We got up at half past eight this morning. Earl said it was not a good day for fishing so we should take the boys to de Hoop. He set about making a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, tomato, bacon and banana on toast and by 9:30, we were packed and ready to go. “You would never get my family out of the house so quickly,” Daniel pipe up. “We always take hours to get ready!”
Welcome to our life, Danny boy!
The rain held off and it was a pleasant drive to the reserve. On the way, we saw blue crane, one or two jackal buzzards, a few grey and black headed herons, pied starlings, common fiscals, bokmakieries, canaries and weavers. In one farm field, we saw flocks of Egyptian and Spur wing geese interspersed with grey herons and pied starlings. The boys did not know much about birds but they showed a great deal of interest. We also spotted a number of yellow mongooses in the farmlands.
As we entered the park, we spotted three ospreys flying overhead. We concluded that they must have been a male and female with their fledgling. We also saw a black sparrow hawk but could not get good photographs of any of these birds. The first buck we saw were bontebok of which there are many in the park. Koppie Allen was our first stop and we took a walk down to the beach. The boys were thrilled to see an accessible sand dune and raced up to play on it. Greg, Earl and I continued to the beach and explored the rocks before the boys came to join us. Two beautiful African Black Oystercatchers sunned themselves on a rock and I saw Cape weavers in the dune vegetation as well as a prinia and some bulbuls. After examining the life in the rock pools and some scrambling over rocks we made our way back. The boys ran ahead and as it was low tide discovered the cave! The adults left them to play, climbed up to the outlook, and scanned the bay for whales – luck was with us and we observed three frolicking happily in the bay.
I had to go back to drag the boys away from their ‘strandloper’ cave and they were quite disappointed when I explained that nobody would have lived in a cave that the tide washed into on a daily basis. However, I said, they probably used it as a daytime shelter. That consoled them.
By this time, it was after one and all the activity had stimulated the young appetites and so we headed for the restaurant which has been up and running for a year now. As we arrived, I noticed some unusual looking buck and made Earl do a u-turn to check them out. They were eland – lovely to see as they are not very common.
The menu did not indicate anything appealing for kids and so I suggested they go for a mussel starter – but the faces said it all – they wanted junk food! Fortunately, the friendly owner noticed and said, what do you want for lunch? “Hamburgers!” came the reply. The waitress said – “he is not the waiter – hasn’t your mother taught you not to talk to strangers? We have pizza – what kind would you like? “ The faces lit up and in unison they all said, “Hawaiian” Except Jay – he dithered as he really loves mussels but in the end he couldn’t resist what the others had chosen. Greg doesn’t eat mussels but Earl and I decided to have a starter portion each, and we all had the cob with a mild curry sauce and vegetables. I knew that Jay and Josh would help me with the mussels but ended up having only one as the other two decided that they looked two delicious to miss! Next time I will insist that they have ‘proper’ food and skip the kids’ pizza – if there is a next time!
After lunch the weather turned for the worse and it poured all the way home. We’d heard that it had been stormy and miserable in Cape Town all day so we were not surprised that it had caught up with us too. I hope that tomorrow will clear up because these boys are dying to fish.
Once home they played cards for a while then got itchy feet and jumped onto the bikes and rode to the harbour. They returned begging to go back to fish off the harbour wall but they did not have the right tackle.
Earl and Greg went to get two pizzas for supper and together with the left over ones from lunch this is what we had for supper. We went to bed at 8:30 leaving the boys to watch a bit of television. It was late before they finally quietened down and went to sleep!