Use a tour guide when sightseeing

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Use a tour guide when sightseeing  – you see and understand more of what you are seeing!

Wednesday saw us embark on adventure to learn a little more about the Adventure Province that is the Eastern Cape. We truly are blessed in St Francis and surrounding areas including the Tsitsikama, surrounded by so much unspoilt nature thanks to those organisations that work so hard to preserve our natural heritage concerned organization, it will stay that way owing to much of already protected and work afoot to extend the protected areas. That is of course unless the EFF and BLF have their way in which case we can kiss South Africa goodbye anyway.

As a youngster in one of my very early jobs I worked as a sales rep for a small agency firm is Port Elizabeth introducing, believe it or not, Tastic Rice, only just recently introduced as the first par boiled rice in South Africa. My area included Humansdorp, Hankey and Patensie and I remember them only as small farming towns with a few orange trees, little else and little to really remember them by. On returning to this area in 2013 some forty years on I gave little thought to revisiting the towns for really, how much could they have changed.

Setting off early Wednesday from Cape St Francis Resort in the company of two German tourists with Resort Adventures Shaun Tessendorf as our guide we headed for Humansdorp on toward Hankey and onward, Patensie. When one drives oneself, one tends to pay limited attention to the passing vegetation. Sure driving between St Francis and Humansdorp one becomes accustomed the scenery and vegetation but being a passenger gets to see just that little bit more. We all know First Choice is a major dairy in the area but Shaun imparted interesting information that I was totally unaware of prior to this trip.

Leaving Humansdorp I noticed how suddenly the vegetation changed from flat grassland to hilly terrain covered in aloes and prickly pears. Commenting on the change to Shaun he explained how over the next ten hours how we would travel through some six of the seven biomes that exist in SA, Savanna, Thicket, Grassland, Forest, Fynbos, Nama Karoo, Succulent Karoo with only desert missing. And as we travelled one could almost instantly notice the change, sometimes changing several time is a few kilometres.

Arriving in Hankey it was like winding back a clock for the steep, narrow roads , even some of the buildings came back to me almost instantly. One noticeable change  however the amount of housing that filled the hillsides. Again Shaun added to our growing knowledge of the area explaining that the majority of the labour force that worked within the citrus industry lived in Hankey and were transported to the orchards and packing facilities by bus each day, returning at night. On very noticeable difference to our local Sea Vista township was the almost total lack of shacks, unless they were simply well camouflaged out of tourists sight. One wonders why when there seems to be a great need for labour in the farming area, squatters flock to Sea Vista where there is little or zero chance of employment.

Onward we travelled scheduled to stop for breakfast at a restaurant / tea garden just before Patensie. We were a little ahead of schedule the it wasn’t yet open and serving so we continued our adventure by going to visit Kouga Dam. On the way Shaun pointed out out how many flowering plants lined the road and almost anywhere where there was open plantable land. Bees play a huge role in the welfare of the  citrus orchards and ths every effort is made to ensure their survival which is so endangered worldwide.

Arriving at Kouga Dam it is hard to believe that just a year ago this dam was at just 8% of capacity. It certainly is nowhere close to full standing at just a tiny amount over 48%. With a long dry winter ahead this level is sure to dropping significantly if we don’t have rain soon. A reminder indeed of just how important it is for us to keep on saving water for the drought is far from over.

Kouga Dam opened in 1970 and originally named the Paul Sauer Dam

Returning to Padlangs Country Restaurant for breakfast Shaun stopped to show us how millions of years ago the entire area we were in must have been under the sea. The embankment running for miles on the northen side of the road show an amazing cross section of rocks and pebbles that appear to have been made by man as a support to stop the wall from collapsing but it is in fact solid rock.

More next week on our adventure into the Adventure Province.

Tests could lead to water outages at Aston and Paradise

Expert contractors have been appointed to carry out a series of tests in the Kouga municipal region to help combat water losses.

Kouga Infrastructure and Engineering Councillor Freddy Campher said the appointment was part of the municipality’s ongoing Water Loss Programme.

“The Re-Solve/EAS Joint Venture has been tasked to conduct discreteness testing in order to optimize the water reticulation system, as well as to locate potential leaks,” he said.

Campher warned that the tests could lead to a drop in water pressure or water interruptions for up to three hours in the areas where the teams were working.  

Tests will be conducted in Aston Bay next week, from 25 to 27 February, and in Paradise Beach the following week, from 4 to 6 March.

“The teams will, as far as is possible, conduct their investigations early in the week.  

“Residents will, therefore, most likely experience a disruption of the water supply on a Monday, but we recommend that they also prepare for possible interruptions on the Tuesday and Wednesday.   

He said the teams would be easily identifiable as they will be wearing brightly coloured safety vests and carrying ID cards.

“They will also be making use of branded vehicles and will have a letter signed by Kouga Municipality, indicating the activities to be undertaken.

“We ask that residents be patient during the execution of these activities in order to help us reduce water losses and ensure ongoing reliable service delivery to all residents.”

 
 

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Prepares For Mavericks

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Prepares For Mavericks Challenge Big Wave Event

South African big wave surfer and two times Big Wave World Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker is currently in California, preparing for the final big wave event of the 2018/2019 Big Wave Tour. This final event will take place at Mavericks, a big wave location in Northern California, outside Pillar Point Harbour, just north of Half Moon Bay. The waiting period for this tournament ends 31 March. Twiggy already has two victories under the belt at Mavericks, winning in 2006 as well as in 2014.

Twiggy has had a flagship year so far, and is looking to cement it with a third World Title. “They say you only remember an athlete if they win three of something, so that’s in my goals for the next five years,” said Twiggy. I want to win another Mavericks event and another World Title.”

Representing Vissla in South Africa, a World Title from Twiggy would see him join Stevie Sawyer from JBay as another Vissla World Champion. Sawyer was crowned the World Surf League Longboard World Champion last year.

“Steve is epic and a great ambassador for surfing in South Africa.” said Twiggy. “It would be great to join him this year in his achievement, and then cheer Jordy to his first. Can you imagine!”

With one big wave event win, the Nazaré Challenge that took place in Portugal in November 2018, Twiggy currently leads the Big Wave Tour rankings from Billy Kemper (Haw) and Kai Lenny (Haw) in second and third place respectively.

Twiggy also received the honour of the cover shot of the recent Zigzag Magazine for an incredible ride of his at the Jaws/Peahi Challenge that took place in Maui, Hawaii, during November last year.

“Zigzag is such an important voice for surfing in South Africa,” said Twiggy. “Every company and surfer should be supporting them and making sure they survive and prosper. To get the cover with that wave, so it goes down in history, is special, and I’m very thankful.

Twiggy is also in contention for a few XXL Big Wave Awards with this ride at Jaws – the same wave that graced the cover – and a ridiculous tube ride at Seal Reef on the West Coast, with both waves up for the Ride Of The Year category, that carries a US$ 50,000 prize.

“My wave from the West Coast is probably the best barrel I’ve ever had,” reckoned Twiggy. “Even though it’s only 15-18ft , it’s as square as you can get and almost 10 seconds long and probably better than Ian Walsh’s wave at Jaws that won the year before, so I’m always hopeful.”

For more information on the Big Wave Tour go to http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2018/mbwt