Rough seas and strong winds forced the Sonny Evans Small Craft Harbour controllers to close the launch site at Shelly Beach last Saturday (27 September) leaving the Shelly Beach volunteers with a dilemma – should they carry on with training in the boathouse or do something completely different for a change?
Decision … do something different.
“It is not often that we get out and mix with the community away from the sea rescue environment. So the decision to allow some crew to participate in a 4km walk through the Umtentweni Conservancy next to the Umzimkulu River was an easy one”, the Station Commander, Pieter Coetzee, said.
The conservancy is a local initiative aimed at conserving an area of riverine bush near the Umzimkulu River in the suburb of Umtentweni, north of Port Shepstone, ensuring that alien plants and trees are removed and that the wildlife in the area is protected.
The crew and members of the public were ferried across the river by a private boat. On arrival at the conservancy they were given a briefing on the area and its wildlife and then enjoyed walking the 4km route. which of course was an excellent local knowledge refresher.
“It was a fantastic experience. The opportunity to do and learn something completely different and at the same time interact with people in our area that we seldom have contact with was rewarding”, Deputy Station Commander, Barry Mollett, said after the walk. “It was also of course good training, completely different to what we normally do.”