Waterways report - April 2008

Following an excellent summer, when the water levels of the Marina were virtually perfect with the weed growth stunted by the ebb and flow of the salt water coming in at the vlei mouth, April has arrived with the dropping of the water levels (because of the regular breaching of the mouth) resulting in large areas of weed surfacing on the vlei and in a number of the Marina canals. Being open to the air, the weed growth is proliferating and already large tracts of the vlei are proving difficult to negotiate, be it in canoes, dinghies, yachts or pedallos. The same is apparent in a number of the Marina canals. The reason for this proliferation is as stated above - access to air and sunlight but also because of an almost total cessation of weed cutting by the C.T.C.C. weed harvesters since the beginning of 2008. This has been because:
  1. one harvester has been tied up on Peninsula Park since early January awaiting repairs to its cutting bed, and
  2. the other harvester was removed from the vlei some 5 weeks ago to be used in cutting in adjacent water bodies.
At the time that the second machine was to be moved, I warned the C.T.C.C. officials that the status of the weed growth was beginning to emulate the disastrous situations that occurred in 2006 and 2007, but no heed was taken of my pleas for a shorter time for the harvester to be away from the vlei or that the one out of order have its repairs speeded up.

The quality of the water appears to be good at the last water quality check and this is to be expected given the vast amount of weed that there is in the water, it being the natural filter. However, I remain concerned that because of the power/electricity problems that we will be encountering on an ongoing basis into the future, the sewage pump station monitoring is not up to scratch. Unless this is sorted out, the inevitable and horrifying thought of sewage overflows into the vlei/canals will remain. I have been informed by the officials that they are doing everything in their power to make sure that this doesn't happen (again), but given their past performance, I remain sceptical that they can even maintain their already poor service record.

On the canoeing side, the local season is beginning to get going again and residents will have noticed an increase of racing craft on the water. Already, one race has been held on the water (I will send you a pic) and that was the Twilight 12, where experienced canoeists team up with novices in K2's and K4's and introduce them to the sport in the form of a 'fun' canoe race. The next canoe events to be held on the vlei and through the Marina canals will be the Marina Mini Marathon on Saturday 3rd May, starting in front of the Canoe Club at 10h00, and the Marina 16 which will be held on Saturday 17th May - same starting time. Both these events form part of the W.C.C.U. official calendar and are serious racing events where the top paddlers in the province will be competing. Of extra-special canoeing news is that Nikki Mocke, formerly a resident in the Marina, has been chosen to represent South Africa in the ladies canoe sprints at the Beijing Olympic Games to be held later this year.

Peninsula Canoe Club continues to hold novice programmes for anyone interested in canoeing (Sundays from 09h00 to 11h00, mainly for adults) and for school going children on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 16h00 to 17h00. Equipment in the form of canoes, paddles and lifejackets are supplied by the club for those who are keen to see if canoeing might appeal to them. Once they have been found competent on the waters of the vlei, a programme to take them onto rivers, under the watchful eyes of experienced paddlers, is available. If there is anyone interested in starting canoeing, be they children or adults, they should contact me on 021 788 7309 for more details.

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