Last night our sleep was disturbed, not by the sound of loud music and party goers, but by the explosive sound of a fireworks display. Lauren and Allan got up briefly to see the sky lit with flashes and stars but then went back to bed. Lisa and Jay also woke up and Jay persuaded his mother to take him to the harbour to see what was going on. Lisa put on a gown and drove to a spot where they could see the whole exciting welcome to 2013!
This morning I had to start the New Year off well. My second oldest grandson, Joshua (14) – a good cross country runner – caught me up five minutes or so into my run and as his brother had done on Sunday encouraged me to increase my pace. I felt really good this morning and got into a good rhythm. I left home between 7:07 and 7:08 and was back by 7:40. I had knocked 6 minutes off the time I did on Sunday! Later I drove the distance and found that I’d run 4.2 km. I am now aiming to get to 5km before the holiday is over and to get my pace to over 9km per hour. My goal is to run 5km in 30 minutes.
The weather since Christmas has not been as wonderful as it was before. The wind simply does not want to go away! It has not managed to spoil our fun but it would be nice to have a still day before the kids return to Kokstad. Today we packed costumes, fishing rods and a picnic and made our way to De Mond Nature Reserve which is situated 26 km south-east of Bredasdorp on the south-western Cape coast. The reserve lies at the mouth of the Heuningnes River, between the coastal villages of Arniston and Struisbaai.
Entrance fee for non Wild Card holders is R40 each. Thankfully the grandparents and grandchildren are all on our card so only Allan and Lauren needed to pay. Because the lagoon is classed as sea fishing, the licences were valid and there was no need to get fresh water permits. The walk over the suspension bridge evoked a giggle or two and then we hiked along the river bank looking for a good spot to fish.
Grandpa and Simon stopped at a small bay while the rest of us continued until we found a suitable beach and settled ourselves to tan, bird watch and fish. Gramps and Simon soon caught up and were soon joining Jay and Allan on the mud flats.
The bird life was interesting. I found three species of plover, black oyster catchers, curlew sandpipers, swift tern, Kelp gulls and cormorants. A flock of flamingos were at a distance at first and then obligingly flew toward our spot and settled right in front of us.
After a couple of hours fishing was abandoned as a fruitless task and we hiked back to the picnic site where we enjoyed our seed loaf and a variety of cheeses with tomato and lettuce or jam. In spite of the windy and cool weather, nobody complained. It was just great to be in a different place, to enjoy the scenery and each other’s company.
Simon, Jay and Josh travelled with Grandpa and me in the Fortuner while the others went on ahead in Allan’s car. We took it slowly and enjoyed the roadside birds and animals. We found a yellow mongoose, steenbok, Blue Crane, Yellow-billed kite and steppe buzzards as well as a number of small birds like red bishops, sparrows, wheatears etc. I was ecstatic when Earl spotted two Denham’s bustards although they were too far for good photographs. It was lovely to get one in the same frame as a steenbok.
Later in the afternoon we took the kids to the beach to boogy board. There were lots of kite surfers making the beach scene even more interesting. The kids enjoyed the sea but after half an hour I couldn’t take the wind any more so walked home ahead of everyone else.
Earl had not accompanied us – but instead taken a nap. When he woke up he braaied a yellow-tail – one he’d frozen from an earlier catch – not as nice as fresh from the sea but quite delicious nevertheless. The kids re-kindled the fire after supper and toasted marshmallows – a great treat.