BACK TO SCHOOL

Boys jumping at the back (from L-R): Nicholas Wilbraham, Keaton Irwin, Chad Carelse and Zachary Olivier
Girls in front (from L-R): Jaden Vanston Payne, Kylie Jones, Bella Webster and Abigail van Zyl (Picture by Elrorke Photography)

School starts today and a mixture of excitement, trepidation, and relief fills the air!

Here’s wishing all our local lads and lasses the very best of school years ahead, and strength to their teachers too!

TRAGIC HEAD ON COLLISION CLAIMS 5 LIVES

At around 12 pm on Tuesday 8 January, five people lost their lives as a result of a collision on the N2, just outside Sedgefield.
The fatal accident occurred around 12 pm between the Pine Lake turn off and Drie Valleyen. According to Kenny Africa Western Cape Provincial Traffic Chief, the vehicles involved were a Toyota Etios and a VW Caravelle.
He said that in the Etios along with the female driver were three children aged between three and fourteen. All four died on the scene. The fifth fatality was an adult female who had been traveling in the Caravelle along with the driver and another passenger.
The police are busy with an in-depth investigation to ascertain the cause of the tragic accident, but preliminary reports suggest that it was the result of overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic.

MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It is indeed Christmas time, the most wonderful time of the year, you might say. And the team at The EDGE would certainly agree with your sentiments.

Families are coming together to celebrate this most special season with one another, there’s a general feeling of excitement in the air from all the girls and boys, their parents and grandparents, and of course the local shopkeepers, who have waited all year for this season of hustle and bustle!

The entire EDGE staff (designers, writers, salespeople, accounts department, proofreaders, editors, sub-editors, sports, crime and social editors, customer liaison officers, tea and coffee artisans, cleaners, maintenance crew, IT guys, page-layout artists, photographers, printers, legal advisors and crossword compilers) would all six like to wish everyone the most wonderfully, happy, relaxing, family-filled, action-packed, laughter-packed, picnic-packed, rested, enriched, humble, joyful, grateful, thankful, thoughtful, peaceful, tummy-full, hilarious, gregarious, and absolutely fantastic Christmas!

Oh, and a Happy New Year too. God bless you all and thank you for your valued support and encouragement in 2018.

IT’S OFFICIAL – SEDGE SLOW FEST IS BACK

The Sedgefield Slow Festival is set to return in 2019. After taking a sabbatical for 2018, Sedgefielders will again be treated to their Easter entertainment with the Slow Festival.
Having grown it for nine years, event owner and organiser, Amanda Dixon, along with her steering committee of volunteers felt that the Slow Festival needed new input and direction. With the South African economic climate stretched, attracting sponsorship had become more challenging.
The Slow Festival has certainly evolved from its original beginnings – which started with a request to raise funds for charities in Sedgefield and put the town on the map, and with this ethos in mind it seemed logical that the future of the festival should be carried forward by a charity organisation which had organisational capacity, a broad reach in the community and connections with the business community. Thus, after careful consideration and discussions, it was decided that the Slow Festival should be passed on to the Sedgefield Lions to revitalise this local highlight.
Next year locals can again look forward to their favourite activities all wrapped up in a new format over the Easter break. ‘It was time for a change and new input to carry the Slow Festival into the future’ said Amanda.
Jurgens van der Walt of Sedgefield Lions, who also runs the new Sedgefield Info offices, will be the main overseer of the Sedgefield Slow Festival. He is delighted that the local Lions have decided to take this project on for Sedgefield.
“The value of the Sedgefield Slow Festival became evident when it didn’t happen this year. Being a service organisation, The Lions Club was the perfect entity to bring all the charities together to achieve a common goal. Now we just need the community and role-players to support this event,” he said.
For full details, in the new year watch this space and the Slow Festival digital platforms for details of the 2019 Slow Festival.

(Picture: Jonathan Britton of SANParks making sure the artificial breaching of the Swartvlei River-mouth has been successful)

As of 7am on Tuesday 27 November, the Swartvlei River-mouth was artificially breached by SANParks, and the lagoon level began dropping as the water flowed out.

Marine Ranger Jonathan Britton was at the mouth to oversee the process, whilst William Maralaza of Denron operated the excavator to remove the last bank of sand between lagoon and sea. Channels had been prepared well in advance so that the opening could happen without delay if the need arose.
“It went well,” said Britton, watching the water spill out as the tide turned, “Within 45 minutes it was all done.”

He explained that they had been closely monitoring the levels of the mouth since the heavy rains of 20 and 21 November, during which Ezigro in Karatara measured 95mm and Farleigh 84mm within a 24 hour period. Despite these unexpected downpours, Swartvlei had only risen to 1,90m above mean sea level – 10cm short of the 2 metre mark which is the norm for artificially breaching.

However, with more rains predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday and heavy mist hanging in the higher areas, the decision was taken at 4.30am on Tuesday morning to open the mouth.
“There were a few factors we had to take into consideration,” explained Britton, “Not only the predicted rain for this week, but the fact that the heavy rains of last week had already saturated the soil, and the badly burned state of the mountains meant runoff would be much faster than normal. The mechanical breaching of the Swartvlei is a tightrope walk of balance between maximising an ecological outcome, whilst still protecting infrastructure on low lying parts of Sedgefield. Swartvlei is the heartbeat of Sedgefield and we need to look after it. Breaching at the prescribed levels is important to ensure the ecological integrity, ecological infrastructure, social value and productivity of the estuary remain in good shape.”

Once the ‘go’ decision had been made, time was of the essence as the mouth needed to be breached soon after high tide. An outgoing tide will increase the ‘tidal pull’ and ensure deeper scouring occurs before the incoming tide starts pushing back in six hours’ time.

Britton fetched Maralaza, who was on standby, at 5am and work commenced as soon as they had reached the beach. Conditions weren’t the best with heavy swells and high seas making the operation quite challenging.

The opening will certainly be a relief to many Sedgefield residents – especially those living in the low-lying areas that have proven over the years to be susceptible to flooding. There are also those who believe that Sedgefield with the Swartvlei estuary open makes for a more attractive holiday destination, however, this is a frequently debated point.

Words by Nikki Smit. Picture Heidi Muller.

Since Thursday morning local sports fans have been glued to their computer screens, tracking the progress of two local teams taking part in the Adventure Racing World Champs on the volcanic Reunion Island.
Unfortunately, one of these – the much loved Sanlam Painted Wolf Team, comprising John and Mark Collins along with Andre Gie and Robyn Owen had to pull out about 30 hours into the gruelling race due to injury, but Team Merrell Adventure Addicts, including locals Graham Bird and Hanno Smit, along with Traci Campbell and Grant Ross, has been performing exceptionally well, working their way up the leader-board with solid determination. At time of going to press (7am Wednesday 14 November) they were moving along in the highly commendable 19th place, with an estimated 24 hours left of racing.
The non-stop event covers some 425km, with a total elevation gain of 17310m (depending on how good one’s navigation is!)
The route is unmarked and teams are required to find their way old-school style, with a topographical map and a compass. Not quite as easy as it sounds, especially when the intended route is through areas with little to no roads or paths!
The route breakdown would be enough to give anyone sleepless nights, whether you are participating or just ‘dot watching’, a name given to a group of avid followers who find themselves glued to the screen for the duration of the event following the teams trackers!
In a video taken early on Monday morning of Team Merrell trekking along a rare piece of flat terrain, Traci Campbell said that it was hard to do just about anything such as eating or drinking whilst on the route, because they were always either bushwacking, climbing or falling!
The race started in Hell-Bourg.
Leg 1: Trekking with rope work sections – 106km and a whopping, body-crunching 7620m of elevation gain! This trek takes them around the Piton des Neiges.
Leg 2: Pack-rafting with rope-work sections (a pack-raft is a fold-up inflatable canoe type of craft, weighing about 4kg, that teams have to carry with them on the pack-rafting legs and inflate or deflate, paddle or carry as the terrain or water level requires. They also have to carry paddles, wetsuits and climbing gear, making their backpacks heavy accessories!) – 45km with 710m elevation gain.
Leg 3: Mountain biking – 41km, 880m Elevation gain.
Leg 4: Trek and Mountain biking – 27km, 330m elevation gain. This leg is a mixture of biking and trekking.
Leg 5: Trekking – 32km, with yet another body-crunching 3150m elevation gain, skirting the Piton de la Fournaise.
Leg 6: Mountain biking with a trekking section and caving section – 51km, 760m elevation gain. This section has quite a serious hike a bike section where team’s bikes will be ‘disabled’ and have to be carried.
Leg 6: Trek with rope work sections – 3km 20m elevation gain
Leg 7: Kayak 37km. The only flat piece on the profile picture!!!
Leg 8: Mountain bike – 77km with 2830m elevation gain
Leg 9: Trek with Pack-raft – 5km
Finish: L Hermitage Les Bains
Strategy in this race is everything. Teams are required to log 12hrs of sleep for the duration of the event at Transitions and Check Points. This is recorded on a sleep card. There are also numerous ‘dark zones’, where it is deemed too dangerous to continue in the dark. Getting to a dark zone at the wrong time could cost hours and ultimately a podium position, or possibly even the missing of cut-off points along the route, resulting in teams being short-coursed.
59 Mixed gender teams, six from South Africa, lined up at the start last Thursday to begin the gruelling event.
There were those who had no choice but to pull out along the way due to injury and exhaustion, others got short-coursed after not reaching designated checkpoints within set times, but some pushed on – and will no doubt continue to do so until they cross the finish line.
First of the 10 teams who had finished at time of going to press was New Zealand’s Avaya, the reigning champions for the last four years. They won the race convincingly, finishing the 460km course in 117 hours and one minute.
Teams can be tracked at http://live.arworldseries.com/arwc18/
For race articles, pictures and videos: find Adventure Racing World Series on Facebook.

JOB LOSSES AFTER FIRE TO HAVE HUGE IMPACT

(picture from www.geelhoutvlei.co.za)

While the flames have mostly subsided and mop up operations continue, the tragic reality of the fires in the Garden Route is hitting home. The community in Farleigh mourns alongside the family of the two adults and six children who died in the blaze. Everyone is battling to come to terms with the heartbreak of this loss.
Those whose homes were burned are faced with starting all over again, thankfully with the assistance of the charitable groups and businesses who are stepping up to help.
According to maps provided by SANParks the total burn scar in the Garden Route was 104 500 hectares, 75 400 of which was in the Wilderness and Knysna areas.
After the tragic loss of life, surely the biggest long-term impact of the fires that will be felt for many years to come is the loss of jobs for those living in the poorer communities.
The Monday 29 October total destruction by fire of Dave Metelerkamp’s Geelhoutvlei sawmill, farm and homestead is by far the biggest and most widely impacting example of this.
With over four hundred employees and thus thousands of dependants, 90% of whom come from very poor communities, recovery from this loss will be close to impossible.
Whilst the Metelerkamp family is grateful that their workforce managed to escape with no major physical harm, they are understandably devastated by the desperate outlook for the future of each and every employee.
In an attempt to provide assistance for them the Metelerkamps have set up the Geelhoutvlei Disaster Relief campaign with an office established at Suite 8, Plum Tree Trading Post (Corner of Duiwe Avenue and Main Street, Sedgefield).
They have also met with Gift of the Givers, and engaged with the Premier of the Western Cape.
Should anyone wish to assist financially they may use the following Gift of the Givers
bank account :
Standard Bank Pietermaritzburg Branch
Account Number: 052137228
Branch Code: 057525
Reference: Geelhoutvlei Timbers Disaster Relief
“More than anything else, our employees need employment. We have wonderful, disciplined and hardworking staff looking for placement. Please contact 063 251 5465 to discuss individual skill sets,” says Dave Metelerkamp.

WELCOME BACK, PARAGLIDERS

As many Sedgefielders will undoubtedly have noticed over last weekend – the paragliders are once again filling our skies with colour. This after Sedgeview, the launch-site also known as ‘Cloud 9’ was reopened to the gliders and indeed the public on Saturday 10 November.

But the opening does come with certain stipulations and an overall rider that all users understand that the site is privately owned, and thus to be treated with respect, obeying all the rules and regulations that have been put in place.

The site was closed on 1 September by the owner Michael Rohwer, who at the time said that certain stipulations had not been met with regards the efficient management of the site. Since then he has sat around the table with members of the paragliding fraternity to find a way forward.

According to Jorg Bueble, a paragliding school owner who represented the flyers in the discussions, the land-owner’s chief concerns were the general management of the site, the question of liability for both paragliders and spectators, insurance, safety on the site and fire risk.

In order to shoulder much of this responsibility, the Eden Flyers’ Club has been formed to lease the land and maintain the upkeep of the site. Bueble believes that with the co-operation of the public, things should now run smoothly.

“Sometimes, if things taken for granted are taken away, they return in the light of more appreciation. To be able to enjoy access to Sedgeview without limitations in the future, there has to be a few duties and responsibilities attached to any and all visitors to the site,” he said.

The fact that Sedgeview is not a fenced or gated property does, however, make it difficult for the club to enforce the rules set by the owners 24/7, as the public has free access. This is where the paragliding club is asking for members of the public to not only abide by the site rules themselves, but also to advise others who might inadvertently be breaking them.
“It cannot be stressed enough that it is every single person’s responsibility to tap the person next to him on the shoulder, and point out if rules are being breached,” he said. “While the paragliding pilots and their visitors will make sure that the requests will be followed while paragliding activity is taking place, on a day where there is no flying, this part needs to be taken over by the non-flying public visiting the premises. In other words, a joint effort of all Sedgeview visitors.”

He went on to say that the rules are mainly common sense and would be considered common courtesy in any public place.
“There is absolutely no smoking or open fire of any kind permitted on site,” he explained. This includes any form of braais – even gas skottels, and is especially important now with the recent devastating fires in our area.

Bueble also touched on the problem of litter, saying that though there are bins provided, visitors should remember that these receptacles are not large enough to hold masses of rubbish. So should anyone visit Sedgeview for a picnic, they should rather take their refuse home with them instead of cramming it into the bins.
“And please, if you find litter on the ground, help us by picking it up,” he suggested.

Another request was that the site definitely not be used as a party venue or a place for excessive alcohol consumption.
“Simply put, please respect this site as private property and treat it this way at all times. Let’s keep this a beautiful place, a reflection of our beautiful town,” he asked. “Sedgeview is a site like no other. A privately owned property that is freely accessible. Something rarely found nowadays. Let’s meet on top, watch the paragliders take off and enjoy the view while the sun sets. We can work together to keep this a gem to visit, for us locals and our visitors.”

He said there will be a signboard erected at Sedgeview with the club’s cell number so that any problems may be reported directly to them.

You can find more info at www.sedgeview.co.za

LOCAL TEAMS IN 2018 AR WORLD CHAMPS

(Picture:- Two years ago the Sanlam Painted Wolves shocked the adventure racing world by coming 4th in the 2016 World Championships. Can they match or better that position this year?)

Two well known local adventure racing teams – Merrell Adventure Addicts and Sanlam Painted Wolf  – are ready in the starting blocks of the Adventure Racing World Championships (ARWC) on Reunion Island, and over the next week ‘dot watchers’ will be monitoring their progress online (click here for the page), no doubt with much excitement and more than a little nail-biting. The Merrell Team includes Graham Bird, Grant Ross, Tracey Campbell and Hanno Smit (who has only just finished fighting the fires that threatened his home and timber business in Elandskraal), whilst the famous Collins brothers Mark and John are running with the Painted Wolves, along with Andre Gie and Robin Owen. 

This exceptional event will welcome 65 international teams from 21 nations to a spectacular start line on the Indian Ocean Island (a French territory). Reunion has a tropical climate, dense forests and active volcanoes and teams will compete on a non-stop course between 5 and 8 days, over 450km with disciplines including trekking, MTB, kayaking, packraftng, caving and canyoning.

The very best adventure athletes in the world will be attending, including nine teams in the world top 15 ranking lead by the current title holders and world number one team, Avaya (New Zealand). The top French team are Naturex, 4th in the ARWS ranking, and other qualifiers who have won a World Series race this year are Bones (United-States), Tri Adventure Antelopes (Australia), Columbia (Spain), BlizzarTri-Adventured Movistar-Terra Aventura (Equator),

The AR World Championships is a race without comparison, an intense competition for experienced athletes and enthusiastic amateurs who are motivated to take on the challenge. Adventure races offer an immersion in nature that is unique and appeals to strong human values – versatility, autonomy, dynamism and generosity – all essential for a team to progress to the finish line together.

Patron To Start the Race in a Volcanic Crater

The start of this exceptional sporting event will be in the village of Hell-Bourg, in the Cirque de Salazie. This is one of the main volcanic craters on the island and Hell-Bourg is listed among the ‘most beautiful villages in France’ … the only one not on the mainland. It’s a spa town with lush vegetation and heritage architecture, surrounded by the steep rock walls of the crater.

The race will be started by its patron, Jackson Richardson. Born in Saint-Pierre on Reunion Island, Jackson is a former handball international who was voted the best player in the world in 2001 and was a flag carrier at the Olympic Games in Athens. He has generously decided to support and invest in the race and will be present all through the event.

You can see a video interview with him here. https://goo.gl/5UkVmE and find out more about the race at www.raidinfrance.com

 

About the Adventure Racing World Championship

The Adventure Racing World Championship (ARWC) has been held each since 2001. It gathers the best teams from the AR World Series, which unites multi-sport raids from around the world. The series currently includes; Raid Gallaecia in Spain, Expedition Africa in South Africa, Cameco Cowboy Tough in the USA, XPD Expedition in Australia, Raid in France in France (this year, ARWC organiser), Huairasinchi in Ecuador, ITERA in United-Kingdom, the Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge in Belize, Expedition Guarani in Paraguay and finally, the Nordic Islands race in Sweden. Each one of these rounds qualifies the winners to the grand final, the Adventure Racing World Championship (ARWC).

For more information on the AR World Series:

Website https://arworldseries.com/

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/arworldseries/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/arworldseries/

Twitter https://twitter.com/ARWorldSeries

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/arworldseries

#arworldseries #arws #adventureracing #dotwatcher

Released 6 Aug 2018 by Rob Howard of Sleepmonsters, re-written from Raid in France

MUNICIPAL MANAGER SLAMS DETRACTORS

“An alleged statement on social media and/or actions of an individual cannot erode the selfless work and support of hundreds of volunteers from all sectors of society.”

Greater Knysna residents were still reeling from the 7 June 2017 fires when the next devastation swept through the region on 30 October. According to Garden Route District Municipality, Head of disaster management, Gerard Otto, this fire formed part of a fire that “is by far the country’s biggest fire in a populated area to have occurred”.  The fire burnt a width of 35kms and along 180kms.

Knysna Acting Municipal Manager, Johnny Douglas, expressed his extreme gratitude to all who raced to once again, give of themselves to assist those who suffered as a result of this inferno. “We are once again humbled by the selflessness of our residents and other stakeholders who didn’t hesitate for one moment in offering their much-needed assistance.

“Our thanks must go to so many organisations who stepped in to assist. There are far too many to name by name, but Rebuild Eden in Sedgefield, Gift of the Givers, and KAWS spring to mind. I must commend them and everyone else who has been such a tremendous help in assisting the traumatised victims, firefighting personnel, animals and, not forgetting our bees.”

The Gift of the Givers’ team taking care of threatened bees visited various sites in the Greater Knysna corridor on 30 October and relocated 27 beehives to the Gift of the Givers Bee Rehabilitation Centre in Knysna. They alone rescued around two million bees that were already under threat.

Douglas expressed his dismay at the political opportunism that has reared its ugly head during this crisis. “I am sickened by the accusations of racism by several members of the public, especially from people who do not even live within the borders of Greater Knysna and have no idea of what residents have been offering and doing to help those in need.

“An alleged statement on social media and/or actions of an individual cannot erode the selfless work and support of hundreds of volunteers from all sectors of society.

“I have only witnessed kindness and concern by all the volunteers, no matter their colour or creed, and for uninvolved people to stand on the perimeter, with their hands in their pockets doing absolutely nothing to help, but making racist allegations leaves me saddened and sick to the stomach,” said Douglas.

In closing he invites those detractors to roll up their sleeves, step up to the plate and offer help, instead of making false allegations. “I will leave you to contemplate the words of Mahatma Gandhi: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’. So I challenge you to offer your assistance where most needed and experience the exhilaration of giving of yourself to help others.”