with the river committee and wherever possible pool our resources.

The agreement now opens up the possibility of future dredging in the river to clear channels for safer boating.

The river committee together with the assistance from John Robson and James Jooste have realigned many of the buoys in the river and added additional buoys to assist with navigation, however caution must be exercised when on the river as it is very silted up particularly along the lower reaches.

I would also like to point out that there is no skiing or towing allowed on the river between the river mouth and the start of the ski zone above River Tides as shown on the map which was issued with each boat licence.

Jet skis are also not permitted on the river and must be used responsibly when going out through the river mouth.

Our boat fleet consisting of 4 utility boats and a law enforcement boat was upgraded during the year to give a uniform identity.

The Fire boat which is based at the Canal harbour has also been upgraded and will be operated by a volunteer fire crew if and when required.

Under special projects we have

  • upgraded the harbour car park and improved the landscaping around the harbour
  • we have improved the area around the cove and had the ablution block upgraded including a new conservancy tank to prevent spillages
  • we have extended the canal harbour office to provide space for the ever increasing administration functions and, for the convenience of our clients,
  • we now accept credit and debit card payments for licences and moorings.
  • For the improved cleanliness of our beaches and public open spaces we have installed three bag dispensers for collection of dog faeces, so please encourage all dog owners to use them.

At the beginning of the year we embarked on the implementation of Health, Safety and Environmental policies in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act and I am pleased to report that we were fully compliant by the middle of the year with no incidents reported year to date.

Building on the safety aspect we have improved signage around the canals and you will notice that all bridges have signs requesting people not the jump from the bridges as this is an accident waiting to happen.

From a health aspect we have used the University of Port Elizabeth to test the canal water on a regular basis for harmful ecoli and have found that the canals are well within the target water quality range.

In the one or two areas that were out of specification due to spillages we found that the water was clean again after the second high tides.

Unfortunately we have only been allocated one Law enforcement officer this season by Kouga Municipality so to provide adequate coverage we will be using one of our employees to assist with law enforcement.

During the season our other employees will be used around the canals for maintaining the gardens, cleaning the ablutions and control of the harbour boom and car park etc.

Boating Statistics

Some boating statistics and general information

In the 2016 financial year we issued 1,201 canal licences which was 4% up on the previous year and made up from

  • 78% for boats with outboard board motors
  • 7% for jet boats
  • 14% for jet skis

As of the 14th December this year Canal licence issues were 3% up on the same time last year.It is also encouraging to note that annual mooring bookings are up by 13% which means that we are getting a better yield from the harbours.The harbour office is open 7 days a week during the season and any general or law enforcement queries should be routed to the harbour office from where they will be redirected to the relevant authority. The number is 0636964906 or

You will also notice that the Ski canal jetties now have one bay reserved for the drop off and pick up of visitors to the beach by water taxi or cruise boat.

Finally the management of the canals is not just handled in 10 committee meetings a year but by daily hands on involvement from all the directors.

In addition each Monday at 3pm William Lotter is available at the canal harbour office to discuss work in progress with any of the committee members and to resolve issues that may arise.

If anyone is interested or has an issue they would like attended to you are encouraged to attend one of the Monday meetings.

To read the full report go the