Shark Alert!!

I posted the other day about the fact that we were having this amazing weather even though we are in the midst of winter. Muizenberg was the little coastal village where I started my walk to St James, along the coastline. I touched briefly on the beach, which actually lies on the north western end of False Bay . The beach stretches 35km eastwards to Strand and Gordons Bay boasting warmer sea temperatures than the beaches on the Atlantic Seabord. In summer water temperatures are around 20deg C, though the winter sea temperature is about 7 deg C cooler. Too cold for me thank you 🙂  This beach has a reputation of having the longest break in the Cape Peninsula, (I know those superlatives come in all over the place 🙂 ) the wave is rideable for approximately 1.5km  The best surf spot on the beach, is in the corner of the bay, and is very appropraitely named Surfers Corner. Obviously this makes the beach extremely popular amongst surfers, bodyboarders and swimmers. It is a well known fact that many seasoned surfers today actually learned to surf on this beach. 

From August to November land based sightings of Souther Right whales is possible from the walk to St James. Bottle nose dolphins and even Bryde’s whales can be seen further off shore. Recently there has been an increase in the number of sharks that visit the area too. There have been a few shark attacks in the past which obviously presents a major problem for all the watersport enthusiasts. An organisation called Shark spotters which started in 2004, has shark spotters on duty to alert all the water users of the presence of sharks in the water. The spotters are stationed at an elevated point on Boyes Drive which is a road that is on a hill alongside the beach. A flag system of warnings is used, so the relevant flag colour for the prevailing conditions is hoisted. Notice boards are placed on the beaches that advise the different flag colours and the status thereof.  An extract from the shark spotters website indicates the following categories of flag.

  • A Green Flag means visibility for the spotters is good and no sharks have been seen.
  • A Black Flag means visibility for the spotters is poor, but no sharks have been seen.
  • A Red Flag means that a shark has been seen recently, but is no longer visible to the spotters.
  • A White Flag with a Black Shark, along with a loud siren, means a shark has been sighted and you should leave the water calmly, but immediately.
  • No Flag means that spotters are not on duty.

I think they provide an absolutely essential community service of not only creating awareness, but actually providing an early warning system to help reduce the number of shark attack incidences on this beach. The system is obviously not 100% effective, so people need to understand the associated risks when entering the sea. Shark spotter website is if you’re interested in finding out more.

The journey continues…………………………

Todays images are a continuation of the images taken on the walk that I posted about a few days ago, though with an emphasis on the water based activities here…………….