by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
August 12, 2002
Our trip to Hout Bay would not have complete without a visit to Mariner’s Wharf. It was modeled after the famous Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and was the first development of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. The Mariner’s Wharf Maritime Emporium includes the Wharfside Grill, where superb cuisine complements the magnificent views, the Fish Market, the Shipwreck Shop for nautical antiques and artifacts, the Pearl Factory and the Mariner’s Chest, which was my favorite, offering thousands of shells and seaside gifts.
It was early morning and many fishing boats had just come in and were off-loading their catch. It was amazing to watch the large baskets being lowered into the hole of each boat and an overflowing container of small silver colored fish brought up. We were mesmerized by the speed at which the crew unloaded and packed their cargo into wooden crates for shipping to places unknown to us.
A short distance from there, vendors were hawking larger fish- some up to two feet in length. The fresh fish sold quickly, mostly to locals. Continuing along the wharf, we entered the realm of souvenir heaven, with local artists selling their wares, ironwood and soapstone statutes, woodcarvings, glassware, and hand painted fabric. We looked, but did not buy as we were assured that this was nothing compared to the markets we would visit in a few days.
Beyond the vendors were the charter and tour boats. It was here we found our tour to Seal Island and also a half-day fishing excursion.
The beach at Hout Bay is long, sandy and safe for swimming. The protected bay is suitable for water sports such as windsurfing, paddle skiing, surfing, fishing, scuba diving, sea kayaking or dinghy sailing.
Our day at the wharf was exciting and relaxing and I highly recommend spending least a morning there.
From journal Cape Town, South Africa's Mother City