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

Calamari Lovers

Calling all Calamari Lovers for a 3-Way

Having forgotten to delve into the freezer for something to prepare for dinner and not having had lunch, the thought of scrambled eggs on toast didn’t seem too appealing and so decided that maybe  Joe Fish at Cape St Francis Resort was a good option. Sipping one of the new additions to their beer draft collection, a delicious amber ale named ‘Car Park John’ that they sell at just R25 a pint, a good price for a good beer I pondered what to eat. Remembering a conversation with Resort CEO Anita Lennox  last week I remembered her singing the praises of the Joe Fish ‘Calamari 3-Ways’ special on offer.

Whilst beautifully prepared calamari is always a treat I tend not to order it for all too often I have had bad experiences with rubber bands rather than a delicate melt in your mouth this delicacy should offer so tends to  sway me to something else on the menu. Approaching Joe Fish restaurant manager Jason he assured me they were not chewy so I jumped in the deep end and ordered Calamari 3-Ways.

Served on a wooden platter the three different ways certainly looked inviting and so I started with the calamari rings prepared as most restaurants do, lightly battered, fried and served on a bed of rice with a dipping bowl of Tartar sauce. All good – tasty, succulent and certainly not tough. I would have been quite content if that was all that was served but the other offerings looked even more inviting and interting.

Moving on to the second of the 3-way offering, small calamari tubes dusted  in wasabi and sesame seeds and then deep fried until crispy, I took a bite into the soft tasty, slightly tangy meat and really good with an interesting tang of the Wasabi. I took a second tube but this time dipped it in the accompanying Asian dipping sauce and wow! Now if you are not into really hot, dip very lightly for the dipping sauce is hot. Coming from the land of hot curry, my taste buds were invigorated after a few more tubes dipped in the sauce and soon had the top of my head feeling a little itchy, always a good sign of a really well prepared hot sauce.

So on to the third of the 3-way!

In my opinion and to that of my palate this Is the pièce de résistance! Vodka flambé calamari tubes stuffed with a spicy, not hot, delicious herb filling.  Biting into the tube it exploded the delicious spicy filling onto your taste buds. Without doubt my choice of the three calamari dishes on offer although any one of them as a main dish would have been a treat.

Calamari 3-Mays at Joe Fish at Cape St Francis Resort

Not too sure how long Joe Fish will be running this 3-way calamari special but if you love your calamari get there soon for there is no guarantee that the chokka boats will be able to keep up with the supply for at just R110 it is a steal. A delicious steal and certainly an “I want some more’ experience. That said I will have to return for that ‘more’ for it certainly is a meal on its own so seconds would need to be on another occasion.

And whilst on the 3-Way theme, Joe Fish is also offering a beer tasting 3-way special where for R55 you get taster servings of three draft beers, Car Park John, a fruity amber ale, a Beach Blonde Light and a Hansa draught. An Ideal choice to accompany the Calamari 3-Ways.