Stories from the past - The Sea Scout Base
In the 1960s the aftermath of the 1956 Suez crises was still being felt in the Table Bay Docks. The 9th Cape Town, 1st Clifton and the Table Bay Sea Scouts troops shared a Boat shed at the yacht Basin next door to S.A.S Unity at the Cape Town docks. 9th Cape Town scouts only had a rowing boat. On most Saturday afternoons the Scouts and either Skipper Robinson or myself would launch the rowing boat and head for Duncan Docks only to be confronted by all the ships diverted from the Suez canal. According to the Seamanship manual steam must give way to sail, but with these ships towering above us the chance of being seen in our rowing boat was very remote. The danger became very real.
During that time I encountered a Scouter from 1st Muizenberg Sea
Scouts, Bill 'Kim' Dellenbach, who had previously been a Scouter with 9th Cape Town. We decided to share the annual camp at the Trout Hatcheries at Jonkershoek near Stellenbosch. The camp proved to be a great success, during that time I discussed the problems 9th was experiencing regarding the sea scouting activities in the Docks. 1st Muizenberg had a boat pound alongside either 1st or 2nd Bergvliet pound. The pounds were between the Yacht club and where the Sea scout base is today. Muizenberg had 2 boats at that time - the Sea Queen and the Sea Princess. Unfortunately the boats were often stolen because the wire fences could be lifted and the boats slid out. We would find the boats at the Steenberg end of the vlei.
On returning from the camp I applied to the Cape Town Municipality for permission to install a third boat pound, adjoining the existing two, for use by 9th Cape Town Scouts . The Municipality responded by suggesting we applied for the ground where the base is situated today for Sea Scouts in general. This they eventually granted us on a lease arrangement. All the Sea Scouters were invited to a meeting where a committee was formed the late Nick van Gysen was elected Chairman, Each group pledged a donation towards the development of the base.
The first structure to be built was the lecture hall. (the boat shed 2nd Plumstead occupy today) plus the boys toilet. The Don Bosco Sea Scouts undertook to tile the floor and walls of these toilets. A wire fence was erected around the boat pound. Old steel windows were buried under the fence to make the pound more safe. A ready mix concrete company offered us surplus concrete after hours which was dumped where the foundation for the next boat shed was to be erected . This meant after a day at the office we would go to the base to level the dumped concrete.
Nick, at that time, was teaching at the Boys Reformatory at Westlake. The boys worked like Trojans leveling the wet concrete. As a reward it was decided to take them into the mountains at Hermanus for a weekend camp and braai. On awakening the next morning to his dismay Nick discovered the boys had absconded and it took some time to round them up again.
Please note I am casting my memory back 50 years If their are any discrepancy's please feel at liberty to correct