You can download the loadshedding schedule here:
There's also a free app available for both Android and iOS which you might try:
Unfortunately, it looks like we are back to load shedding...
You can download the loadshedding schedule here:
There's also a free app available for both Android and iOS which you might try:
I don't know what it is about The Island's bridge, but when some people see it, they seem to freak out and lose common sense.
Knocked down railings are a regular feature of our bridge.... these have been hit in just the last week - and there are several others.
I put together the following guide to crossing the bridge last year after numerous railings were knocked down - if you've never crossed before, give it a read.
If you're short on time, here's a Coles Notes version:
1. make sure your vehicle is within the posted 2 tonne limit
2. make sure your vehicle fits between the curbs and railings
3. drive straight (look in the distance, not at the end of your vehicle's nose)
4. drive slowly
5. though they can be difficult to see, vehicles exiting The Island have priority (makes sense if you think "Emergency", right?)
Pretty simple. Otherwise, you'll either take out the railings or even end up scraping along like this, which is probably a stressful way to start your holiday. Oh, and it's worth mentioning there's no boat launch on The Island (incidentally, speedboats are prohibited between the railway bridge on Morrison Road and the river mouth).
According to TimesLive, the NSRI has issued a shark warning for the Garden Route, stretching from Nature's Valley and Mossel Bay (this area includes the river mouth and beaches on the Indian Ocean off of The Island) for this holiday weekend. Please mind your toes and any other bits you value...
Shark alert on the Garden Route for holiday weekend
Dave Chambers | 28 April, 2017 16:41
Garden Route holidaymakers have been warned to beware of sharks over the long weekend.
The National Sea Rescue Institute said there had been a number of great white sightings in the Plettenberg Bay area on Friday.
The organisation urged caution between Nature’s Valley and Mossel Bay.
“The increase in shark inshore presence at this time of the year is part of the normal aggregation of these animals‚” said a statement.
“Sharks are aggregating in this area at this time‚ as they have done in previous years‚ to take advantage of naturally occurring prey like seals and fish close in shore.”
The NSRI said most of Friday’s shark sightings were near the Robberg peninsula‚ which presented “a rare opportunity for sightseers to view shark activity”.
Evidently, not everyone has read my handy-dandy guide to crossing the Island bridge....
Here's an article from the Mossel Bay Advertiser:
Polisie krap kop oor motor wat van brug ry
GROOT-BRARKRIVER NUUS - Groot-Brakrivier-polisie krap kop nadat ‘n motor van die houtbrug by die Eiland in die water geval het.
Volgens die polisiewoordvoerder, sersant Chantel Marais, het die Suzuki vermoedelik om ongeveer 02:00 die brug verlaat. “Die bestuurder van die motor is onbekend en kon nie op die toneel opgespoor word nie.”
Dit is ook onbekend of daar enige passasiers in die motor was.
Teen vanoggend, 08:30 was die motor steeds in die water. Die brug is steeds afgesper.
Mossel Bay Advertiser fotograaf, Dave van der Merwe het die toneel vanoggend om 04:00 besoek. Mosselbaai se Brand en Redding was ook op die toneel.
Volgens sersant Marais ondersoek die polisie ‘n saak van roekelose-en-nalatige bestuur. “Ons sal uit die aard van die saak ook die bestuurder van die motor opspoor.”
Mossel Bay Advertiser fotograaf, Dave van der Merwe het die toneel vanoggend om 04:00 besoek.
ARTIKEL: LOUISE KARSTEN
FOTO'S: DAVE VAN DER MERWE
'Ons bring jou die nuutste Groot-Brakrivier, Tuinroete nuus'
09:31 (GMT+2), Thu, 27 April 2017
Both the April and May 2017 tide tables for Mossel Bay are online, courtesy of the SA Navy's Hydrographic Department.
Very handy for planning those low tide beach walks - or coordinating a bit of boogie boarding with the incoming tide! Print them out and stick them on the fridge or bulletin board for handy reference.
Or view tides on your mobile phone at the Tides Near Me website or download their free app for Android or iOS. I find it's super-handy - scroll to the right to see upcoming dates on the app.
Click here if you are looking for more recent (or older) tide tables and you'll be directed to all of the tide table-related posts on this website.
Just yesterday I was on the north side of The Island bridge, passing a stopped motorist while returning from my usual training ride. The passenger window slid down and out popped a head. "Can we cross?" they asked. It's not an infrequent question, and my reply was the standard, "If you're asking whether the bridge is meant for vehicles, sure, but it depends on your wheelbase". I didn't mention side mirrors or anything else, but it seems logical, right?
If you're driving a Hummer, you're not going to make it. Or if you're towing a wide load, you better check or you'll get a rude shock (like the fellow with the large boat & trailer a few years ago...). And there's a 2 ton weight limit - note the sign at the bridge head.
So I wasn't too surprised when I saw a couple of motorists having a discussion on the mainland side of the bridge as I headed out again this morning. Hey, at least they were thinking about it, rather than just ramming their way on. But sadly, when I returned a couple of hours later, I could see that it hadn't turned out well, as you'll see from the photo below. I'm told they managed to get one wheel over the edge of the bridge - I won't speculate as to how that was accomplished.
So, here's my little guide to "Crossing The Island Bridge Like a Pro":
1. Approach the single-lane bridge slowly from the correct lane. By this I mean the left lane on the pavement, just like you'd drive normally anywhere else in South Africa. It sounds crazy to point this out, I know, but I've seen people attempt to swerve onto the bridge from the wrong lane. That's a very early disaster waiting to happen, trust me...
2. Look to see if there is anyone trying to leave The Island - they have right-of-way (think "emergency": which makes most sense in the event of a flood, medical emergency or beer run - getting on or getting off?). Now, admittedly, it's a bit tricky because The Island side is lower than the mainland side, so no harm if you don't see anyone until you're halfway across, but if they're already approaching when you're at the bridge head, give them a flash of your lights and let them come across first, even if it means backing up a bit to give them room to exit. It's easier to back up on the pavement rather than on the bridge, whether it's you or them.
3. Okay, your turn (assuming no one else is leaving - it can be a parade in both directions during the peak holiday season). Make sure you're lined up correctly at the start - scraping your car right at the beginning won't be a pleasant way to start your journey across (and it'll help with marital harmony, trust me). It's really not necessary for your partner to get out, and walk backwards while directing you across, like the ground crew do with planes at airport gates, which leads me to point #4....
4. Other than being a bit narrow, this bridge isn't particularly unique: it doesn't have any windy turns or bends (no loop-the-loops either). That means you can just drive straight. Borinnng, with a capital "B", I know, but it's less expensive repair-wise than some of the more exciting attempts I've seen made. Seriously, my best piece of advice is this: keep your eyes on a fixed point in the distance, like the end of the bridge or beyond and aim for that. Don't watch the inch in front of your car, as you'll find yourself over-correcting every 2 seconds. Think about it, when you drive down the highway, where do you look? Right, same thing here. Except....
5. Mind the posted speed limit (20 km/hr). You know, that other sign at the bridge head. Stick your car in 2nd or 3rd gear and it won't be as jumpy as in 1st. Oh, and it's the same speed limit on The Island where we've got small children blissfully riding their bicycles or skipping or whatever it is that little kids - or our older residents - do these days (fortunately, wandering aimlessly with mobile phones hasn't really taken off here!).
6. If you find your tires rubbing on the curb of the bridge, just take it slow and remind yourself to focus in the distance. Don't over-react and swerve hard in the other direction. Remember, you're going slow, right, so what's a bit of rubbing between friends?
7. Passengers. Okay, you're under control - you've read this blog post, have printed it out and slept with it under your pillow for weeks as you've built up the courage to cross the bridge (a bit of visualization, too, perhaps). But passengers, well, they're a bit of a wildcard at the best of time, aren't they? And even more so as everyone is excited about getting to The Island - hooray! I get it. But unless you want to spend your time on the beach plucking splinters from sore fingers, tell them to resist sticking their hands out the window and rubbing the wooden railing as you drive across (confidently now, right?) at 20 km/hr. Same with tongues or any other appendages.
8. Okay, last thing: pedestrians (including those with baby strollers and dogs) and cyclists. Sure, take it easy if you see pedestrians, but they have little step outs (you can see part of one hanging over the side of the bridge in the photo above) where they can scurry to as you come across. I think there are 4-5 on each side of the bridge. So, see someone walking? Just carry on and let them hop to safety before you get to them. Now, if they have a baby stroller - or if they're on a bike - they won't be able to do this, so let them carry on across the bridge ahead of you (or as they approach you as you are trying to get onto the bridge). Follow behind if you like, even if it means doing less than 20 km/hr, but don't crowd them - parts of the bridge surface are uneven and even the most coordinated walkers amongst us is in danger of taking a tumble after stubbing a toe on a wayward plank.
Phew, you're across! It wasn't so hard, was it? And guess what? You were across in less time that it took to ready this super-lengthy blog post! Now, just find yourself a spot in one of the designated parking spots, find a nice relaxing place on the beach and don't worry about how you're going to do it again on the way out. Remember, you're a pro! So when the kiddies, missus (or mister) and beach gear are all packed up and it's time to leave just repeat the same process on the way out, making sure that you drive straight all the way until your rear tires have left the bridge. If you swerve into the left-hand lane too soon (as in before your vehicle's rear end has landed on the other side), you risk scraping the rear left fender of your vehicle.
Follow the simple tips above and you'll be driving The Island bridge like a veteran!
Of course, if you decide crossing the bridge isn't for you, no problem. Ignore the sniggers and wise-cracks, there's no shame in walking - The Island is all about relaxation anyway, right? Sure, keep telling yourself that - it'll be our little secret. Just don't park your vehicle in the area to the immediate right of the bridge head, as you're blocking people who are trying to leave, and you'll cause extra headaches for those that do decide to swerve too suddenly on exit, as not only will they have a scraped rear fender, but they'll have a dented front fender from where they've hit your vehicle....
And if you're making a delivery to The Island in a large vehicle, well, maybe give your receiving party a call. I've had plenty of couriers give me a shout to say they can't make it across and I've happily met them at the Opispoor (the old McNasty's) parking lot.
Oh, and yes, I may be smug about this, but I will admit that even after years of driving across The Island bridge without incident, my nervous spouse (no names) clings onto what I like to call the "chicken rail" (the passenger grab rail) until we are fully across and parked in our garage. Actually, she rides like that most of the time I'm driving...
P.S. Interested in a bit more of the history of our Island bridge? Check this out (where you'll also see the last time a car managed to get one wheel over the side, some thirty years ago...)
We had a good turn-out for the Island's Anything That Floats race this year (possibly even bigger than last year's event or even 2013's) with floats lined up clear across the river at the starting line. Really great to see. Many thanks to Brian Gibson for organizing!
I managed to snap a few photos, but my sparse photos as we waited at the starting line don't really do the event justice. I'm hoping someone will send me some they've taken (hint, hint!) - or I can come by with a zip drive.
And, yes, I somehow managed to snag the boobie prize again this year. Go figure. :) Last year was "Iron Man" so it seemed only appropriate that this year be, well, "Iron Maiden". But I'm running out of ideas - next year might well be "Iron Deficiency"...
Special thank you to my little (exhausted) crocodile who propelled me to the finish line (it was her idea honest!).
That's right on Saturday, Dec 31st, the 14th annual Great Brak Grabadoo will get underway - whether you're a casual or a serious mountain biker - or hiker/walker/runner - you won't want to miss it!
I can't believe I've never done it before (at least not on "race" day) - so this year I'll be doing the 71 km ride. There are various distance and activity options available - check out the Grabadoo's Facebook page for more info, as well as where to register. With 1,200 participants expected, what's one or two more, right? :)
Meanwhile, here's a route map of the 71 km (there are shorter variations on the day) MTB ride which the organizer (Mimi Finestone of Goji) sent me:
The route seems to be the same as that of the 2015 event, so if you're looking for more insight into the route profile you can always resort to skulking around Strava to find other cyclists who have done the 71 km route (heck, you might even find one of my "unofficial" rides hidden in there...).
Apologies to those that are looking for the shorter routes - or the walks or the runs - you'll have to find those on the Grabadoo's Facebook page.
Hope to see you out there on the starting (and finishing line) on Saturday!
Had a great little improptu coffee tasting (Ugandan, Rwandan & Guatemalan) at Great Brak's own coffee roastery, Brothers Coffee (also on Facebook), this afternoon. You'll find them located at the Pink House - head up Amy Searle Street, past Greenhaven and about 200 meters to your right after you've passed the gravel Sandhoogte Road turn which appears on your left (don't take this turn, it's just a direction marker!).
Ben and Jaco are really enthusiastic about sharing their passion for coffee - and they tell us they'll happily give a special little tasting and talk to groups of up to 8 people. Just call ahead (078 940 8301) and let Ben know you'd like to do that, so he can incorporate that into his busy roasting duties (Jaco mans the operation in Jo'burg, so if you're a Gautenger and you fall in love with their beans, you're in luck!). Or, if you just want to pop by for a coffee or to pick up a bag of beans (or grounds), they are open 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
If you can manage the steep driveway on the way back out to the road (#nowimps), this is the perfect spot for a caffeine stop on your cycling route - I'll definitely be adding it to mine!
Here's wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and a fantastic 2017 filled with love, peace, health and happiness!
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