Monday, February 28, 2011

Cabrinha Nomad Review - the first kiss

Taking the Cabrinha Nomad out into the water for the first time is like taking a first date out to the movies for the first time. You have your trousers full of plans for this girl, but you know you have to pace yourself otherwise you might end up with a slap in the face and a wrecked reputation.....

When I stopped at the beach this afternoon it was after 5 with a brisk wind (20 knots) blowing. I already had my "number 10 girl" pumped up on the beach when I realized that the wind was getting stronger and that I might be overpowered. This was the perfect opportunity to try out my new girl. When you take a girl out for the first time, you have to be very careful though. The only way you progress from base to base is by testing the water continuously and deciding how far you can push without allowing yourself to get a kick between the legs. What you do not want to do is to push too hard and end up with a swollen face and a popcorn box on your head. The Nomad was no different, or so I thought at first. I hooked her up to my old lines and bar (which was already lying on the beach from my first rig-up). Sometimes when dating a new girl it is good to use some tested pick-up lines, and knowing that my old "lines" worked well on the other girl I didn't hesitate using them on my new girl as well. When the lights go down, you have to start implementing your plan of action. You don't go for the fourth base immediately, she can respond very violently and hurt you real bad. There is no "home run" on a first date either. Slowly you feel your way down until you get hold of her hand. Watch her reaction. Plan your next move based on the feedback you get from her. Do not overstep the line unless she takes the initiative and gives you some sort of indication that it is safe to proceed. Once you are comfortable knowing what you can do and how far you can go, the rest of the night belongs to you...

So this was the approach with my Nomad; take her out and see how far she would allow me to go, no pressure. If I have to put my new girl on the Promiscuity Sliding Scale of 1 to 10 where "1" represent "Conservative deluxe", then sadly I have to admit that my Nomad girl turned out to be a "10". "Slut delux"! She absolutely showed no shame or remorse for her actions. She literally grabbed me by the balls and said:" What are you waiting for cowboy, let's ride!" I still tried to show some respect like my mom tried to teach me me years ago, but she wouldn't take no for an answer and showed no respect in return. She took me out into the deep blue waters with no restrictions and no strings attached. I barely managed to hang on in the first couple of minutes, but after a while of sussing her out I was prepared for all her tricks. I caught up with waves from behind and ripped them to shreds. I cleared three waves simultaneously with one jump. I turned around in split seconds to smash approaching waves before they could smash me. I was having the best time any guy could have on a first date. My Nomad was showing me moves that I thought only happened on movie screens, not in movie theatres. Only once did she manage to catch me by surprize and make me lose rhythm, but pretty soon I was in control again, pulling the right strings one after the other and getting the rhythm back. Man, she was so responsive I could steer her with a feather. I reached third and fourth base long before the popcorn box was half-way empty. We had an awesome time in the water...90 minutes of sheer joy. My new Nomad is one sexy and willing woman. She definitely made a man out of me today. I am already daydreaming about our next date....

ENVY- the root of all discontentment

Breakfast Review - Arnolds on Kloof

On Kloof Street
Just when I decided that I am not going to review "budget" breakfasts anymore, then someone suggests that I go check out a restaurant which not only has a "budget breakfast" on its menu, but also turns out to be a very nice place. I am so excited because I now get people suggesting restaurants which obvioulsy introduces me to new places where I probably never would've gone on my own. Finding the time though is going to be a problem, but I will have to create a list and then do them as I get the time. So, Sunday morning I went to Arnolds on Kloof. Situated in another beautiful part of Cape Town (unfortunately I hardly ever go there) on Kloof Street, I was rather intrigued by the atmosphere and the amount of tourists that was walking around there as well. The morning however for me did not start out that well.....

View of Table Mountain
I put the coordinates on my GPS (even though I knew exactly where to find it) and decided to stick to the "GPS route". On quiet days like Sunday mornings I sometimes do this just to see where the GPS takes me. Sometimes you find new streets and nice shops where you would not have driven if you were heading straight for your destination on the well-known roads. Well, the GPS wanted to take me via Long Street, but unfortunately part of Long Street was used for a film shoot and I had to turn around twice. This was peeving me off a bit, but by the third time the GPS took me back to Long Street we found the top section that was not closed off. Unfortunately some skateboarders deciced that this was the morning to do their skate down Long Street against the traffic and against all authority. You know the "rebel with no cause" attitude that some skaters and surfers believe they have to have even though they have nothing to rebel against? Well, I guess that was their aim. Anyway, I absolutely have NO problems with skateboarders going against traffic (being one myself), but I have to admit it was a bit dangerous considering that the road was not cordoned off and there were little kids on skateboard that could hardly walk, let alone skate. Facing oncoming traffic is not such a good idea when that is the case, but fortunately it was early on a Sunday morning and the fastest thing that came from the front was me and another elderly dude on a scooter. Anyway, by the time we got to Arnolds I was already a bit irritated with my GPS and all the obstacles I had to face on an early Sunday morning ride. I found parking after some obnoxious dude eventually realized what my intentions were and eventually stepped out of the only parking spot that was available. When we entered the restaurant, the second bit of bad news hit us. There was no electricity.

"World Peace" by Chocolate
Well, I came all the way and decided that I will have whatever they can make without the help of Eskom. Besides, I can do a lot on gas when I camp, I was pretty sure that they could achieve similar results on their gas stoves. My son however wasn't very happy after his first three  "healthy" choices all turned out to be "Eskom-dependant", so he cleverly grabbed the opportunity and shamelessly demanded a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast. My wife and I had no other option than to grant him his wish (just for the sake of keeping the peace). She went for a healthy fruit and muesli breakfast just to counter-balance on his unhealthy meal. I couldn't care less and ordered the budget "Mike's Breakfast" for R22-00. I couldn't get toast, but for the rest the breakfast was all well prepared on their gas stove. I had to drink instant coffee too, but that was really not a problem for me at all.

Even sausages. Eggs perfectly done
The healthy breakfast option
So, will I go there again? Yes, for sure, but I am leaving my son at home. The place is definitely not child friendly, but the waiters are very friendly towards children. Parents appreciate that but somehow children find appreciation only in things that can keep them interested and occupied, like playgrounds and jungle gyms..and sometimes the occational chocolate cake for breakfast. Driving there would be too far from where I live, but if I was living in that area I probably would've been there every morning...even if it was just for a cup of coffee. They really put effort in to serve us despite the electricity crisis (which turned out to be a local problem and not an Eskom problem), and overall for R22-00, it is a must. They even have a half-price option during the week, but only for 15 minutes before 7. Definitely an option for the early-birders like me...but the ones that are fortunate enough to live in that area of course. Go give it a try.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Cabrinha Nomad

OK, so for those who has not heard the good news, I have just bought a new smaller kite for stronger wind conditions. I took my broken spreader bar in for replacement and walked out not only with a new spreader bar, but also with a new black-&-blue 2011 7m Cabrinha Nomad kite. OK, it only happened the next day after I got permission from our household's "Minister of Finance", but it was quick decision nevertheless. I got it at such a bargain price that I could not say no, so now I have two kites, a 10m Cabrinha Switchblade for lighter conditions and a 7m Nomad for stronger conditions. This mean that I can double my "water time" and not have to sit out while the other guys are having fun in stronger conditions. More time in the water also means faster progression. I am still very far from doing kiteloops and whatever the good guys call all those fancy tricks, but I have already reached a point where I know that having two kites would not only give me more water time as mentioned, but a smaller kite will give me better manoeuvrability and ability to learn new tricks. The Cabrinha Nomad is a very fast kite with a quick turning ability and apparently perfect for wave riding. I mean, what more do I need? The only problem now is that we are fast reaching the end of the kiting season and approaching a long windless winter with frontal rain and darkness after 5pm. This does not give me much time to start practicing the coolest kite surfing move I have ever seen, and no, it is not the "nuclear grab hook and pop" or the insane "psycho kiteloop", it is a tail sliding technique called "The Darkslide". It just looks so cool, I am sure it will wow the crowds on the beach (after I've equally entertained them with a couple of hard crashes and salt enemas). So, my goal for next year is to perfect this trick. All I need now is more time in the water, lots of optimism and a photographer to capture this move once I have perfected it....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Breakfast Review - Driftwoods

I've been wanting to post this one for a while now, but going to Tanzania shifted my interests a little bit.  The place is called Driftwoods and it is situated behind the Superplants in Parklands. You have to go early over weekends though because the Outrider's Bicycle Club also makes use of this restaurant for breakfast after their morning bike rides. With the Argus coming up, you can imagine that everyone who can stay on top of a bicycle is practicing and what better way to end a tough work-out than with a breakfast. If men in tights put you off, then eat before they arrive or stay away.

I don't think the restaurant can brag about their view, but they have done a bit to create a nice outdoorish atmosphere with a little pond, complete with ducks and some rather arrogant geese. There are even two hammocks for those who can eat while lying down. This obviously interests the kids a lot, but they usually end up face first in the dirt after dicovering that hammacks are beds without legs. So watch your child. But, they have made up for this by having one of the nicest wooden jungle gyms I have seen so far. Quite a sturdy gym with nice climbing ropes, swings, etc. This gives the mommies and daddies plenty of time to enjoy their breakfasts in peace and quiet.

I was a bit disppointed that there weren't really anything on the menu for kids in the line of breakfast, even though they do have a kiddie's menu. The only item that interested my son was a hotdog with chips, and it was rather expensive for what we've got. He would've prefered scramble eggs on toast. He obviously finished the chips first and then said he is not hungry anymore. At thirty odd Rands it was a bit expensive for my liking. The breakfast menu looked good, but even here I think it was a bit too pricey. I went for the Traditional Breakfast at R55 which has a beef sausage and mushrooms additional to what I usually expect from a breakfast. I have to say that it was after-all quite a nice breakfast and I really enjoyed it, despite the price. A friend of mine had the Farmer's Omelet and she couldn't finish it. I gladly asisted. Also not a bad choice if you want a "healthier" option.

Overall not a bad place, with the jungle gym very nice for kids. If you need to feed them, give them a sandwich at home before you come, or give them some of your omelete. Don't get the hotdog and chips. They would just want to play in any case. When the men in tights arrived service somehow came to a halt, but fortunately at that time all we still wanted was a coffee refill. The kids were really enjoying themselves on the jungle gym and we asked for "doggy bags" for their food.

I think in future I am not going to score the places anymore, seeing that I am not doing only budget breakfasts anymore and seeing that my list is getting very long now. From now on I will only say whether I will return to the place or not. I will definitely return to Driftwoods for breakfast again, but only after I ran out of other restaurants to review.

It's Friday, let's go BRAAI...!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finding the good fruit in between the rotten

It is funny how three people made an indirect comment about my "good life" over the past couple of weeks by refering to my blog or something I have written there. A friend from Russia told me some time ago that she never reads people's blogs because she finds them too pretentious. I didn't want to ask straight out if she was refering to mine, but if she was she probably never read my negative posts on Angola and the "joys" of traveling in West Africa. My wife the other day, who I personally think reads too much in to my posts, told me that I have an "unrealistic life", or something to that extent. Yesterday a friend remarked on a comment where I said I was here in Tanzania "for work and not pleasure" yet I have these lovely laid-back pictures that were taken on another exotic beach. Somehow I am starting to feel as if people are questioning not only my "pretentious good life", but even my sense of responsibility. So let me clarify...

A couple of years ago I made a conscious decision in my life to ignore the negativity that particularly white South Africans around me had, and to actively look for the positive things in South Africa. I guess my well-known-by-now life-altering-book The Power of Now, also contributed to my decision to live for the now, to forget the past and to stop worrying about the future. Also, my friends from overseas that visited South Africa opened my eyes to the magnificant things we have in our country, and I realized that we walk past the good things in South Africa only to see the bad. Please, let me NOT kid you, we HAVE plenty of bad things here as well. I started blogging after a friend suggested I write my travel stories for everyone to read which I at that point only send to a few selected friends via email. So, Life's a Beach was born. I don't think many people read my blog to be honest, but I was enjoying myself and gradually I started writing about other positive things as well; South Africa, photography, kite surfing, braaing, whatever I found myself doing and actually enjoyed. I am not writing for anyone in particular, I am writing for myself...and one day for my son to read about his dad when he is all grown up. I am not trying to paint a colourful picture of how beautiful life is while ignoring reality, I am just concentrating on the positive things and then write about it. It encourages me to be more positive and see more positive sides in every situation. It makes me more concious of the good out there. Somehow being positive seems to attract more positive things too. Except of course when I go to Angola or West Africa where I find it very hard to see the positive in anything. But one thing I know for sure, writing is not only therapeutic, but concentrating on the positive things has dramatically changed my whole outlook on the world and on life in general. I changed from a negative sinical pessimist to a positive fun-seeking optimist. I have NOT lost track of reality at all. I still read the newspapers and listen to the doomsdayers' opinions, I still feel the pain of people getting murdered on their farms, and I still feel sorry for the world's hungry and lonesome. But I turn around from that and then appreciate every second that I am granted on this earth. I lost a friend a couple of days ago in a motor car accident and I still have not recovered properly from the shock of realizing how insignificant our lives on this planet are. We can be here today and gone tomorrow. All I can say to myself is "LIVE NOW!" Live as much as you can, enjoy life as much as you can, tomorrow it might be too late. Tomorrow a similar shock much closer to home might hit me, or it might only hit me in twenty years time. That is reality, it is not a death sentence and definitely not a reason to stop being positive.

My question then is, is there any wrong in appreciating a beautiful beach when I am having lunch on a business trip and then writing about it? Is there any problem in enjoying a kite surfing session when the freezer at home is leaking and the car doesn't want to start? Is it a crime to admit that I have a fabulous life because I actually do the things I like and not only dream about it like most people do? I don't think so. I still have the responsibilty of keeping a steady job to support my family (sometimes under less than favourable conditions). I still educate my son to distinguish between right and wrong (a very difficult task for an "semi-adolescent" dressed up as a responsible dad). I still get an empty feeling on my stomach when I see the "real life" out there with all its pain and suffering (the gross reality of life). I still make mistakes and hurt people and wish I could hit the delete button afterwards (sadly no such buttons exists in life). I also still believe that the ANC's incompetency to rule a country can fuck up South Africa like Robert Mugabe did to Zimbabwe (a worse thought than life's pain and suffering). I just don't write about it, I deal with it in my way and enjoy myself while it still has not happened. I prefer not to because it drags me down and takes me back to where I was a couple of years ago. And if I die tomorrow will I regret being positive in the last couple of years in my life? I bloody-well hope not. You just cannot necessarily create happiness or a better life by just changing your surroundings and circumstances, but you can create both by changing your attitude towards them first (it took me nearly 40 years to realize this). I think I have nearly arrived.

I will not change my blog into an inspirational one for sure. I would rather just be home, kitesurf and write about how I got dragged down the beach, because that is what keeps me alive and motivates me to keep going. Oh, and don't forget that little hand in mine when we walk from school in the afternoons, the ultimate reason for living. Never mind the distorted picture it paints. I don't have this fantastic wonderful or this irresponsible unrealistic life. No, I just concentrate on the positive and carefully pick the good fruit from in between the rotten to write about.
I leave you with some inspirational quotes from "beautiful Tanzania" while longing to be home with my family and friends back in South Africa.....

Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you deal with it is what makes the difference.  - Virginia Satir

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. - Joe Lewis

Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin. - Grace Hansen

We spend too much time living in the ‘what if’ and need to learn to live in the ‘what is.’ - Rev. Leroy Allison

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”  - Angela Monet

It's your life. Live it with people who are alive. It tends to be contagious.”  - Peter McWilliams

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunset over Dar Es Salaam

Sunset from my hotel room in Dar Es Salaam.....Sorry, another point-and-shoot attempt.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fish for the Mzungu

Like many places in Africa where you want to buy something, it is much better to take a local with you when you are a mzungu in Tanzania looking for fresh fish. If you do not know what a mzungu is, then you have obviously not been to any of the East African countries before. Any local vendor, no matter what they sell, curios, art, fish, whatever, will try and get more out of you when they see you are not from their country. We do exactly the same in South Africa when we see tourists coming. In Africa European tourists stand out like a sore thumb from the locals, so they see you coming from a mile away. Today went to the local fish market in Dar-Es-Salaam looking for fresh fish. Once you have been to the market with a local and you feel confident enough knowing how the system works, then you can try buying fish on your own. The chances are however that you are still going to get ripped off, but to a lesser extent than going there alone for the first time. I say "ripped off" because you pay more than the locals, but the price is still much lower than you would pay for the same item in South Africa. So I shouldn't sound like I am complaining and I guess I'm not. I am not an European in the true sense of the word, and I have had better deals in Africa because I am also an "African". The "Madiba" and "Bafana Bafana" connection usually helps, but in general I am seen as a mzungu so the treatment is mostly more or less the same than what any true European can expect to receive.

When you get to the fish market you cannot help but lurch back into the car when you get the first smell of fish, but unlike the smell the fish is usually fresh and you will not be disappointed once you've managed to get the "best deal". You have to know where to go, because Casta (or whatever his name was) explained to me the logic in the chaos after he convinced us (actually he just never gave up on us as potential customers) to buy fish from him and why there were two places where fish were being sold. On your arrival you are met by tons of desperate fish sellers all trying to convince you that they can give you the best price. The problem is that the best price is also their "mzungu price", and that is, needless to say, more than what the locals pay. I asked Casta what the difference is between the two places where they were selling fish. Without thinking he told me that the one place is where "the people with less money buy" and the other place is...well...he stopped. After confronting him with: "So is this where the msungus buy then?", he just got a smile on his face knowing that he has just revealed the "African secret". Something which is for many years not a secret anymore, mzungus (or wazungu which is the actual plural for mzungu) in Africa pay more.

The market has everything smelly you can think of. Even though the crayfish and tiger prawns looked stunning, we didn't have much money on us and settled on fresh tuna. We were handed the largest tuna I have ever seen in one piece (I am more familiar with the pinkish round ones you find in cans), but later settled for two smaller versions of the same species. For an extra 1000 Tanzanian Schilling (TZS) they clean it with a matchete. It is amazing how someone can clean and fillet a fish with such finess and not lose one or two fingers in the process. With all the fish blood I don't even think the finger would be found on the floor with the rest of the day's fish guts. Now you know where the smell comes from...and why my pair of jeans were soaked from the bottom up with a fishy smell that would attract sharks over a distance of a thousand sea miles. We paid 30 000 TZS (approx 20 USD), filleting included, and even though we knew we could get this for much less with a local's help, we gladly paid for it. Besides, it our way of giving something back to the friendly people of Tanzania.

Mbalamwezi Beach, Dar-Es-Salaam

I recently met a pleasant guy from Italy that was on vacation in Cape Town. We had a chat and he told me that he has a restaurant in Italy right on the beach. I have been to Italy before and I have seen these little restaurants with the sun chairs all in rows. I think if I can ever get my own restaurant on the beach, it would probably be the closest I would ever get to my dream of "living on the beach". I am in Tanzania at the moment, Dar-Es-Salaam to be more exact. Unfortunately for business and not pleasure only. Tanzania, with Zanzibar not far away is a popular holiday destination with some awesome beaches. We have an office in Dar-Es-Salaam, not far from the beach. Today I was taken to a little restaurant on the beach. What a setting. We had a Coke and spend a few minutes on the beach before we headed back to the office. What a dream place to have a restaurant. I was actually quite surprized to see how cheap the cold drinks were, compared to what I pay in the hotel. What does a person need to have a restaurant like this on the beach? What do you have to sacrifice to have this? And would it really be a sacrifice at all? If you ever come to Dar, try  Malaika Restaurant on Mbalamwezi beach.....

Welcome to Malaika's

I have no idea how accurate this it, but it definitely contributes to the atmosphere...

These Dhow sailboats are only part of the decorations, but they are very common on the east coast of Africa.

What a place to enjoy an ice cold Coke. Keep in the shade, it was definitey way above 40 degrees outside.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Craziness in Cape Town

This kite surfer climbed onto one of the cranes on the Seli 1 and then jumped off, landed and carry on as if it was just in a days's work. I think he is crazy, but apparently he has done many crazy jumps like this before....

It's Friday, let's go BRAAI...!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day Trip Around The Peninsula - Part Five

So now I arrived at the last section of my trip aroud the Peninsula. It is amazing how much material I gathered from a single trip of around 150 kilometes. I am sure if I go back to each location and spend some time there, that I could for the rest of my life write about the Cape Peninsula. So, I stopped in Hout Bay which apparently has more than 60 restaurants, for a breakfast review. I chose the worst one of them all, so I am not even going to go into detail right now....

When you leave Hout Bay heading towards Cape Town, the first settlement you see on your left is Llandudno. Now Landudno is different from any other residential areas in South Africa. It is not only the most expensive suburb in South Africa, but it also has "exclusitivy" written all over it. Just the fact that there is a boom at the entrance to Llandudno manned by a security guard should immediately tell you that not everyone is welcome there. To keep more people out, the residents of Llandudno further made sure that parking was a problem, so heading off to Llandudno beach has to be executed long before sunrise. There is only about 20 parkings, and when the place is full they don't hesitate closing the gate in your face. Llandudnoers don't like crowds. They have money, they don't have to like crowds. Unfortunately Llandudno has a very nice beach, with nice surfing waves. So, people like going there. Then there is of course our own nudist beach, Sandy Bay. But I will get to Sandy Bay later.

So, I decided to turn off into Llandudno. I have a bike, so guessed that parking would not be a problem. I felt a bit awkward being there, you feel as if you don't belong there. Anyway, I drove down to the beach. There is actually nowhere else to go if you do not own property there. At least I wanted a picture of the beach for my blog. When I got to the beach I was not surprized. No parking at all. Fortunately for me I got the only motorbike parking that's available there. I assume that is what the "M/C" was standing for? While I was there I noticed some trucks and found out that they were doing a photoshoot on the beach for a Nike commercial. No wonder, the place is stunning and would sell any brand. I asked a street vendor, just out of curiosity, what a can of Coke costs. "Fifteen", he said. You can buy two cans and get some change for that price at a normal cafe. He didn't appreciate my facial expression after he told me that. But I guess he has the monopoly seeing that there are no other shops in this suburb. Rich people order their groceries over the Internet and have it delivered, why would they need a shop? I went down to the beach, took my pictures and decided to go check out Sandy Bay. Thank God for GPS. If you don't have some sort of aerial view of the place, you will kill yourself with all the cul-de-sacs.

You have to view this in person to appreciate the beauty.

Fortunate to get the only M/C parking. I still had to move out of the way because the driver of the SUV that was standing next to my bike couldn't get his door open.

Finding the beach was easy, I just followed this water nymph all the way to "heaven". (P.S. There are many more of them floating around here)

Another picturesque secluded beach along the Cape Peninsula. Still wonder why my blog is called "Life's a beach"?

Another view of Llandudno from the road leading to Sandy Bay.

Who would not want to live here?

OK,  let me tell you about Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay is the only "unofficial" nudist beach in South Africa. I don't know for how long Sandy Bay has been used as a "nudist" beach, but I remember well when I was kid all the reports in the Sunday newspapers about this "demise of our christian value systems", the amorality it leads to and wharra-wharra. Despite all these reports, we all paged very fast to get to the back page of that same newspaper to see semi-nude models posing in itsy-bitsy-teeni-weeni bikinis or to read about the sexcapades of the rich and famous. Like mixed couples, South Africans are not very comfortable with nudity either. So one can think that a beach where people walk "au naturel" would not be appreciated by the majority, especially not by the old grey beards who taught us what was wrong and right according to their biased interpretation of the Good Book. Because of this South Africans never really got used to the idea of enjoying nature in one's birth suit, and Sandy Bay was evidence of that. Today Sandy Bay is nothing more than a gay cruising spot, and when anyone decides to go for an overall tan you are advised to go in a group and never to wander off into the bushes. Finding a "group" of like-minded people in South Africa would be difficult enough, and why would anyone go to a beach where perverts sit in the bushes with binoculars and "delight" themselves in the nudity of other people? I believe this is all because we are not used to seeing "normal" people naked, because we have not made peace with our bodies and because we still attach "sleeze" to nudity. Why anyone decided that the most secluded beach would be the safest beach for naturalists is beyond me. I guess it was to keep it as far away as possible from "civilization". You cannot even walk fully clothed on Table Mountain anymore without the fear of being attacked or sexually assaulted, why would anyone go walk here? I don't know how in other countries they manage to keep perverts away from nudist beaches and how they control who comes and goes there, but in South Africa this is definitely not working yet. If you look at a list of nudits beaches across the world then South Africa is lacking far behind. Come to think of it, with the pleasant weather and beautiful beaches we could attract even more tourists to our shores...and they don't even have to pack in much to wear.

So, I stopped at Sandy Bay to have a look. I have never been there before and I was not expecting to see a huge crowd frolicking naked in the sun. I did not want to walk all the way to the beach (especially not clothed in black biking gear wearing a helmet when it is 30 degrees outside), let alone take pictures. I did take out my camera and took one shot from the parking area. (There is only parking for one car and about 5 "M/Cs"). It was only after I saw the picture on my big screen that I reliazed I did in fact get one or two nudists in the shot. Fortunately for them the picture was taken way too far for identification possibilties and besides, I don't want to be added to the list of "perverts with telephoto lenses". I am not a naturalist myself (I don't even know the difference between naturalist and nudist), but I would not want to name and shame someone with the guts to actually do the "au naturel" thing...or "dare to go bare" as some put it. If I ever find a "group" of people to join me, I will definitely go check it out myself and then I wouldn't want people with cameras around either.

The message is clear, although someone tried his luck.

I spotted some nude "rock spiders" on the boulders, but the actual beach is way in the backround.

So, even though Sandy Bay is a probably the most famous (or infamous) beach in South Africa, it doesn't come to it's right because of stalkers, gays and perverts not used to anything. Wherever you read about Sandy Bay there is always a warning not to go alone. Maybe the cold water also has something to do with the fact that not too many people hang out there (excuse the pun). It can be really embarrasing for a man to walk out naked from the ice cold water....

Well, after my stop at Sandy Bay I headed home. I will do this trip again, focus on different things and maybe visit Sandy Bay again for a longer stay next time.... ;-) My trip around the Peninsula just made me realize again that this really is a beautiful country and that I am so fortunate to live here.

Chapman's Peak Drive

I have decided to dedicate a post to Chapman's Peak and not to make it Part Five of My Day Trip Around The Peninsula. It is such a spectacular and beautiful pass that I think it deserves its own post. I am also not going to say much about the pass, just a couple of photos with some comments. You can decide for yourself if you think the place is remarkable or not. You can read more about the pass and find even better pictures than mine at

As you come around the first bend of the pass, you see the bay of Hout Bay. Sometimes the water is crystal clear, making it obviously easier for Sipho to spot the sharks.

Some of the fences that was erected to catch some of the falling debris. These ones are just smaller versions of other fences and structures that was put in place to catch larger rocks. Vehicles and people have been injured by falling rocks before, so it is wise to look up every now and then, the sky might be falling, you'll never know.

Here you can see why I say it is easier for bikes to stop anywhere for pictures and sightseeing. Try parking an SUV between that little rock wall and the yellow line. This is also one of the classic "bike pictures". You will see on all biker blogs there is always a bloody motorcycle in the picture. I have been trying hard to keep my motorcycle out of my pictures, but this one just came "naturally". Sorry for that.

It might look like a wave breaking, or maybe a good half pipe for some skateboarding action, but it shows how the road had to be carved into the rocks not only to protect it from falling rocks, but to protect the actual road from slipping down into the ocean.

Just to give you some perspective of what is resting above that little roof covering the road. You have to be very optimistic if you believe that the roof will carry the weight of the mountain behind it. But what would life be without a risk here and there..?

More pillars keeping another roof from callapsing on to the traffic. I am not very impressed with the architectual design, but at least it keeps the falling rocks at bay...or so we all want to believe.

Getting closer to the town of Hout bay. In the background one can see The Sentinal protruding out into the ocean. Deeper into the ocean behind the sentinel is Dungeons, a surf spot where Big Wave competitions are held during the winter months. Today there was not even a ripple on the ocean. The Sentinal was up for sale a few years ago. Read this interesting story here.

Another classic view of The Sentinel with Hout Bay town on the right. As you can see there was still a few clouds drifting in from the sea, hence my "misty" foreground.

As you get closer to Hout Bay town you see this bronze leopard covered in gwano staring out over the ocean. Aparently it was erected in 1963 as a memorial for the number of wild animals that roamed free here before we came with our thunder sticks and reduced that number to basically zero. Apparently the last leopard here was seen in the 30's. I can just imagine what this place must've looked liked before the humans invaded it. Paradise for sure.

Looking back towards Chapman's Peak Drive.

That was Chapman's Peak in a nutshell. If you ever visit the Cape, do make an effort to visit Hout Bay and Chapman's Peak. Actually you won't go wrong is you visit the whole Peninsula....

Malfunction! Emergency, Emergency!

Year ago go when I was still a skydiver hoping to achieve a thousand jumps, we once watched a few students doing their training for their first jump. The biggest part of the training consists of the emergency procedure when you have a malfunction. When you jump from a plane for the first time your body is in completely unfamiliar territory. If something should go wrong you won't be in the right state of mind to figure out what your next step should be, you will try and find a place to stand and there will be one, so drilling in the correct "emergency procedure" is of utmost importance. You want your reactions to be spontaneous and the only way to do that is to do the drill while peforming the cut-away process and shouting the steps out as loud as possible..."ARCH, LOOK, RIGHT, LEFT, ARCH!" ("Right, Left" does not mean looking right and left for traffic or someone to help you, it means you grab the cut-away handle on the right and then the reserve handle on the left and you pull as hard as you can). So you get hung in a harness (or nutcracker as it is sometimes refered to) while you do all the exit moves until the jumpmaster/trainer starts pulling you around shouting that you have a malfunction. You then immediately have to do the emergency procedure, cut away your chute and deploy your reserve. This one student (I still don't know how he made it through the course) was pulled around by the trainer and in stead of executing the emergency procedure he started shouting "Malfunction! Emergency! Emergency!" at the top of his voice.  I don't think shouting "Emergency! Emerency!" is going to help you much when you are 1000 ft in the air and coming down very fast to collide with Mother Earth, but it sure gave us a good laugh.

Well, today I was in a very similar situation. My kitesurfing equipment failed on me and I guess one could call it a "malfunction" in kiting terms. Although I don't believe that my life was in danger at all, my equipment failed and had it been a parachute (or a paraglider) I would've been in serious trouble. The hook on my spreader bar onto which the kite is hooked broke off just as I was negotiating a sharp turn. The kite pulled away at full force and dragged me through the water while I was trying to keep it under control. Because I couldn't bring it closer and hook it back on to the harness, it was just relentlessly dragging me along. Fortunately for me I reached shallow water and I could get my feet on the sand, giving me enough anchor to keep it still. On the beach a cute girl (she's from Johannesburg she told me later) was taking pictures while I was in the process of having my name getting dragged through the mud (or is that the ocean?), but all I could think of at that time was shouting "Malfunction! Emergency, Emergency!". Some guys on the beach came to my rescue, grabbed the kite and put it down safely on the beach. If this had happened in deeper water I would'be been in real trouble, but luck was yet again on my side today I guess.

Spreader bar with hook intact

After I managed to get everything under control I walked up to the cute girl on the beach and asked her kindly to delete the pictures. She solemnly swore that she didn't take any pictures of me and showed me one of her classic Table Mountain pictures hoping to convince me that she was taking pictures of the scenery and not of a man who just uncontrollably got dragged through the surf. Maybe I should've asked her to send me the pictures for my blog instead, but I still want to believe that there is no evidence of what happened with me today floating around on social websites for the general public to see.

Cabrinha at Eden on the Bay was kind enough to replace the spreader bar free of charge. Thanks Cabrinha.