Andreas Nentwig

St. Helena Bay

Shelley Point lies on the coast next to St. Helena Bay in South Africa. The following information is more or less taken from internet. 

St. Helena Bay received its name from the Portugese navigator Vasco de Gama. He visited the bay on 7th November 1497 while on his pioneering voyage from Europe to the East. He named the bay Bahia de Santa Elena, after the Religious Mother of Constantin the Great.

Close to, or  near the mouth of he Berg River (which the Portugese called Rio de Santiago), the explorers replenished their water, collected firewood and relaxed for a week after their grueling four month ocean voyage.

It was here that a foolish brawl developed between one of Da Gama's sailors and a group of Khoi-Khoi - the first clash on the Cape West Coast between Europeans and the indigenous people. Nobody was killed, but Da Gama was injured in the leg.

A memorial consisting of three marble pedestals has been erected close to the main road at Stompneusbaai (and Shelley Point) to commemorate Da Gama's voyage. There is even a small museum of Da Gama at  Shelley Point's old gate (close to our property).

St. Helena Bay is one of the World's principal fishing centres. The cold Benguela current surges upwards along this part of the coast (which makes the water especially cold in this area) and bring to the surface large concentrations of nutrient salt. Huge shoals of anchovies and pilchards (before they were depleted by over fishing) fed in the area on the plankton which flourished on the nutrient salts.

Twelve busy fish-processing factories were established along the 21 km curve of the shore from West Point to Sandy Point and Stompneusbaai (Shelley Point). The catching season normally lasted from the 1 January to 31 July. The bay isalso well known for its snoek, especially during the winter months.

St. Helena is especially beautiful since wheat fields reach down almost to the water's edge. Only 1 road runs along the coast providing a boundary line between agriculture and fishing. Furthermore, because of the village's position, it''s the only one on the West Coast where the sun rises over the sea (in the East).

Dolphin, Whale and other Marine Animals Watching

The Southern Right Whales come here annually from the Sub-Antarctic regions to calve and mate during the months of June to November. Humpback Whales may be sighted during the months of October to November as these animals migrate south from their breeding grounds in tropical West Africa to their feeding grounds in the Antarctic.

The bay is also home for the Dolphins. Schools of  Dolphins are very popular here.

The bay also hosts a variety of marine birds, penguins and large colonies of seals.

All the animals can be seen from our house or the close by beach line.

Shelley Point is a crayfish reserve area.