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.


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.


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



Cara and Laurie walking Caper the Daschund


Magnificent View from up there




Down the scary ladder she goes


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.


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.


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


Cansu poses with the ill fated Meishu Maru


The threatened Black Oystercatcher 


Casper loves the beach


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.



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.


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.


Getting close and personal with a ray


“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.


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.


The Fishermen returning after a successful day at sea


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.







Struisbaai Day 7 – Agulhas and Arniston

I got to bed after midnight last night – due to having consumed too many cups of strong coffee, all the excitement of the day and blogging till late!   However, I finally fell asleep but was wide awake by 5:30 and 6:30 found Earl and me on the beach.   I wanted to run while the tide was still low enough not to have too much soft sand.   Earl does not do running but enjoyed a brisk walk.  

When we returned the Vet Viets Vriende started emerging in stages until all were up and eating and ‘Early’ breakfast by 8 o’clock.   They were super appreciative and a pleasure to feed.

We then headed to Cape Agulhas to do the touristy things – like stand at the Southern Most Tip of Africa and climbing to the top of the light house. We created a special seat for our extra passenger.

Princess Kate in her exclusive part of the vehicle

Princess Kate in her exclusive part of the vehicle

Please note there is controversy as to where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet – We Cape Townians sincerely believe it’s at Cape Point.  But the purists believe it’s here at Agulhas.  The sea is the sea – Man gives the ocean names – so I stick proudly to it being Cape Point – and proudly to the fact that Cape Agulhas is the most southerly point – no argument there!

The Vroeg, Vriendelik, Vet, Viets Vriende at the southern tip of Africa

The Vroeg, Vriendelik, Vet, Viets Vriende at the southern tip of Africa

Die Mees Suidelik Egpaar

Die Mees Suidelik Egpaar

We then took a drive to Suiderstrand, had a quick look and history lesson about the wreck and spotted a bird or two.

Rock Kestrel

Rock Kestrel

Then it was back to the lighthouse.   I decided not to do the climb for the umpteenth time and Earl quickly went to collect the laundry.  The kids, however, enjoyed the experience.

The southern most lIghthouse

The southern most Lighthouse

VVV at the top of Agulhas Lighthouse

VVV at the top of Agulhas Lighthouse

Next we made our way along the dirt road route to Arniston.   We handed out binoculars and bored our guests silly by stopping for every little birds.  They were too polite to complain though.

Capped Wheatear

Capped Wheatear

Red Bishop

Red Bishop

We also detoured to Die Mond but were not allowed to go onto the suspension bridge without paying the entrance fee – silly really we would only have been in the reserve for 10 minutes.

At Arniston we visited the original Fishermen’s village and popped into Kassiesbaai Crafts.   Here local crafts are sold from the front room of a private home.

011 Kassiebaai Crafts 012 Checking out the crafts

The original Fisherfolk village

The original Fisherfolk village

It was now lunch time and we tried to get a table at the hotel – no chance but they took our cell number and said they would call us when a table became available.   The VVV bought us ice creams and soaked up some sun until the call came through.

014 The Arniston Hotel and Spa

015 Arniston Beach 016 The beach

It was very busy and they did not bring all the food at the same time – but it was good and reasonably priced.   The meals were ordered were calamari, burgers, Gypsy Ham club sandwiches, toasted sandwiches and everyone seemed to enjoy what was presented.

017 Grateful for a table for lunch

Me Katy Tim (hidden) Nico, Francois, Marianda, Riaan

018 Katie, Tim Nico

Katie, Tim, Nico

Our next adventure was to Die Grot – The Cave!   It required a short walk from the dunes and then a descent to the beach – a sign warned that the embankment was dangerous and that we should take the steps – so of course the boys went down the embankment.   Earl the girls and I were more cautious.  The tide was not quite out so we had to negotiate incoming waves and slippery rocks until we entered the first cave and crawled through a low hole into the bigger cave that looked out to the sea.  It was awesome.  I would love to bring the grandchildren again next week – hopefully when the tide decides to be low at a more reasonable time.

019 The boys decended the hard way

The adventurous boys take the tricky route

020 We took the steps

The sensible ones take the safe steps

021 Gingery negotiating the rocks

Gingerly negotiating the rocks and surf

022 Looking at the VVV from the tunnel into the cave toward the sea

Looking at the VVV from the tunnel into the cave toward the sea

023 Enjoying the cave

Enjoying the cave

025 In the cave

The whole gang

An oyster catcher we spotted outside the cave

An oyster catcher we spotted outside the cave

026 Nico


027 Katie


028 Marianda


029 Francois


We were pretty whacked and ready to take the trip back to Struisbaai but when we got to the car Tim, Francois and Riaan found some sand surfing boards and dashed up the sand dune like they were doing a 100m flat sprint.  Their aim was to ski down but the boards did not work that well!

030 Tim Francois and Riaan ascended the dunes

We stopped at Bredasdorp to pick up supplies and while we prepared dinner the kids went off to the beach for a swim.  The girls tried to make a peppermint crisp tart but as I lacked the correct utensils the cream did failed to do what it had to so had to be discarded. Instead they got creative and made us a chocolate mousse/peppermint crisp/tennis biscuit dessert.  We named it VVV Pudding.

We enjoyed a dinner of Weber roasted chicken, stuffed butternut, sweet potato and salad followed of course by the VVV pudding.

What a stunning two days we have spent with these 6 fantastic young people.  Francois you are an amazing young husband – its great to see how much you love and appreciate your wife – good luck with your future in civil engineering and with your Masters next year.  Marianda – Francois is right – you are a wonderful wife – a go for it kind of girl – not many non-cycling wives would have agreed to a holiday of this nature – without fluffy white towels and comfortable beds – you are going to be a stunning teacher – good luck with the rest of your studies and your future career and may all your problems be gorgeous tiny ones like you and your husband.    .  Nico – the quiet, mysterious, creative one.  You have born that aching knee with such fortitude.  I’m glad you had a chance to rest it today.  Good luck enjoy Greyton and your career in architecture – I would love you to design a home for me!   Riaan – My name is Cloete – Riaan Cloete – You are an amazing James Bond – You are the number cruncher with a difference – All the best for your future too!  Tim – Marketing Engelsman – what an adventure on a borrowed bike – to undertake all those kilometres – wow – you are super impressive.   Good luck to you too with your future studies.   Katie – the princess who  just take everything in her stride – that smile tells it all – you just love life.  What a gem you are! Well done for taking on this amazing challenge and giving it everything you’ve got.  The memories will last you a life time!   I know you are going to be fabulous in your career – you will be fabulous in whatever you do!

To all of you – Earl and I have so enjoyed the privilege of meeting you and sharing two days of this adventure with you.  Sterkte – Go well our new friends.


Struisbaai Holiday Day 2 Back on the Run, Agulhas and Delicious Fish

Before I left for Struisbaai my Personal Torturer and I parted company with a final workout for the holidays.   “I won’t be seeing you for some weeks so I’ll leave you something to remember me by,” he said and proceeded to work my ass off with a an excessive work out!     I promised to keep up the training as much as possible on my own – but how to do that.   In the not so distant past, before I hurt my back, my exercise of choice was doing a brisk 5 to 8 km run – no travelling to a gym, no-one telling you what to do and very little brain power involved.  In fact a productive way to chill out and gather your thoughts away from the dependants nagging for your attention.  How many years ago now since I actually did a run?   At least 4.

Waking to a perfect day today I just had that urge to get out on the beach and what better place than to resume the running ritual again.   I had doubts that I would be able to do 5km but – so what – I would see how far I could get.   I donned my bathing costume and short, drove to the beach so that I didn’t have to wear takkies and set off barefoot down the longest beach in Africa!  The tide was going out and the beach mud was cool and firm beneath my feet, a gentle sea-breeze blew from across my face and the sea wooshed loudly in my ears.   After five minutes I was right back in that old rhythm – slowly at first and then I lengthened my stride and I am sure was almost up to my former pace – and I just kept going – the muscles certainly have a memory.          My intention was to try and make it to the signboard with the Big B on it – (a marker for the fishing boats to line up to, I think) which is about 2.5km down the beach and then to walk back.   But I was feeling good so turned around and continued running.   This kind of endurance exercise is not what I have been doing for the past several years – its been more interval and strength training – far more challenging than running I can assure you – and all the stationery cycling, skipping and jumping burpies most have kept my aerobic fitness up because I managed the run with ease.  The best part was stripping off my shorts and throwing myself into the cooling waves when I got back.   The water was deliciously refreshing – not at all cold!   Frolicking in the southern most waves is a great reward after a beautiful run in the morning sunshine.

Yes – I am back – I will be beach running for the rest of the holidays and perhaps get back on the road when I get home.

I am supposed to be doing my kettle bell training too – but didn’t get round to that today – definitely tomorryow!

Lolz was still in bed when I got back. I did the household chores then roused her to come with me to Agulhas. We had coffee and muffins at Potpourri – browsed round the gift shop then drove back home again.   Lolz lay and tanned – but I just can’t do that any more so I sat in the shade and did a Sudoku – a brutal one which I finally vanquished.


Me at Potpourri


Agulhas Lighthouse

Potpourri entrance

Lolz at the entrance of Potpourri


Lolz waiting for muffins

Earl and Greg had been out at sea since some immorally early hour and had returned just before we left.  They brought back a lovely catch of red fish – lunch!

He catches, cleans and cooks it.

He catches, cleans and cooks it.

From the sea into the frying pan

From the sea into the frying pan

Greg and Lolz enjoying fresh fried fish

Greg and Lolz enjoying fresh fried fish