Tag Archives: harbour

Clear skies and Table Bay harbour

Clear skies and Table Bay harbour
After a week or more of grey skies and rain the sun's come out and it's been perfect weather to explore Cape Town, and in my case wander around at the V&A Waterfront.

I love the clear skies, windless days, and warm sun rays at this time of the year - the only thing that I really don't like about sunny winter days like this is that it gets intensely cold really early in the evening.

This is Africa and I'm not made for the cold. :-/

Fishing boats at night

Fishing boats at night
I visited the V&A Waterfront quickly on Thursday evening to replenish my depleted supply of coffee pods. The air was crisp, the wind was at bay, and this added up to perfect conditions for long-exposure photos of ships in the harbour. Enjoy!

Napping boats at night

Napping boats at night
It's not at every large harbour that one's able to walk around admiring the ships moored at the piers at night. If you're visiting Cape Town, and if the wind happens to be at bay, then grab your camera and take a walk in the V&A Waterfront.

Harbours aren't necessarily the safest areas, but even at night the V&A Waterfront is pretty safe. CCTV cameras are abundant and there are plenty of security guards roaming the walkways.

The British Navy in Table Bay harbour

The British Navy in Table Bay harbour
I'm not sure of its name, but what I do know is that this ship, moored outside of the Table Bay hotel at the V&A Waterfront, belongs to the British Navy. I couldn't see a name on her side, nor were those entering the access-control area willing to speak of her. Perhaps they're on a super-secret mission!

For some reason ships have such beautiful lines in photos - which I'd argue is why in English we refer to them in the feminine. ;)

Oil rig rising

Oil rig rising

Yesterday's photo showed the city center, with a large low-lying cloud bank crawling in from Table Bay. I walked along the edge of Signal Hill from the spot where I took that photo until I could see more of the harbour. Well, "see" is a stretch - all I could see was the top of that oil rig (looking a little like an alien space ship) rising up from beneath the cloud.

There are a few great places to walk along the slopes of Signal Hill, but do be careful and hike in groups - I imagine remote spots like these could be perfect for muggings.


Along the harbour pier

Along the harbour pier
I couldn't see exactly what these folk were looking at in the water, but I imagine it must have been a frolicking seal, or perhaps a studious school of small fish.

Last Sunday I spotted a small group of dolphins splashing about in the water outside of the V&A Waterfront, near the entrance to the Granger Bay harbour. A little while after I spotted a whale (perhaps a hundred meters further into the bay) splashing about, having a whale of a time (go figure, right?).

After reading an article by David Hurwitz (who, last month, captured photos of orcas hunting dolphins in False Bay) it stuck me that it's possible that the whale I'd seen was in fact an orca (aka killer whale), and that the dolphins may not have had as much of a fun time as I'd previously imagined they were!

Marine Protected Areas

The Andromeda
The Andromeda is a commercial fishing vessel, moored in a slightly unusual spot, close to the aquarium. My guess is that fish are scarce and the crew have taken to visiting the aquarium to fill their quota. But, that's only a guess.

South Africa has a fairly long coastline of 2798km, so isn't it astounding that about 20% of our coastal areas have been declared MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) - stretches of cost where commercial fishing has been banned?

One day, but not right now, I'll go to the effort of tracing all the areas on a proper map, but for now, here's a link to a page on our government's Marine and Coastal Management website - it contains a terribly-formatted list of all areas marked as MPAs. Sorry. :)

The Radisson and Granger Bay

Granger bay
Just to the left of where I took this photo is the five-star Radisson Blu hotel. One of the nicest things to do this time of the year is to absorb the suns warmth while sipping tea (or cocktails if your taste prefers) and eating cake at Tobago's Bar and Terrace.

While visiting, be sure to take a walk along the breakwater (to the left of the photo) - and, when you're tempted to step out onto them, be extra careful not to slip and fall down between the dolose. I did so once - it sure was painful - I shall not repeat the incident.

Cranes in the mist

Cranes in the mist
There's something beautiful and yet sad about harbour cranes on a quiet rainy day or in the mist, don't you think? They look so lonely and bored - as though they're just longing to pick up those long straight legs and give them a good-old stretch and perhaps take a walk to the end of the pier. They remind me of the giant walking trees, the Ent, from J.R.R. Tolken's Lord of the Rings.

Silly, this thought, isn't it? :)

Old Cape Town

Old Cape Town
I took this shot of an old photo that's hung on one of the walls at Dunes Restaurant in Hout Bay.

Isn't it crazy how much Cape Town has changed over the years? This view of Cape Town (from the harbour) shows Table Mountain on the left and Lion's Head on the right. The road that you see stretching across the water, into the city, is Adderley Street - our cities main road.

Take a look at these two photos that I grabbed from Google Earth - they show a modern version of the same view as the main photo. You'll notice that although Adderley Street still leads to the harbour area, it no longer allows direct access to the harbour, and the bridge that use to extend over the water has long since disappeared.

The Nautica

Cruise Liner
A while ago I wrote about graduate students from the Isa Carstens Academy who each year board similar liners, working their way around the world - effectively being paid to visit the world. Isn't that pretty awesome? Imagine all the places this ship has seen. Sydney, Rio, New York - I'm sure the list goes on and on.

I've heard from friends who've traveled on similar liners that once aboard it's a party atmosphere practically 24x7 - so I guess the tag line, "Every day is like Saturday on Nautica" is pretty appropriate.

Assuming that you don't work on Saturdays, imagine it being Saturday every day for 14 or 20 days. Imagine, all your food and all the shows and activities that you'd like to be entertained by are included in your ticket price - so besides for drinks, once on board it must feel like everything is free. Wouldn't that be just amazing?

Please leave a comment if you've traveled aboard a similar ship. I'm interested to know how you found the experience.

Breakwater at Table Bay harbour

Breakwater at Table Bay harbour

The mountain in the background, along with Lion's Head and Signal Hill to the right unmistakably identifies this breakwater to be part of Table Bay harbour (which is the big harbour where your cruise liner would normally drop you off).

I heard recently, on the radio, that plans are afoot to build a proper arrivals and departures terminal that will cater for tourists arriving on large liners. Currently, visitors normally disembark alongside a commercial (and not very pretty) pier very close to the beautiful Table Bay Hotel - which I have to say is hugely convenient if you plan on bunking in one of the hotel's 5-star rooms!

We must take a boat ride!

Waterfront boats
It's a shame that us Capetonians leave the pleasures of boat rides into Table Bay to those visiting our city. We should really take time from our day-to-day lives to enjoy these pleasures that tourists more often get to enjoy.

I think we'll soon have to take a clear winter-morning trip out into the bay and then, perhaps in February next year, enjoy a warm sunset trip over to Clifton 4th beach. Take another look at the photo - doesn't that just sound perfect?

Gone fishing

Fishing boat
If you're a keen fisherman, you may be excited to find out that in Cape Town you can not only fish off various beaches or from recreational fishing boats - but you can also do some fresh-water fishing for Bass and Carp, or even try your hand at fly fishing.

Visit this page on southafrica.info for a list of South African fishing-related links. If you're planning on being in the Cape Town area, take note of the links under the heading for our province, the Western Cape.

Morning harbour

Table Bay harbour
Do something good, for yourself. Visit Table Bay harbour (at the V&A Waterfront) on a clear day, early in the morning, as the sun is rising - at least once. It's one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences you'll have while visiting Cape Town.

Click here for a map to where I took this photo.

Bumper boats!

Tug boats in the Table Bay harbour
I've always been the biggest fan of bumper cars - it's such a pity that most funfairs don't allow people over the age of 10 or so to play on them, though. Maybe they'll let me have a go on these cool bumper boats instead?

The Enseleni (at the back) was built in Durban in 2001 and has a bollard pull of 50 tons, while the Pinotage (just in front of the Enseleni) was built way back in 1980 and has a bollard pull of 43 tons. Bollard pull is basically an indication of how strong a tug is and how much force it can exert on another vessel (although my research tells me that it is a little more complicated than that).

So just remember, if you ever get invited to play bumper boats, make sure you get the boat with the greatest bollard pull.

A flag of convenience

Marshall Islands flag
Although this vessel is flying the flag of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the chance that it actually originates from there is pretty slim indeed. According to the CIA Factbook, 990 of the 1049 merchant ships registered in the Marshall Islands are foreign-owned, and therefore flying what is termed a flag of convenience. There could be a number of reasons for this - tax avoidance, circumvention of tricky local regulations, or even the avoidance of political boycotts. I was a bit young to notice, but apparently many South African vessels were registered elsewhere during the apartheid years,  in order to avoid the unpleasant consequences of international sanctions and boycotts.

Of course, being a girl, I'd probably just pick the flag that best matched my pretty ship's colour scheme, and get the vessel registered in that country. Which is probably why Paul won't let me have a sailing ship.

Silversea’s Silver Wind

Silversea's Silver Wind
The closest I've come to going aboard a cruise ship was watching Titanic in 1997. It's definitely on my long-term to-do list, but I'm generally of the opinion that if I'm going to go on a cruise, I might as well make it worthwhile - these little 3-day "cruises to nowhere" don't really get me excited. A three-week cruise to Italy, on the other hand... ah, now that seems like a good way to pass the time.

The ship pictured here is the Silver Wind, the second-oldest of the fleet belonging to Silversea Cruises. If you feel like escaping reality for a few minutes, you can create your own virtual voyage aboard the Silver Wind.

The Argo Sea|mester training vessel

Argo, a training yacht belonging to Seamester Global
This is Argo, a yacht belonging to Seamester Global. Seamester, based in the USA, offers experiential nautical training - students spend a semester at sea, learning a wide range of skills and visiting places that they would otherwise probably only read about. Can you imagine what an amazing experience this must be? What a way to discover the world! If I had a child leaving school and considering taking a gap year, I think this would be high on my list of suggestions to them.

You can follow the activities of the students on board the Argo, by reading their regular blog posts and listening to their audio updates here.

Inkunzi floating crane

Inkunzi floating crane

According to isizulu.net the translation for the Zulu word "inkunzi" is "bull" or "male animal". In this case I suspect that because of its size and its ability to carry heavy loads, the Inkunzi floating crane was named with the word "bull" in mind.

I first became aware of the Inkunzi when my dad made mention of it about, I guess, 20 or 25 years ago. A that time he was working at the Cape Town harbour, inspecting cranes for mechanical problems. The Inkunzi was (and perhaps is) Cape Town harbour's largest floating crane, with its heaviest load capacity set at around 200 metric tons. (I took this close-up photo of a sign posted on the front of the Inkunzi, indicating the maximum weight that the crane is able to lift to a given height.)

We'll still post a couple more photos taken on my trip to the harbour, but if you're curious to see what I shot, I've already uploaded the photos to an album over here.

The Atlantic Adventures speedboat

Atlantic Adventures boat
Whenever I see one of these adventure boats in the harbour I'm reminded of our trip to Sydney in 2004, when we took a ride on a jet boat from Darling Harbour. Activity-wise I think it was the highlight of our holiday. Actually, we enjoyed it so much that we went back for another turn a few days later! :D

I'm so curious as to whether the companies in Cape Town, like Atlantic Adventures, offer the same thrilling, adrenalin-filled experience as the ones in Sydney. Have any of you been on one of these boats at the V&A Waterfront, and if so, how was it?

An empty Robinson Drydock

Robinson Drydock

I posted a close-up photo of the Robinson Drydock filled with boats once. So, when I passed by and saw that she was empty, and since the ambient light was so exquisite, there was no question, I had to take a moment to capture this photo.

This photo was taken from the other side. The Pumphouse, mentioned in this post, is also on the other side, but off to the left of this shot.

This is really a beautiful time of the year to be in Cape Town, wouldn't you agree?