Sunday, November 30, 2014

Do more of what makes you happy

I found this piece of graffiti at the Kings Beach Skate Park last weekend.  The first thing that I noticed was that it was done with what looked like pastels and not paint. Interesting.  The main thing though is the message and even though this one is aimed at skateboarders, I think its an universal one.  DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.  A motto I have decided I want to implement more in my own life.  Life is short and one has to do what makes one happy.  I am very fortunate that I have a job I love and really enjoy.  A job that allows me to actually do what makes me happy.  My hobbies of taking photos, blogging and Geocaching also makes me happy so if I can do more of what makes me happy, why not?   

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Looking for Feathered Friend Lucy

Today is the second Geocaching Saturday post and for the second time it features a cache placed by GeorgeC12.  George have been posting some great caches lately and really deserves every favourite point he gets awarded.  In this cache I went in search of Feathered Friend Lucy.  Lucy is a parrot and she clearly didn't have her wings clipped as I found her way up in an massive Wild Fig Tree.  Drama Princess spotted it immediately and it was up to me to retrieve the log sheet for us to sign.  Luckily my hippo up a tree impersonation days are about 19kg behind me so I quickly made my way up and I quickly had the log in hand.  Brought it back down for us both to complete the paperwork and I went back up to replace it in its place.  Another great cache and another smiley on my map.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Baitball activity off Port Elizabeth during the Sardine Run

Everybody knows that the Sardine Run moves up the east coast of South Africa every year with awesome sightings off the Wild Coast and thousands of sardines coming so close inshore at KwaZulu Natal that people can scoop them up with buckets.  Very few know that the sardines gather off the coast of Port Elizabeth before they start their trek up the coast.  It is here where Rainer Schimpf takes divers and television crews from all over the world to experience this natural marvel.  Check out this amazing footage of a sardine bait ball being smashed by dolphins, sharks, gannets, penguins and a huge brydes whale taken off PE on Saturday 29 March 2014.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Beachfront rock pools

I wonder how many people still go and explore rock pools at low tide.  We used to spend school holidays with my grandparents in Paradise Beach near Jeffreys Bay and the beach was our playing field.  At low tide you would find us in the rock pools searching, exploring and discovering.  Kinda makes me feel guilty for not taking the KidZ to the beach more often.  The rock pools in the picture is just on the Humewood Beach side of McArthur Pools.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An unique adult experience... discover something you never knew existed

Most people know where Adult World is on Russell Road.  Not because they've been there but because there is a big sign outside.  Just above it is a billboard that has been taken up by Mambo's Plastic Warehouse.  The two together though makes for a very odd combination.  What is seen can never been unseen......

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Instagrammers at play

I'm quite active on social media but only started dabbling in Instagram recently after getting rid of my Blackberry.  On Sunday morning I joined my first official Instawalk.  An Instawalk (or Instameet) is a gathering of Instagrammers who meet somewhere and spend an hour or two taking photos together.  South African Tourism brought two of South Africa's biggest Instagrammers, @garethpon and @alessiolr, down to PE for the Donkin Downhill Dash and they had an Instawalk from the Kings Beach skate park before heading back to Jozi later in the day.  Everybody got nice and creative with reflections in the little pond along the walkway.  If you want to follow me on Instagram, I amon there as @FireflyAfrica.  <--- obviously="" p="">

Monday, November 24, 2014

SAMREC tour photobomb

I have posted so many times about SAMREC and what an awesome job they do on the conservation side as well as educating people young and old about the plight of the African Penguin and other marine animals.  When I took this picture I wanted to tell you about the tour you can do at SAMREC where they tell visitors more about penguins, visit the "must touch" room, the penguin hospital and finally the pool, but then I realised that the picture got photo bombed... by a stuffed seal.  Go figure.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Finding Gollum's Precious

I got a request this week via e-mail to share some more of my Geocaching adventures on my blogs.  I'm so fanatical about the caching that I could probably do a whole blog about it, but I decided not to go totally overboard with it.  Instead I'll share a Geocaching picture once a week.  I'll kick it off with a picture I took at one of the more interesting cache locations I've visited recently.  Fellow cacher GeorgeC12 has placed a number of very good caches lately and one of them is one called Gollum.  Being a huge Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fan I just had to do it.  Drama Princess decided to join me on the hunt and we headed off to the cache location.  Not to give too much away, but the Gollum in Lord of the Rings lived underground... and so did this one.  Growing up Indiana Jones was one of my idols, still is really, so Geocaching allows the explorer in me to emerge.  Caches like this even more so.  Needless to say, the search was successful, the log signed and the picture above got taken.        

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens official TV advert

In only three weeks' time the top Rugby 7's players from all over the world will descend on Port Elizabeth for the South African leg of the IRB (now called World Rugby) Sevens Rugby World Series.  This is the fourth year the event is held in Port Elizabeth and it has become one of the city's premier showcase events.  This year we need everybody to come out and support not just the defending champion BlitzBokke but also the event as the contract to host it is up for grabs again after this year.  Enjoy this fun advert and see you at the 7's.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sunset over Swartkops

I have been so busy at work lately that I have slowly ran out of photos to post which means that I will really have to make a plan in the next week or so to stock up a little.  Even though I'm not quite out yet, I'm featuring one by a guest photographer today.  I spotted this picture of the sun setting over the Swartkops Estuary with the old power station in the background on Johan Gerber's Facebook and immediately dropped him a message to ask if I could use it.  Johan has given his permission so here it is gracing the pages of PE Daily Photo today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yacht Club yachts

I don't get to go to the harbor that often.  It doesn't help that security is tight to get it so when I do its because of something that is on at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club.  This was the case a week or so ago when I was invited to a function at the Yacht Club by Raggy Charters.  I would still love to go out with them one day, but this was a more special occasion to celebrate a couple of awards that they have won lately.  Waiting for all the guests to arrive I snapped one or two pics, amongst them this one showing some of the members' yachts moored along the club's walkway.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Morning penguin feed at SAMREC

Early morning and late afternoon visitors to SAMREC in Cape Recife will be lucky enough to see how the penguins are fed as part of their tour.  The guide explained the whole feeding process to us.  As it turns out its not just a case of stuffing a couple of fish down their throats.  Every fish that is given to a penguin is recorded and placed on their personal files.  Some of the little guys have to still get medication as well with tablets hidden inside certain fish so the records are checked and each one only gets what he is supposed to get.  After eating its time to head over to the pool for a morning swim after spending the night in their sleeping enclosure.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Valley reflection

One of the snaps from my walk up Happy Valley the other day.  Two of the Three Little Pigs reflecting in the Shark River flowing through the valley.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Port Elizabeth's most iconic site

The Donkin Reserve has always been an iconic site in Port Elizabeth.  It has links to the early history of the town and how it got its name plus who doesn't know the famous lighthouse and pyramid combination on the square.  With the development of Route 67 and its public art pieces on and around the Donkin Reserve, it has now truly cemented itself as one of Port Elizabeth's "must see" iconic attractions.  The Donkin isn't just about history anymore.  Now its an mix of history and art, stories and symbolism along with the best view site in town, the top of the Donkin Lighthouse.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ships in Algoa Bay

Port Elizabeth is the only city in South Africa with two commercial harbours that can accommodate big ships.  The Port Elizabeth Harbour has been around since the 1930's while the Coega deep water harbour has been in operation for about a decade now.  Although the two isn't as busy as Durban Harbour which is the busiest in Africa and the 10th busiest in the world (or something like that), we have a fair amount of ship traffic in the bay.  This shot was taken from the top of the Donkin Lighthouse showing a ship sailing towards the PE Harbour.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Reconsider South Africa

Over the years South African Tourism has used some stunning videos to promote South Africa.  Earlier this year they launched their newest promotional video and its probably one of the best ones yet.  I know its not specifically Port Elizabeth related, but I would like to recommend that you watch it.  The theme is "Reconsider South Africa and how you look at it". Enjoy. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Happy Valley is still around

One of the things that irritate me most are people who goes around pretending to be so passionate about Port Elizabeth but uses every opportunity they get to ridicule, belittle and critisise it around every corner.  One of the only things that irritate me even more than that are those people who always say there is nothing to do or see in the city.  And when you combine the two above... Gosh, don't let me start.
Over the last month or two there have been two occasions where somebody mentioned Happy Valley on a PE related Facebook page which I really enjoy.  Problem is people just used the opportunity to jump on their high horses and slated Happy Valley calling it a crime nest, a place where you only go if you want to loose your life, a disgrace to the city, broken and not cared for and more.  What did I do? I jumped to its defense.  Why? Because unlike those people who haven't been there in probably over a decade and slating it, I've been there recently.  At this stage I have to add that even though I  had been there and had the proof, there were still some people who told me I don't know what I was talking about and that I was living in a dream world.
So this is what I found.  Happy Valley is still stunning.  The municipality is tending the gardens, mowing the lawns and keep the place very tidy.  There is security near the entrance of Happy Valley and they do walk around to check things.  They will also be happy to take a walk up the valley with you if you feel like you would like to have an escort and ask them nicely.  The characters have all been redone in the last few years with touch-ups recently.  I think I saw two damaged characters (poor Timone lost an arm) plus Dogmatix took a walk and is hanging out with the Three Little Pigs.  Unfortunately you find people all over the world who will vandalise things and its not always possible to fix it immediately.  I didn't feel unsafe and was comfortable walking alone.  I know there were incidents in Happy Valley a number of years ago but nothing has happened in the last few years.  Just like you can get hit by a car walking across the road if you don't exercise precaution (as in looking left and right) I would still recommend going with other people and being observant and conscious about what is going on around you. 
The only snag they have at the moment is the lighting.  The electric system was stolen a year or so ago but everything was on course to be ready for this coming season when it was vandalized and spotlights stolen again a few weeks back.  I spoke to the Beach Office this morning to get the latest update and was told that the front section (the two lawns) will have lights and that the new Happy Valley sign is going up in the next week or so.  They are looking at alternatives to get the back lit up at this stage.  Walking up Happy Valley on a warm summers evening with the kids has always been a Port Elizabeth institution but even if you won't be able to do so at night this coming season, it shouldn't stop you from doing so during the day.
Long live Happy Valley! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Musicians at South End Museum

I went for a stroll through the South End Museum a week or two ago and realized just again how under utilized and appreciated places like this is with general folk out there.  It's at times like this that I wonder how many of those who often complain that there is nothing to do and nowhere to go in Port Elizabeth have actually been here. 
One of the display rooms in the museum is dedicated to music and musicians from the area and I really enjoyed this "band" which is part of the display.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Donkin Garden of Remembrance

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has put aside a small section next to the lighthouse on the Donkin Reserve as a Memorial Garden in memory of municipal councilors who have died while serving the public.  The garden was unveiled by the mayor a couple of months ago and it remembers 52 (at the time of unveiling) councilors from different political backgrounds who's deaths while in office range from illness to car accidents and even assassination.

Monday, November 10, 2014

50 Shades of Little Grey

Before a penguin gets all decked out in his black and white tuxedo he wears a greyish onesie.  At SAMREC they currently have a number of little greys they are caring for.  A week or so ago I was at SAMREC early one morning and they were busy feeding the penguins before they were taken to the pool outside.  This little guy was the last in line and had to get some medication so he became the focus of the paparazzi while the "nurse" prepped his meds.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brewing beer at Bridge Street

Visitors to Bridge Street Brewery can do more than just drink some of the best craft beer around (award winning craft beer actually) and eat scrumptious meals and tapas, you can also book a brewery tour and beer tasting in advance if the brewer is available.  The tour isn't a long one but shows you how the beer is brewed and stored before it gets sold to the customer.  After the brewing process the beer goes into these tanks as part of fermentation before going under pressure and cooled in the next room, ready to be served

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Beachfront Tuctuc

Last Saturday I organised an Amazing Race around Port Elizabeth as a fundraiser for the KidZ' school.  One of the stops during the day was at Kings Beach Park.  While checking up on a couple of stops before the teams arrived I popped by Kings Beach Park and chatted to the teacher manning the point.  Chaos Boy took the opportunity to try out the new Tuctuc feature at the play park.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Penguin release at Cape Recife

I can't say enough how good a job the guys at SAMREC does when it comes to penguin conservation and caring for penguins found on our beaches.  Once the birds have gone through the rehabilitation process at the centre in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve they get released back into Algoa Bay to make their way back to their home on the islands in the bay.  The penguins don't get released on their own and when there are a couple ready to go they normally invite the public to come and watch the release.  This is all about creating awareness of these threatened sea birds.  For this week's Friday video I came across this one of a penguin release filmed by a member of the public some time in 2013.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Looking down on the Campanile

The Campanile stand 52 meters tall and to get to the top you have to climb up 204 steps which will take you to the half circle windows above the clocks.  Looking at that you would think it there wouldn't be much opportunity to look down (and not in a bad way) on the Campanile.  That is unless you are standing on top of the lighthouse on the Donkin Reserve. 
The Campanile is currently closed for renovation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beachfront seen from the top of the Donkin Lighthouse

The top of the Donkin Lighthouse must be one of the best view point in Port Elizabeth.  My favorite actually.  Looking south this is the view of the beachfront beyond the harbor area.  The Kings Beach parking area is in the foreground, then the Humewood slipway and Shark Rock Pier just beyond.  In the back Something Good at Pollok Beach is visible and the tall building in the skyline is the Radisson Blu Hotel.  It wasn't the clearest day when I was up there, but always worth the climb.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beer tasting at Bridge Street Brewery

Craft beer has very much become an in thing with many patrons preferring it over the traditional beers.  Bridge Street Brewery has brought craft beer to Port Elizabeth big time since opening in the Baakens Valley and the venue has become quite popular not just for its beer but also the excellent food they serve.  If the brewer is available they will even do brewery tours and beer tastings for groups on request.  Last week I visited Bridge Street on a media tour and they lined up their four beers and one cider for us to taste while the assistant brewer explained each one to us.  Amongst them was the Celtic Cross Premier Pilsner which won them second prize at the recent annual South African Craft Beer Championship. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

The South End Museum

South End, as a suburb, was once a cosmopolitan community. Men, women, children and families lived harmonious lives in the epicentre of cultural diversity.  Blacks, whites, coloureds, Indians, Chinese, Jews, Greeks and many more were united in their attitude towards family values, faith and morals, despite the diversity of religion, language and race.  This all changed with the Group Areas Act coming into being in the 1950's.  South End was classified as a "whites only area" and everybody of colour was moved to other parts of Port Elizabeth.  These removals were often carried out by force.  Most of South End was demolished and lives shattered.  Today visitors to the South End Museum can come and learn more about the people, families, customs, stories, music and sport of this formerly culturally rich area.  South End may not be as well known as District 6 in Cape Town or some of the townships all over South Africa, but the museum is a really interesting piece of this country's sad history and well worth a visit.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Red, white and blue fishing boats

Last week I got to attend an event at the Algoa Bay Yacht Club to celebrate a couple of awards won by Port Elizabeth's marine tour and whale watching operator  Raggy Charters.  I noticed these three red, white and blue fishing boats tied up to each other and just had to snap a pic.  Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light....