Families gather to the famous tidal pools in Cape Town

Families gather to the famous tidal pools in Cape Town

Heather Solomon and her husband David are spending their last days of summer vacation with their eight-year-old grandson at the Milton tidal pool in Sea Point.

They chose this pool because Saunders Rock, another tidal pool approximately 1.5 kilometers away, was too crowded. They are in their early seventies, have been married for nearly 50 years, and have been coming to this beach for decades.

Heather grew raised near the mountains in Schotsche Kloof. As a child, she walked to the Bakoven beach, which was designated by the apartheid administration for people of color. According to her, Sea Point was all white.

David grew up in Athlone, Silvertown. During the early 1960s, he was raised at Kalk Bay. He recalls spending a “tickey” (212 cents) to take a boat around the bay. David recalls that when he was a child, his family spent the entire day at Kalk Bay and slept beneath the bridge. They set their camp using “four poles and blankets.”

Cape Town beaches and tidal pools are closed to the public for the following reasons:

The atmosphere was “completely different” and there were families around, he recalls. David claims that at Easter, everyone shared their pickled fish, and at Christmas, everyone shared their watermelon.

“We utilized to camp beneath the tunnels,” he explains.

They currently reside in Bonteheuwel, far from the mountains and coast. The cost of the bus and taxi to get them to the pool was R84.

“It’s costly… David responds, “and you must still consume food.”

Children enjoy the tidal pools because they are safer. “You may observe their whereabouts. You may observe their actions,” he says.

This summer, numerous tidal pools around the Cape Town coastline had to be closed intermittently due to pollution caused by sewage problems. The majority of the fault, according to the City of Cape Town, lies with power outages at the pump stations.

Umar Ebrahim and Aqeel McKnight are debating whether or not to enter the water at the Dalebrook tidal pool in St. James on the opposite side of the peninsula. It is late afternoon, a chilly wind is blowing, and waves are crashing against the pool’s outer walls. The City of Cape Town has placed a bright yellow notice that reads “WARNING: polluted water, unfit for swimming, playing, or drinking.” However, there are swimmers in the water who have either not read or disregarded the warning.

Another sign, “Advisory on Otters,” provides the following advice: maintain a safe distance and do not feed or touch the otter. In all the years that they have visited the pool, neither man has ever seen an otter.

As a child, Ebrahim recalls he first visited Dalebrook to swim with his father. Now 42 years old and a father of four, he brings his own offspring.

“They learned to swim in this pool,” he explains. “The waves are not as violent as they once were. This is more tranquil.

Occasionally, Ebrahim snorkels in the pool. He claims to have encountered octopus and crab, as well as cash and rings. He states that he feels “joined at the hip” with the pool.

 

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