Tag Archives: boat

The yacht Explorer

Explorer the yacht

Summer days are back. The sun is out, the wind is blowing (unfortunately), and people are heading for the beaches. The Explorer (the yacht in the photo) was anchored a little way off Sea Point, just bobbing in the waves. I thought that the vessel was a little too close to shore, but I assume that the skipper knew the waters and knew that he was safe.

One of the most awesome things to do in Cape Town is to take a trip out into the bay and view the city and mountains from a different perspective.  Find a charter company and do it - you won't regret it. Unless of course you're (like me) susceptible to motion sickness, in which case it's probably best to first head to a pharmacy for a carton of  little white tablets. :)

Do the tourist thing!


Kerry-Anne and I took a ride in a similar boat to this one in Singapore, but to date I haven't ever taken a ride in one of these Waterfront boats. We always seem to do the fun things in other people's countries, but I guess we all tend to get too caught up in day-to-day life when we're in our own cities.

So the aim of today's photo is to remind you to explore the place where you live, and to remember to also do the fun things that visitors to your area get to do!

Canal to the Waterfront

V&A Waterfront canal at night

In a post about the Westin Grand Hotel a few days ago I mentioned the canal that leads from the hotel and the CTICC to the Waterfront area. And voila, here you have it!

The canal is known as the Roggebaai Canal, and apparently water taxis depart from the Westin Grand Hotel every hour on the two-kilometre, 20-minute trip. From the hotel, the taxi takes passengers under the freeway, past a fresh sea-water waterfall, and then past the City Lodge Hotel. After the City Lodge the taxi heads on under more bridges, past the West Quay offices and under two lifting bridges, through the marina lock, and then to moor at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

The one-way trip costs just R20 for adults and R10 for kids, and as soon as the weather clears up, we're definitely going to take the trip! Take a look at the route map that I've plotted on Google Maps.

Cape Town drydock


As the title suggests, this photo is of a small drydock at Cape Town harbour. For those who perhaps don't know, a drydock is used to perform ship repairs that cannot be done while the ship is in the water.

Essentially what happens is that the vessel enters the drydock (which is still filled with water). The wet drydock's gates are closed and after securing the vessel, huge pumps pump every little bit of water from the huge swimming-pool-like container. I'm guessing that the process is carried out fairly carefully, as one would have to ensure that the vessels are properly supported as the water is drained. Imagine having one of these topple over in the dock...

Aerial photography + ships + Cape Town = fun

Tidewater Marine - The Gubert Tide
A week or more ago (while we were away in Bloemfontein watching the soccer) one of the Tidewater Marine guys emailed me about chartering a helicopter and taking photos of two boats due to pass by Cape Town's Table Bay. The two boats were the Gubert Tide and Desoto Tide, en route from Singapore to the West Coast of Africa (somewhere near Côte d'Ivoire).

I read a little about the boats and found that they're reasonably new vessels, launched only this year and now being deployed to their new home near Côte d'Ivoire. Apparently, these two are Diesel-Electric-powered boats, which I understand makes them a little special in that they're not quite as bad for the environment as many other ships - they reduce CO2 emission by 30% and are lighter on diesel than traditional diesel-powered vessels.

Enough about Tidewater and the boats for now, and back to the helicopter trip. If you have the opportunity you absolutely HAVE TO take an early-morning flip in a chopper around Cape Town. I now understand why this city is often considered the most beautiful in the world. But, don't take my word for it - visit again tomorrow, because I'll be posting a few more early-morning aerial photos of Cape Town. Early morning is a beautiful time to see the city and its mountains.

Take a look at this article to read more about the two vessels.

Two pennies for your thoughts

Watching ships

I took this photo yesterday while sitting at Blouberg beach, which is on the east side of Table Bay. Table Mountain is to the left and the famous Robben Island to the right of this picture - both just out of frame.

The two subjects of this photo sat on the fence for a long while, seeming not to talk, just looking out to sea. It was interesting watching the couple because due to the fact that they weren't sitting right next to each other I found myself wondering if they were uncomfortable with each other (being on some kind of "first date") or perhaps they'd been arguing and now sat silent, or maybe they were simply friends enjoying the warm sun (even though the sea breeze was a little cool). I felt that in some way the ships anchored in the bay were a silent reflection of the couple.

On a different topic, tomorrow, 7 July, is Kerry-Anne's birthday! If you will, take a guess at how old she will be. She won't be offended if you guess wrong, promise. ;) If you want to help and have a moment, have a look at the "Drummer-girl Project" that I devised in order to get her the drum kit she's been hounding me for.

A safe way to hire a Jet Ski

Jet Skiing in Melkbos

Jet Skiing is one of those sports that I think many people would love to try, but either it's too expensive, or they live too far away from the ocean and its waves to make one of these water bikes a worthwhile investment.

I'm sure many people know that you can hire a Jet Ski for the odd bit of fooling around, but what's always bothered me with this is that jet skis are dangerous and I don't know how to read the ocean - I do know that it's not something to toy with, though. A colleague of mine, who rides his jet ski regularly, told me of an incident where he helped someone who had paralysed themselves by landing incorrectly after jumping the ski... that's not a place I'd like to be!

But there is another option if you're visiting Cape Town and would like to take a tour of the coastline on a jet ski (and want to drive the machine yourself). Bugaloo Adventures have a Seafari jet ski package for R600 that puts you on a jet ski with a guide on a separate ski. The guide rides alongside you, keeping one eye on the ocean and one eye on you to make sure you're staying safe, and helps you learn how to ride the ski. It's a pretty cool idea, don't you think? I'm just waiting for Bugaloo to offer us a free ride, so that we can review the actual experience! :D

To help us out while we're on vacation, today's photo was taken by Bennie Vivier - the guy who, when I started getting into photography, was kind enough teach me about the subtle technical aspects of the art.

Tigresse, Africa’s largest catamaran

Tigresse, Africa's largest catamaran

Tigresse, which can carry 60 passengers, is, according to its owner, the largest sailing catamaran in African waters, rivalled only by the Fujicat, a sister catamaran.

At R110 for a one-and-a-half-hour cruise, it's not at all expensive (in my opinion). If I were you however, I'd consider doing the sunset cruise with champagne for R180. Their website notes that they offer a champagne cruise, and even though I know they really mean sparkling wine, please insist on REAL champagne from Champagne... just to make the point! ;)

We're currently on vacation so credit for today's photo of Tigresse goes to Mandy from brainwavez.org.

Garcia D’Avila, a Brazilian warship

The Warship, Garcia D'Avila
If you read yesterday's post you'll have gathered that Kerry-Anne and I are away in Bloemfontein (for the Confederations Cup). We decided that it wouldn't be fair to stockpile photos before we left and subject our readers to them over the time, so I've enlisted the help of a couple of friends to supply us with photos.

Mandy, blogger, writer, gadget-freak, and owner of brainwavez.org kicked off today with this shot of the Garcia D'Avila moored at the Cape Town Waterfront. This warship found its way to Cape Town in support of the Sea Power for Africa Symposium held at the CTICC (but I think they're actually in SA to support Brazil in the Confederations Cup!). Mandy mentioned that the public were actually being allowed to board the vessel for a short tour. We're not sure if they're still giving tours, but if you're in the Waterfront, stop by and try your luck. ;)

If you have a moment, visit brainwavez.org. The homepage lists article summaries, which link through to the main articles. Unsurprisingly, the first article I read was a review of a silly, yet fun game, Death Dice. (I'm on level 7 at the moment ;) ).

Beach weather and sailing ships

Beach weather and sailing ships

Perfect bliss may well be lying on a beautiful (and windless) beach while watching sailing ships pass by at a pace significantly slower than life.

Cape Town has for many years been known as a city where the pace is somewhat slower than the rest of the country. I've noticed though that the tide has started to turn and even though there's a more relaxed feeling in parts (like at this beach), it seems to me that the pace of business has picked up. Average folk seem busier than before, working longer hours than ever, and generally being trapped in the great hamster-wheel.

The interesting thing about Cape Town is that whenever the weather is good you'll find loads of people on the beaches... and not tourists, I might add. I've come to the conclusion that these people most likely fall into four categories:

1. They worked smart and earned a lot of money, enough to retire early.
2. They're trust-fund kids.
3. They're locals on holiday.
4. They're bunking work or lectures!

And in the majority of cases, I'd place my bet on option 4. ;)

Boat trips from the V&A Waterfront

Spirit of Victoria

The 58-foot yacht Spirit of Victoria carries passengers on trips around Table Bay, taking them a little way along the Atlantic Seaboard, in fact. At night she lies quietly moored at the north pier of the V&A Waterfront, bobbing about, content after a day of hard work. If you've spent much time looking out into Table Bay you will almost certainly have noticed the schooner's distinctive brown sails blowing in the wind; see another photo here.

Time permitting, Kerry-Anne and I will try taking a trip on the Spirit of Victoria before summer is over, and then report back on the experience.

A view above Granger Bay Harbour

Granger Bay Harbour

After work today Kerry-Anne and I drove through to the city to meet one of our longtime readers, Beverley, and her husband David, who are currently hiding from the chilly English weather here in sunny Cape Town. If you have a moment, take a look at Beverley's collection of Cape Town photos by clicking here.

This photo was taken from their holiday apartment, which overlooks the small harbour of Granger Bay, located between the Radisson Hotel and the V&A Waterfront. It was fantastic to meet Beverley for the first time, and we all spent a lovely evening chatting and sharing stories over drinks.

I'll cover this topic in more detail some other time, but just for interest's sake, the orange submersibles in the bottom right of the photo are used for survival training at the Survival Centre, which is part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Sailing the seas on Valentine’s Day

Overlooking the ocean

In the distance, far out of focus, you can see a ship floating in Table Bay. This got me thinking about the last time that I was on a large ship - and then I realised that I've never been out to sea on a large ship. With Valentine's Day just a few days away I started looking around for things to do and came across the 2-day "starlight cruise" on the MSC Rhapsody. The ship leaves from Cape Town and takes a trip along the coast, to nowhere in particular, and then returns.

Unfortunately this cruise is out of the question right now, but we'll have to make a point of doing this some time soon. For now, to solve the immediate problem of Valentine's Day, I've started making enquiries at restaurants that are "doing something special" for the evening. It would seem however that if one is to find a good spot for the evening in Cape Town then it's advisable to book more than 11 days in advance. It seems as though many places are already fully booked. :(

LNG ship at anchor

Liquefied Natural Gas ship anchored near Sea Point
According to the Cape Ports website, the Celestine River, a ship just like this one, caused quite a fuss last year when it was anchored off Sea Point, as some people were concerned that it might explode...

According to the same site, the ships that lie at anchor off the coast like this (we see quite a few of them) are in fact empty, and so these fears were entirely unfounded.

"LNG" stands for Liquefied Natural Gas - natural gas is converted to liquid so that it can be transported, and then returned to its gaseous form once it reaches its destination, so that it can be piped.

This photo was taken from the promenade at Three Anchor Bay.

The best beach in Cape Town

Clifton 4th beach

I think by now you probably know that we're quite fond of the beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard (Camps Bay, Clifton, Llandudno). Our favourite of these is definitely Clifton 4th Beach. I don't think I need to say any more really - just take a look at the photo. Doesn't it look idyllic?

Fishing boats of the V&A Waterfront

Fishing boats at night
Fish Quay, seen above, is in the V&A Basin of the Waterfront, very close to the Clock Tower mentioned in this post a few days ago. Although I've never seen fish being offloaded, presumably because we normally visit the Waterfront over weekends or in the evening, I believe that visitors to the Waterfront can stand and watch as these deep-sea fishing boats dock and offload their super-fresh fish.

Unfortunately, I doubt that one can purchase fish directly from the boat captains here. If you're keen on this, then Kalk Bay harbour is the place to be, as recently caught fish can be bought directly from fishermen on the pier.