Port Elizabeth is abuzz with ships.

Port Elizabeth is abuzz with ships.

The luxurious cruise ships that have been gracefully entering and exiting our port have been upstaged a little by the SA Navy ships docked for “The Armed Forces Week” taking place in Port Elizabeth 13th-21st Feb 2016. These navy ships, along with a submarine, were open to the public over the weekend and scores of eager visitors queued in the baking sun for their turn to board, view and explore. We watched from afar. It is thrilling to witness an event of this magnitude taking place in our city. It is exciting to see cruise ship after cruise ship offload thousands of tourists who are bursting to take in all the wonderful experiences we have on offer in and around our city. We love PE.

BUT…a mini war exercise is scheduled for Sunday. We do not support this. We are deeply concerned about the impact this exercise will have on our environment, on the land and in the ocean. We look forward to an update on information from the environmental warriors.

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Proud contributor to “Absolutely Awesome South Africa” publication.

Proud contributor to “Absolutely Awesome South Africa” publication.

We received a special, surprise delivery this week of a beautiful book, “Absolutely Awesome South Africa.” A lovely note inside from author Derryn Campbell thanking us for our contribution to her latest edition. And what is our contribution? A little photograph of an up and coming entrepreneur in Morgan Bay, Eastern Cape. We’d spotted him selling breads and tuck shop goodies straight from his supermarket shopping trolley (with registration plate!) and captured his innovative spirit! Sometime later we shared the photograph on a Facebook page called “Africa, this is why I live here.” Derryn spotted our photo there and asked for our permission to use it in her new book. We said, “Of course you may use it as long as there is mention of Dempsey’s Guest House!” And so she did. Thank you Derryn Campbell, we are thrilled to be featured in your fabulous book “Absolutely Awesome South Africa.”
This book is an entertaining compilation on South Africa, packed full of fun, facts and trivia. With completely new content and design on every page, it is full of South African humour, history and interesting facts. The vibrant and colourful pages of “Absolutely Awesome South Africa” capture the heart and the soul of this magnificent country.

The story of “Awesome South Africa” taken from her website: http://www.awesomesouthafrica.co.za/  started when this fun and colourful coffee table book was launched in 2010. Derryn Campbell offers us this wonderfully eclectic and informative insight into all that is South African. The book has delighted South Africans around the world and has sold over 55 000 copies. Derryn has subsequently published an updated Second Edition of “Awesome South Africa” as well as the guidebook “Living in South Africa” which she co-authored with Regina Gräff. Derryn has launched the latest book in the series titled “Absolutely Awesome South Africa.”

Awesome South Africa was one of six South African books shortlisted for the 2011 Nielsen Booksellers’ choice Award. The Booksellers’ Choice Award is chosen and presented by the South African book trade in recognition of outstanding contribution to the industry. It is awarded to the book that booksellers across South Africa have most enjoyed reading, selling or promoting over the past year.

Leaving behind a successful corporate career in management, Derryn followed a vision to encourage South Africans to positively influence the future of their country and has brightened the hearts and outlook of thousands of people around the world. In 2007, Derryn, together with Di Smith, co-founded Awesome SA, a non-profit movement that not only interacts with South Africans to create awareness about their country, but also facilitates initiatives to deliver positive outcomes.

a whole new meaning to morgan bay shopping!

A whole new meaning to Morgan Bay shopping!

Beautifully packaged surprise parcel

Beautifully packaged surprise parcel

that special note from author derryn campbell

That special note from author Derryn Campbell

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Cheerful entrepreneur at morgan bay, we are sorry we didn't ask his name

Cheerful entrepreneur Morgan Bay, we are sorry we didn’t ask his name

our photo in absolutely awesome south africa

013Our photo in Absolutely Awesome South Africa

Magnificent book of our South African Coasts.

Magnificent book of our South African Coasts.

This magnificent book “South African Coasts – A celebration of our seas and shores” can be bought online on www.sst.org.za or at SAMREC. The proceeds of the book go to educating our children about the sea. It includes information on Hope Spots. This info taken from Raggy Charters’ website. www.raggycharters.co.za

What are Hope Spots?

Mission Blue defines Hope Spots as special conservation areas that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Some of these Hope Spots are already formally protected, while others still need protection. About 12 % of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks, world heritage sites, monuments, etc.), while less than three percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue is committed to changing this. Networks of Hope Spots maintain biodiversity, provide a carbon sink, generate life-giving oxygen, preserve critical habitat and allow low-impact activities like ecotourism to thrive. They are good for the ocean, which means they are good for us. By engaging governments, businesses, schools, research organizations, universities, civil society and the media, Mission Blue hopes to effect significant changes so that future generations can thrive on a healthy planet, with a healthy ocean.

Port Elizabeth’s Algoa Bay is a Hope Spot. http://www.nmbt.co.za/algoa_bay_hope_spot.html

 

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Three-in-one new tour from Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth.

Three-in-one new tour from Raggy Charters, Port Elizabeth.

0090080007006010Here’s a nice new tour combo on offer from “Raggy Charters”:

Head off on an exhilarating boat cruise to St. Croix Island in Algoa Bay to see the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world. After that it’s off to SAMREC, Port Elizabeth’s marine bird and rehabilitation centre in Summerstrand. Finish the day off with a visit to The Bayworld Museum, Snake Park and Oceanarium in Humewood.

For more information on The Penguin Patrol and to book, visit: http://www.raggycharters.co.za/page/penguin_patrol

About Raggy Charters, in their own words, from their website: http://www.raggycharters.co.za

“As far as we are aware we are the oldest marine eco tour company combined with a conservation project in Africa – since 1992. We are owner run and managed and use the volunteer system to assist in our tours and projects. We specialise in taking tourists, photographers, corporate office party groups, TV crews and marine wildlife enthusiasts on ocean safaris to watch the whales, dolphins, penguins and other natural wonders of Algoa Bay. Our wildlife and whale watching boat cruises possibly cover the longest distance of any ocean safari along the South African coast, lasting for 3-4 hours and covering 50km. This provides guests with a better chance of seeing the full array of marine wildlife Algoa Bay has to offer. Port Elizabeth is a hidden gem in South Africa for whale watching, and other wildlife viewing. With seasonal visits from Southern right whales, humpback whales, and indo-pacific humpback dolphins. We have the largest breeding colony of African penguins in the world right on our doorstep. As well as our other resident species including bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins, bryde’s whales, Cape gannets and more. All year round we at Raggy Charters can offer guests some great wildlife viewing experiences in our secret and undisturbed bay.”

Lloyd’s wife Dr Lorien Pichegru has been studying the breeding success of African Penguins in Algoa Bay for the past six years, to determine whether competition with purse-seine fisheries has caused the decline in African penguin numbers. Lorien gained her PhD at the University of Strasbourg, France, in 2008 and is currently a research associate at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (click here for a list of her publications). Part of the study involves closing a 20km radius around St Croix Island to fishing by purse seiners who target one of the penguins prey items, the sardine. It has been found that even this small Marine Protected Area around the colony helps dramatically. Click here for more information about the research being conducted on the African penguin.

Dr Pichegru says: “My research focuses on seabirds foraging ecology and life history traits in relation to prey availability and local competition with industrial fisheries, using animal-borne miniaturized recorders, such as GPS recorders combined with pressure sensors, cameras, etc. taped on adults breeding small chicks to determine the at-sea behaviour of several species of seabirds breeding in South Africa, endemic to the region and threatened with extinction.”

See Dempsey’s Blog on Raggy Charters’ feature in the SA Country Life magazine: http://dempseys.co.za/port-elizabeth-features-again-in-sa-country-life-mag

Claire Fulton highlighting Port Elizabeth’s country spots. June 2015

Claire Fulton highlighting Port Elizabeth’s country spots. June 2015

In case you had not noticed, yes we are fans of the SA Country Life magazine. Take a peek at the June 2015 issue where Claire Fulton writes about ‘Pastoral PE.’ And oh yes, you need to know that she is from Port Elizabeth. Keep us in the spotlight please Claire.

http://www.countrylife.co.za/pastoral-pe/

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One Fine Day in March 2015.

One Fine Day in March 2015.

It’s been a long and cold winter in Port Elizabeth but the days are longer and we are seeing more light now, we are dreaming of that ‘One Fine Day’ in the March 2015 issue of SA Country Life magazine by Port Elizabeth’s Claire Fulton. Remember us please when next you plan your visit to Port Elizabeth.

 

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Port Elizabeth in the SA Country Life spotlight, issue Dec 2014.

Port Elizabeth in the SA Country Life spotlight, issue Dec 2014.

Yes we are VERY late with this, it was buried in some desk dust but we still want to share it.

We love it when SA Country Life Mag talks about our special city:)

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Port Elizabeth’s Alan Fogarty wins first prize.

Port Elizabeth’s Alan Fogarty wins first prize.

So nice to open the latest issue of SA Country Life and read of Alan Fogarty’s first prize that he won in the Image Club photographic competition. We know that guy! Alan runs his business here in Port Elizabeth called Alan Tours

The following piece on Alan is taken from his website http://www.alantours.co.za/

Always a free spirit, Alan has embarked on his own enterprise and offers tourists the wealth of his accumulated knowledge and know-how spanning more than 30 years in the wilds of Southern Africa. He is a qualified level three F.G.A.S.A. (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) Tour Guide and a Specialist African wildlife nature guide with further qualifications having been obtained in Zambia and Mozambique. His interests are wide and varied, birds, botany and bushman paintings.; mammal, reptiles and more recently our cultural heritage, inspired by the myriad of ruins in the Limpopo river valley as well as the recent colonial history of the Eastern Cape with special emphasis on the tribal Xhosa and their leadership during a difficult era.

photographer: alan fogarty's first prize competition 'image club' sa country life aug 2015

Photographer: Alan Fogarty’s First prize in competition ‘Image Club’ SA Country Life Aug 2015

 

 

 

 

Eastern Cape’s expression of art.

Eastern Cape’s expression of art.

Proud to be highlighting the Eastern Cape’s expression at this years National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

“Organised by the National Arts Festival team, Africa’s largest and most colourful cultural event offers a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported talent. Every year for 11 days Grahamstown’s population doubles as people flock to the city for a feast of arts, crafts and sheer entertainment. Every hall or large room becomes a theatre, parks and sport fields become flea markets, normally quiet streets have to be managed by an army of temporary traffic wardens and every available bed in the city is booked. The festival offers more than 500 shows from opera, cabaret, drama and jazz to stand-up comics and folk music.While many come to take in the arts, others simply want to be there for the spectacle or to market products ranging from tie-dyed T-shirts and woven rugs to handmade jewellery and customised telephones. The festival operates out of the 1820 Settlers National Monument and is organised by the Grahamstown Foundation.”

Source: http://www.grahamstown.co.za/event/national_arts_festival

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Cormorant conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth.

Cormorant conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth.

On any day, at any time you are sure to find a cormorant conference in full swing, doing a balancing act on Bird Rock along the beachfront, Port Elizabeth. Why do cormorants often stand in the sun with their wings spread out to dry? They have less preen oil than other birds so their feathers can get soaked rather than shedding water like a duck’s; wet feathers probably make it easier for cormorants to hunt underwater with agility and speed. We find them rather comical to observe, they seem to be packed with ‘attitude.’ The white-breasted cormorant in particular seems to look wrecked and jagged!

The Cape cormorant is a bird endemic to the southwestern coasts of Africa. It breeds from Namibia south to the southern Cape Province. In the nonbreeding season, it may be found as far north as the mouth of the Congo, and also extends up the east coast of South Africa as far as Mozambique. In the 1970s the breeding population was estimated as over 1 million in Namibia alone. However, the IUCN now classifies it as “Endangered” due to a very rapid decline in the population over the last three generations. The Cape cormorant is an almost entirely glossy black bird, though in breeding condition it has a purplish tinge and a few white plumes on the head, neck, and cloacal areas. Its gular skin ( throat skin) is a deep orangey yellow; unusually for a cormorant, its lores are feathered. ( the lore is the region between the eyes and nostrils of birds, reptiles, and amphibians) The bird’s wing is about 240–280 mm in extent, and it weighs 800-1,600 grams, with little sexual dimorphism. They commonly forage in flocks, taking schooling fish from mid-water, such as pilchards, anchovies, and sand eels. Its prey are typically much smaller than those of the sympatric bank cormorant. Their major predators are black-backed jackals, which take the occasional adult while it is roosting, and nest-site predators such as great cormorants, eastern great white pelicans, and kelp gulls.

Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_cormorant

 

bird rock, port elizabeth

Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth

Always a seagull around

Always a seagull around

keeping busy doing nothing

Keeping busy doing nothing

cormorant conference on bird rock, port elizabeth

Cormorant Conference on Bird Rock, Port Elizabeth

getting up close and personal with the cormorants

Getting up close and personal with the cormorants

Not quite a board meeting

Not quite a board meeting

fishing break

Fishing break