Saturday, 9 January 2016

Simon's Town - A Day Drive On The West Coast

Hi everyone,
On Thursday we returned to the lower cable station on Table Mountain.  To say it was windy doesn't quite capture it - we had to get down on hands and knees to avoid being blown away at one stage.  40 knots gusting well over 60.  Needless to say the cable car was closed so once again Plan B was implemented - a day drive up the West Coast this time.

From Cape Town we drove north on the R27.  We had a late breakfast at a cafe in Table View, one of the outer suburbs of Cape Town.  Sand was blowing from the beaches across the town.  Many shops have alcoves to ease entry and exit - they're used to big winds on this coast.

Further north we visited the !Khwa ttu "San Spirit Shared" centre which had an interesting exhibition of San culture and of current endeavours to save their many languages.  For example characters such as "!" are used to convey one of several types of click used in San languages.  The San are working towards achieving "First Nation" recognition here which seems entirely appropriate.

Exhibition at the !Khwa ttu San Centre
As we continued north towards Saldanha Bay we entered a area of wheat and hay farming.  The crops had been harvested and only stubble remained in the fields.  Some of the fields were losing their topsoil rather rapidly in the wind.

Goodbye Topsoil
At Saldanha Bay we briefly visited the small craft port.  There were quite a few yachts on moorings and various fishing vessels.   Apparently this is the only port in South Africa able to lift out large cruising catamarans.

From Saldanha Bay we drove to the fishing village of Paternoster.  This village is very clean and tidy.  All the buildings have white walls and some have coloured roofs - very striking.

From Paternoster we drove the short distance to Cape Columbine Nature Reserve.  The cape area is spectacular with the landscape featuring huge granite boulders and sand drifts.  The reefs offshore are isolated groups of large boulders.  Quite like some parts of the south coast of WA.

Art deco Cape Columbine lighthouse
Dramatic coastline near Cape Columbine
From Cape Columbine we drove back to Cape Town via the towns of Darling and Atlantis.  It was a fun drive with the highlights being the !Khwa ttu centre and Cape Columbine. 

Yesterday afternoon we returned the hire car so are now back to walking and public transport.  The car hire company dropped us off at the V&A Waterfront where we joined the crew of Vulcan Spirit to see the latest Star Wars movie in a "4D" cinema.  That's 3D for the visuals and moving seats, air blowers and scent generators for the 4th D!  It was a fun experience followed by a very nice meal in the Waterfront complex.

Today we're back aboard and still have a few jobs to do before sailing around to the V&A Waterfront Marina.  Jobs we did get done during the week include:

  • Food restocking to last to the Caribbean (everything except fresh fruit and veg)
  • Filled both gas cylinders
  • Fitted autopilot electrical wiring and outlets on port side (allowing use both sides)
  • Replaced anchor chain with new (one half of old chain rusty, other half over-galvanised)

And jobs still to do include:

  • Fit new s/s autopilot mounts (still being manufactured)
  • Engine inspection by mechanic to ensure freshwater system is OK

Trust all's well where you are!

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