Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cape Peninsula, featuring penguins, baboons, and ostriches.

This post would probably work a lot better as a Facebook album, or maybe Instagram? (I don’t do Instagram, so...?) BUT, this blog has become my external hardrive for stuff like this, trips and whatnot, so bear with me. It’s now Sunday, February 22 I’m writing about, and as desperately as we wanted to sleep in that day, we each got up early. Kevin went down the street to a one-man show car repair/rental business, German cars only, thank you very much, and rented a little electric blue VW Golf. I went for a run. After brekkie, we headed south down the Cape Peninsula.

We stopped at Simon’s Town. Kevin had been there in 1987 and had good things to say about the African Penguins there, so we thought we’d have a look. We headed toward Boulder Beach.

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They called it “poo”!   *snort*

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There’s a warning I haven’t encountered before.

 

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The boardwalk paralleled the beach. Simon’s Town is a little less than halfway down the eastern edge of the Cape Peninsula, south of Cape Town. The shelter of False Bay is to the east (over Kevin’s right shoulder in the picture above).

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False Bay. The interwebs tell me the tallest of those peaks tops out above 4,200 feet.

We arrived at Boulder Beach proper only to discover you had to pay to access the beach itself. Which we weren’t of a mind to do, as lovely as ‘twas – scattered with temptingly climbable smooth boulders, with a scattering of Actual Penguins sunning themselves. We did get to see some penguins, though. These two had come toward the boardwalk and were heading away, back toward the beach, when we came across them.

I stopped filming when they went off camera stage left, but a second later they changed their mind and wandered back across our field of vision, looking for all the world like they were deeply engaged in conversation. Hey, maybe they were; why wouldn’t they be? The interwebs also informs me that adult African Penguins weigh between 5 and 7.7 pounds – so, half the weight of the Average Brennan Household cat.

After dawdling a bit more on the boardwalk, we hopped back in the trusty rental car and headed south.

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Yay for National Parks! Fire Hazard Conditions: Extreme. Please exercise caution.

A few bucks and miles later, we were winding through lightly vegetated hills – there were hardly any trees.

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I’d really love to go back with more data – a book or a person, either way – on the flora. I believe this is fynbos – a type of shrub land, essentially. That’s the Atlantic ahead of us in the picture above...and behind us is False Bay and the Kogelberg range.

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After a while, a turn off for the Cape of Good Hope appeared on our right. We ignored it, saving it for later. We proceeded south, to the tippy end of the peninsula – Cape Point. (Readers, I had thought the Cape of Good Hope was the southern-most bit of Africa. Nope. That’s a couple of hours southeast of here. Who knew? I mean, besides a lot of people? Apparently the good folk of Cape Agulhas, which is the the actual meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, are pretty irritated when the Cape of Good Hope folks claim that honor. If by “irritated” you mean “lawsuits”

I’d heard stories about baboons in the parking lots. I’d just talked to a guy about the time he thought it was his father who’d just gotten into the car behind him. No. It was a full grown baboon, and it was rummaging through his mother’s purse, where it found and consumed a Snickers bar. After that the story got funnier. It involved a busload of Chinese tourists and credit cards and passports scattered hither and yon across the parking lot.

We’d barely locked our car doors in the lot at the the Cape Point Lighthouse when I glanced up and saw this:

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I guess if I were only a couple of feet tall I’d look for a good perch myself.

Did I mention I’d already gone for a run that morning? I may have whined a little tiny bit when I saw the trek involved in getting to the lighthouse – that tiny speck up the hill Kevin’s heading toward.

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I found my inner oomph and trailed after him.

A different family wandered past me on the pathway.

Good thing I don’t have any Snickers on my person.

Finally we get up closer to the Lighthouse, periodically turning around to see the view. This is the Cape of Good Hope, below.

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And, the lighthouse, with one of those signs telling you how far you are from the rest of the world.

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Answer: far.

It was windy. Kevin had to hold my head to keep my hat on it.

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Cape of Good Hope again.

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Whew. On our way back to the parking lot, additional baboonage was observed. We hopped back in the Trusty Rental and made our way to the Cape of Good Hope turnoff. It was windy as hell and by this point, my left quad was distinctly grumpy. I’d done nearly 15,000 steps by now (thanks, iPhone app!) and didn’t feel like climbing to the top of it. So we just paid our respects and resumed the journey.

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I wonder what they’re doing...it definely looks organized, doesn’t it? “O Holy Provider of Snickers Bars, we humbly Beseech Thee...”

A few minutes later, this happened:

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He was with a couple of females.

Our next port of call was a rocky beach infested with kite- and parasurfers. Parasurfing: now there is a tempting sport – I think I’d have to work out hard for a year and then grow a huge pair to try it, but damn, they make it look like fun.

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Kevin did what Kevin does: rolled up his pants and went in.

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I do so love this man. Then it was back to the Trusty Rental, pointed north, out of the Park, back toward Cape Town via as meandering a route as could be found.

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Slangkop Lighthouse. This one’s for you, Laurel.

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Long Beach. Looking south.

We then headed toward Hout Bay Harbour via the scenic route. It hugs the shore. A wall of rock is a perfectly fine place to put a road. Why else would you invent dynamite?

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Looking backward...

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The water was a fantastic mesmerizing blue. Go, Atlantic Ocean, go!

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Deeeelicious.

From here we cut inland and sped back up to Cape Town: we had a flight out to Johannesburg at 9 pm.

We got to the airport plenty early, which was convenient, because Kevin and I each failed to realize that the bag his passport was in was .... um... back in that rental car, maybe? A South African Airlines employee found the proprietor’s cell phone number online (!) and the guy’s son – who had given us a ride to the airport – located the bag and brought it to us. Bless you, Peter!

So there you have it: our final day in Cape Town. Next up: Johannesburg. The Apartheid Museum. And a drive to Lesotho through a thunder and lightning hailstorm.

1 comment:

  1. oh em effing gee - beautiful!

    ReplyDelete