A group of sea kayakers from the `Paddlers’ network based in Simon’s Town ventured onto the inland waterways in support of the Peninsula Paddle on World Environment Day 2011. In addition to escourting the Peninsula Paddle team on the Zandvlei leg of their awareness raising expedition from Muizenberg to Milnerton, we were all set to experience Zandvlei waking to a new day. Although significantly modified by urban development, Zandvlei is still an important nursery for juvenile marine fish and a habitat for 150 species of water birds.
A reticent dawn greeted a collection of craft and paddlers including white water enthusiasts, stand-up paddlers, an assemblage of river paddlers and sea kayakers including one towing a large canadian canoe to be filled with floating plastic found on route. Half way across Zandvlei, the sun struggled through the clouds and we were treated to the sight of the Peninsula Mountain Chain through a veil of pink rain.
The sea kayakers left the Peninsula Paddle team as they headed up the Sand River Canal to Princess Vlei. One of our objectives was to raise awareness about the amount of litter in our inland waters, which also impacts on the coast and marine life. Within a short space of time, we filled the canadian canoe lent to us by Aquatrails in Fish Hoek with plastic bottles, buckets, ice-cream containers and computer casings. It represented a miniscule fraction of 1% of the litter washed down canals draining into Zandvlei .It more than raised our awareness. “Having seen this I can believe that there genuinely is an island of plastic floating in the Pacific”, commented a disgusted fellow paddler.
It seems that the national flower has gone aquatic. Team Scenic South will send this photo on to the Peninsula Paddle team as well as to the Zandvlei Trust, the City of Cape Town Waste Management and Plastic Federation of RSA. We will post their responses here.