Marine Protected Areas on our doorstep - The Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape

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I’ve grown up in Cape Town, well specifically in a suburb just below Table Mountain which is just above the City. Our views from my parents home are pretty spectacular and from our little perch on the slopes of the mountain we have an epic view of Table Bay. It’s pretty iconic!

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Growing up we would head down to Sea Point Promenade, on the Atlantic Seaboard, early in the morning on a Sunday with our bikes or roller skates and take a ride along the beachfront. We would watch the waves, the surfers, the birds, the other people catching their early morning workouts or playing a fun game of putt putt.

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Nothing has changed except that I’m a few decades older. This area is just as beautiful and the best mix of metropolitan with relaxation and fun in a beautiful setting.

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The grass fields have always been a safe haven for young families playing ball games or on the play parks, while looking out to see you catch a glimpse of the kayak adventurers and sightseeing yachts ferrying tourists out to sea and along the beautiful coastline with dramatic views of Table Mountain, Lions Head and Signal Hill.

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What I think most folk walking along this coastline take for granted is that this entire coastline is a part of the Table Mountain Marine Protected Area. For years in the past this area was used for poaching abalone (or Perlemoen) and crayfish amongst other things. But today this area is protected as crayfish breeding grounds and may not be removed from the ocean.

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This Marine protected area extends kilometres up the coast to the north and down to the south and excludes only a few small zones where fishing and crayfishing are allowed if you have a permit. And even then it is limited per person per day and only on specific days of the year.

It’s hard to imagine that this is all happening right alongside this busy recreational space and makes me wonder how much is done to raise awareness amongst our own locals and visitors alike.

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The new photographic art installation along the sea wall is a welcome addition highlighting the ocean ecosystems and the effects of poaching, overfishing and pollution on our oceans. The photos have been taken over Thomas Peschak’s lifetime of travelling the world documenting the oceans on expeditions with scientists and private trips. He is an Ocean Photographer, Conservation storyteller and Marine Biologist. Hopefully his project will bring some change in our immediate vicinity where education about our oceans is so necessary.

I can’t show you all the work but look up Thomas Peschak if you get a chance at https://www.thomaspeschak.com/

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This part of the bay is home to a number of Kayak adventure companies that charge a small fortune to take eager participants on a self paddle adventure along the coast.

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This little bay seems pretty calm on this day, but the swell can get massive and knarly especially with the masses of kelp forests and sharp rocks to contend with.

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This is it on a flat day

With a good swell it’s got a pretty decent surf spot on the right hand side called F-ups (can’t bring myself to swear on a platform that will be immortalised here forever!) and it has that name for a reason. It’s scary and ugly to get to and out of. Whoever surfs it should have life insurance. Just says - it’s nasty!

At other times during winter storms the sea foam breaks in massive waves over the garage doors and into the road above, flooding cars and the few shops on the other side of the road.

This Video from July 2020 by VOA News will give you the full picture. You can see the same buildings in the background.

Our Cape Town Municipality is doing their best to keep this part of the city in good shape and it shows. Their hard work is paying off.

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The whole sea wall has been rebuilt in some places and serviced in others to make sure they’re safe and going to stand the test of the ocean and time. Aesthetically everything looks the same as when I was a little kid which is a constant nostalgic reminder of this area and our outgoing family.

My kids have grown up with the same experiences on pushbikes along these same paths and I hope they will be here for everyone’s kids to experience for decades to come.

There’s nothing like having this on our doorstep. Fresh air, ocean views and good old free fun!

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