Granger Bay - Cape Town
The small inlet in the foreground is what all the fuss is about.
Near the northern parking area of the V& A Waterfront
is a small bay called Granger Bay.
It has a small slipway which is leased by the
Oceana Power Boat club to launch its boats.
Since 1992 the Oceana Power Boat Club has allowed snoek
fishermen to launch their fishing boats from their slipway.
This particular slipway is one of two found along the western
coastline of Table Bay, the other one being at Three Anchor Bay.
The Oceana Power Boat club have leased the slipway from
the V& A Waterfront Holding company for 30 years and with
their lease expiring have made many requests and petitions
to the V & A and to Cape Town Authorities to renew it.
All to no avail.
The site has been earmarked for upmarket residential properties
and once the lease runs out the contractors want to start work.
When this happens the club and the snoek fishermen will lose
their only access point to the sea in Table Bay.
As the V & A Waterfront is closed to fishermen they
have no where else to go.
The slipway and harbour at Yzerfontein
The closest harbour to Cape Town catering for fishermen on
the Atlantic coastline is Yzerfontein which is about
90 kilometres up the west coast.
When there is a snoek run at Robben Island these fishermen
will be expected to drive all the way to Yzerfontein to
launch their boats and then have to run down the coast
for about 60 kilometres in their boats before reaching
the fishing grounds.
Once they have their fish they will have to make the return
trip with a fully laden boat to Yzerfontein.
A trip that could take at least an hour and a half with a full boat.
The Granger Bay slipway is about a 15 minute run
from Robben Island in good weather.
Authorities in Cape Town have offered the snoek fishermen
two alternative sites to launch from.
One being the Three Anchor Bay slipway a short way north
of the Granger Bay facility.
It is totally inadequate as the ramp to the slipway is very
narrow and the boats are too wide to fit through it.
Secondly, the little bay is very rocky and heavy seas sometimes
hammer it when the north winds blow.
Woodstock beach with the tide rising
The other suggested site is near the mouth of the
Salt River on Woodstock beach.
Fishermen have turned this site down as it is too dangerous.
When they launch their boats in the morning when the weather
is fine there would not be a problem.
However, everybody knows that during the summer months the
south easter blows a gale across Table Bay.
The heavily laden fishing boats would be expected to return
to base driving into the teeth of the gale through heavy seas
and then have to make their way through the surf to the beach.
If they should get their timing wrong a boat could quite easly
capsize in the waves on its way through the surf.
It is sad that in the name of progress every access to the sea
for boats and fishermen have been blocked.
I have no idea how this problem is going to be solved
but I am sure of one thing!
The fishermen will not take this lying down.
The open land inside the harbour wall which would be ideal for the new slipway
I have a suggestion.
Near to where the helicopter pads are in the waterfront
is a large tract of unused land.
Why not build a slipway there as there as there is plenty
of space to park trailers etc.
The slipway could be built against the harbour wall and would
be out of the way of other boats using the harbour as well
as giving protection to the fishermen as they launch their boats.
On the 27th November 2004 newspapers reported that the fate of Granger Bay had changed and that the Oceana Boat club could stay where it was if parking for the fishing boats was supplied by local government.
We'll have to wait and see what transpires.
Email : Geoff Fairman
6 Bothma Street, Monte Vista 7460 South Africa
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Page updated 17.5.2015