Tow large seals bask in the wintry sunshine outside Live Bait restaurant.

Two large seals bask in the wintry sunshine outside Live Bait restaurant.

One of our first stops in Cape Town is always a fish and chip lunch at Live Bait in Kalk Bay harbour. Always fresh, always good, always great seal watching and after lunch, a short stroll around the fishing boats which will have brought their morning catches in for the market.

It got me thinking about the relationship between the seals and the fishermen….

During the first half of the year, Kalk Bay Harbour on Cape Town’s southern peninsula is home to commercial Rock Lobster or crayfish fishing boats, which they use as a base to drop and collect their crayfish traps along the coast line. Discarded box bands from their bait packaging end up in the sea and around seals’ necks.

We watched this baby seal slide off for a swim while Mommy-seal snoozed.

We watched this baby seal slide off for a swim while Mommy-seal snoozed.

The relationship between fisherman and seal is generally not a good one. Seals are blamed for fishermen losing fish whilst at sea, as human and animal compete for the same resource. Local fishermen describe the seal’s actions as “stealing” the fish they are trying to catch to earn a living.

Third generation Kalk Bay fisherman Cassiem Elmazon, who started fishing when he was fourteen, describes the relationship between seal and fisherman: “They make you very cross. Especially when you’re catching snoek, they just take the snoek off your line. It’s R70 ($7) for a snoek, and they just take it. Some fishermen kill them, they shoot them with a gun.” Cassiem looks down and shakes his head.

“Seals and fishermen are just not friends.” explains Anel Nortier, Chief Marine Conservation Inspector from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries based at Kalk Bay Harbour. “Often the seals don’t even eat the whole fish. They just bite into it, play with it and then move on to the next one.” Under South African legislation, seals are protected animals, but Nortier says that trying to convince a fisherman to cut the box bands or buy bait in bags to save a seal is difficult. “Most fishermen don’t have any pity for an injured seal. During coastal patrols we’ve seen dead seals washed up on the beach with bullet holes,” says Nortier.

 

The seals in and around the harbour are residents. They are fed by tourists and the fish cleaners who discard the leftovers into the sea in and around the harbour. “They shouldn’t be here, they should be living on Seal Island,” says Nortier, referring to the small island off the False Bay coastline, a well-known hunting ground and viewing site for Great White sharks. The seals have become habituated; they sleep on the harbour walkways and are fed daily. “It’s easy living for the seals, but for their own good they shouldn’t live here,” says Nortier.

The Boschendal Manor House - 1680.

The Boschendal Manor House – 1685.

One of the oldest farms in South Africa, founded in 1685, the farm has grown with the passing centuries into a cherished source of wholesome produce, great wines and happy memories.

Pondering life in general outside the coffee shop - which serves delicious scones and cake.

Pondering life in general outside the coffee shop – which serves delicious scones and cream.

In 2013 Boschendal was acquired by new owners, led by Sam and Rob Lundie, with the intention of rejuvenating this magnificent property. Over the past two years they have attracted a team of talented people who share their dream of making Boschendal into a top agricultural farm; a farm that produces sought after naturally produced food and great wines; and a farm where the natural environment thrives and local communities prosper.

The main restaurant - now named Die Werf. Outstanding!

The main restaurant – now named Die Werf. Outstanding!

Set in the Drakenstein Valley surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes, lush gardens and vines, the original farmstead complex is now a national monument with a rich and intriguing history of more than 300 years. Today, Boschendal is a Cape winelands icon and an acclaimed wine and food destination. Vineyards and fruit trees have been joined by vegetable gardens and a growing herd of free range, 100% pasture fed Angus cattle reflecting a commitment to serving wholesome farm-to-table food.

Home bakes in a traditional environment are a feature of the many food and deli outlets.

Home bakes in a traditional environment are a feature of the many food and deli outlets.

Guest accommodation is also a recent addition to the farm with luxurious cottage accommodation ranging from the exclusive and historic Rhodes Cottage built by Sir Herbert Baker to the elegantly restored Werf Cottages.

The terrace of Die Werf restaurant looks out over a wonderful vegetable garden - echoes of Babylonstoren (and why not?)

The terrace of Die Werf restaurant looks out over a wonderful vegetable garden – echoes of Babylonstoren (and why not?)

Cottage guests enjoy access to the entire farm where they can walk and cycle on trails through mountain fynbos, dine under the stars, have picnics and sundowners in exclusive areas, fly-fish in the dams and swim in pristine mountain water.

Walking up into Die Werf Restaurant.

Walking up into Die Werf Restaurant.

Boschendal is open the year round, 7/7, and we were witness to the ‘rejuvenation’ – wonderful!

 

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles

 

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“The Fairest Cape in all the World” – paraphrased from…18 July 1580 – An English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, rounded the Cape on his voyage round the world. He called it “a most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth”.

It does take a bit of time to get used to the beauty, again.

Courtesy of Turkish Airlines…

Camps Bay.

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It’s been a long hot spring and early summer preparing for the season…

Time to relax for a while…

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Every year Ménerbes celebrates the ‘twinning’ of the village with Grinzane in Italy – also a truffle haven. This year we had a provençal band and procession through the village. Our Deputy Mayor was supposed to be part of the procession – however, he arrived late. No problem. He parked his van in the middle of the procession, leapt out and joined in.

No wonder he is affectionately called “Don’t panic, Yannick”

Here he arrives……..

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In the way Yannick!!

In the way Yannick!!

Beautiful in its simplicity. Nature's bounty.

Beautiful in its simplicity. Nature’s bounty.

You can tick them off on your fingers …… the irises in spring; the poppies; the lavender and now the sunflowers.

Happy summer!

Seen next to the D900 national road between Apt and Avignon.

Seen next to the D900 national road between Apt and Avignon.

At the back of the Cote Parc shop in L'Isle sur la Sorgue is one of the many canals in thevillage - the owners have decided to add to the flowing water.

At the back of the Cote Parc shop in L’Isle sur la Sorgue is one of the many canals in thevillage – the owners have decided to add to the flowing water.

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