Fishing Adventure at the Southern Tip of Africa Day 1

FRIDAY 22 APRIL 2011

It’s that time of year again when a number of public holidays all seem to crowd the calendar one after the other. Schools have just returned for the Autumn term but another bonsella 10-day break has been presented to them for Easter, Freedom Day and Worker’s Day. The High School returned to school two days earlier at the beginning of the year and Sun Valley Primary have to work on two Saturdays to make up the extra days given during this holiday. This presented a perfect opportunity for us to use this time to take the boys on the annual fishing trip to Struisbaai. We have in the past been lucky with the June/July weather but surely April will be even better?

This year we have Joshua and his two friends Jaryd and Daniel and Jay and his two friends Leo and Jordan. This is the first time for Jordan but all the others have been at least once before.

On Thursday afternoon, all the luggage in the trailer, 3 bikes on top of it and three in the back of the bakkie, fishing tackle squeezed in, Earl set off ahead of us. This morning my alarm sang out at quarter to six and the boys and I got the rest of the stuff into the car and by the time the parents dropped off their sons we were well ready to hit the road at 8:25 a.m.

What a stunning day, clear blue skies and a gentle warmth to the sun. Autumn is my favourite time of year still sunny days that are not too hot and usually the south easter has calmed down.

There was a steady flow of traffic on the road, slight congestion in Somerset West but otherwise a very smooth run all the way to Struisbaai. The boys kept up a cheerful flow of chatter and behaved beautifully for six lively lads.

For many years, when we were raising our daughters, Struisbaai was our Easter destination. It was always the time that Struisbaai was overrun with visitors and today I see that nothing’s changed! The place is crawling with people.

Earl was not home when we arrived but when Jay phoned, he told him where to find the keys and we got unpacked as fast as we could. The trailer needed to be unpacked, bikes taken down and this was done in no time at all. The boys then raced off to the harbour, found Earl’s car, took out the bikes, put back their front wheels and brought them back to the house. Jay had to mend a puncture and was in the middle of this task when Earl returned from sea. He and Clive had been very successful and had some lovely cob, a beautiful 2.5kg gurnard, with the longest pectoral fins Earl had ever seen.

Gurnard

The boys were immediately roped in to help clean fish and wash down the boat then the initiation for some – fresh raw fish for lunch! Jay ate his cob sashimi with such relish that Jordan couldn’t resist trying and couldn’t believe that it actually tasted quite good. Our boys, Jordan and Leo were happy to eat this new delicacy but Danny and Jarryd said that was where they drew the line!

Jaryd lent Jay his puncture kit but the glue had hardened. Now it was Good Friday – would the hardware store be open? Jay and I dashed off to see and as expected the store was closed. As I was about to drive away a young man came to my window and I greeted him thinking he must be someone I knew but didn’t recognise. “What do you want?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye. He was the owner of the hardware store – “A bicycle puncture kit,” I said . He kindly opened the store specially for us – Isn’t that just typical of a small friendly place. Jay would have been so disappointed if he hadn’t been able to ride today. How lucky it was that we got the little kit plus an extra tube of glue because during the course of the afternoon there were two more punctures – first Jaryd then Danny! Yet last year there were none.

Grandpa and Danny mending a puncture

While the boys were out Lisa’s friend Margaret knocked on the door. She and her 10-year-old son, Spencer, were out cycling and they dropped in to stay hi. They’re staying with her in-laws who have a house near the caravan park. Spencer loves our boys, and was very excited when they came back, and he was allowed to go off with them on his bike.

After racing around on bikes, jay-boarding, checking out the harbour and playing a rowdy game of hide-and-seek it was finally time to come in and have supper – fresh fried fish, sweet potatoes and salad.

Straight from the sea into the pan

Enjoying fresh fried cob

Delicious

A game of monopoly had been started earlier on and after supper they settled down to Clue before having a cup of Milo, a choccie and marshmallow and then a quiet time of journaling before retiring for the night.

All the beds are in the lounge and the couches are in the second bedroom. To solve the problem of who slept where I took our six cards – King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9 and 8. They chose in order of age and the one with the King chose where to sleep first. Josh won and of course chose the top bunk – the other then chose which bed/mattress he wanted and now everyone is happy.

It’s quiet as I write and has been for five minutes – dare I believe they have gone to sleep – I have my doubts – but perhaps sanity prevails and they realise that they need rest if they are to enjoy their day tomorrow. If its’ calm – the three older boys will go to sea – if not a very long walk down the beach is planned! There’s a good place to fish from the shore.

Sleep on dear boys – for tomorrow brings more adventure.

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