10

Photo of the Week 15 June 2017

This week’s challenge for Photo of the Week is Ships and Boats

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Tall Ship in Sydney Harbour

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Meisho Maru – Japanese fishing boat wrecked near Cape Agulhas, Western Cape South Africa

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My husband’s ski-boat, Kiora – Struisbaai Harbour, Western Cape South Africa

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Rowboats on the hard at Struisbaai Harbour

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Narrow Boat on a waterway in Hertfordshire, England

2

Day Trip to Robertson and Barrydale

The Autumn weather has been awesome in our neck of the woods.   We’re desperate for rain so it’s with a smidgen of guilt that we’re enjoying the sunshine.   May it not last too long!

They were upgrading the electrical services in our section of Struisbaai on Wednesday so the electricity was cut from 8 until 5.   We used this as an excuse to go out of the day.   After all we couldn’t use the internet for banking and other online chores.

Such trips just bring home to us how privileged we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country.  In spite of the lack of rain the scenery is still stunning.  All the farmlands looked like they’d survived the dry spell and the sheep and cows were all in good health.

At midday we stopped at Stormsvlei Restaurant and Farmstall.  It’s on the R317 half way between Riviersonderend and Swellendam.  You have to go a little way down a dirt drive until you come upon it.  They also have self catering cottages next to the river.   The last time we passed this way it was closed so it was great to find it open for lunch on Wednesday.   What a picturesque little place it is.   We could choose a table either inside or out.  As it was such a beautiful day we sat on the patio and enjoyed the gorgeous garden.   The Earl had a chicken wrap and I the chicken salad.   No complaints from either of us.

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The gorgeous garden

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Interesting table decor in the form of a very pretty white and ginger tipped cat!

Our next stop was Springfield Wine Estate in Robertson.   I am rather partial to their Sauvignon Blanc – Life from Stone – so we had to pick up some supplies.   It is my only vice.  And it’s a very pretty estate to visit.

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One drives along an avenue of autumn colour to get to the wine shop

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So peaceful to sit and enjoy the dam in the shade of the trees

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An Egyptian goose enjoyed the peace too

We continued our drive enjoyed more scenery and then  stopped at Barrydale.

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The quaint little town of Barrydale is on the border of the Karoo and the Overberg and is named after Dr Jame Barry who has an interesting history.

Dr Barry (1789 to 1865) was a surgeon in the British Army, served in Cape Town and did much to make the lives of wounded soldiers better. Dr Barry also improved the conditions of the native inhabitants.  This dedicated doctor also performed the first caesarian section in Africa in which both the mother and child survived the operation.   However, it was only after his/her death that it was discovered that Dr Barry was a woman.  He/she’d lived his/her whole adult life pretending to be a man so that he/she would be taken seriously in the medical profession.   How awful that a woman of her generation had to go to such lengths to live her dream.   More interesting facts about James Barry here

Barrydale, like the person after whom she is named, is a unique little town.   It is culturally mixed having both English and Afrikaans residents and a number of people from Europe have also settled here.  I would describe it as a colourful town filled with arty restaurants and shops.

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How cute is this bright yellow house with its hot pink window frames!

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Why not have a purple pizzeria

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I’m loving the Orange Pots with Karoo type designs

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We bought some Karoo lamb from the cheerful butchery

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I just love the windpomp!

The most intriguing restaurant is the very rustic Diesel and Creme.   It was getting towards afternoon tea time when we got there and I was craving a bit of sweetness.   Nothing nicer than their granadilla cheesecake for me and lemon meringue for The Earl.  He also indulged in a double thick chocolate shake.

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The coffee was good too

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It’s a place that is calling back the past

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Now that’s a cool caravan

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A bike and car collector’s dream

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Don’t you just love it!

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House sparrow looking for crumbs

It was certainly an interesting visit – always fun to go to Barrydale.

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5

Share Your World 10 April 2017

Here are my answers to Share Your World 10 April 2017

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

My first fun run was 5 km which I ran with my friend Chantal (She features later in this post too) – I was in my forties and she was in her thirties.   Then in my fifties I ran an 8km fun run with my grandsons who were about 8 and 9 at the time.  They were both fun events but like Cee I was not ever a competitive runner but enjoyed jogging for exercise.   The last time I ran more than 1 km was when I was 60.   I’ve decided it’s time to slow down to a walk.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

My life is an open book.  Most of my friends have known me for a very long time and I can’t think of anything they might not know about me.  I lived in my home town most of my life before retiring to Struisbaai but some people may not know that from the age of 2 to 5 I lived in Johannesburg and started my formal schooling there.

What is your favorite flower?

My favourite flower is the South African National Flower – The Protea

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

I am very happy with everything I have in my house (all of the above except the hot tub) l’d only change one thing – the floors.  I’d like either wood laminate flooring throughout or tiles that look like wood laminate.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

As much as I love living here at the southern tip of Africa, I do miss my Cape Town friends and family.  So I’m always grateful when they come to visit for a few days.  After much re-scheduling Chantal and Jeremy made it here this past weekend.  How wonderful it was to have a good catch up and not have to try and get all the news in during a quick dinner date fitted in when we go to Cape Town.

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The placemats at Potpourri in Cape Agulhas suited each of us appropriately

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Chanty certaily loves her songs

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Translation for overseas readers – That what we have is enough!  Definitely The Earl’s Motto

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And everyone knows how much I love my coffee

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Jeremy wants all those gorgeous girls out there to know that he is taken!

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The sky was amazing at the Southern Tip on Sunday

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A yellow mongoose or six greeted us on the way to Arniston

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This morning we had breakfast at the harbour

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The gang waiting for service

Next week I am looking forward to Easter.  The kids will be coming in large numbers!

4

Fishing and Fun in Struisbaai

Our daughter, Laurie, brought a group of friends to stay this past weekend.  What a great time we had with Cara and Shaun, Dylan and a young girl visiting from Turkey named Cansu – pronounced Yunsue.

They all drove up together after work on Friday evening and we met them at The Michael Collins for dinner.   The fun began from there and it was midnight before we got to bed.

In spite of this Dylan, Shaun and Earl were up bright and early and went out on Kiora to try their luck on the five and twelve mile banks.  And it all went well – more of that later.

We girls chilled a little longer in bed but when we arose Cansu cooked us a Turkish breakfast.  She heated olive oil in the pan, threw in chopped green peppers, tomato and garlic and fried them till soft then mixed in some eggs and then topped it with grated cheese and cooked it slowly.   We sat out at the picnic table and enjoyed this delicious feast.

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Breakfast was a Turkish Delight – Cansu and Cara

Our mission for the day was to show Cansu what the area had to offer so off we set to climb to the top of the Agulhas lighthouse.

 

Cara and Laurie stayed down below but I went up too. The last ladder that takes you to the top is the scariest of all.  You may only go up one at a time.  When I reached the top I found a mom and a very scared little girl refusing to go down.   I stopped to encourage her telling her the story of two other little ones I’d recently had in the tower who were just as terrified but very brave.  Just hold on tight and don’t let go and you will be fine, I said.  I think just hearing a voice other than her mom’s did the trick as the tears dried up and she went straight down.

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Dad and Little Sister were waiting to welcome her – what a brave girl!

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Cara and Laurie walking Caper the Daschund

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Magnificent View from up there

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Down the scary ladder she goes

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But she was not afraid

It is compulsory for every visitor who comes this far south to stand at the very tip of Africa.   As it was the weekend there were a number of visitors but the wait was not too long.

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In 982 a Japanese fishing boat, The Meisho Maru 38 wrecked at Cape Agulhas and can still be seen on the rocks today.  We took Cansu to see it.

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The rocks are rugged – you wouldn’t want to run aground here

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Cansu poses with the ill fated Meishu Maru

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The threatened Black Oystercatcher 

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Casper loves the beach

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Some fynbos

By this time we were all hanging out for a cup of coffee so the delightful gift shop, Potpourri, was our next port of call.  We sat outside as we had Casper and shared a scone – a first for Cansu.

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Potpourri

The boys, in the meantime, were having a great time at sea.  Soon after we got home, Earl called to say they were on their way in and they had fish for supper.

There was a lot of activity at the harbour and some fishermen were cleaning their catch and throwing the guts into the sea.  This attracted about ten stingrays into the shallows.

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A stingray swims in the clear water

These creatures have become very tame, will eat from a friendly hand and allow people to stroke them.  Cansu was fascinated. She kicked off her shoes and waded in.  One of the locals had bits of fish and was feeding them. He told her the stingray was pregnant.

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Getting close and personal with a ray

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“It feels like a jellyfish with fur,” she said

I yelled to Canu to watch the tail but I was on the jetty and she didn’t hear me.

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Ouch – the tail brushed against her leg

Cansu got a fright and there was a small graze on her leg which bled but there was no harm done – the spikes did not penetrate her skin and there was no swelling or pain afterwards.  We just treated her with Allergex ointment and she was fine.

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The Fishermen returning after a successful day at sea

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Shaun has a Santa and a Red Stompneus  Dylan has two Red Roman

Laurie made us a lovely spinach salad, Cara made garlic bread and new baby potatoes and Earl fried the fish – we had an amazing feast.

More of this lovely weekend to follow.

 

 

 

 

 

6

Struisbaai Marlin Competition 2017

Last week The Suidpunt Deep Sea Angling club once again hosted the Marlin Competition. This annual event is a great drawcard for deep sea anglers and a wonderful highlight on the Struisbaai calendar.  This year 27 teams from all over the country took part and the competition ran for six days of which only two were not fished due to poor conditions.

The club catered all meals for the teams and there was a wonderful vibe at the evening dinners.  Earl and I hosted Andrew, who was the communications officer and we were appointed the official photographers for the week!

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What a Spread

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Hardworking Girls behind the scenes

The rules of the competition were fairly complicated but this is how I understood them.  A marlin had to be landed, photographed, a DNA sample taken then released.  A video of the fish swimming away also had to be taken.   The angler/boat who caught the last fish would be declared the winner – this was so that their enthusiasm would last to the bitter end!

Three fish were landed.  Osprey caught the first, Woes Lekke the second and Salti the third.

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Crew from Woes Lekke with DNA Sample – second Marlin landed

On one of the evenings Andrew was the Auctioneer and some generous bids were made for the wines donated by some local estates.

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Wines on Auction

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Sold to that man over there

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Should we or shouldn’t we – they did

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A special wine bottled in honour of Shanga

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Shanga is Andrew’s dog who goes everywhere with him

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And what am I bid for last year’s banner?  Quite a lot it turned out and this year’s one went too.

The auction raised R39 000 for the club.  Thanks to all the bidders this will be put to good use a Suidpunt Deep Angling Club.

On Friday there was a pirate party at The Club which was great fun.  Earl and I were the judges and we found it difficult to choose so in the end gave one individual prize and one group prize.  There was no female prize and I was the only girl to dress up and the judge can’t win!

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Tattooed and scary?

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Captain Morgan ready to pillage

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Beware of this lot on a dark night

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The organisation of this event was mammoth.   The caterers did an amazing job and kept us all well fed.

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Hungry anglers enjoying the catering

Struisbaai, I think, thoroughly enjoyed having the anglers visit for a week and each afternoon the harour was a fun place to be as the boats returned from sea.

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The winning boat escorted in by the birds

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Feast from the fishermen

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No fighting please – there’s enough for everyone

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The Stingray will not be left out

 

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Second boat to land a Marlin

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Team Salti were the winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

Share your world 6 February 2017

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World 6 February 2017

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Funny you should ask because if I’d read this question this morning my answer might have been quite different.

Of course I like my fridge to be neat and organized but for the past few days it has been in a bit of a state so today I sorted out the chaos!   I threw out left over food from last Monday’s anniversary party, poured mayonnaise from an almost empty jar into an almost full one, checked to see that the milk wasn’t past its use by date and put veggies into containers instead of leaving them in their punnets and plastic wrappings.   I didn’t know this was going to be a question today so don’t have a before photograph – but here is what my refrigerator looks like after its clean out this morning!

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Well the above is how my fridge looked when I started this post but then my adopted grandson, Sam and his friend, Daniel who are staying with us for a few days, came back from a night time fishing trip with four geelbek and a skipjack so they now have pride of place till tomorrow morning when they can be cleaned.   Guess what we will be having for dinner tomorrow!

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Sam (left) and Daniel had a great evening out on Sam’s boat Red Head

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Lovely fresh fish   

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

Depending on what the meal is – I like each vegetable to have  its own place on the plate but I eat them together with the meat or fish – a bit of fish and a bit of veggie on one fork is the proper way to eat isn’t it?  I do not eat one food group at a time – first the peas, then the carrots and leave the best till last – that’s crazy.  I like mixing the flavours.

Sushi of course is fish, vegetable and rice rolled together in a sheet of seaweed and I love that.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

If it is printed I read it.   But if the first few pages don’t grab me I have no qualms about setting it aside.   I like well written fiction. My favourite authors are Anne Tyler, Chaim Potok, Bryce Courtenay, Barbara Trapido, Mavis Cheek,Maeve Binchy, Anita Shreve.  I also love books by South African authors about South African life.   Michael Heyns, Rayda Jacobs, Pamela Jooste and Maire Fischer have written some amazing fiction.  I am reading a book by Deon Meyer’s Icarus at the moment.

I have/had a huge collection of coffee table/reference books.  I had to give most of them away when we sold our big house in Cape Town – it broke my heart but there’s no room for them in Struisbaai. I still have too many.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?

I’m thirsty – time to have a lovely cold glass of water.   If I don’t drink enough water my blood pressure drops and then I wonder why I’m so exhausted.

 

 

 

 

8

Spending Quality Time With Friends

We recently had our very good friends, Heather and Peter, spend time with us.  It was an enormously happy time and the Weather Man obliged us with some stunning sunny days.

It was great to show them the improvements we’ve made to our home although they’re not quite finished yet. We enjoyed meals together, immersed ourselves in catching up on each other’s lives and it was a treat to take them to our favourite birding spots.  We have so many shared interests so it was great to have an extended time together to enjoy each other.

The sunny days made it all the more exciting and although winter birding is not as productive as spring and summer we managed to do pretty well each day.   Tuesday found us on the Arniston Road.

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Jackal Buzzard

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Rock Kestrel

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Denham’s bustard

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Denham’s in the foreground – steenbok in the background

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There were hundreds of our national bird, the blue crane in the farmlands

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A malachite sunbird enjoying the aloes

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A bee, his only competition

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Cloud Cisticola?  Not sure about this LBJ’s identity

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The Arniston Hotel where we enjoyed a great lunch

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Arniston

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Arniston fishermen coming in from a day at sea

On Wednesday we chilled at home till later in the afternoon when we set off to Agulhas Light house.  On the way we enjoyed some birds and then went to see the light house museum.

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There were literally dozens of African Black Oystercatchers on the rocks

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A little egret soaking up the sun

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Enjoying the lighthouse museum

After the museum we took a drive to Suiderstrand picking up a couple of birds and enjoying the views.

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The famous “Pietie se huis” which is now part of the Agulhas National Park Rest Camp.

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A Black Shouldered Kite with a hapless mouse for dinner

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Bokmakierie

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In the evening we introduced our old best friends to our new best friends over a stunning braai of ribs, chops and sausage

The next day we took off down the Elim Road and were thrilled with all the birds we found before having lunch at The Black Oystercatcher Wine Estate

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A gaggle of Spur-winged geese

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Cape Robin singing happily

 

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A delight to find a fish eagle

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Scores of Denham’s Bustards about

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Flamingos on the Salt Pans

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The Black Oystercatcher

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Lunch was excellent – we all had the sticky chicken salad

The sun was setting when we returned and so we popped in at the harbour to see how the boats had done.  A few fish were caught but not as much as the fishermen had hoped!

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Sunset

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One of the ski-boats returning from a day at sea

Friday’s weather matched our mood as we bade farewell to our friends as they made their way back to Cape Town on a cold and wet day.

What a delight to have been able to share those few days with our dearest friends!