July 15. What to do with The Phoenix, the huge tanker stranded on the rocks at Sheffield Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast? Okay, I know it sounds a bit crazy, but just here me out.
While trekking across the rocks the other day to snap a few pictures of The Phoenix, a youngster standing next to me came up with a heck of an idea. Why not encase the vessel in a concrete structure and keep it there at Sheffield Beach to become a marine theme park for the enjoyment of our people and holidaymakers.
Now, I know this all sounds a bit dingbat crazy, and the entire Salt Rock/Sheffield Beach community will have a bounty out on my head about now, but just think about it. This could be KwaZulu-Natal’s next big thing . . . a brilliant theme park with all the bells and whistles, scuba diving inside a ship, portals into the ocean outside, the real smell of the sea. Plus it could link up with uShaka in Durban. Imagine the package deals . . . a one-day prize adventure, Wet n Wild and Scuba at uShaka, then a high speed boat ride up the north coast for snorkelling and a show at Sheffield Beach. Lunch and then a ride back (weather permitting). If that isn’t enough marine thrills for one day, then I don’t know.
Come on guys, what do you say? Okay, it’ll take a bit of work and some infrastructure development, but since when have we been shy of building extra road access or destroying the environment in the way of progress?
If the answer is no, then what about another alternative? We drag The Phoenix off the blamed rocks and tow it a few kilometres out to sea before sinking the sucker . . . straight to the bottom.
a) Think about the number of YouTube hits we could get
b) We turn it into the number 1 wreck dive in the world, spawning an entirely new mini tourist industry. Just think, divers from all over the world needing a place to stay, restaurants to populate, flights to and from King Shaka. They say the tourism industry needs a shot in the arm. Come on, who’s with me? – Garth Johnstone