30 March 2005

Gordon's Bay another sandy bay

Conditions at Gordon's Bay harbour could become life-threatening if a solution isn't found urgently for sand silting up the entrance.

Yachtsmen have been complaining for wuite a while about a sandbank at the entrance that makes it dangerous to sail there, but now rescue organisation have entered the fray.

The sandbank is being formed by a combination of the wave action and sand being let in through holes in the harbour wall from the bordering Bikini Beach side.

At low tide, the sand virtually creates a separate beach on the harbour side of the wall, rendering numerous docking spots useless.

The situation has become so severe that the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) fears that its vessels in the harbour could be stranded if they were called out in an emergency.

Stuart Burgess, commander of the NSRI station in Gordon's Bay, said he feared it could have catastrophic consequences.

Dredging brings temporary relief
He said large fishing trawlers already had to wait outside the harbour for the tide to come in, otherwise it would be too dangerous for them.

"If one of them tried to enter the harbour at low tide, they could become stranded and even block the harbour entrance. Even our own vessel has touched the sand."

The department of public works recently did some dredging in the harbour, but it's said this provides only temporary relief.

The dredger was in the harbour for only a few days.

Although it relieved the urgent problem, it would take another 20 days and cost about R100 000 before the harbour was properly dredged out.


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