Monday, November 14, 2011


I was told long ago that this is the last functioning Estuary in The Peninsula - maybe that that's the Western Cape - I hope not.

Be that as it may I may appreciate this water body more as it is accessible from my garden by Kayak, Sursfski, Rowing Boat - anything with a shallow enough draft to enter Zandvlei proper from The Westlake River. I use my Plastic Perception sit - on - top or The Ski.

Zandvlei is the perfect locale for a bit of fitness straining when the weather has you nervously looking at The Bay. It is completely safe and the biggest danger is the odd errant Kite or Windsurfer crossing the main body of The Vlei from the Sailing Club and back. The area inside Marina Da Gama is completely sheltered and as flat as a pancake even in a gale. An added advantage is a friend with a well stocked bar and a sundeck on route.

The water is (nowadays) regularly cleaned of the dreaded pond weed which can make paddling difficult especially for the Surf Skis and, to a lesser extent, the K1's, 2's and Kayaks but impossible for those paddle boats. Then again you want to own one of those ridiculous craft then that is your fault- its a bit like owning a Honda (car that is).

For Land Rover owners none of this is a problem. The Water in the main Vlei has a decent swell in a Gale and the birdlife is prolific with The Zandvlei/Tokai Fish Eagles usually in residence.The Carp do tend to jump into your boat though. Land Rover owners eat them alive there and then.

There is plenty of parking and decent launching spots in The Marina and adjacent to The Sailing Club.

As for Toyota Owners - well they'll probably get lost and wont' find any of it.  Volvo owners (I only know of one) will shrivel at the idea of water that may not be pristine and will find the trip from Simonstown beyond them and the car. (O dear - gave it away).

Come and join some time.

best regards

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Buffels to Simon's Town paddle

The weather for this Sunday looks great but potentially the 5 to 6 meter swells may be the problem. A possible alternative is to launch at the north slip at Millers and head to Smitswinkel Bay and then run back with the swells to Simons Town.
I will not be able to make this paddle as I am working. If you want to do it please call the shop 786 2626 to let us know so we can plan.


This paddle scheduled for Sunday 23rd is postponed to the next Sunday due to the windy weather forecast. Also means if you are a rugby fan you can watch the World Cup Final and not miss the paddle :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Whale Watching from Kayaks

I agree with Paul, Langebaan is a lovely place to paddle and it's actually not too far away. But what it does not have, and which our home base of Simon's Town has, is this...

There can't be many towns in the world where you can watch whales breaching while paddling in the harbour! Are there?


It always surprises me that I don't see more Paddlers (Kayakers or Surfskiers) at Langebaan and Saldanha Bay. Without exeception I regularly meet the same people on the water and the vast majority are locals or perhaps, more accurately, weekend Langebaan property owners.

Langebaan has to be one of ( if not the) best Paddling areas in the Country. Theoretically it fulfils all the requirements with none of the "risks" of other locales. If you fall out of your boat in the Lagoon and lose it in a gale force SE all you need to do is float until the tide drops and then walk home! (not quite but almost). There are no fish of the "wrong kind" - the biggest I have seen is a 1.5 metre thresher in the mouth of the lagoon that blissfully ignored everything around him/her. This weekend two endurance swimmers were training off the breakers between the main beach and Mykonos. The biggest thing they met was a surprised seal. In fact I'm not sure if there are many fish at all although a few seals and plenty fisherman.

Paddling is of course easiest in the Lagoon itself but the bay is almost as easy with only a gentle rising swell closer to The Strandloper. The breaks and shore landings can be tricky on the beach between the Groyne and Mykonos (the bay itself) due to the slope of the sea bed. You may get wet if your timing is off.

Accomodation in Langebaan is plentiful although not exactly cheap. There is one good camping facility at Lenjtiesklip. The ablutions have recently been upgraded and the sites have power and water. It does however feel more like (is?) a caravan park than a true campsite like Tietiesbaai at Paternoster. However if you have a "friend" with a plot or house in Churchhaven...

As I say - pity it is not used more by the paddling fraternity. Distance maybe?


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Thanks for The Race

I know that this is a bit belated but many thanks to Margaret and Derek for arranging the race.


Paul Weber

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kayak Race Results

Start of the race at Long Beach Simons Town

Av speed
% of

LONG COURSE - 11.7 km
Derek Goldman
Ryno Lamont
Mark Webb
Basil Thomas
Anton Kryshaar
Chris Kruyshaar
Paul Weber
Hendrik vd Heever
Mike van Huysen
Rob Hewitson
John Laurence
Paul Whitmill
Geordie Kohler (Rowing)
Willy Steenkamp
Emile Kruger & Partner
Jurgen Briegel & Partner
Viv van der Heyden
Andrew Turner
Mark Beck
Paul Jenkins
Mike Van Wieringen
Mark Coram  (Surfski)
Wayne Coram  (Surfski)
Kim Kruyshaar
Christo van Schalkwyk
Dermot Magowan
Sean Burr
Marco Schiess
Roger Steven-Jennings
Sandy McLea
Bart McLea
David Kohler (Rowing)
Ian Lints & Roger Creswell
Andre/ClaireLaure  (Double ski)
Andrew D'Legg  (Surfski)
Paul Lotter  (Surfski)
Barbara Calothi  (Surfski)

Monday, August 22, 2011

More animal encounters

I have had two separate interesting encounters in the last week.

The first was near Boulders penguin beach with these harmless sharks:

And then this cormorant decided to use me as a taxi:

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How good is Google Earth?

When Google Earth first came out I was gobsmacked (I was also awestruck but awesome is such an overused word) but heck it is an awesome program - and it's free! People use it all the time now when planning hikes and paddles, two guys paddled the length of the Orange River and collaged together the whole river from Google Earth printouts to help them plan.

Then came Google Street View and people tried to get themselves into these shots or if they were lucky/unlucky were in them anyway. Here's the street view of our jetty where regulars will recognise the blurs that are the card guard and vendors who work there.

Now I imagine few people can say they that they are visible in Google Earth but I am! - well anyway I recognise the smudge that is me but nobody else would! Below is the wide shot of the jetty and yacht club and further below are the blow-ups of the marked rectangles.

The yellow circles highlight two of the white double kayaks we take day trippers on, seen in the top picture, and in the red circle is me leading the group back.

But the point here is not to boast and this post is really all about this last picture.

Behind the kayak you can see some circles which is movement from the paddle strokes in the water! Now that I think is awesome!! And that the use of all these exclamation marks is fully justified!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another lousy winter day in Cape Town - not :)

We have had some magnificent winter days here in False Bay and here are some pictures taken on four of them. Click on the pics to enlarge.

Chose not go paddling this day of 20 foot swells and instead went to take
pics of the surfers near Cape Point

...and a Southern Right Whale popped up to check them out

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Buffels Bay to Simon's Town - Sunday 12th June

The forecast as of today, Wednesday, for this Sunday is pretty good so the trip is currently on.

This Sunday we plan to be paddling from Buffels Bay in the reserve to Simon's Town. Meet outside the shop at 8.30am to arrange a car pool.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peninsula Paddle - Sunday 5 June on World Environment Day.

From Kim who is coordinating this paddle:


The grand armada of paddlers braving the dawn in support of the Peninsula Paddle need to meet in Muizenberg at the Waterslide car park by 6:45.  The paddle starts on the beach at 7:00. So for those who are slow in the early morning cold, better get there earlier than 6:45. The armada will then set off along Zandvlei to where the Sandriver canal enters the vlei. The idea is to provide an escort and to collect floating plastic, mainly bottles, which will be taken to a recycler after the paddle. 

Once the Peninsula Paddlers have headed off down the Sandriver canal on their journey to Milnerton, those of us so inclined can explore the Marina Waterways and then stop for a provide your own picnic breakfast on "The Island".       

For people allergic to getting up early or who are not keen on a lake trip, the usual paddle at Bertha's will still take place.  

Anyone tempted to do the entire route or wanting to rejoin the Peninsula Paddlers for the last leg following the Black River out to sea at Woodstock beach and then coming ashore at Milnerton can click here for details.

The Peninsula Paddle aims to draw attention to the need for transformation in our waterways: environmentally, socially and politically and will navigate upstream, following the canalised rivers of the Cape Flats that have their mouth in False Bay. Reaching the apex of the watershed, the organisational team will then paddle downstream, following the Black River as it exits into the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition will follow waterways that flow through the most affected watersheds: those that have been canalised, water quality compromised, and in communities most affected by poverty and a rising water table.
Paddlers are invited to paddle the first section on Zandvlei to enjoy the dawn, see the birdlife and clean up along the way. See this blog closer to the time for details.

It is also Paddle for the Planet Day.
"Uniting paddlers around the world for a one day global relay event in an effort to raise environmental awareness and give something back to our oceans."

There is also a web site but it has no content yet

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Full Moon paddle video

Our full moon paddle last week was simply wonderful. My words certainly can't do it justice so here is a 3 minute video of the trip which perhaps also does not. Watch it anyway if you have time and broadband. Click here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Kayaking the Cape – Hout Bay to Cape Town

Although False Bay is our `home water’ we have kayaked large stretches of the Greater Cape Town seaboard.  It is not as daring as kayaking around Madagascar etc, but kayaking the Cape is awesome and as accessible as the local beach. We are spoilt for choice with everything from mellow meanders to adrenalin fueled action interspersed with wildlife encounters to remind us that we are the visitors.
We have enjoyed a number of Cape Classics – have had incredible experiences with whales, are often escorted by seals and periodically see sunfish and otter. Sharks you ask!!!  Sorry, not on my eye-spy list. Once I saw a fin, or was it a piece of kelp?....
Read the rest of the article at Scenic South

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Some recent short animal encounter videos while kayaking in the Cape Town area:

Otter eating a squid

Lone seal playing with a kayak

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kayaking video with friendly seals

On a recent paddle trip we were buzzed by a couple of dolphins and then followed for around 15 minutes by a group of Cape Fur Seals. I had my little video camera with me and you can watch the results here.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Video of the last paddle

On the last regular Wednesday paddle I tried out our new Kodak Playsport video camera result of which should play below. If it does not click then this link to take you there direct.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cape Point trip report

A confident looking bunch of paddlers!
Well that turned into a bit of an adventure, didn't it. In order to learn from our experiences today I'll write up my account and hopefully many of the group will add their impressions here by commenting or emailing me so I can add it. Feel free to be as critical as you like, I promise it will not be held against you!

The forecast was for for a mild westerly at 12 to 14 knots and as we launched it seemed slightly less than that, indicated by the fact that there were no whitecaps on the water. As can be seen by the wind graphs alongside, the wind picked up very quickly after we left. The group seemed to be handling the conditions downwind pretty well and we headed towards the cave where we stopped to have a look at it and assess, as it offered a bit of wind shelter. Some of  the less strong paddlers decided to turn back at this point but the rest of the group wanted to proceed a little further. Less than a kilometre further on it continued to get worse so the rest of the group turned back. I was estimating around 20 knots, gusting to 25 around now.

Look how perfect our launch timing was - NOT
We turned upwind and headed back toward the cave staying quite close to the cliffs. At this point I needed to stay with the paddlers at the back and make sure they were okay and therefore the group will not be aware of what happened with us but I have heard about the incidents up ahead. I had a double and a single with me and because the double was quite a slow heavy boat with one of it's paddlers being,well, no longer in the full flower of youth, I pulled us into the cave to get out of the wind and waves.

Relaxing outside the cave. Wind? What wind?
At this point I called in by cellphone and requested a VHF radio call for any of the numerous fishing boats in the area to look out for the paddlers heading back to the launch site. As a precaution the NSRI were launched in case any paddlers were in trouble. I reckoned it was best for the two kayaks in the cave with me to wait for the wind to drop or the rescue boat, whichever came first. About 30 minutes later I spotted a fishing ski boat moving nearby and madly paddled out to them and asked them to follow the coastline back to our launch site and look out for any kayaks in trouble. They kindly did so and returned to report back that they saw seven kayaks who said they were fine. I assume at this point the first group had landed safely. We waited and when the rescue a boat arrived the paddlers with me decided to take the safe option and got a lift back to the launch site. I left them to it and paddled back.

I learned later that there had been a couple of capsizes in the groups and  those people were safely rescued. The groups stayed together as they should and got home safely. Please let us have your stories of the incidents.

Now those paddlers on this trip need to consider the events. Were you confident in your rescue techniques? Can everyone competently do a T rescue? Did you buddy up properly? If you were alone and capsized could you cope? What would you do? Did you make the correct decision in leaving early or not waiting for the trip leader?

Interesting note - do you remember the two fishing kayaks that were launching the same time as we were? They were badly caught out and blown well offshore when the wind picked up. Apparently one of them fell in and could not get back onto the ski but fortunately they were spotted by a fishing boat and picked up.

And whoever lost their white new balance cap, I picked it up. Collect it at the shop.

Monday looks glorious, anyone for Cape Point?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cape Point Paddle Sunday 20th March

SATURDAY: The forecast remains reasonable with a NW or W wind but not very strong. Swells are fine so unless something radical changes in the morning we are going ahead..

This is a great paddle if the weather is right so if you are an intermediate or better paddler we plan to leave from the Buffels Bay slip by 9.00am. Bring a snack, camera, water and plenty of sunblock.
We will meet at 8.15am outside the shop for a pre paddle briefing and weather check. And from there to the usual launch spot at Buffels Bay in the reserve. Please check this blog on Friday and/or Saturday for an update because any changes to the program will be notified here.

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year Paddle with the Fishes

It's been so windy here in Simon's Town over the Xmas season that I have been taking paddle trip customers out on the Cape Town side where most days it has been as calm as a bathtub. We often saw dolphins and a few penguins but no whales. Today however was pretty special.

A lovely view of Table Mountain and Lion's Head.

Out of the blue appears a fin - those new to the area assume SHARK!
But those who know, well they know it's not a shark but a sunfish.

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