Viewing entries tagged

Oil spill in Goukamma Nature Reserve

Oil spill in Goukamma Nature Reserve

On the 9th of August a German owned vessel, the

Kiani Satu

, was on its way from Cape Town to Gabon when it ran aground in Goukamma Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area. The 168 m long vessel was carrying 15 000 tons of rice and 330 tons of fuel oil.

Following the event someone remarked: "While there is no current threat to the environment, we hope the ship is towed off soon before this turns into another Seli 1."

Since then oil has been leaking out of the vessel which has washed up on beaches and even entered the Goukamma estuary. The damages to local sandy beach and rocky shore ecological systems are likely to be massive, and already there have been incidences of birds completely covered in oil.

The oil also threatens our valuable estuaries, which are integral to providing refugia for juvenile fish and are also home to the world's only populations of the Knysna seahorse. Unfortunately, oil has already breached the Goukamma estuary and with the swell expected over the next few days, it is possible that the ship will break up further, spilling more oil into the sea. Let's hope that the organisations working around the clock to sort out this problem will be able to reduce the extent of the spill and that the insurance company will cough up to pay all the bills necessary for the clean up operation.



 to watch the video.

Bain's Kloof Pass

Bain's Kloof Pass

My Thursdays don't usually involve ravines, but I'm so glad this one did. Bain's Kloof is a beaut, with a delicious stretch of rapids, waterfalls and natural pools, it's a biophilic's haven for adventure. When hopping from rock to rock the pools appear as pale cups of rooibos inviting one in for a sip, and as you venture below bearing a mask and snorkel, an emerald green universe beams hello. Little redfins swim about with curiousity, 'What's this strange creature doing in our pool?'.

I was really impressed with the health of this stretch of the Witte River and the communities it supports. Submerged pebbles and boulders were teeming with sensitive invertebrates, such as stonefly larvae and leptophlebids. We watched with fascination as stoneflies rested momentarily on the water's surface, only to be gobbled up by the alert redfins below. Frogs croaked upstream whilst those nearer to us splashed into the water to hide away. Dragonflies whizzed past us warily, although Ffi managed to get intimate with one after it crash landed in the pool in front of us. We even caught a glimpse of a tiny snake swimming through one of the pools.