On the 22 September, Peter, Shannon, Yousuf and myself went for a great sail. Actually Peter and myself really enjoyed the sail. Yousuf, who was fasting because it was during Ramadaan, definitely did not. He was very seasick, but dealt with it stoicly. Shannon was a bit sick as well. The sailing was great, a nice 10-20 knot North Westerly, which gusted a bit when we were off Vulcan Rock, and a big 5-6 meter swell.

Poaching in 6 meter swell off Vulcan Rock, note the buoy to the right of the boat, looking for a keel to wrap around!

Whilst we were off Vulcan we came upon two boats poaching kreef, also known as rock lobster. This is in the middle of the Karbonkelberg Marine Protected Area (MPA) Restricted Zone and is also part of the Table Bay Closed Area in which “no rock lobster may be caught between Melkbos Point (beacon MB1) and Die Josie (near Chapman’s Peak – beacon MB2), extending 12 nautical miles seawards from the high-water mark.”

The one boat was a rowing boat and the other had a small outboard. What was amazing was that this was happening in clear day light, about 1 mile from the shore. What pissed me off was that they had set long lines with tiny buoys which were very difficult to see. I was going to be very pissed off if one got caught on Nolwandle’s rudder!

Poaching sentinal

Poaching off Karbonkelberg, near Hout Bay is very dangerous. The boats are launched from the beach behind Duiker Island, often through big breakers. Just off this beach is the famous Dungeons surf break, where the Red Bull Big Wave Action takes place. One of the biggest waves ridden world wide in 2006 was ridden here! This is a picture of a 55 foot wave at Dungeons!!

BWA Jamie

These poachers take their boats out through this surf, often with disastrous results. Earlier this year at least one poacher was drowned off this spot and there are rumours that at least two others have drowned this year, but their deaths were not reported as they were poaching. Of course most of the time the poachers are not wearing life-jackets as in these photos, often are drunk or stoned (Norman told me he saw a poacher make a white pipe – mandrax mixed with dagga – in a boat at the same spot last week!) and their boats mostly leak. We saw water being bailed from this boat whilst taking these photos. This is dangerous stuff! If it were a sport it would be an adventure sport.

Poaching neck

I am very glad that the NSRI has been giving life-jackets to poachers. This might seem like encouraging poaching to some, but think about it – the sentence for poaching is not death and most poachers (but not all) are driven to this dangerous activity by poverty. I say more life-jackets to them and more and better policing.