Tag Archives: harbour

A Year of Beach Walks in Gordon’s Bay (2019-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2020

So clearly thanks to the current COVID-19 global pandemic and South Africa’s quickly (and rightfully) imposed lockdown, there hasn’t been much traipsing outside at all, never mind actually getting to properly celebrate the big 40 that rolled in for me on the 11th of May. A few morning strolls during our mandated exercise hours here and there, but for the most part it has just been us and the walls of our tiny (but thankfully larger than an apartment) house.

So in looking forward to the day when things somewhat return to normal (which is probably a very, very long way off), cue a bunch of photos that I snapped while ambling about the beaches of Gordon’s Bay in 2019. (Yes, this is another one of those “attempt to clear out my far too large Unposted Photos desktop folder” entries. Sorry.)

As you might recall, our diminutive little home town named after the Dutch explorer (of Scottish descent) Robert Jacob Gordon with its emblem of a giant anchor and the letters “GB” emblazoned on the side of the mountain (which coincidentally stands for General Botha, the earlier name of the small naval training base that resides in the town) is the proud owner of two small harbours, two small beaches, and thus more than one or two pretty views.

A Photo Walk at the V&A Waterfront and Silo District in Cape Town (2019-12-21) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 APR 2020

Forever on the prowl for entertaining things to do with the girls (that also just so happens to get me out of the house and away from the keyboard), this past December school holidays saw me gather Jessica and Emily up in the car, hand over our old point-and-click Sony Cybershot camera to them, and then head off to Cape Town’s premier tourist trap, the V&A Waterfront for a bit of a photo walk about.

The V&A Waterfront is of course ridiculously photogenic, and after parking in one of the many underground parking garages lining the Waterfront, we started our journey with a jaunt through the Victoria Wharf shopping mall in all of its African Christmas decorated glory. Surprisingly, and rather incredibly so, we struck it lucky with our timing because for the most part the Waterfront wasn’t its usual bustling throng of people self, meaning that we had plenty of space to amble, stop and take photos, and not desperately cling to each others’ arms to ward off getting separated and thus lost.

Exiting the shopping complex, our next stop was photos of the golden Oscar the Seal statue standing tall in front of Sun International’s Table Bay Hotel, before sauntering back past some pretty boats and painted rhinos to catch a fun little kids Christmas-themed sing and dance featuring mascots Jellie, Buttercup and Zoemba. Show done, we ambled past the restaurants to Nobel Square, took some photos and then cut past the Alfred Mall to pay a quick photo visit to the Cape Town Comedy Club building, the V&A Food Market building and the colourful curio filled Watershed (complete with its striking Falko One elephant and recycled/reclaimed plastics chandelier.)

The drydock too made for a good photo opportunity, but truth be told, the girls were far more interested in our time spent watching the cape fur seals play fighting and sunning themselves over at the Two Oceans Aquarium Seal Platform! We then marched away from the crowds, over the lifting bridge and past the elegant Cape Grace Hotel, before circling back to once again enter the waterfront area through the now quite artsy Silo Distict.

Impressive public art installations aside (like Dylan Lewis’ scene stealing walking fragment sculpture), I did of course select the Silo District as our turnaround point because we could stop and enjoy a selection of fine Lindt chocolates from the Lindt Silo Chocolate Studio – which I’m pleased to report went down a proper treat with the girls who at this point were just starting to moan about having to walk so far!

A spin in the Zeitz MOCCA spinning top chairs, a little play time on the jellyfish kinetic sculptures, and a crossing over the newly renovated swing bridge, we left the silo and clock tower districts behind, were forced to rewatch the Jellie, Buttercup and Zoemba amphitheatre show on Emily’s insistence, and finally wound our way back through the now slightly heavier crowds at the mall to find our car still happily parked in the shade of the underground garage.

Mission complete, and yes, we generated a LOT of photos.

A Year of Beach Walks in Gordon’s Bay (2018-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 28 MAR 2020

So here I am, slowly but surely whittling down my very large Unposted Photos folder with another ‘A Year of’ picture dump. I rather enjoy living in a small harbour town and very much doubt that I will ever willingly elect to live far from the sea again – primarily because it makes for such picturesque living space!

Although reasonably diminutive, Gordon’s Bay is surprisingly home to two harbours and two beaches (Main and Bikini), and with a mountain overlooking it all, there is no excuse to not wander about and enjoy the scenery. Of course, working remotely like I do, there really isn’t any excuse at all!

So here are a bunch photos that I snapped while ambling about the beaches of Gordon’s Bay in 2018:

A Year of Beach Walks in Gordon’s Bay (2017-12-31) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 JAN 2020

Another entry in the “slowly clear all the unposted images out of my very large Unposted Photos folder” series. I enjoy living in a small harbour town and very much doubt that I will ever willingly choose to live far from the sea again – primarily because it makes for such great (picturesque) walking routes.

Gordon’s Bay is home to two harbours and two beaches (main and bikini), with a mountain overlooking it all – so in other words scenically perfect. With me working from home, this translates into plenty of opportunity to head out for a stroll – which I invariably do.

So here is a bunch photos from 2017 documenting some of these walks along my home town beaches.

The Old Harbour Museum in Hermanus (2018-08-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 15 MAR 2019

Hermanus is just such a lovely coastal town to visit. The allure of the visiting whales during whale season, the excellent beaches, the surrounding mountains, the breathtaking cliff path – it really isn’t difficult to understand just why Hermanus has exploded into the tourist friendly hub that it now finds itself being. Of course, the historic and stories of old shouldn’t be lost, and one such place attempting to preserve some of this former fishing town’s history is the Old Harbour Museum.

The museum consists primarily of two sections, the historical Old Fishing Harbour and Fisherman’s Village, the latter being home to De Wet’s Huis Photographic Museum and the Whale House Museum.

The old harbour itself (or “Visbaai” as it was known back in the day) is preserved as an open air museum, with a couple of relics from a bygone era still visible along the stone and concrete walls of the structure. There is also the War Memorial at its entrance, and tucked into one of the old fisherman’s shacks is the Old Harbour Indoor Museum which displays an eclectic mix of items used by the local fishing industry both present and past, as well as some items from the Selkirk Collection.

That said, in all honesty I would have to say that the indoor museum has obviously seen much better days and is probably very much in need of better funding – though nevertheless makes for an interesting enough stop if you have some time to kill and nothing else left to see. (Admittedly, the kids don’t agree with me on this one).

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Scratch Patch Gemstone Delight in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (2018-05-05) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 OCT 2018

Honestly, taking your kids to go semi-precious stone hunting at the Scratch Patch is pretty much a Cape Town institution now. The original Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town was started in 1970, but of course it was the opening of the V&A Waterfront branch back in the late 90’s that really saw the experience take off as a fun little distraction for parents with small kids.

Anyway back in May this year, the girls and I got to head out to Pinelands for a friend’s birthday party at the hugely fun be.UP Park in Pinelands, a huge indoor trampoline and clamber activities haven that is guaranteed to put a grin on pretty much any kid’s face. (It was a first time visit for us, so the girls were HUGELY excited).

Successful party concluded (with remarkably few injuries to boot), I next decided that a long overdue visit to the V&A Waterfront was in order, more specifically a stroll over to the Scratch Patch – only fair considering that the last time we had treated the girls with a visit there was three whole years ago!

We don’t visit the Waterfront all that often, meaning that I almost always actually enjoy a trip there, primarily because there is always something to see and grab a nice photo of. Of course, this then means that I like to wander about, inflicting a massive amount of frustration upon two small girls impatiently champing at the bit to find out what the surprise for the day is going to be.

Pleasingly (they literally had NO clue as to our final destination), as we finally snaked our way over to the big unpolished stones serving as an advertising marker at the foot of the Scratch Patch building, they twigged where they were and literally ran around in circles yelling with excitement. Mission success I reckon.

From there it was through the door and straight into admiring the jewelry on display (they are girls after all), grabbing a container, and gleefully scratching about for brightly coloured stones until their cups literally runneth over – with daddy put on strict quality control duties of course.

Sadly, Emily is still a little too young for putt putt (mini golf) so we skipped out on a round of Cave Golf for this particular visit, but I reckon that it will be on like a scone the next time we pay a visit to this tiny little kid friendly wonderland.

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Oh, and in case you didn’t know about it, in addition to the classic Simon’s Town and V&A Waterfront locations, these days Scratch Patch/Mineral World also has an outpost at the tourist friendly Cape Town Ostrich Farm. All the more reason to head out ostrich feather hunting again I guess…

Related Link: Mineral World Scratch Patch | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

USA 2016 – 22 Ships, Fish and Chips along the Embarcadero of San Diego (2016-07-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 25 JUL 2018

It is kind of sad that Anthony’s Fish Grotto, which had faithfully been serving customers along San Diego’s Embarcadero for 70 years, eventually lost the bid to renew its licence, meaning that when February 2017 rolled around, that familiar waterfront sight was now no more. That said, I’m pleased to report that I did actually get a chance to grab some fish and chips from this iconic San Diego eatery while it was still in its original location!

The Embarcadero (Spanish for “landing place”) is the area along the San Diego harbour on the east side of San Diego Bay. Administered by the Port of San Diego, the Embarcadero is home to the San Diego cruise ship terminal, the USS Midway museum ship (which we just visited!), the San Diego Maritime Museum (which includes the iconic Star of India – a full-rigged iron windjammer ship – and several other historic vessels floating in its collection), the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), the Downtown Waterfront Park, and various restaurants and shops dotted along Seaport Village.

So basically lots to see, pretty much everywhere that you look.

Then of course there is the gorgeous, clean skyline of San Diego itself, and thanks to the time of year that we found ourselves there, the bustle associated with everyone busy frantically setting up for nearby Comic-Con.

Not a bad place pull up a chair and people watch in other words.

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Oh, and pleasingly the fish and chips were rather nice.

Related Link: Anthony’s Fish Grotto | Embarcadero | San Diego | #USA2016

Music, Fish, and Chips at the Vis Vlekhuis in Laaiplek (2018-03-31) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 25 JUN 2018

Chantelle, the girls and I joined her folks for a weekend up the West Coast back in March of this year, spending much of our time relaxing in the tranquil atmosphere of Jacobsbaai. Monty however very much wanted to show off a local fish and chips stop that they had only recently discovered, which explains then why we found ourselves winding through the small town of Velddrif and ending up in the even smaller town of Laaiplek on a rather warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Now we weren’t visiting the historically significant port of Laaiplek (so named because it was the loading area for ships from Europe from where goods were then transported into the hinterland) or its adjacent sister Velddrif for their famed bokkoms or view over the Berg River, instead we were on a mission and heading straight to Die Vis Vlekhuis, a popular bar and fish and chips takeaways situated just off the main harbour of the area.

And I’m not joking about its popularity mind you. The venue was packed both inside and out (shame, their neighbours could truthfully have done with some of Vis Vlekhuis’ patrons), and the queue for food was quite the sight. (In other words, the wait time for fish and chips was a bit on the lengthy side).

Nevertheless, we got lucky in that Monty managed to secure an outdoor table, allowing us to then grab some beers, let the girls entertain themselves by colouring in (they brought their own supplies), and enjoy the live music courtesy of the rather talented and very entertaining Jay Jay who was belting out all the hits from next door in the bar area.

The food did of course eventually arrive, and I have to say, the fish and chips were well worth the wait. Generous portions, good flavour – nothing to complain about at all! Hungers were sated, seagulls were fed, and a lazy walk to look at the boats was taken.

(Oh, and a rather pleasant drive down through Bokkom Avenue along the river completed the trip.)

So, all in all a successful first visit to this small but charming in its West Coast way place then.

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Extra Credit: The team behind the Afrikaans travel magazine Weg put together this short video about fish, pelicans, bakkies and bokkoms in Velddrif. Obviously you’ll need to know some Afrikaans to follow what’s going on, though that said, even if you do have a decent understanding, that distinctive West Coast accent isn’t going to make things any easier for you to follow…

In all honesty, now that I think about it, I don’t believe that I have ever tasted bokkoms. Guess I’ll have to rectify that come our next visit up the West Coast then!

Related Link: Die Vis Vlekhuis | Laaiplek | Velddrif

Seagulls and Beer at the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay (2018-03-18) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 22 JUN 2018

I’ve mentioned them before, but heading down to the harbour to enjoy some fish and chips at the Sea Gypsy Cafe in Mossel Bay has become somewhat of a family tradition whenever we all find ourselves up in the area. Thus, my weekend away with the girls, my folks and my brother Ryan back in March this year ended on that exact note.

Situated just outside the main harbour entrance, right across the small Biblia house, the Sea Gypsy Cafe is a lively spot with both an indoor and outdoor eating setup, a place where the vibe is good, the beer always flows, and fish and chips appear all around you.

Unless of course you ordered something else that is.

Historically I’ve always gone for the classic fish and chips, but recently Dad has converted me into grabbing one of their baskets instead, which contains a nice mix of fish, chips, crumbed mushrooms and calamari.

All ready to be washed down with some fantastic Glenhoff beer (that they have on tap). Spoiler alert: it is all rather good.

They have a good view over the bay (Santos beach is just across the water), the food is quite ‘lekker’ and in general it is a pretty good place to meet up with friends and spend an afternoon catching up.

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And then if you are anything like us – it is back into the car and on the road for the good 4.5 hour long drive home. Which on this occasion was a lot longer thanks to all the stop and go controls in place. (Am rather enjoying the new N2 road surface though!)

Extra Credit: I mentioned the little Biblia house across from the Sea Gypsy Cafe near the start of this post. If you are aren’t familiar with the group, BIBLIA is a Christian non-profit organization that sees to the spiritual and overall well-being of seafarers coming into South Africa. While their home base is the Cape Town harbour, the movement claims to have a presence in every major South African port, meaning that they should be a reasonably familiar sight for you to encounter when visiting any of SA’s larger harbours.

Related Link: Sea Gypsy Cafe | Mossel Bay