Up until the end of the 1980s St Francis Bay enjoyed a beautiful wide beach even at spring high tides. Note the large area of mobile dunes plunging into the sea along the headland from launching site to the present-day harbour. At the time of the photo, dune stabilisation was in progress in preparation for the development of Santareme. The hummock dune in the foreground, clothed in an indigenous dune grass (Thinopyrum distichum), is a sign of a healthy beach.
The same scene photographed this year. The beach has now eroded to a narrow strip, passable only at low tide. The hummock dunes, nature’s way of protecting coastal infrastructure, have been replaced by rock revetments. The mobile dunes along the headland have been replaced by houses as far as the eye can see. These dunes used to supply about 80 000 m3 of sand into St Francis Bay each year. Since that sand supply was cut-off, some 8.8 million m3 of sand has been lost from the sea floor of St Francis Bay. The amount of sand that is transported by longshore drift around Cape St Francis (Shark Point) – about 10 000 m3 – and the amount derived from the remaining bypass dune near the point – also about 10 000 m3 – are inadequate to counter this loss.
View looking southwest from the junction of the boundaries between Cape St Francis Nature Reserve, Cape St Francis Village and St Francis Field (air park). Note the absence of houses east of the Cape St Francis Resort and the dense stands of invasive rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) in what is now the Seal Bay Nature Reserve.
The same scene today, above Duiker Street. The scene is now dominated by the houses of Extension4 of Cape St Francis but the fynbos in the foreground (part of the Cape St Francis Nature Reserve) remains intact and the Seal Bay Nature Reserve is free of alien rooikrans.
The number of COVID-19 infections in the Kouga region almost doubled last week, leading to a renewed call on residents and business to adhere to the basic safety precautions.
According to the latest report from the Department of Health, there were 45 active cases of COVID-19 in the Kouga region as at 18 October compared to 24 on 12 October.
“This is the first steep increase we have seen in some weeks and a harsh reminder that the coronavirus is still very much among us.
“We cannot relax our guard if we are serious about avoiding a second wave,” cautioned Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.
“All residents and visitors are urged to wear face masks when in public, practise proper hand hygiene and to maintain social distancing.”
The latest statistics show that there were 22 active cases In Humansdorp on 18 October, 12 in Jeffreys Bay, four in St Francis and one in Hankey.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the Kouga region stood at 1 794 on 18 October, including 1 706 recoveries and 43 deaths.
Outgoing headmaster Warwick Osmond
It is with much sadness that the St Francis College says goodbye to headmaster Warwick Osmond at the end of the year. We caught up with him to chat about his time at St Francis College, and the road ahead.
It has been a busy time at SFC. It seemed that the small classes made for a quick catch-up post lockdown. Would you agree?
Yes, our small numbers have made it relatively easy to manage under the Covid-19 scenario. We came back to school on the 1st of June. We had a comprehensive Covid-19 protocol for our return to school, and we have been following the procedures every day since then. Having small classes meant that all the pupils could be at school every day. We did not have to implement other strategies such as alternating days or weeks for different learners, as has had to be done at other schools. As a result, our pupils have had uninterrupted schooling since June.
What else is cool about being at a smaller school?
Being at a small school is a reassuring experience for a child. The scale of the campus is not overwhelming, and the amount of activity and noise is unthreatening. Children feel comfortable and at home on our campus. It is also a unique and stimulating environment with chickens and guinea fowls running around and cattle out in the fields. The teachers know all the children’s names and each child becomes known to all the other children. It is a very personal and welcoming environment.
What was the most fun you had as a headmaster of The College?
It was so nice to have interaction with younger children – my previous teaching experience was mainly with high school children. The campus is such a happy place with all the children absolutely loving school and being so eager to please their teachers. There has been a lot of fun in the last two years. Some stand-out events were the play at The Links last year, the inter-house athletics meeting, the swimming galas, the Otter Challenge, the grade 5 camp and the grade 7’s trip to Cape Town.
What will be your lasting impression of your time at the College?
St Francis College is a school with the most beautiful situation. The children have the opportunity to enjoy the natural environment every day. My lasting impression is of a school that is giving children the most amazing start on their education journey. A child will never forget the fun and excitement of their school days at St Francis College.
Quite a lifestyle out here – you rediscovered surfing and got involved in fishing. What else?
I have always been a beach bum at heart. Living here is like having the backyard of my dreams. Getting back on a board and actually having some magic rides has been rejuvenating. I have a favourite fishing spot that I can get to within minutes, and I can spend hours there. I also have a dog who demands his walk every day, and there is no limit on the amount of walking one can do here. We have also met wonderful people and made lasting friendships. It has been a rewarding, albeit short, stay in St Francis.
What lies ahead, apart from a long Christmas holiday?
Well, we will be living in PE. My wife is teaching at Theodor Herzl, and I hope to be in a new position soon too.
A report by Colleen Smith
The lockdown, because of Covid-19, called into question whether we hold a Wildflower Chase this year or not. Dave Bowmer and I discussed it – there was no spectacular display of the pink and yellow Senecio’s that we had last year and we were not sure what we would be able to show off. The Cape St Francis Resort was not able to host a Wildflower festival and if we did do anything, strict protocols would have to be followed. But wild flowers never disappoint us and we decided to go ahead with a different version of the Wildflower Chase.
With help from Margie Middleton we put together a booklet with a comprehensive but by no means complete list of the flowers, shrubs and trees found on St Francis Field. We made labels for a small selection of them and we invited visitors to accompany us on a self-drive Chase. Posters were put up and an invitation was posted on various social media platforms.
Our next challenge was the weather. We chose 2nd to 4th October for the event and then weather reports predicted strong winds and rain for those days, neither which contribute to enjoyable flower chasing! So we shifted the days to the only two sunny days we could see for the next two weeks and persons who had already booked were phoned about the date change.
In the end, Dave Bowmer, Margie Middleton and Colleen Smith took four groups (22 participants).
The vulnerable Gladiolus hutonii and Pelargonium suburbanum were both out in full splendour, the endangered Satyrium princeps or red orchids were just coming into bloom and the near threatened Moreae australis were all open in the mid-day sun. Hosts of other varieties of flowers also gave a great showing and a highlight of the trip was the garden belonging to one of the homeowners on the ridge overlooking Cape St Francis.
This garden was planted last year by Dave on a sand dune splattered with builder’s rubble after the house was built. Plants were all indigenous, with the majority being those found in this area. Since then it has had almost no attention but has thrived despite plenty of wind and very little rain. This is a wonderful example what can be achieved and gave inspiration to many of the participants.
Proceeds from entrance fees went to F.O.S.T.E.R.