Here is my contribution to this weeks’s One word photo challenge
The All Coastal Bottom Fish Interprovincial Competition was hosted by Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling Club at Struisbaai from Tuesday 21 March to Saturday 25 March 2017. Thanks to Leander Wiit (Chairman of Western Provence Deep Sea Angling Association), DP Burger (Convener) and Louis Becker (Tournaments Officer) for their organisation of the event.
The three days fished were Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Conditions were superb although the sea was quite rough on Thursday.
There were nine teams, namely
- Western Province White – DP Burger (Captain) Iaan Viljoen and Gus Rautmann
- Western Province Blue – Morne Marais (Captain) Ron Pennninkhof and Philip van der Walt
- Western Province Juniors – Christof Dahl (Captain) Divan Burger and Karla Rautmann
- Natal DSSA – Abed Khan (Captain) Heino Meyer and Timothy Munnick
- Southern Cape White – Terry Terblanche (Captain) Koos Scholtz and Johan Crouse
- Southern Cape Blue – Rod Kieser (Captain) Chris Schorn and Thys Uys
- Eastern Province Black – Wayne Gerber (Captain) Christopher Gerber and Sheena Gerber
- Eastern Province Red – Kevin Clark (Captain) Peter Dawson and Alie Matthysen
- Border Deep Sea – Rory Leonard (Captain) Allan Ford and Everitt van Loggerenberg
Thanks to the skippers who put in their boats for this competition
- Kitty Cat – Pietro Cutino
- Haven – Colin Joubert
- Sea Dodger – Roger Marais
- Cavalier – Mark Truter
- Men @ Work – Piet Wessels
- GT – Patrick Christodoulou
- Relentless – Daniel Hughes
- S-Catman – Louis Bekker
- King Fisher – Erik Dahl
All the catering was done by Marinda de Kock and her team. All can attest to the superbness of the breakfasts, lunch boxes and dinners.
The radio communications were ably controlled by Andrew Perris and assisted by Earl Fenwick who also took most of the photographs.
Thanks too, to the following people, Grant van der Westhuizen, Elize Beukes and Dick le Roux for doing an awesome job as weigh masters at the scales, Mark Westhook for organising the bait and Louis Becker and Patrick Christodoulou for doing the scoring.
At the opening function it was great to see the teams dressed in their colours, newbies were capped and there was an auction to predict and ‘buy’ the winning teams. He/she who predicted the first, second and third winners would win a handsome cash prize.
Launching time was 7:00 am which meant a chilly and early rising if you wanted to enjoy a good breakfast before setting off to nab your catch. The aim was to get as many bottom species as possible. They had to be measured, photographed and released. However, if it was a pending record fish it had to be brought to the scales to be weighed. Yellowtail could be caught, kept and brought to the scales for points.
The Gerber family – Eastern Province Black – did exceptionally well and were a tough team to beat!
A special word of thanks is due to the skippers of GT, Cavalier and Haven for hosting the Juniors. Thank you guys for your patience with and your guidance and support of these delightful youngsters. Long may they continue with their passion for the sport.
It was a close competition and on Saturday all held a collective breath waiting to hear the final results at the prize-giving function. Roger and Sonja Marais were particularly delighted to hear that Western Province Blue, the team they ‘bought’ were the winners!
And so ended another awesome Suidpunt Deep Sea angling event!
Hilton invited us to spend some time with them at their holiday home in Port Edward while we’re here in KZN. We needed to take Lolz to the airport yesterday so we decided to stop over with them on our way back.
King Shaka International Airport is a three hour drive from Kokstad so it was a crack of dawn start on a beautiful clear day. We were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and had a golf cart come by and give us a lift from the carpark to departures. It took half an hour for Laurie to get through the bag drop queue and then we went to Mugg and Bean for breakfast.
The drive from the airport along the South Coast of KZN is one of the most beautiful in South Africa. It has a subtropical climate and everything is intensely green. The old railway line is still in existence for industrial use but sadly no passenger trains use it anymore.
In 1979 I stayed with a friend whose family farmed in Boston. At that time I had no connections with anybody in KZN! Together we took the train from Durban to Port Shepstone – a beautiful scenic ride which took about six hours. Another friend collected us from there and took us to Port Edward. I still have amazing memories of the mud huts in which we stayed, the trees and the unspoiled beach. Returning there this year to stay with Hilton and Glynis was a thrill. Progress of course, is inevitable because those thatched, mud huts which nestled on 640 ha of pristine land, bordered by two rivers and one of the most unspoiled beaches in Southern Africa, have been replaced by The Wild Coast Sun Hotel and Casino. Heather’s husband, Gundi, also remembers the site, as he too spent many family holidays there.
Although a lot of development has taken place, the beaches are still unspoilt and it is a delightful area in which to have a holiday home. Hilton and Glynis have one close to a small beach where the kids can mess about in rock pools, there is space for the boat and tractor that pulls and launches it and there is also a pool.
Soon after we arrived we went down to the Ski-boat club which overlooks the main beach. We enjoyed a drink and then returned with Nathan who had just been discharged from hospital and was a little tired. Recently Hilton and Gareth entered a species competition and they and Earl returned to attend the prize giving. And Gareth was thrilled to get R2000 in prize money!
In the evening we went to the spectacular Wild Coast Casino for dinner. It was busy and full of gamblers but we enjoyed wandering around the place and the restaurant, Chico’s was lovely. For a set price they serve soup, Mongolian stir fry, roasts, seafood, vegetables, cold meats and salads and a variety of desserts. You may help yourself and eat as much as you can manage! We had an amazing evening.
This morning we were up very early and met another niece Heather and her hubby Gundi for breakfast at Bobbie’s – which also overlooks the main beach.
Afterwards we went for a walk along the beach. The swimming flags were up and a good number of life guards were on duty. Once again we thoroughly enjoyed our morning bonding with our younger relatives. We are very keen to visit them there again in the future and when Earl is stronger Hilton wants to take him out to sea – the KZN way!
It was an hour and a half drive from Port Edward back to Lauren’s. We took the short cut which involved a game of “dodge the pothole” and watch out for pedestrians, cows and goats but once on the N2 it was smooth going again.
Tonight we are having a quiet evening and may or may not stay awake to see the New Year in!
On Monday afternoon we went down to say farewell to Struisbaai beach as we the following day we would be heading to Cape Town to spend the Christmas holidays with the kids in Cape Town. The water was stunning. How lucky we are to have this on our doorstep.
We woke up early yesterday, washed the linen and towels and made sure the house was in order for our holiday tenants. While the washing was drying on the line, we decided to try out the new restaurant on the Main Road. It is called 55 Knots and has a magnificent view of the sea. As it was a stunning morning we decided to sit out on the deck.
The first thing I want to know about a new restaurant: – Is the coffee good? – and I am relieved to say that Yes – 55 Knots has passed the test! Our breakfast – a three egg omelette with a choice of three fillings @ R45 was superb. So they will definitely be seeing us again soon. And the new owners have trained their staff well. Our waitress was wonderful. She was quick, efficient and friendly. The owner also came to check on us and we were pleased to give her positive feedback. They have only been open a week but we are sure they will have an excellent season.
The linen and towels were dry when we got home and so after packing everything away we bidding the house farewell, we dropped the keys off at the agent and set off for Robertson. It was a pleasant drive and we did some high speed birding but didn’t get an impressive list.
Before meeting Abri went to the tasting centre and enjoyed the dam and birds for a while. A white-throated swallow posed and performed beautifully for me.
We’d come to Springfield to collect some wine which Abri is generously donating for an old members reunion at Cape Boat and Ski-boat Club next month. But we were also invited to a ‘light’ lunch.
After our excellent lunch and the wonderful company of Abri and his daughter Emma we made our way to Cape Town. So it is in another holiday town that we find ourselves. I grew up on Fish Hoek Beach so I will always have a soft spot for it but it does tend to get terribly crowded during the season! Although the same can be said for Struisbaai, it is a longer beach and you can always find a place to put your towel!
This morning I decided to beat the crowds and go down to the beach early. I rallied the troops who complained bitterly at having to drag their sleepy bodies out of bed at the rude hour of 7:00 am. Josh was somewhat more enthusiastic than Jay and I am so grateful that they accompanied me on a run down the beach. They decided against the swim afterwards – Jay said he was too exhausted and Josh had a blood nose! He did run faster and further than Jay and I managed so maybe that’s what brought it on.
Initially the water was freezing – far colder than Struisbaai – but once I was in it was glorious. The shark net wasn’t up yet so I kept a close eye out for monsters. I wallowed for ages and chatted to some other Fish Hoekites – there were very few young ones in the water – we were all over 50!
Earl was up even earlier and went off fishing but didn’t get too much – It’s calamari for supper tonight!
We make our way stealthily through the inky darkness. There is no light other than the dim beam from our torch. I am not used to the bush and every rustle conjures up visions of wild animals lying in wait to pounce on me. My husband enjoys my discomfiture and teases continuously telling me that jackals have their lairs just metres from our rondawel.
I giggle nervously half believing him. It has been storming but now the night is still and fresh. I open the door and a wild creature leaps out knocking me off my feet. I gasp and shriek. The creature is on top of me pinning me to the ground. I feel his hot breath on my cheek and brace myself for its vicious fangs to tear into my flesh. But instead, I am suddenly covered with wet licks from the farmer’s German Shepherd. During the storm he’d jumped in through the window and settled down for a nap, which we have now interrupted! Hubby is beside himself with laughter while I am hopping mad!
Exhausted now we settle down for the night. But wait what’s that I see. “My gosh, Darling, there’s a snake in the thatch!”
“Relax,” assures my hero – I’ll get him out. He gets up and ties a hook – gaff style – to his rod, but too late the snake suspecting danger slithers into the thatch and disappears.
“He has to sleep,” – Hubby says – “we’ll deal with it in the morning.”
Exhausted by my hectic day I finally drop into a troubled sleep. Suddenly I am woken with a feeling of foreboding. I sense my husband stiff and in a cold sweat beside me.
“What?” I say –
“SHHH,” he says, “Don’t move! Something hit my wrist – It’s lying next to us.”
Move? – I’m rigid with fear – not a muscle will obey me. He whips the cover off and shines the torch beside us and there, black and terrifying and curled up fast asleep – is an enormous Songololo!
It was the call of the fiery-necked nightjar calling loudly that woke me at a rude hour this morning. I lay listening to The Good Lord Deliver Us over and over again before reluctantly climbing out of bed and heading to the showers. Good thing too – because it was already light and gate opening was at 5:30. We made it to the gate by 5:45.
The weather was somewhat cooler but still warm enough for shorts and t-shirt but I took along a jersey for when the windows were open. Our first bird of the morning was this summer visitor from Eastern Europe
Another non-breeding summer migrant is the barn swallow
An intra-African migrant Lesser Striped swallow greeted us early this morning.
The Southern Masked weaver is a common resident in South Africa and is not too shy to pose for a portrait. They can become quite tame and frequent campsites in the hope that they pick up a snack or two from the friendly humans.
As we drive around the reserve we frequently hear – Willie – come out and fight – scared. Or that is what the field guides tell us the Sombre bulbul is saying. But I think it sounds more like. Look out – you can’t find me – whaaaaa. But today we did find him – right out in the open too.
Another one who calls out loudly and likes to hide is the very pretty little Diderick Cuckoo. Today Earl found him trying to camouflage in the foliage.
It is important to get out into the park early if you want to see predators. Lions are lazy and sleep in a shady spot most of the day. Today we found two large males at Carol’s Rest and they were just lying there – awake and just staring into the distance.
Red Hartebeest, zebra and kudu were waiting, dead still, over the road on the hillside, very aware of the enemy and too scared to come down to drink.
We parked off, had breakfast and drank our coffee while we waited to see if anything would happen. Warthogs have to be the bravest and cheekiest of animals. The appeared from the other side of the waterhole so did not consult with the herbivores on the hillside. They boldly approached their kings and I wondered how the conversation went.
You would think the others would learn from the warties – but no – all of a sudden a herd of donkeys in prison clothes came racing across the road – then stood dead still in front of their sovereign.
So they turned tail and headed back to the hill.
We watched these antics for over an hour and then decided to head back to camp.
Back at camp we decided to follow the jackals example and have a nap before going out in search of more game later in the afternoon.
It was 3 pm when we set off again and I have to eat my words about summer reaching the Eastern Cape ahead of us. A cold front sneaked up, strong winds blew and the heavens clouded over. It is calmer as I type but freezing cold! It will probably rain in the night.
Anyway this did not dampen our spirits and we had an enjoyable game drive. Surprisingly there we saw no elephants until the very end.
It was great to see a black-shouldered kite
A greater double-collared sunbird posed and sang for us.
And finally at Hapoor we found a small herd of elephants
We decided to do a small potjie over the fire for tonight’s dinner
And just to make our day a bushbuck came to visit
There are two things my darling husband knows I don’t do. I don’t fly in light aircrafts and I don’t go out to sea in small boats! Yet this year found me flying not once but twice in a light aircraft and today, wait for it, I went out to sea in Kiora – his small fishing boat!’
And why was I persuaded to do this mad thing? Well as I’ve mentioned in this Blog before, I’ve decided to retire adventurously and to do things I wouldn’t in my saner days do. A little bit of madness in one’s old age goes a long way to make one move out of one’s comfort zone. Megan was keen to go so I decided – oh well why not!
So up we were before 7 this morning and out to sea we went! I was not a happy camper for the first half an hour it’s the speed and bumping over the waves that scares me silly, but then I got into the flow and decided I’d better just enjoy it.
To be honest it is beautiful out at that time of the morning which is actually late for most fishermen.
We moved from reefs to wrecks looking for the best fishing grounds but there was not really much happening today. The scarcity of birds told us that we could try but our luck would be limited so at 11:00 we headed back to shore.
Everybody was pretty tired after all the fresh sea air so after cleaning fish we all had an afternoon nap. Tonight we are going to Tommy and Megan’s friend’s farm for a braai.