Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day Trip Around The Peninsula - Part Four

I have not even finished my story about my day trip around the Peninsula and someone has already criticized me for not going down to Cape Point:

"I cannot believe that you embarked on a trip to see the Cape of Good Hope and then turned west 15km before you got there!! The Point is spectacular… you can stand on the knife edge with cliff dropping down to the west into the churning ocean, and steep sided slopes down in the edge of False Bay, with Bellows Rocks being pounded by the ocean out to the south… and Diaz beach, another wonder beach of the Peninsula! You missed out… please make it another trip at some stage. Have a late breakfast at the Two Oceans restaurant looking over False Bay."

Wow, I wish I could use this guy for writing the decriptions to my photos. What I missed out on was described so poetically that I definitely feel the need to go back. That is fortunately the privilege of living in Cape Town, I can go back whenever I want to. I have found out that going places with the bike to see and capture new things is not aways that simple. When you do a longer trip you basically don't have time to see everything, so you just snap what you see and move on. The other option is to go to one place and spend some time there and take in whatever there is to take in...at a slow pace. You obviously get a better experience and better shots when you do the latter. I will do the Cape Point slow visit when I have more time for sure. I will make it a family outing or something and do the "Two Oceans Restaurant" as well, but now I have a few kilometers still to cover so let me not waste any more time...

So, to get back to my Peninsula trip. When I left Kommetjie I went through Noordhoek and straight onto Chapman's Peak Drive. I believe that Noordhoek is also a place where one can spend a whole weekend and discover new things, but I was heading on to Chapman's Peak and thinking that Noordhoek is also a "family" destination. Chapman's Peak has been in the news quite a lot recently. The reason being that it was closed for many years because of falling rocks. Chapman's Peak also hosted the Two Oceans Marathon and the Argus Cycling Tour. The closure of the pass forced organisers to make use of different routes. The pass was re-opened in 2003 and a toll gate was added to obviously raise money in order to keep it "safe". I will write more about the Chapman's Peak road in Part Five.

Just as you start climbing the pass on Noordhoek side, you get a spectacular view of Long Beach and Noordhoek. Here I stopped to take some pictures. I wanted to do one of those panoramic views where you take two or more pictures and "glue" them together. I even packed my tripod to make sure that I have a "steady hand". Stopping there and getting off with all my camera gear put a lot of attention on me. This is obviously a popular spot for tourists too. It's funny how some tourists stare at you when they see you are a local from South Africa,  especially if you are on a bike. I don't know if they just admire you for being South African or being a biker, but it seems as if there are no bikes where they come from. Maybe they get confused between us and the local baboons that is so common around here and just want to make sure they are not feeding the wrong species. So I got off, took out my tripod like I was going to capture the best picture for some international travel magazine only to find out that the little clip that screws onto the camera was still at home screwed onto my camrecorder. So I was screwed too. With the tourists still interested in me rigging up an "outdoor photo studio", I had to hang around pretending that I was first taking handheld shots to warm up my camera and my index finger hoping that they would get into their car and leave. Fortunately they did, so I sheepishly strapped my tripod back to the bike and tried a manual panoramic shot. I didn't have the time to perfect the three pictures, but here they are connected but "unedited".

 Long Beach with Noordhoek on the left.

Long Beach is not only famous because for its natural beauty, it is a popular surfing beach as well. The outside at Long Beach ("Inner Kom") provides the perfect wave for the young, less experienced surfers while "Outer Kom" and Sunset Reef is perfect for the big wave fanatics. Long Beach provides for the entire range of surfers and there is so much space that you can find your own spot on most days, if you like to surf on your own in between some "greyish locals" of course. If you want to suntan you have the beach to yourself. You might want to take a GPS with for directions back to your vehicle. If the wind picks up this beach can turn into a Sahara sand storm. Oh, and do take a wetsuit along, the water temperature ranges from 9 to 12 degrees Celcius in summer.

Talking about "greyish locals". Just around the corner I came across a guy that was sitting under an umbrella with binoculars in his hands. Unlike the perverts at Sandy Bay (I will get to Sandy Bay, Cape Town's only nudist beach in part five), this guy was actually doing something worthwile with his eyes and hands. His name is Sipho and he is a shark watcher. Yes, in South Africa we have a few lookout points manned by very patient people with a sharp eye looking out for the greyish locals, or Great Whites as they are more commonly known as. All this for a very small pay check every week. It is a pity though. I had a chat with Sipho and asked him about his working conditions. It was such a beautiful day and I commented on the "best view anyone could have from his office". What I wasn't thinking about was the sand in your eyes and wind burn on days when the wind is hammering the "Cape of Storms" at 55 km/h. Sipho told me that he enjoys his work and that it was just yesterday that he saw a 3 meter Great White exploring the reefs behind a couple of inattentive surfers. He obviously raises alarm then and raises a flag so that the surfers can "get the hell out". I don't think anyone stays in the water after Sipho starts waving his arms jumping up and down and shouting "Get your arses out of the water...NOW!" I wonder if he realizes that he might've saved a surfer or two from becoming a shark snack before and if he really knows how much his work is appreciated by the surfers? But for Sipho this is all in a days work and if anyone could build him a better shelter to protect him against the elements, I am sure he would be able to protect the surfers even better against the other "elements" out there. "Thank you Sipho and all the other shark watchers. Now can we perhaps swop offices please...!?"

The view from Sipho's "office".

Sipho "nit-combing" the Atlantic for unwelcome intruders

After I left Sipho behind so that he could get on with his work, I was basically on Chapman's Peak Drive and ready to get a "good" shot of the pass. By now the sun was shining and I was very pleased for the fact that with a bike you can stop almost anywhere on the side of the road to take pictures and to enjoy the view. But more on that, Hout Bay and the infamous Sandy Bay in Part Five....

End of Part Four...

No comments:

Post a Comment