|Paternoster is situated about 145km North of Cape Town, about 15km from Vredenburg and about 25km from Saldanha. This quiet, picturesque fishing village is one of the oldest on the West Coast. It is widely known for it’s abundance of fish and lobster and it’s proximity to the Columbine Nature reserve makes it the favorite holiday destination of many.|
During December and January the sleepy little town comes alive with visitors to Tieties Bay, which is only about 4km away. The town has a lovely hotel and visitors can sit on the veranda with a sundowner and watch the sun set over the sea. Whale and dolphins are regular visitors to the quiet bay and fishing and whale-watching tours are on offer.
The history of Paternoster
The origin of the name “Paternoster” has not been proven. Some people believe that it was called after the “Our Father” or “Paternoster” prayed by Portuguese sailors as they sailed passed the Bay.
However, the beads that were worn by the Khoi tribes were also called Paternosters.
The town was originally a fishing village. The shop at Paternoster (Bowinkel) “Oep vir Koep” was originally ‘n fish factory that extracted oil from “tornyn”, a kind of sea-bul. The oil was mostly used for medicinal purposes. The factory belonged to Stephan Broers.
Over the years the bay had it’s share of Shipwrecks. The SS Ismore (1899) and the SS Lisboa (1910), carrying a load of wine, both sank near Paternoster. Aunty Sêrra Pieters (83), who is still living at Paternsoter, tells how as children they dug out the wine vat from under the sand dunes and used it as containers for water. She also sings songs from yesteryears describing the sinking of the Ismore and the Lisboa. A lot of the inside doors in the fishermen’s cottages at Paternoster have been made of wood from ship wrecks that had washed ashore.
Aunty Selma tells how Norwegian sailors regularly came todance at a dancing venue that her Grandmother had at Paternoster. At one stage a sailor forgot his jacket there. Aunty Sêra’s mother, who was eight at the time and as curious as any child, went through the pockets and found a wedding ring. She kept it a secret until she married with it at the age of twenty-one.
Since then five other couples have been married using the ring of the unknown sailor. The ring is still in Aunty Selma’s family.