Dear Reader

2009 has geared down as we approach Easter and the traditionally quieter months in Plett.  Winter (our secret season) has announced its imminence as our days get shorter and the early morning and everning nip in the air has us reaching for a warmer garment.  However many come to share our secret of lovely, warm, windstill winter days that can still be spent on the beach!
Although the prophets of doom still see no light at the end of the tunnel in the the state of the global economy let's report on something positive.

The hunt is on for great bargains in real estate
Shrewd investors are taking advantage of the current slump in the property market by buying up real estate ahead of an expected recovery in prices later this year.  Eastern and Southern Cape estate agents say that the next few months will be a window of opportunity for anyone with ready cash and who wants to make a profit, as many cash-strapped sellers accept lower offers.  With the interest rate cut by 1 percentage point and likely to drop further, the property market is likely to start recovering.  Investors are advised not to wait.

April is election month throughout the country and a reminder that the national and provincial elections on April 22nd are just around the corner, is the fact that the ANC and Cope heavy-weights blitzed the Garden Route.
Cope deputy president Lynda Odendal and national organiser Mluleki George addressed a fundraising breakfast in Plettenberg Bay.  Odendal said Cope's aims included depoliticising the appointment of government officials, puttung an end to corruption and implementing policies of electoral reform.
On the ANC platform Mantashe said the ANC aimed to win an outright majority in the southern and western Cape.

Women in construction- a growing employment opportunity in SA  
"The most important input one can make into the future of community development is the upliftment of the women of the community, as they provide the critical link between this generation and the next".  So says Deonette de Ridder, MD of Realcor.
Although often argued that women are less suited to the physically taxing environment of a constuction site, ladies are seen working alongside the men on the March Rose project in Grabouw,  supervising bricklaying and erecting structured steel.  March Rose is Realcor's latest project.
Now, working closely with various professionals, de Ridder is jointly planning a project of social and economic upliftment through the empowerment of women in Plettenberg Bay, to participate in the construction industry.  The proposed development of more affordable housing in Plettenberg Bay, Le Petit village, provides the platform from which de Ridder plans to launch this project.  She believes firmly in empowering women of local communities with practical skills and providing easier access to building materials     

Another avid supporter of community involvement is Bitou tourism CEO Dianne Martin who says that participation of local communities will form a cornerstone for activities hosted in Plettenberg Bay and surrounding areas to prepare for the Confederation Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup.  The "Imagine and Dream" campaign is designed to foster community initiatives.
"People from all over the globe will be descending on our region" says Martin,"and spectacular community tourism projects are the only way to ensure that the resulting economic spin-off reaches our broader communities."

Members of the Plett community have once again made their mark in the world of sport.
The cycling duo of Kevin Evans and David George are the only SA team in history to have made it to the Absa Cape Epic podium.  This year the two mountain bikers are determined to win.  They will compete as team MTN Energade.  This challenging event from 21 - 28 March, kicks off on the slopes of Table Mountain and ends 8 days later (683 km) at the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West.
Evans spends most of his free time with his family and also tries to get to his Bike Shop in Plettenberg Bay, although their rigorous training schedule, 35 hours per week, is very demanding.  Kevin and David agree that a strong partnership is the key to a successful race - both enjoy a challenge and this year the challenge is to win.

Michele Eray, who grew up in Plettenberg Bay in a sport-loving family has dedicated her life to surf skiing and is a Beijing Olympian and winner of last year's Dubai Shamaal - the richest ski race in the world.  She will be starting as odds on favourite in the Nelson Mandela Bay Ski Classic forming part of the MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash festival which starts at 11 am on Friday April the10th.
Michele syas that surf skiing is becoming increasingly popular amongst women, especially with modern technology, allowing much lighter equipment.

The following two reports once again highlight the wonderful service which the members of our NSRI render to the public.
Wayne Burgstrom miraculously survived over five hours in choppy seas off Knysna after he fell overboard on a solo fishing trip.  Only minutes before he had phoned his wife Belinda to say he was heading home as the weather was deteriorating and asked her to guide him through the treacherous Knysna Heads from the viewpoint parking area.  After waiting for some time with no sign of Wayne, Belinda called the NSRI..  Assisted by the S.A.Airforce, the Plett and Knysna NSRI launched an extensive search and eventually found Burgstrom about 1,5 nautical miles off Brenton-on-Sea.
Wayne said that after watching his boat disappear over the horizon he had to swim as each time he tried to tread water, he was engulfed by waves.
The accident happened when Wayne was fixing a faulty wire on his GPS transponder, at the front of the boat, which was in motion.  The vessel hit a wave and Wayne was tossed overboard  without a life jacket.  Graeme Harding, the Knysna NSRI station commander, estimates that Wayne swam about 8 km.
Finally, in a fortuitous twist of fate, it was Belinda's grandfather, Pat Burls, who had donated the boat shed from which the NSRI operate.

Three members of the Milton Academy Jazz Band in Massachusetts USA were part of a 45 member group hiking in the Robberg Nature Reserve last month.  When the group reached the shore, Brady Casper 19, Lucas Gaffney 16 and James Keefe18 decided to climb onto the rocks to catch the sea breeze.  As they were doing so an enormous wave swept them out to sea.  The NSRI were called immediately and had to battle 4m swells to eventually find the youngsters 5m apart.  After being treated for hypothermia and lacerations the boys were discharged.

Polo high fliers have also become victims of the global economic meltdown and it seems that this could affect the future of the Bitou House polo fields.  A fortune was spent on the estate rated one of the best in the country.  The fields have long been a point of controversy with the local council which planned to turn them into  a public sports field.

Marine poachers, beware
Key role players in the maritime industry have begun fine-tuning a multi-pronged programme to clamp down on poaching along the western Cape coastline.  The use of high-tech patrol boats have begun making advances in the battle against perlemoen poaching in the province.  The vessels are sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (W.W.F) and Honda Marine.  They are 6,5 metre semi-rigid patrol boats fully equipped not only to address crime but also to conduct scientific experiments.  More importantly they are powerful enough to chase down perpetrators at sea.  The first boat was delivered at Plettenberg Bay in Oct.2008 and there have already been significant successes.  Peter Chadwick, manager of the programme said, "There are few vessels able to outrun the new patrol boats."   The inflatables were locally designed, using the latest technology in boat building to provide hardy vessels capable of handling all sea conditions.

Two must do's 
Plettenberg Bay can justly claim the title of whale watching capital.   Southern right whales can be seen for the whole season and when they get ready to leave in November, the humpback whales arrive with their calves and stay until end of December or early January.  It is here that the S.A. dolphin and whale watching industry is said to be the most organised.  There are whale watching boat trips, kayak trips and aerial viewing from a number of aircraft.  Viewing distances and time spent with each animal are strictly monitored so that there is minimal interference.  Whichever way you choose to watch these magnificent creatures, it is an absolute must-do!

The.Ultimate Thrill - the highest commercially operated bungy jump in the world is situated along the Garden Route at the Tsitsikamma Forest Village Market about 40 km from Plettenberg Bay.  The company aptly called "Face Adrenalin" operates from the highest single span arch bridge in the world, 216m above the Bloukrans river.  Jumpers are secured in a full body harness and walk along a specially designed catwalk which is suspended beneath the road surface and which brings you to the top of the arch.  Final instructiions are issued by highly experienced staff, then the countdown and off you go.  The best pendulum bungy technology ensures the smoothest and most comfortable bungy jump possible.

Finally, Alztheimer's sufferer, Johan Redelinghuys,66, is still missing after disappearing from Plettenberg Bay on February 27th.   His family is offering a reward to anyone who could assist in their search.   Redelinghuys is 1,7m tall, has grey hair and wears spectacles.  He was wearing a green shirt and pants and black croc shoes when he disappeared from Arrowwood flats in Plett's CBD.  Anyone who has seen him or has any information in this regard is asked to contact Johan Redelinghuys (Jun.) on 0836779520 or 0795195097 or call eblock volunteer Annelize on 0728524828.

Upcoming Public Holidays
22 April - Elections
27 April - Freedom Day
1 May - Labour Day

Until next time
The Accommodation Bureau team


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