Eventually in 1831, plans for a viable harbour was abandoned. 10 years later, a man named William Cock established the Kowie Harbour Improvement Company. This led to diverting the river flow to form a new channel along the West Bank. The harbour was reopened in 1863 and thrived for the next 20 years, seeing around 100 ships enter the harbour annually. During this period, a town grew around the harbour and it was renamed to Port Alfred in honour of England’s Prince Alfred, who was visiting the country at the time.
The town’s importance started to decline when surrounding areas started developing better harbour facilities. It finally fell into disuse in the 1890’s. Many years passed and the town became an important fishing hub. However, in 1989, the town revitalised when the residential Royal Alfred Marina was developed along the river to cater to recreational crafts of all kinds.
In the last two centuries, at least 50 ships sank in the vicinity of Port Alfred, with at least three in close by Kleinemonde, and another 26 near the mouth of the Great Fish River.