Friday, September 28, 2007

Caption Competition

Most Spaniards look after their boats quite well - there is always the odd exception however. Post your funny comment here (or email it and I'll put it up for you)

Chris said...
Yet another argument for topical Viagra.

Guido said...
Aagh! Not the South Easter AGAIN

Chris said...
Prijon's rubber kayak range was selling well, but I couldn't shake the feeling of unease when paddling our new double.

Derek said...
No, no it's not a problem with the boat. It's just a very efficient skeg.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I published a short Report back on the Pengin Festival Below

Patrick's strong but fair comment made me think... There is perhaps a danger that this Blog is a place where only 2 guys get to air their views because they are the only contributors. It is not a personal subjective webspace for Derek or I but really, for want of a better description,a website intended for Cape Town Kayakers. It seems to be that "Soaked" managed by Guido, is a much better place as a discussion forum.

We Paddlers are as a group informal. We are not a club of any sort. Just a bunch of friends who share a common passion.

You will note that Derek, appropriately,offers no subjective comment. Only I do.

Perhaps, I thought, this should be an informative site only. News, Pictures, Links...that sort of thing? Maybe it should be opened up to wider participation so that their is a better variety of material? I am concerned that their is no involvement from the Paddlers on the "other side". Perhaps they feel excluded?

It is not my Blog nor Derek's - it belongs to all Paddlers.

Would you let me know how you feel?

Change is a good thing..


Tuesday, September 18, 2007


For a Festival that, according to Dave, just got organised at the last minute I think it went off pretty well

3 Kayak carrying cars took part (Mark Webb, Paul Weber and Dave Parry Davis).

On Sunday we had 9 Kayaks which took part in the Sea Clean-Up which handed over refuse and our personal donations to a SANCCOB representative - ably assisted by Miss Simonstown. Well done and thanks to those who made the effort to come along. The weather was excellent with a small chop. We finished off with an excellent Lunch at the False Bay Yacht Club.

KISS (Kayakers in Support of our seas) Stickers are available from Dave - more details to follow.

On a more serious note it is perhaps sad that we only managed 9 boats on The Sunday and all but 2 were the from the small core of Sunday Morning False Bay Paddlers. Our participation was publicised in both Kazkazi and Paddlers E Mail Lists. Is it that we all enjoy the sea but couldn't be bothered when something takes place in its benefit? Perhaps someone would comment?

Best regards


Friday, September 14, 2007


Margaret sent Chris and I an email asking if we would like to help co-ordinate the fun event component of the last race of the Winter Series. I think that she was planning on getting together with some of the regulars to brainstorm fun events, but she ran out of time - and is now overseas. I told her that I would `call the group together' and we would come up with some ideas and volunteers to help on the day.

Which is what the 19th Sept get-together at Harbour View in Simonstown is all about.

Margaret has asked for some creative and organizational input to add a fun dimension to the `End of the Winter Series Race Day' on Sunday 14th October.
Put on your thinking caps and lets get together after the Wednesday paddle on 19 September. I have arranged for a big table for paddlers and supporters at Harbour View in Simonstown. In view of the fact that some of us were used to a Wednesday Special, the owner has offered to provide a couple of under R40 meal options. Come with your ideas, and lets thrash out a plan of paddle action. Some possibilities include

· a `technical' display with Eskimo rolling and assisted and unassisted kayak re-entries. (What about assisted "fall outs"? – directed at that Derek Golden Girl who always wins)

· Margaret Smooth as Silk suggested a sprint course with tight corners between buoys. Or an obstacle course of sorts.

· Mark Lion Lager Webb is keen to challenge other Kayakers to a backward race!! (unfair - he paddles like that anyway - ED);

· Other suggestions include “how many people on a kayak?!!”

Do you get the idea? Great! We look forward to your input on Wednesday19th. If you can't make the midweek paddle, then join us afterwards at Harbour View from about 19:00hrs." We don't have to book, but I would like to give John the restaurateur some idea of how many of us will be there. So please contact me.
All the best

Kim Kruyshaar and Chris Gryshaar (written posted and edited by Paul Geenhaar)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SA Navy temporary rules

Towards the end of September a British Navy vessel will be in the Navy harbour for several days. As is usual for visiting ships there will be a high security alert and we have been asked by the navy to keep well away from the navy harbour entrance. When heading from the yacht harbour to the bullnose please take a very wide berth through the moored yachts, keep at least 100 metres from the wall and go wide around the bullnose.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Berg River paddle report - 28 August 2007

We motored up the West Coast last weekend with a group of seven regular Simon’s Town kayakers to explore the Berg River. In the event, we spent seven hours covering exactly 29.4km of the Berg River.

If that does not seem very far, then, in mitigation, bear in mind that we only spent about four hours on the water and, being curious creatures, also indulged in a variety of exploratory deviations along the way. The rest of the time was usefully employed in a pub on the river shore, ostensibly waiting for the tide to turn.

The reason we happen to know the exact distance we travelled, is because Silke Carstensen and Patrick Donovan skilfully guided and tracked our journey with their handy GPS toys. It proved to be a worthwhile gadget, considering the many tributaries forking off into dead-end channels, not to mention some cunning mud traps along the way.

We camped in a spot which was notable mainly for its curious names. The caravan park was called Stywe Lyne and is situated in a town called Laaiplek, adjacent to Velddrif and Port Owen. It is 150km from Cape Town and some distance beyond Langebaan, which might help to get a fix on the location, for those who have not been there.

We started our paddle at Velddrif. It’s a busy fishing centre, on the north-eastern shores of the Berg River, roughly 2km from where the river mouth flows into St Helena Bay. Historically, Velddrif was a fording place across the river for the road across the sandveld from Cape Town. It has now become a combined municipality with Laaiplek (the loading place) which once served as a shipping point for wheat. The old fording place has now become the site of a graceful bridge.

This is not a beautiful place, but it has plenty of character. Significantly for kayakers, it is the finishing point of the annual four-day Berg River Canoe Marathon, which was held in July this year and covered 239km down the river from Paarl to Velddrif. It is regarded as the toughest race in the world and a benchmark for endurance paddling, according to winner Hank McGregor.

The surrounding areas are centres of SA’s vast fishing industry. Twelve fish processing factories lie along the 21-kilometre curve between Stompneus Bay and the mouth of the Berg River. The Berg River is a tidal river for many kilometres inland and is navigable throughout the year. Accordingly, our paddle trip required some forward planning to take advantage of the directional flow of the tide in the river. No point in paddling against the stream, we thought.

We passed the Port Owen marina, nestled between Velddrif and Laaiplek, almost immediately on the left. We paddled through the marina and saw some exclusive villas and serious yachts. Inevitably, this environment will attract the yuppie crowds in season. As evidence of that mentality, we were once overtaken in the river by a roaring motor boat with a demonstrative skier in tow who felt inclined to style a curve right next to Silke’s kayak, drenching her in spray. The perpetrators whooped off in childish delight and we fingered them sedately farewell, as is becoming of crusty kayakers.

We stopped for refreshments in Port Owen at Die Vishuisie Restaurant, right on the shore of the river. (See pic). The charming Irish proprietor of Die Vishuisie (something incongruous about that combination) demonstrated a refreshing degree of trust by supplying us (who must have appeared like a bunch of hooligans) with tea, coffee and beers, and then keeping our tab running while we paddled off with a vague promise of returning for lunch.

And so, we set off on a fairly vigorous paddle, to try and build up a decent appetite for lunch. A useful lesson in navigating the Berg River in a kayak is to stick to the centre of the river and avoid venturing too far into the tributaries. The water level tends to drop in these areas and the kayaks become unceremoniously stuck in the mud. Three of our intrepid explorers experienced such a mud-stuck-meander first-hand and reported that it was quite a tiring business having to employ your delicate oar as a pontoon barge pole. It’s not always clear whether you’re pursuing the river or one of its tributaries when facing a fork. Fortunately we didn’t end up in too many dead-end channels, thanks to GPS.

We returned to Die Vishuisie for a good lunch and more refreshments. Here we spotted a humble rowing boat (see pic) quaintly named Hakkelberry Fin. We’d like to think this was a humorous local interpretation of Mark Twain’s classic novel and, by subtle implication, allowed the Berg River to masquerade as the grand Mississippi. Perhaps evidence of some literate culture amongst the locals?

After lunch we made our leisurely way back to Velddrif. As a matter of interest, Velddrif is synonymous with bokkoms, the fishy version of biltong. Bokkoms are dried out harders, a fish found in large schools in the Berg River. Being an ex-Vaalie, I have not savoured the delicacy but locals profess that this traditional sea snack is best served with white wine or bread, apricot jam and black coffee. I’m told there is a gravel road along the shore of the Berg River where locals set up stands during the bokkom season. All along the river road you may then encounter rows of fish suspended on string under stalls of spaansriet, where they become wind dry. I regret to say that we didn’t come across any bokkoms. It is evidently out of season – still too wet out there.

Basil Thomas abandoned our group after dark to slum it in Langebaan with his family. In a fit of compassion, he generously donated a handsome snoek for our braai and Liz Webb honeyed it up to perfection. It was a succulent treat and was rapidly devoured, down to the last bone. As a consequence, our pedestrian braaipacks of chicken, chops and wors got relegated to padkos. A most pleasant evening was rounded off by Silke’s fearsome Feuerzangenbowle, a lethal concoction of rum, sugar and wine, which acted as a sure-fire tranquiliser and sleeping pill. When we hit the sack, I was utterly indifferent to the vague base thump of late-night revellers somewhere in the park.

On the way back home the next day, we travelled through Langebaan and popped in to pay homage to Basil’s new pad. We had some coffee at the lagoon and watched the tireless Patrick Donovan paddle to Donkergat and back, doing his signature Eskimo roll of honour at the close. We also saw a spectacular display of flowers along the way back. It’s that time of year on the West Coast. I’m told there are more than 1000 species of flowers out there, and they’re all worth seeing. Hendrik van der Heever

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Kayak Race Sunday 9th

Race 5 results and more pictures can be seen here.

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