The Funky Fynbos Festival, held on the 23 & 24 September 2017, was an absolute success over the long weekend attracting many to our beautiful town of Gansbaai. With something for the whole family to get involved with there was a fantastic vibe throughout town and at the various venues.
One of the highlights of the weekend was most definitely the Carnival Street Parade from the municipal offices down to the popular Gansbaai harbour. Organised by Adrie Nigrini, this was a chance for the local community and companies to parade through town and celebrate some of Gansbaai’s local stars and attractions.
Included in the parade was the drama team from Gansbaai Academia, Mr & Mrs Gansbaai Academia, The Klopsies and a few local companies including shark companies White Shark Projects, White Shark Diving Company and Marine Dynamics, as well as the local coastal clean up organisation, 7SEASROPE.
Despite causing some minor traffic the parade was enjoyed by all, creating a funky atmosphere in town and at the Main Road event. The beautiful outfits organised by Adrie for the drama team really captured the attention of the crowds. It was fantastic to have the children from Gansbaai Academia involved including our local stars Mr & Mrs Gansbaai Academia and of course The Klopsies, who performed beautifully in the harbour after the parade.
Also included in the parade was Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Conservation Trust research boat, highlighting the importance of conservation and research in our area, and a shark float made by the volunteers at White Shark Projects, White Shark Diving Company and 7SEASROPE.
The thought behind the shark float and trailer, was that whilst we want to celebrate our magnificent great white sharks that attract so many tourists to the area, we also want to send a message to the public and create awareness around potentially the most significant issue facing our oceans today: marine debris. As such, our volunteers covered our trailer with plastic, rope and other litter, which was picked up during our last beach clean up at Die Gruis last week.
With the festival being a celebration of Gansbaai we felt it important to raise this issue, as Gansbaai is so dependent on the ocean and the animals within it. Marine debris is a huge issue all over the world and it is becoming more and more of a problem each year with eight million tonnes of plastic dumped into the ocean every year, which is equivalent to two garbage trucks full every minute.
Our little town of Gansbaai is no exception to this problem. We have conducted beach clean ups and surveys at a number of sites from Die Plaat to Pearly Beach and we are yet to find a clean area of coastline. As the whole town is so dependent on the ocean, it is vitally important we protect our marine ecosystem. Anyone can start doing this by simply throwing away their litter responsibly, reducing their waste and helping clean up their local beaches.
To end the parade off White Shark Projects, White Shark Diving Company and 7SEASROPE conducted a cleanup in Gansbaai Harbour to the right of the dry dock and in front of Gansbaai fishing club. This was one of the worst sites we have attempted to clean, with a mind-blowing amount of micro-plastic and rope. We will be returning to the same spot within the next week to continue the clean up there, although it is a vast on-going job as the ocean will bring more debris in.
We therefore reach out to everyone working in the harbour and the area, as well as the rest of local community to please help! If you see some rubbish, in the harbour, on the beach, by the coast or even in town, just give five minutes of your day to clean up that area and dispose of your trash responsibly. A collaborative effort is the way forward if we are going to defeat the problem.
Thanks go to Adrie Nigrini for organising the Funky Fynbos Main Road Event and the Carnvial Parade and inviting us to be a part of it. Thanks also go to all those involved and our volunteers for putting all the effort in to our shark float!