Hitchhiker Blues

Everyone has been told at some stage never to speak to strangers and never to pick up a hitchhiker. Fiona and I tend to avoid this type of thing but a few days ago it could not be helped.

Driving slowly looking for a place to swim we noticed a thud in the back of the truck. Typical.. No thumb out.. No please would you mind , just jumped in expecting a free ride. Your kidding me . I must say this is not the first time this has happened but I was not going to get out and argue.

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How dare he. The arrogance of it all. How does he know we are going the same way !

I  laughed and said to Fi, I should ask him if he would like a coffee and the New York Times. Prince charming did not seem impressed with the ride quality nor was he interested in small talk with us.

It seemed like he had other things planned. He invited a special friend along for the ride. Even though I have tinted windows, he knew we could see the shenanigans in the back.

He was not bothered in the least. I was starting to understand what late shift taxi drivers may have to deal with. Things were starting to get  festive.

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I know ,  in the back of my car at the beach!  Who would believe that story. Needless to say once he had… ummm done his thing , I was given the signal to stop and the two secretive  lovers pulled themselves together then  politely disembarked. You guessed it, I did not get a tip, not even a Thank You. How rude!

Fiona and I did eventually get to our lunch and swim, Even though I cant stand the pictures of food thing. I thought I would just add a snap shot of our lunch in to clean this post up a bit.

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This place never ceases to amaze me. Just another simple day at the beach.

Thank you for reading

Dan

 

 

 

 

Back Yard Adventures

I am writing this post with two facets.

One:  A story with a short video

Two:  To ask the readers some much needed advice.

Fiona and I really try make a concerted effort to utilise the free time we have available. We try plan an outing whenever time and finances allow. This normally involves a few hours driving to the chosen location. When we can’t get away we try to make the most of our area (Our Backyard). I was looking through a few of our video clips the other night and it really dawned on me how lucky we are that we live in an area with so many interesting possibilities in terms of adventure.

One such occasion was not that long ago when Fiona had been working a particularly tough 24 hour shift. I got a call that evening telling me that the following day was going to be a brilliant weather day and that she had to fill in an overtime shift that evening so could we possible do something during the day to get a change of scenery. As we had only a few hours we had to make the most of it. A few min into the call a rough plan was formulated.

The next morning we met at the start of a trail not far from my house,still in her uniform and sleepy she quickly got changed in the car and we set off on the walk. As Fiona had worked the whole night and was bit grumpy. I decided in the interest of consideration and fairplay that she should carry the backpack . This was in fact very clever on my part as it gave her something to moan about and kept my little sticky fingers away from the “Treats” hidden within. A win-win on all fronts. Well even though the first hour was slow going resembling two 10 year old  kids kicking stones on a dirt road whilst on their way home from school, we however pushed on.

After way to many ” I can see my house from here jokes” as well as the usual lunch time location negotiations (not dissimilar to the UN discussing hostile troop movements) we finally made the summit and had well deserved rest then lunch.

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What started as a very slow gelatinous day turned into more than we could imagine. Wow what a view indeed.

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Swartkop peak looking towards Cape Town

Recharged and bellies full we followed the mountain ridge all the way down to Cape Point. We bush wacked the last bit and met up with the tar road that took us home. We made it home with two hours to spare before Fiona’s next shift. Legendary timing and a wonderful day.

Below is a short video of the walk and the view that will be of interest with regards to the remainder of this blog.

Whilst I was sitting on the summit overlooking the bay I was reminded of a trip that I have been wanting to do for some time. We have been itching to do some more adventurous kayaking. A few people have suggested that I should attempt to cross the bay. This would involve stopping past Seal Island and to be honest I don’t feel like becoming the latest statistic on the next installment of shark week. I have done this voyage a few times on various boats, once even alone on a small inflatable! Not fun at all as it’s just one huge vista of water with nothing much to look at other than the odd seagull and the finishing point far away on a bent horizon.

What I am very excited to do is paddle from Cape Town or at least Hout Bay around Cape Point to Simons Town.

Map of the proposed trip.blog-map-2

Cape Town and the Cape Point area are beautiful in their own right but from the water, this area can be something to behold. Every year around 800 people climb mount Everest and 25 000 climb Kilimanjaro but how many people have paddled around The Cape Of Storms. Not a race for time or macho challenge just a two or three day adventure taking in the sights and sounds that this special place has to offer. Paddle for the day then camp on a pre determined beach for the night, eat ,sleep, repeat.

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Thank you “Person in helicopter” and Google

 

I know that some of the readers are experienced avid paddlers so I would like to ask them following:

I know that I can hike around 20km a day and still be fresh enough to take in the view and surrounds, what would you recommend in Miles or Kilometres is a fair distance to paddle without pushing the limits (I would like to plan a few safe stopping points to stretch legs and hide if and when the weather changes).

I intend on using a Mission 440, this will allow me to carry the normal safety equipment, as well as a sleeping bag, tent etc. Is there anything else that you would recommend for a trip like this? ( I have my food already planned)

Has anyone done a trip like this and if so any advice and  or comments would be very appreciated. I hope that you enjoyed the video, with all the options available to us rite on our doorstep and with a bit of luck you will be seeing much more from us in the future.

Dan

 

Quality Time

As some of you may know Fiona and I decided some time ago that we would make more of a concerted effort to enjoy our time together. One of the steps we put in place, is to get out and explore our country every three weeks. Let me try explain. The nature of Fiona’s employment is that every three weeks she gets a long weekend. So instead of letting that time slip by with half baked ideas or plans, we made a deal that we would stick to. We would use that time to get out and unwind, a short holiday. Nothing fancy or expensive, more of a get out and do something on a set budget. Each and every time visiting a new place on the map. Pick a town or a place as a base camp and explore everything we can in the surrounding area. Walk, climb, crawl or what ever it takes but we would endeavor to know our home not on reports from friends or the internet but from memories and personal experience.

This rotation we decided to do something close to home with my family. We managed to convince them to spend two days and two nights with us in a nature reserve not far from where we all live. This was definitely going to be interesting for us as we are all very different people.

Once we had unpacked and settled in, one of the first activities we planed for ourselves was to go for a swim. Well…this place is on the rougher side of the Cape Of Storms so to be honest I was not shocked when you could hear a pin drop when I asked who else wanted to join us. Not fazed by the lack of response, we set off. All excited and ready to kick the weekend off we both stood at the waters edge. This is how the conversation went…

Fiona/ Hmmmm this water looks a bit rough and sharky….what you think?                     

Dan/ Ok.. Well. Its Not Not sharky.                                                                                           

Fiona/ Please rather don’t be honest..I actually don’t want to know. Lets just go for it. We will be fine.

 Dan/ Sure… why not, lets just try not go to far off the sand bank, I don’t want the current to suck us away into the deep….Because of the hmm.. rocks.

The water was rough and cold but it was really great. We managed to catch a few body surf waves and just generally had a bit of fun. Making my way out, back to where Fiona was swimming, I saw the inevitable. A dark grey fin cutting like a knife through the surf, just in her blind spot only a few meters away, closing in fast. Not anything to fuss over but still not anything you would want to be surprised with (now at this point I would like to make it clear). Fiona  expressly told me not to tell her or be honest! So in the interest of doing what I am told, I just said: maybe we should call “last wave” and make our way in. I knew what it was and what was going to happen so I just waited. I waited like a school kid who passed wind in an elevator, grinning with anticipation as to who would smell it first.

Needless to say moments later a scream erupted. Fiona had been bumped, then stood on and some how kicked this shark in one swift move. They both shot off in different directions in a explosion of steel cable like taught muscle and sea foam. She looked at me with a face filled with horror only to see me laughing, laughing hard she must have then realised it was not serious and cracked up herself (I felt no shame as it was not long ago Fiona nearly collapsed with laughter at me when I barked my shin with a chunk of wood!!).

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A picture of the offending shark species I took a while ago.

 

Well it must have been quite a loud pitch scream as she seemed to have attracted to attention of a more terrestrial animal, who seemed quite keen to investigate the goings on. As my dad called it…A striped donkey.

 

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I am always amazed how animals like this can evade large predators like Lions with knees like that. Its like a cartoon zebra

 

This chap seemed to like Fiona but was not so keen on me. We quickly got changed and grabbed the camera. Its not often you see these guys on the beach.

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As I said he seemed to be very curious about Fiona, however as soon as I pointed a camera at him he would walk away. Oh Well, I think we all have days like this sometimes.

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As this is a place that we come to often and the fact that we were with my family we had a bit more of a relaxed attitude towards exploring the surrounds and taking pictures. Making the most of the solitude and lack of cell phone reception.

I had taken loads of wood along, so we had the indoor fire flashed up most the time keeping the house just the way my parents like it. A steady 30-35Deg C with all the windows and doors shut!

Even though one of my sisters was suffering with the flu she still managed to suck it up, get out and even pick up litter that had washed up on our beach.Well done Nicky!

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My Dad also managed to tear himself away from the heated comfort of the house to enjoy a great walk as well and do his bit in assisting with the beach clean up.

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I could tell he enjoyed himself and relaxed to the point that he even tried some of our Kudu and Springbok  we had made for supper!

After supper time Fiona and I did some animal tracking in search of the elusive  Cape Clawless Otter. We got frustratingly close but never managed to actually get a picture. Its like a game. I am convinced they are aware of when I have a camera and just toy with me. I have been lucky enough to have had a few really special encounters, even swimming with them but never getting a decent picture. I did not give up instead I just went to plan B

I have never been into or have I ever bothered taking sunset pictures but I decided to try.

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 Fiona is helping me find my focus point and my resolve the way she does.

 

I think I finally got it.

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I really believe that a great life is made up of a series of moments that we remember not the day to day grind and or the self inflicted  drama. Perception as well as flexibility has played a huge roll in some of the best times in my life. Even if you are on a train to nowhere, you may as well make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

As for our family getaway. All in all I think we all really enjoyed it in the end. The house we stayed in was not exactly awesome, having a few small issues, never the less it was great to try something different. We all laughed from our bellies, slept like the dead, relaxed in the day, ate way to much, spoke openly and enjoyed each others company around a big orange flickering fire. Six people went in and Six people came out. A special thank you to everyone who tried and did their bit to add to our memories. I really appreciated it all. Thank you to everyone.

Dan.

Saturday Suprises

Great times can be few and far between, so when Fiona came running over to show me the weather report, I knew it only meant one thing. A good weather Saturday. After fierce negotiations, we settled on a compromise. We could go for a long paddle towards Cape Point. I could explore some new dive spots and then return to a braai ( Barbecue) on the beach. I wanted to test my new (Cant burn the chicken stand) that I had made a while ago. If I played my cards right I could slip off for a quick surf while she cooked the food. I was optimistic to say the least.

After a few touch-and-go moments launching (Always good for a laugh) we made our way South. Conditions did not allow me to slip into the water for that dive, but never the less we had a great relaxing paddle.

 

On our way home we heard shouting in the distance, It was a fellow kayaker checking to see if we were okay as the wind had picked up a little. We soon made contact with him and we  explained that all was okay. He was very excited to tell us about the two fish he had just caught. I think that its really great even though he is on a fishing kayak the community is still inclined to keep a eye out for each other. We ended up chatting and paddled back to were he launched so we could get a glimpse of his fish.

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After lighting the fire I slipped of for a quick surf while Fiona stood guard protecting our food from the local Baboons. I ended eating way to much as I always seem to do. Fire grid proved to be a winner so no more balancing grids on rocks. Yay!!

We returned home with sun kissed faces and full bellies. I could not ask for a better day. Fiona being Fiona took great delight in reminding me that the last part of the deal for the day was a 5km run!! Have I ever mentioned how I really have a dislike of running. Its right up there with washing dishes and renewing my drivers license. I did what I could to stall but a deal is a deal so we ran. …Truth be told I actually enjoyed it all. I wonder what is in store for us on Sunday.  Dan

Plastic kills …

I went on the internet wanting to find out roughly just how much plastic there is in the ocean to gauge what sort of a problem we have globally  & whether it would be possible to tackle the problem or ind some sort of solution. This is the answer I found & I was completely speechless & sadden to just get my head around the figures!

In a study recently done there is estimated to be about 5250 billion floating pieces of plastic in the ocean, with a combined weight of 268 940 tonnes. (http://www.popsci.com/five-trillion-pieces-plastic-are-floating-ocean-near-you-3)

So as a result, I could not resist sharing this image & story illustrating just how deadly plastic is for our environment, ecosystem & animals both marine & terrestrial.

I was sadden to hear of this Orca’s death espicially since it washed up a few days prior and NSRI & various other people had successfully managed to get it back & swimming in the water again, after many hours of hard work & several attempts of it trying to strand itself again. It was then seen on Sunday morning swimming along the coastline. Everyone celebrated as it looked like all who were involved had done a great job & the story ended happily. However this was short lived, this Orca was found dead on Monday morning.

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 “After we went through the stomach contents of the Orca that stranded in Plettenberg Bay on Monday morning, 14 December 2015. Very alarming to see the amount of plastic we found. Other than plastic, she had consumed a few big clumps of sea grass and about 400g of what looks like some sort of simple tubed organism (sea cucumber or anemone fingers). Only 2 pairs of squid beaks and those were very old so she hadn’t fed properly for a long time. 5.7m female, no other obvious injuries, infections or obstructions. Huge thanks to the Plett Stranding Network, NSRI and Bitou Municipality for co-coordinating this massive operation” –  Gwen Penry

I really hope we can all take something from this story & be a bit more aware of our plastic consumption as well as trying to not litter and leave plastic stuff lying around to just blow away in the breeze. With summer here, I am seeing more people flocking to the beaches, while enjoying themselves they also tend to leave a lot of trash behind thinking “someone” else will sort it out & pick up after them. Unfortunately this is not always the case & most often it lands up in the sea, causing harm to all life involved.

Fi 🙂

 

Food for Thought

I recently had to say goodbye to my oldest friend. He has packed it all up, moved his wife and kids to Scotland to start a new life. He did however manage to make a day for just us before he left. A final blow out, till we meet again. In true rebel rousing fashion we went for a paddle around Cape Point, did a bit of sea cave exploration, had a braai for lunch followed with a cold swim in the kelp forest.

A great way to spend some time together and a day I will not forget any time soon. Mainly because he still can’t cook chicken properly on a fire. Really, he has been making fires and enjoyed the outdoor life since I can remember and yet a few pieces of chicken get the better of him ( There are two unique ways Andrew cooks chicken, burnt or raw).
As it is expected in moments like these we spoke about the old times, where we have been as well as what has and what has not changed. I won’t bore you all with  the childhood stories however there is one piece of conversation I thought I would share.

In the late 80’s we had the TURBO craze. Anything could possibly be cool if it had the word turbo somehow tied in. Turbo vac, turbo sunglasses, turbo running shoes  even certain television shows had to include this awesome word into their slogan’s to up their appeal. Night Rider and Air Wolf immediately pop to mind. Mystical red buttons( Turbo Boost) all lit up, which were to be pressed at the slightest hint of danger. This would press the driver or pilot into the back of his chair and he would be flung of at some impossible speed. Faces all contorted due to shear exceleration.

Then in the  90’s there was EXTREME and MEGA, this one I never really got into. Everything had to be extreme. You want to have a cold drink… No it must be a EXTREME cold drink. This sad tale lead to extreme motor cross, extreme kayaking, extreme mountain climbing and extreme monster trucks. Unfortunately the list goes on and on.
It seems we still have traces of it floating in American television with Extreme fishing etc all at some extreme volume setting

These days it seems that the Eco bug has hit in full force. “Wanna be Greenies” and tree huggers are taking over the world. Bring out your sandals and muesli this is going to be a long one.

Don’t get me wrong I am all for living with nature as well as the things we need to achieve to live sustainably and in harmony, to me this is normal not a new exciting craze. As smart as we profess to be we can’t live without our environment in some form.
However somehow the extreme and Eco bug have mutated into the extreme Eco nuts,this kind of thing gives environmentalism a bad name.

As kids Andrew and I would embark on various adventures. We would go up into the forest and look for pine cones,  mushrooms and some days hunt for figs and guavas. Stealing ” mielies” (corn to most of you) from his dads fields, grabbing whatever we could on the run.  As we got older we started fishing collecting mussels and diving catching crayfish etc. This is what I thought was not extremely special just what we did. Some of the best times were first thing on a frosty winter’s day, barefoot, mist hanging low we would let the cows out and play poo island. We would jump from pile to pile to stop our feet going numb in the cold grass. Aahhh good times.

This type of thing has become the new lifestyle choice and a big fat fad. Picking fruit etc has become known as  foraging. collecting mussels, mushrooms etc has become wild foraging.  Following animal spoor has become Tracking. Thinking where a lost animal went or trying to anticipate were it is has become spiritual tracking. Diving with cylinders as kids was not a option so we made do with mask and snorkel , now its known as free diving a whole now sub culture.

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Also is it really necessary to see all your branded clothing to prove  how good you are at what ever your interested in today. Walking around barefoot was practical most of the time as well as washing feet was much faster than taking smelly shoes off every time we went indoors. Now it is a way to ground your negative energy and connect with your ancestors or forefathers.the list goes on and on.
(You can spend lots off money going on long winded courses, teaching you how to do this, even issue you with certification upon receipt of cash err I mean completion!)

Why is it that we have to make everything into such a specialized alternate lifestyle. I cant seem to turn my head without someone trying to explain how raw organic food is, the way forward and that you somehow have to be an expert in raw diets harvested ethically from a enlightened guy down the road before you start your daily yoga session. If you can quote a few lines from some orange robed chap or prattle on about some  10000 hours story you are socially set. I must say I find this all can get terribly boring! Its not all that complicated in my mind, maybe I am wrong.

We are all animals. Deal with it.
We all need to eat a balanced diet. To much of anything is bad for you.
It would be great if we could all eat fresh food we harvested ourselves. Most of us cant.
Real food does not last long, so we preserve it by adding the most cost effective chemicals we can find. Soon as you add anything to preserve food it will kill good and bad bacteria.
Good healthy unprocessed food is what we are meant to eat. I mean it kind of makes sense. It doesn’t look or taste half as good as most processed food. People have spent millions to make food look and taste better than their competitors, so we will buy it. Price invariably  wins.

In nature we would be very hard pressed to find all the sugar ,fats and protein that we find in such high concentration in food off the shelf. this is one of the reasons why we are getting bigger and bigger. It is just to easy to find calorific rich foods at the drop of a hat.
I have noticed I can sit down and eat a whole commercially raised roast chicken without much fuss, however I would be lucky if I can eat half a naturally raised chicken (One that eats grass hoppers etc). Yes that’s right chickens don’t only eat grain and vegetables.
Unpasteurized milk?  Well I will talk about that at some other stage.  That’s a blog in itself. Just because you drive the latest hybrid Eco car each year does not make you more Eco friendly than I am even, though a drive a 10 year old diesel bakkie.(No matter how efficient it is it had to come from somewhere.  (Some huge factory and steel mill made them thousands of sea miles away using parts from all over the world). So please think before you judge me.

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The real truth is that there are just too many of us roaming around not to mention we have a unquenchable thirst for resources and not enough respect or understanding of our place on this planet. Saving the Panda or a Whale because it pulls on our heart strings will not be enough long term. Environmentalism as well as environmental awareness needs to be elevated from a social fashion statement to a fact of life, not dissimilar to breathing or getting old.
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We need to be better educated in this field as well as have a better fundamental understanding of our environment ( The place we call home,not invest billions of $ looking for a chance of life on some distant planet). Have an ego check, be humble about who and what we are, only then that do we stand a viable chance of making the next 1000 years.

Dan

My Introduction to Kayak Surfing

Whilst spending some time down at our local beach one day, a friend of mine was just returning from our local paddle shop. He was very excited to show me his latest acquisition. Fastened to his roof racks was a demo kayak. This strange orange/ red toy seemed to have his full attention. Once he had untied it, I helped him carry it down to the waters edge, as he was very keen to test it.

Being a huge fan of boats, not to mention a questionably unhealthy love of motorbikes, I must admit I did cast a very skeptical jaded eye upon this little plastic toy.

After a fair amount of convincing as well as loads of reassurance that this could infact be fun, I reluctantly gave it a try. It turns out that it would not be long before I became very fond of it, as well as open up whole new aspect of my life. It was light, around 20kg and was easy to carry but it was not for those reasons that I found myself later attracted to it. After paddling around taking turns testing out the stability, we discovered that it behaved in a very strange and unique way when entering the surf zone. For the moment that was great fun however all good things must come to an end, so I helped him reload it onto his car and off he went.

It turns out that it was his second craft of this type and it was not long before he very kindly offered to let me use the demo kayak when we went on our swimming adventures. As they were two identical crafts being both small and light it made perfect sense to incorporate them into our daily activities. There was even a little cargo area where we could stash our lunch as well as our mask, fins etc. We would set off to new areas that would be much harder to access from land. Lashing the kayaks together enabled us to create a base of operations where we could swim and explore a whole range of new places. When we got tired or cold we could simply pop back onto the kayak and paddle home. After returning from a swim we noticed that there were a small set of “foamys” breaking along the beach, we then elected to try catch them to surf in. That was day that sealed the next stage of the story.

Despite being molded into the side of the kayak, it clearly states that a Mission Flow’s intended uses are: Beaches, lakes and calm rivers. We never the less pressed on. Slowly but surely we attempted bigger and bigger surf, refining our technique as we progressed. Eventually loading the kayaks onto my bakkie, venturing out, expressly to find the perfect breaks. It became such an intrinsic part of our adventures at one stage we even embarked on a two week excursion, travelling up the East Coast of South Africa, taking the craft with us as a crucial part of our adventure kit. Between exploring new swimming spots, surfing, hiking and camping we even found time to paddle 15km up a river from the very mouth all the way till there was not even enough water in the stream to drag them anymore. A big part of me wished that we had packed a tent in our supplies so we could have spent the night alongside the river. We ate like kings, played hard and slept like the dead. One could not ask much more from a trip. Not being a fan of the surfing culture at all. I was very surprised to be enjoying this as much as i did.

Soon thereafter I bought my very own kayak. Fiona was the next to get involved, purchasing her very own green and yellow version. As I mentioned before, this craft was designed for calm waters, lakes etc so pushing it past its intended use was eventually going to bring about a few bumps in the road so to speak. After hitting my head whilst falling more times than I care to mention, Fiona very kindly insisted on purchasing a helmet for me, as she knew full well that I wouldn’t go and get myself a helmet. Strangely since that day I cant recall a time where I hit my head again. In the surf clip mash up u will see a clip taken shortly after one of my more spectacular wipe outs. I gave myself a black eye included in that a burst blood vessel for good measure, worst part being is that I managed to somehow break the aluminum paddle shaft on the back of my neck. It was a strange feeling to resurface after a huge wipe out with a very warm cheek as well as sporting a paddle as a necklace! As I am sure you will see I was feeling very dispondent as that was around the 8th or 9th paddle lost to kayaking at that stage.

Unfortunately after Fiona had been surfing some really scary Atlantic swells a few days prior, she made a fatal mistake, becoming a bit complacent on our last wave of the day. It is strange to think how a relatively small wave on a calm day would be the one that would shock us all. I saw her fall however I was not overly concerned as it  was a small wave, not to mention that when she fell it was in a foamy part of the water quite close to the shore. I paddled over slowly, on approach she was not looking very happy as she had gotten her hand caught up in the leash while being tumbled. Resulting in her breaking her thumb. It took a year including therapy to get full use of it again. She still reminisces when looking at the scar from the operation, where a titanium plate was inserted, which I may tell you has since broken…..quite the drama indeed. However it is a reminder for all of us who are into kayaking how quickly things can turn, and at the same time how very lucky she was that, that particular kayaking incident didn’t result in something more severe. Very bravely she still manages to muster up the courage to join me kayak surfing, however she leaves the bigger waves well alone. Understandably she is far more cautious and selective on what waves she attempts. She continues to keep me company on the back line.

These are some of the things I have learnt that are very important in my short time of kayak surfing. Get to know your environment in terms of the following: wind speed and direction, tides and swell height and direction. All these factors play a vital part in ensuring a great surf kayaking session.

Try to leave early, too many times I have wished that I was a bit more prompt on arrival. Once I have arrived at the location, take a few moments to absorb where you are and try be present as possible. After all we are lucky enough to live in such a pristine area surrounded by unique fauna and flora. I tend to make tea if possible, failing that I crack open a ready made flask. Count swell timing whilst looking at break direction etc. As I am often on my own in these endeavors, so I really have no problem in taking a bit longer than usual to make sure the conditions are ideal.
No matter how much fun I am having or how great the waves are, soon as I get complacent or too tired I get out. I am a firm believer in that there is always a next time.

At present I have three golden rules that have stead me well.
1.No matter if you are entering or leaving the water never ever, ever let the kayak get between you and the incoming surf. Even if you are ankle deep the kayak will    shoot up and hit you in the shins. At best you will feel very stupid whilst swearing profusely at yourself!

2.When you fall whilst in the surf line, the main thing that you need to do is get back in the kayak as fast as possible. No matter how out of breath you are or how much you just want to chill for a minute, it is imperative that you are up and ready for the next swell that is definitely on its way. It will not pause for you. It does not take long for a person to become exhausted, falling into trouble and rolling around in a big swell with a kayak flying around. Not pleasant nor safe!

3.The bigger the swell you want to catch, the faster you have to paddle. Bigger swells tend to run faster. One of the worst feelings is to get a tad lazy only to find    yourself staring over the precipice of a breaking wave. It will probably not end well.

Wetsuits are great to keep warm but I have found that you can’t have sleeves. This tends to restrict your movement as well as tire you out very quickly. Wetsuit booties are a must for me. They really make a difference to staying in the kayak as they make great grips, while surfing as well as making navigating sharp slippery rocks far more pleasant. Helmets are a needed for obvious reasons. There are a range of paddles available. I have found that the more basic flat spade type blade has much more drive. Aluminum shafted paddles are okay for most days however when surfing in colder water I find that the warmth is very quickly wicked out my hands reducing my ability to maintain a proper grip. Having the shaft slip your grasp, then having the blade hit you in the hand can throw you off balance as well as being very painful.
I have been told that grip tape will fix this however I must admit I have never gotten that far to test this theory. Whatever type of paddle I have used I have noticed that the shiny white blades seem to be far more attractive to two of our larger shark species. These sharks have seemed far more willing to test this type of blade.
I must say I have never had a persistent problem with regards to this yet it is still a shock when your paddle gets knocked out your hand when you least expect it.
I also have not had a problem with darker matt colours, hence I tend to prefer darker blades, either spraying them with a matt paint or sanding off the shine of the darker colours. This is not scientific nor has it been tested by a panel of experts, I just have found that it seems to work for me.

A leash of some type has proven to be a essential part of equipment. Falling off is a part of this activity and in turn swimming after your kayak with your paddle in hand can quickly become a bit of a faff. The kayak seems to be swept off all to easily. If there is an offshore wind you can look forward to a marathon swim into deep and unfriendly waters attempting to retrieve it. One time in particular springs to mind. I had my car keys safely secured in the kayak as an offshore wind blew it out to sea. I very quickly came to the realisation that I would never catch up to the kayak with the paddle in my hand. I then swam the paddle back to shore then ran up the coast trying to reduce the distance needed to swim as far as possible. Now only a spec on the horizon I prepared myself mentally for the swim. Long story short I eventually caught up, only when jumping back on, it dawned on me I was up the preverbal creek without a paddle. With a lot of doggy paddling and copious amounts of the what I call the push swim technique I managed to get myself and the kayak back to shore even though I landed some distance from where I set off. I was very happy that I could at least drive home. Needless to say this could have all been avoided with a simple leash. I have found that through trial and error a store bought thick longboard leash does the trick.

I can’t say THANK YOU sincerely enough to illustrate how grateful I am to all the people who either introduced me to this little craft or to the local businesses who always seemed very keen to assist me, with paddle shaft combinations to get me to the stage that I am at presently. Even those who very kindly went out and bought me exactly what I needed to keep me on the water. To all those people involved, a very big thank you. You know who you are.

The following is a mash up of a typical day of kayak surfing. As the inevitable wipe outs can be hard on equipment we elected to only fit the camera on selected smaller days. Unfortunately the truly special, as well as epic moments can only be looked upon in our fond memories.

Dan

Sunny Sunday

Seeing as we are beginning to experience longer & warmer days, Dan & I spent Sunday making full use of the benefits that Summer brings.

Summer on its way!

Summer on its way!

We spent the larger portion of the day being outdoors, surf kayaking & swimming. However not forgetting about eating & enjoying great tasting food, whilst having fun.

The conditions were not ideal for surf kayaking & as a result I decided to give it a miss, instead taking opportunity of being photographer while Dan gave it a bash.
After enjoying some delicious “boerewors” rolls. Afterwards we both decided to brave the murky waters to have a swim. We were hoping to come across a short tail sting ray or even a spotted gully shark, sadly we never came across anything. In fact there was no sign on life, apart from the various kelps & sea grass!! Getting out proved tricky for me whilst entertaining at the same time. Thankfully I didn’t hurt myself. Dan got out with such ease and gracefulness, however this was quite the opposite in my case. Having to scramble over the rocks to get out, I mistimed the set of swells and soon found myself like a beached whale rolling with the waves over the rocks landing on the shore. Still smiling I managed to compose myself and walk out, suffering only from minor scrapes & bruises to my legs.

Ready, Steady, Go

Ready, Steady, Go

It never the less was a wonderful day spent out in the sunshine. Only the start of what is going to be a wonderful Summer ahead.

Wave Dance ...

Wave Dance …

Fi 🙂