20 November 2011

Hout Bay - Fishing Harbour

Hout Bay - Fishing Harbour

We were just in the right place at the right time for a sudden sardine run which was fascinating to watch. The unlucky little fish washed up faster than they could swim back into the water but most ended up in bags for the families to take home for the pot or they got swallowed by waiting seals.  Fishing lines were dropped over the harbour wall for those doing this the traditional way - they are after all fishermen! Kids were grabbing onto the slippery fish only to drop them again before they could throw them into the waiting bucket or plastic bag. The shocked look on their faces was comical as they again tried to grab the slippery fish. The lazier bunch just waded into the sea - barely going in knee deep, yet everybody came out with loads of flapping silver fish. One little girl tried to throw all the live fish back into the sea but her efforts were in vain as she could not throw far enough into the receding waters.


The seagulls were floating on the waves - enjoying a veritable feast which just happened their way. The seals were also in heaven and frolicked in the waves as they ate their fill of this unexpected harvest.

The locals went crazy and all sorts of nets, buckets, plastic bags appeared whilst many fish got caught swimming just around their ankles! One can just imagine the wonderful aroma of "braaied" (barbecue) sardines with fires lighting up the night skies, happy conversation and a party atmosphere.

Our attention was suddenly diverted by the very loud whirr of a helicopter. We gazed upwards at the sky - what was happening? We rushed to the end of the pier to focus across at a Navy helicopter getting closer and closer and the NSRI Rescue boat suddenly picking up speed in the harbour and heading out towards the open sea. Fearing the worst, we looked and watched as they plucked somebody out of the sea and winched him to the safety of the helicopter. Swimmer or fisherman in trouble?

But suddenly, a huge splash as they dropped the person back into the water. Phew - we breathed a sigh of relief - it was a training session for the rescue services. Panic over! The exercise appeared to go without a hitch so hats off to competent heli and boat crews who must be preparing for the busy summer season.
Are you wanting a little bit of variety for that sunny day out? 
Then motor down the road leading to Hout Bay where you will find enough to keep you busy, entertained and well fed for the day. Hout Bay was so-named because of its forests in days gone by but today is populated by many fishermen who have lived in this seaside hamlet for ever, and the numerous other richer folk who hanker after a beach or boating life-style.

Boasting a long,wide, safe beach, the sun-worshippers come out in their droves during the hot summer months. During winter, the beach is great for walks whilst enjoying the invigorating sea breezes.

The fishing harbour is always popular, with activity around the many fishing vessels, sometimes moored 3 deep - at other times, only the rusted wrecks are left tied up on the quays while all others are out fishing and hoping for good catches.

The harbour seems the heart and soul of this village and it's fishermen folk, who live on the hill above, waiting for their menfolk to return safely after each trip out to sea. The fishing boats are the workhorses of this community whilst the many sleek yachts sit alongside their moorings, never seeming to move.

Hout Bay however remains a playground for the more wealthy as can be seen from their sleek boats and moored yachts!

After that brisk walk on the beach, a trip to Seal Island, a visit to "World of Birds" or browsing the many items for sale at the Sunday Craft market, some refreshments are always a welcome respite. Hout Bay offers numerous restaurants, an hotel and many coffee shops. Mariners Wharf is in the harbour itself and "Dunes" overlooks the sea. Both of the above offer seafood. 

Enjoy the day!

© Judelle Drake


Anonymous said...

The Yacht you have is actually with me standing on the bow, M/v 'Princess-Aqua' in season we make a lot of stops in the harbour to drop the owners off for a stroll and then anchor just off the beach. This pic is quite special to me as it was my last day on the yacht. Thanks for a great pic!! S. H. Swanepoel

Anonymous said...

The yacht in your blog is M/v Princess-Aqua moored in Cape Grace marina, In season we make a lot of trips down to drop off owners in the harbour and then go anchor just off the beach. It is me on the bow and my captain on the flybridge.
S.H Swanepoel