Tuesday, September 30, 2014

During last week I went on a road trip to St. Lucia along the Elephant Coast of KZN South Africa to put my eyes on the St. Lucia Estuary and the water levels in Lake St. Lucia, as I have been hearing very conflicting stories about these issues from people in St. Lucia.

We traveled up to St. Lucia on Wednesday 24 September and came back home on Saturday 27 September. We stayed over at BUDGET BACKPACKERS in Mckenzie street (the main road) and were confronted with a town that had no municipal water supply.  Fortunately the management at BUDGET BACK PACKERS has installed a 5 000 liter JOJO water tank, and they had water, but it was only on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, so we had to plan our days around the times that we could shower.

Lake St. Lucia has plenty of water, but the mouth is still closed to the Indian Ocean.  The Umfolozi River mouth was open, but it was busy closing fast due to the very low river levels. The back channels that are supposed to be in place to connect the St. Lucia lake system to the Umfolozi river system is apparently open, but the water flow during tide changes is very minimal and hardly noticeable in the lake levels.

The channel that the IWPA (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority) dug open to connect the Umfolozi river system to the lake system a few months back has sanded up and wind erosion of the beaches has contributed to this in a big way.  There has been massive sanding up of the region and this is very evident when we visited Cape Vidal, where the beaches have grown considerably and now stretch a good 100 meters plus from the Vidal on-ramp, and even cover the small reef that usually protected the launch site from the south east point of Vidal bay.  Many areas of mission rocks were also sanded up but not as seriously as either Cape Vidal or St. Lucia.

During our short stay in St. Lucia many asked why I had stopped fighting the 4x4 ban issue, and asked me to take up the fight again.  some also pointed out that the IWPA was doing many strange things, and that they are due to start mining the mouth of the St. Lucia Estuary system in the near future.  This still needs to be confirmed, but I have not heard about any PPP (Public Participation Process) for this activity, and have not seen anything about an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for this in terms of the ICMA (Integrated Coastal Management Act) and the NEMA (National Environmental Management Act)

The fishing was actually quite terrible during our short stay in St. Lucia and the wind was blowing North East for most of the time.  When the wind did die down, it was only for very short spells, and a BIG SOUTH WEST BUSTER was predicted for Saturday Night and Sunday, so we packed up and left early.

By that time I had spoken to a few of the locals and had gathered all the info that I was going to get from people on the ground who were not active in politics or town management issues.  The IWPA (iSimanagliso Wetland Park Authority) has not changed their attitude, and is still making things uncomfortable for ther domestic tourism market. They still support the 4x4 ban and still call domestic tourists visitors, so that they can confuse all official reporting issues around tourism numbers.

The IWPA is still not playing the game, and they have not held very many PPPM (Public Participation Process Meetings) where the water levels, and a solution to the non tidal motions in lake st. Lucia are discussed.

I will need to do some extra research around these issues and write a new post about those during the next few weeks.  In the mean time go over to our Google Plus page (4u2gofishing) or search on Google using the hashtag #4u2gofishing