Friday, December 30, 2016

Dolphins of Port Elizabeth video

Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay isn't called the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World for nothing.  I picked up on this video posted by Judy Venter on YouTube which Judy filmed off the pier from her kayak.  Amazing seeing these animals so close up in the wild.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

PE food trucks

The food truck culture has definitely reached Port Elizabeth and Food Truck Friday down in the Baakens Valley (once a month at this stage) has proved it.  The Makoy Food Truck, one of PE's originals, did the catering at a function I attended in November and if that is the food that comes from food trucks then who needs to go to a restaurant?  Now if we can just find a place in PE where food trucks can have a semi permanent spot with enough foot traffic to stand and we can have Food Truck Friday every day or at least every weekend.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

St George's Wild Fig Trees

There are a number of giant Wild Fig Trees in and around St George's Park, all well over 100 years old.  The one in the centre of the park next to the Pearson Conservatory must be one of my favorite trees around Port Elizabeth.  I always marvel at it's size and love walking over the sleeper bridge underneath it imagining that it could be the city's Mother Tree.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Richmond Hill Brewing Co

I got to peek into the new Richmond Hill Brewing Co undercover beer yard and brewery in the Baakens Valley the other day.  Unfortunately it was literally just a peek in as I was attending an event next door so I didn't get to try the beers or check out the brewery, but I'm sure this spot is going to become a very popular spot here in the Port Elizabeth.  The recent Craft Brew and Food Fest also took place between here and the adjacent Chicky's Yard and looking at the photos on social media I really missed something. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Beach access

We are truly blessed with a beautiful coastline here in Port Elizabeth both inside Algoa Bay and on the Wild Side.  The stretch of beach between Hobie Beach and Pollok Beach is ideal for a short beach walk close to parking and other amenities. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

As Oom Oubaas on 7de Laan would say, "Gun my die verleendheid om 'n paar gevleulde woorde te spreek."  As Christmas Day comes around, I would like to wish all my Christian friends and followers a Merry Christmas.  May this day be a blessed one full of good times with friends, family and loved ones.  Hope the day brings lots of gifts, food and fun, but most importantly, don't forget what the day is really about.  Celebrating the birth Jesus Christ.  Have a great day everybody!!! 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Donkey sanctuary kitty cat

We popped in for a quick visit with the donkeys at the East Cape Horse Care Unit the other morning and Drama Princess nearly left with their friendly cat.  I don't think our Daxies would have been too happy if she did though.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Summerwood Wind Band performing Mary's Boy Child

With Christmas two days away this week's Video Friday post features a performance of "Mary's Boy Child" by the Summerwood Primary School's wind band at the recent Christmas in the Home exhibit at The Boardwalk posted by Derrick Badenhorst on YouTube.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Then and Now: Pearson Conservatory Fountain

The Pearson Conservatory was originally built in 1882 and restored to its former glory between 2009 and 2011.  The centre piece of the Pearson Conservatory is an ornamental fountain made by Andrew Handyside at the Duke Street Foundry "Britannia Iron Works" in Derby in the UK around the same year the Conservatory was built (1882).  The Britannia Foundry's work was well known for its fine quality so these fountains can be found all over the globe.

This particular design of fountain is listed as Design Number 15 on Page 30 of the 1879 publication "An Illustrated book of Designs for Fountains and Vases, costing from £1 to £1200 manufactured by Andrew Handyside".  The same fountain can be found at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia as well as at Sarmiento School Fountain in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina, South America.

The information above was found on the Friar Gate Bridge Derby website.

In 2013 I visited the Conservatory and did a post about the fountain located inside with the info above.  You could see in the photo in the post that the fountain was starting to show rust through the paint.  The other day I took a walk through the park and ended up at the Conservatory.  It was great to see that the fountain have been cleaned up and given a new coat of paint.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve bridge view

When you're walking along the trails in the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve you get to see glimpses and different angles of the Van Stadens Bridge all the time.  The bridge, over which the N2 highway crosses, was opened on 11 November 1971.  The bridge used to be a notorious suicide spot until barriers were set up all along the side of the bridge a couple of years ago. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Rock hoppings at Schoenies

The coastline at Schoenmakerskop with all its rocks, pools and gullies really lends itself to exploring youngsters.  Like a free treasure hunt jungle gym exploration facility. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Early morning on Pollok Beach

You know its summer in the Bay when therer are people on the beach before 8am in the morning

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Low tide on the beachfront

Low tide on the beach between Hobie Beach and Pollok Beach with Bird Rock on the horison in the center of the picture and Chop Rock to the left.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Nelson Mandela Bay from the air

I just realised that I don't have a photo on hand to post for today so I have decided to swop tomorrow's Video Friday post with today and post a video instead.  This week's featured video is a stunning one by Hurricane Productions showing some of Nelson Mandela Bay's favorite destinations and attractions from the air.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Searching for the oldest Geocache in Port Elizabeth

I've been Geocaching for four years and have found just short of 2000 caches, yet, and I should probably be ashamed to say it, I have never gone to look for the oldest cache in Port Elizabeth.  The cache, located in the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve, is called Van Stadens Flower Power and was originally placed on 18 May 2003.  Having cached in the reserve a couple of times before I just can't believe that I have never taken this specific trail to go and tick it off my To Do list.  A couple of weeks ago I bundled the family into the car and off we went for a quick outing to the flower reserve to find this cache.  While I went climbing to get to ground zero Drama Princess was playing around with my camera and snapped this intrepid explorer in search of treasure.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Discover Freedom this holiday season

I know I've posted this video before, but with summer holidays here and holiday makers and tourists flocking into the city I though it would be appropriate to post it again.  When I was working for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism this destination marketing video was one of my projects and I still get excited about the destination when I watch it.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Courtyard pooldeck

I attended a tourism workshop at the Courtyard Hotel this morning and was reminded once again how stunning a setting some of the hotels on the beachfront has. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A new Welcome to Despatch

The waterwheel at the PE side entrance to Despatch has recently been taken away and renovated.  A few weeks ago an old photo of mine was reposted by somebody on Facebook and my sister messaged me asking if it was a picture of the old or new one as it didn't look the same.  So the other day I was heading to Uitenhage and did a quick detour into Despatch to go and take an updated photo to share with you.  And yes, there is a Geocache located somewhere around there...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Then and Now - Pearson Conservatory

The Victorian conservatory in St George's Park was completed and opened on 12 September 1882 and named the Pearson Conservatory after the then Mayor of Port Elizabeth, Mr HW Pearson.  The conservatory cost £3,800 to put up and arrived in South Africa as a 'kit of parts' and was constructed in the park.  This conservatory was imported from England and was the first of three such buildings in South Africa at the time.  The double volume central atrium is flanked by two wings to the East and the West with perfect symmetry along its two axes. 

Over the years the building had been fixed up several times and in 1972 the city even considered demolishing it.  The building was restored by the municipality and reopened in 2011.  I just think that not enough people make the effort to go and visit it using the excuse of "the park is too dangerous". Dangerous se g@t.  I went for a walk through the park on my own with my camera last week and didn't see any unsavory characters.  But if you are worried, use the back entrance next to the cactus garden across from the hospital and you can drive right up to the conservatory, parking right outside.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Chicky's Yard

Last week I attended the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism AGM at a spot called Chicky's Yard in the lower Baakens Valley.  Chicky's Yard basically is an events venue but I have a feeling that it's going to evolve into more than just that what with the Richmond Hill Brewing Co right next door and so many new and trendy places opening nearby.  Love the mural on the building in front by Port Elizabeth graffiti artist Joff.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

St George's Park water lilies

I took a walk around St George's Park the other day.  Yes, alone and with my camera in hand.  It really isn't as bad as so many people would like to make it out to be.  It's just important to stay alert and observant but I didn't notice any unsavory characters hanging out in the park. I did notice that the water lilies on the central pond was beautiful though. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The St Georges Park Oak that isn't anymore

In 1861, Mayor William Smith planted an Oak tree at the spot in the then new St Georges Park to commemorate the visit in 1860 of His Royal Highness Prince Alfred.  The tree unfortunately blew over in January 2001 with the original inscription then being moved to the Parks Division offices nearby.  Today the spot is marked by a plaque.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Nelson Mandela Bay - An African Wildlife Adventure Hotspot

Today I want to post a promotional video done for Nelson Mandela Bay by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism a few months ago featuring our wonderful wildlife and natural offering. 

Algoa Bay, the coastal region of Nelson Mandela Bay, boasts 40 km of magnificent golden beaches as well as one of the most diverse marine eco systems in the world. This includes islands with most importantly the largest Cape Gannetry in the world (110 000 breeding pairs) as well as over 50% of the worlds African Penguin population. Algoa Bay has also been proclaimed as a international hope spot for the African Penguin and also as the Dolphin Capital of the world. 

With its perfect combination of warm water, calm sea and fair breezes, it is one of the best sailing venues in the world and a Mecca for all beach and water sport enthusiasts. Water temperatures vary between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius during summer and 14 to 19 degrees Celsius during winter. 

From rocky shores to indigenous floral fynbos, from stretches of golden beaches and unspoilt sand-dunes to lush indigenous forest and untamed wilderness areas, the nature reserves within, and on the outskirts of Nelson Mandela Bay offer a wonderful range of options to the great outdoors. 

Big 7 and other safari’s in and around Nelson Mandela Bay is an activity everyone should enjoy. The numerous game reserves in and around the city offer the perfect mix of fauna and flora. These splendid, sometimes untouched areas are developing into some of South Africa's main game viewing destinations. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Guess the PE spot

A friend sent me a WhatApp with this picture.  I immediately know where he was.  Do you?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An evening at St Georges

The cricket season is in full swing and the Warriors were playing the Knights in a T20 match in PE tonight.  Having a cricket mad daughter we headed over to St Georges for a bit of action and action we got.  The Warriors totally outplayed the Knights on all fronts and we even got to see a one handed spectator catch off the last ball hit to the boundary. The next game in PE is next Friday, 9 December, against the Cobras, so make a plan and get out there cause it's lots of fun.  Even better if you take your camp chairs and park yourself on the grass.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday sunset

With the huge fire at Schoenmakerskop and a fire in Fairview there is a lot of smoke in the air which means orange sunsets.  Getting home this evening I noticed that the wind was blowing westerly so no smoke between me and the sunset.  By the time I got home the sun was gone but the sky was beautiful.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Signs that summer is here - Pleasureland arrives

Driving down Marine Drive past Kings Beach this morning I saw one of the signs that summer is here.  The trucks carrying Pleasureland's equipment has pulled in.  Within a week or so all the rides should be set up and that will mean it's time for the holiday hordes to start appearing on the N2.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Van Stadens mountain bike trails

The Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve doesn't only have great hiking trails, it also has a few very nice mountain biking trails.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wyd & Syd - the Best Program Insert on Luister FM

At the first Luister FM 90.6 awards evening last night my Wyd & Syd travel slot on a Friday between 12:00 and 1pm was announced as the best program insert on the station for the year.  What an absolute honor and privilege it was to receive the award.  I'm really proud to be part of the Luister FM team in some way and hope that the slot will continue to inspire people to travel and explore around Port Elizabeth and the rest of the Eastern Cape. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

The story of Mastertons

This past week the iconic Port Elizabeth coffee roastery, Mastertons, launched their new proudly Port Elizabeth BLEND OF THE BAY coffee mix.  Mastertons have been around the city since 1924 and for today's Video Friday post I am posting a video by Lunaticscentral featuring owner James Masterton relating the history of Mastertons and some of his memories and plans.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Have you ever heard of Tufa stromatolite?

One of the aspects of Geocaching is something called an Earth Cache.  An Earth Cache isn 't a physical cache where you have to find a container but rather something that teaches you about the earth and it's geology.  Last weekend I did an Earth Cache in Schoenmakerskop set up by Seekoei NMB called PE Tufa stromatolite ecosystems.  What is Tufa stromatolite?  Please bear with me because this get's very scientific (which means I'm copy and pasting from the listing otherwise I may just be misinterpreting the information.

Tufa is a variety of limestone, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from ambient temperature water bodies. Geothermally heated hot-springs sometimes produce similar (but less porous) carbonate deposits known as travertine. Tufa is sometimes referred to as (meteogene) travertine. Care must be taken when searching through literature to prevent confusion with hot spring (thermogene) travertine. Calcareous tufa should not be confused with tuff, a porous volcanic rock with parallel etymological origins that is sometimes called "tufa".

This now is where the Tufa stromatolite discoeverd at Schoenies comes in.

The first extant marine tufa stromatolites along the southern African coast were described in the early 2000s from Cape Morgan and later investigated in some detail from a geochemical and geomorphological point of view. Located on a dolerite headland shaped into a wave-cut platform, these stromatolites consist of continuous, extensive laminar growths or discrete accretions bridging gaps between separate boulders. In either case, the formation results in enclosed rock pools capable of trapping carbonate-rich groundwater seeps.

Although other rare, isolated examples of similar formations have been reported to occur from Port Elizabeth to Tofu in Mozambique, the recent discovery of numerous and closely spaced living stromatolites on the coastline south of Port Elizabeth appears to be extraordinary.

While the Cape Morgan headland includes about 50 stromatolite colonies, each of about 3 m2 on average, the formations mapped so far to the west of Cape Recife include 540 colonies, ranging in cover from < 1 m2 to > 100 m2.  

Southern African tufa stromatolites are regarded as unique in their nature, because they typically occur at the interface between freshwater seepage points and the marine penetration.  I know this is all a mouth full, but if you read through it carefully and understand it, it really is something very interesting and unique.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pincushion Proteas at Van Stadens

We stopped by the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve on Sunday afternoon for a quick walk.  I've always found that it doesn't matter what time of year I visit the reserve, there is always something in flower.  At the moment it's the Pincushion Proteas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The N2 near Lady Slipper

Standing on the road bridge over the N2 in the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve looking down the highway towards Port Elizabeth.  Looking down on this dual carriage way it's hard to believe that it is the main highway just west of Port Elizabeth.  Nice and quiet.  Just the way we like our roads.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Van Stadens Gorge

Looking down the zig zagging Van Stadens River gorge towards the N2 Van Stadens Bridge while hiking in the Wildflower Reserve yesterday

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A quick hike at Van Stadens

This afternoon we headed out to the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve for a quick walk to go and find the oldest Geocache in Port Elizabeth.  While the Damselfly waited in the car, Drama Princess and I headed down one of the trails in search of this very significant cache.  The Pincushion Proteas are stunning at the moment so I kept on falling behind. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bird Island Gannets at Sunrise

The 19 hectare Bird Island in Algoa Bay is home to 250,000 Cape gannets, the largest breeding colony of these birds on the planet.  In 2014 Alan Straton of MyPE did this great time lapse of Gannets on Bird Island at sunrise.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The town of Despatch

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is made up of Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Despatch and the surrounding area.  But how much do you really know of Despatch?

The Despatch area was originally occupied by a flourishing brick industry based here due to the rich clay soil you find in the district.  It got its name from the fact that bricks got dispatched form the original railway siding that connected to the main line running to Port Elizabeth from Uitenhage.  Many of the old buildings in PE and Uitenhage was built with bricks from Despatch.  These days the only reminder of the town's original brick industry past can be found in the form of the old Brick Works chimney built in 1882 and standing in the field nexy to the railway tracks just below the town.

The town of Despatch developed in 1942 and offered a cheaper housing alternative for the fast growing Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth nearby.  In 1945 the town became a municipality and in 2001 it became part of the metro.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hardy little yellow flowers

I am always amazed when I see flowers right on the coast like these at Schoenies.  I know they are hardy but how they survive growing in sand and bad soil and getting battered by the salty sea winds all the time and still flower like this is above me.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Feeding the donkeys

On Saturday we stopped by the East Cape Horse Care Unit based at Animal Welfare on Victoria Drive for the first time in a while to visit the donkeys.  Naturally we took a bag of carrots along but clearly we didn't have enough.  Will have to visit again quite soon. 

"Hey, did you bring us some carrots?"

"Don't hold it so far, I can barely reach..."

Monday, November 14, 2016

Walking the Animal Welfare dogs

Not everybody are in the position to adopt a dog from the Animal Welfare, but everybody are able to put some time aside to go and walk the dogs.  Visiting the donkeys at the adjacent East Cape Horse Care Unit it gladdened the heart to see how many people are volunteering their time to walk and play with the homeless dogs. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saturday morning parkrun

We've started doing the weekly Hobie Beach parkrun as a family, both to get us all active and more fitter as well as for the Discovery Vitality points.  Chaos Boy is running a lot faster than what I've ever been able to do while the Damselfly is walking it at this stage as she's not in 100% shape after her last ops yet.  Drama Princess isn't a slouch and at 11 is doing the 5 km at about the same speed I am currently doing so the two of us stuck together yesterday. I'm seriously unfit and carrying a bit too much weight around my middle, but hopefully parkrun will get me active and motivated to go and jog more often again.

Disclaimer - The photo isn't my own and was taken by a parkrun volunteer on photo duty at the Lolipop Beacon turning point.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Shopping Centre Train

I wonder how many shopping centres have a kiddies train that do rounds though the centre like the one at Moffet-on-Main.  Moffet-on-Main is quite a popular spot for families with small children what with the Funky Frogs kiddies play area and a coffee shop for the moms (and dads) right next door.  Whoever added the train had a stroke of genius when they did that as it means that there are always kiddies around wanting to ride on it. So if you are in the centre over weekends and hear loud music and laughter coming from behind then you need to step aside.  The train is coming.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Expedition Africa Baviaans 2017 promo

Expedition Africa is the South African leg of the Adventure Racing World Series.  A race normally covers a distance of about 500 km during which teams of four (usually three men and a woman) cover the distance by running, cycling, paddling, swimming, climbing and doing rope work.  The teams have to plot the easiest way from check point to check point and the top teams barely stop to sleep over the five days it takes them to cover the distance.  The back makers complete it in about ten days which shows that this isn't something for just everybody.  This year's Expedition Africa took place on the Garden Route between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and the Kouga and Baviaans region was selected to host the event in 2017.  The home base will be at Cape St Francis Resort with the course, which stays a secret until the actual start of the race, covering the surrounding area and into the Baviaanskloof.  The promotional video for the race have just been released and I decided to share it with you today for Video Friday.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Richmond Hill Jacaranda

I don't know why but I am noticing the blooming Jacaranda trees around Port Elizabeth a lot more this year than in the past.  Then I saw a picture of this specific Jacaranda Tree in Richmond Hill on Facebook earlier in the week and this morning while in the area recognised it.  So I just had to stop and take a photo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Then and Now - North End coastline

North End Beach back in the days.  A stretch of sand all the way to the Swartkops River which could possible have become one of Port Elizabeth's prime beachfront real estate areas if it didn't fall in the hands of Railways and municipality.  This pictures dates back to 1902 right after the Grate Gale when 21 ships ran aground along North End Beach.

Today North End Beach is no more.  The beach and coastline was reclaimed, railway tracks, Settlers Freeway (M4) and the N2 was built along it and the sea is held back by dolosse.  Sad really when you think of the potential this area could have had.

I know the angle of the Now photograph isn't the same as the Then, but I just haven't been able to find a spot with uninterrupted views of the whole coastline like this one from Richmond Hill.  The houses in the foreground is just above Albany Road.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fresh fish on the PE Harbour

We've never been to the fish shops on the harbour to buy fresh fish but a Saturday or two ago, in search of finding something else to make for dinner than just the usual stuff, we decided to go and have a look.  We landed up in Fisherman Fresh (throw a left as you enter the harbour at the Baakens entrance and follow the signs).  An amazing selection of fresh and frozen fish and other seafoods and so much cheaper than our local supermarkets and the Fruit and Veg down the road from home. We ended up having a snoek braai that evening and tried gurnard rather than hake for a change. Definitely a winner in my book and I will be back for sure on a more regular basis for more.  The service and advise we received was also top notch so if you haven't been and like to make your own fish, this is the place to go and buy it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Humewood coastline

Some of the landmarks around Humewood Beach. The promenant Humewood slipway pillars, Shark Rock Pier in the background, the cement wall in the front, the steps where the old lifeguard tower used to be and the tripod the rope out to the pillars used to hang from in yester year. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Richmond Hill park

Last Sunday Drama Princess and her school choir sang at the Doxa Deo Artuo church in Richmond Hill.  This beautiful little park with the old Erica building is right across the road from the church.  Imagine having a park like this close to home to walk the dogs, play ball with the kids or just sit under a tree with a book. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Video shoot on the beach

I stopped along Beach Road on Thursday morning to enjoy the nice weather we had for a change and noticed a bit of activity going on at Denville Beach next to McArthur Pool.  It was way to early for people to just be on the beach and then I noticed the with the camera.  They seem to have been busy shooting for a video of some sort.  Wish more people would do shoots on our beautiful beaches and around the city.

UPDATE: Thanks to Grant Slater for the info.  The production was done by Sunshine Coast Studios and they were shooting the Christmas Worship special for SABC 2. Tune in to see great shots of PE, fun beach footage, and the amazing Erica girls choir singing Christmas Carols in the glorious St John's Methodist. Christmas Day, SABC 2 @ 10am.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The longest surfski wave in the world

Every now and then I see a video pop up on Facebook or YouTube and just wish that I could do it.  Yesterday was a day like that again.  It shows a couple of surfski paddlers grab a wave off Cape Recife and ride it for over 2 minutes. How can one not want to try it as well?

Dawid and Jasper Mocke of Mocke Paddling is busy planning a 10 Days 5 Capes paddling expedition in Feb / March 2017 which will take them and those who book the trip with them around Cape Point, Cape Aghulas, Cape Seal and the Knysna Heads, Cape St Francis and the lastly Cape Recife. 

This video was obviously shot as part of their recce of the area and just shows what they can expect when they do it next year.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The red shirt man

After so much wind lately I could not let a much calmer morning go by without at least stopping for a look out over the Bay.  I wasn't the only one it seems and I really liked the picture with this guy in his red shirt standing on the wall between McArthur Pool and Humewood.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tsitsikamma Forest stream

I was in the Tsitsikamma for a meeting today and pinched off a few minutes to go and sit in the forest next to a stream to plug in my soul for a quick charge.  It needs a lot more than just a quick charge but it will have to do for now.  I have a weekend to Hogsback coming up and an end of year trip to the Northern Drakensberg so there are lots of streams waiting for me in my near future.