Trekking Arangieskop

(Video of our trip below story)

Some time ago Fiona had planned another great adventure. To mix it up a bit she had decided to do the Arangieskop two day hiking trail in Robertson. Without thinking it through properly I eagerly agreed to take part. I later found out that this is also affectionately known as the “Kilimanjaro of the Western Cape”,  (I distinctly remember making a “Hmmm” noise when I was told this).

Normally when facing the unknown I like to prepare a bit if possible. I  was told by a friend who had done it a few years ago that we should make it, however I wanted to a bit more tuned so I would at least be fit enough to enjoy the views and vistas, not staring at my boots while gasping for air. Not fun by any stretch of the imagination.

A little while before I would be forced into exercise by the impending departure date, life had other plans. My mom fell ill and subsequently past away. In a way that I would not wish on anyone.

Truth be told nor Fiona or I were particularly in the mood to focus on training of any type but before we knew it we were settled into our room ready to depart at sunrise.

With lots of apprehension and heavy hearts we set off. Once we had been walking for a while the weight on our back seemed to ease and we started to appreciate the spender of it all, even when going down hill to cross a valley only to find out we would need to hump up another higher hill. We both really enjoyed every moment. We reached our base camp in what seemed like a blink of a eye.

We did however meet up with a large group of hikers from a club. When I first saw them coming up the hill behind us, I will admit I did say to Fiona that we should prepare for hell. I will be honest I don’t really play well with others, especially large groups of super excited chatty people. I am sure some of  you know what I mean.

Well I had a few head shaking moments at times BUT we were both blown away by how accommodating and welcoming they were. Friendly, respectful and all round great people in their own respect. We will be seeing them in the future. I am very sure about this.

We both had a really great nights sleep, far better than I have had in 4-star establishments. Even though some 0 degree wind,rain and hail tried to infiltrate our sleeping bags during the night I would not change a thing (okay maybe just a bit of snow, just to add to the experience). It was very strange to think that people in the valley below were suffering through 28-30degrees (well maybe not suffering).

I woke up fresh, lit the wood fired geyser (hot water donkey) and settled for a great coffee and an oaty breakfast from the comfort of my sleeping bag whilst looking through the frosty window at the vistas below. Its times like these mornings when I really enjoy a great coffee and a simple meal.

All packed up, we set off for the summit. It was almost anti climactic as it would mean we would be making our way down soon. Down kinda sucks. Beautiful, breath taking, awe-inspiring but heavy on the legs and feet. Well for me anyway. We both agreed we would do Arangieskop again tomorrow if we could. With this in mind we have planned a return trip for next year.

If I may be so bold I would like to offer some advice to those readers who would care to listen. We have all heard the cheesy sayings like, Life is short, One life live it. My favourite version is….

Live each day like its your last but bare in mind you might make it till tomorrow.

Unfortunatly each and every one of us will see the day where we meet our maker, we will all die. We cant really choose how that happens but we can take steps to choose how we live.Time is the most valuable commodity we posses and it only gets more valuable as every second passes. If we are very lucky we only get 70 trips around the sun so, surround yourself with good solid people, try avoid the noise and drama assosiated with modernaty. Life is a series of moments. Do things while you can. Strike while the iron is hot and make it your own.

Thanks again to Merridian Hiking Club for being as accommodating and helpfull as you all were. Also a big Thank You to Henk for a lift from the finish to our car in Robertson. We were not looking forward to an additional 10km walk along a road.

Thanks for reading our story.


What is that!


I have had a few people ask me what is that picture we use as our header image.

I was lucky enough to get a few pictures of this very shy chap whilst swimming not far from my house. These are some of my favorites from that day.

This is an Argonaut or more commonly known as a Nautilus. We sometimes find the shell on the beach also commonly known as a Paper Nautilus. This was the first and only time I have ever seen one alive. I managed to stay with him/her for some time till I was so cold I could no longer hold or focus the camera.


I reluctantly returned to the shore but I was lucky enough to get a few interesting pictures in the end. This event only adds to my mantra, you never know what you may find if you take the time to look.



End Game & a Bird


Wood Pile 3

As some of the readers may remember I have just managed to acquire a fair amount of free wood. The reason why I am chuffed with myself is primarily that these (Alien) trees were destined for a land fill. Not to mention with a medium amount of effort as well as a low cost to myself I managed to get it home.

The real challenge started last week when I had to start chopping it all up into usable pieces. This is when the story became a bit more interesting.

Its the middle of winter here and the last week has been a bit rainy so I have chopping as the weather allows. Funny thing is when your alone chopping away taking short breaks I started to notice little animals coming to investigate the goings on. One in particular was this little bird. I am not really a “bird guy” and to be honest I have no idea what type of bird this is.(Sorry)

Bird 1

This guy was very shy at first, keeping a safe distance at all times. When I would take a break move away from the chopping stump he would fly in and scratch through the chips looking for wood worms that live in the bark and soft outer layer of the Stone Pine. Each day I chopped he would appear and it very quickly became a bit of a game. ( It was a great distraction for the task at hand) I would chop a bit till I found a worm then stop and stand back, He would fly in grab the worm then fly back to his perch and wait. (This bird has now manipulated me into smashing great chunks of wood apart looking for  worms while he sits and waits). Its official I have been duped.

Early Sunday morning I was woken up buy a weird fluttering and chirping at my window. Don’t get me wrong I don’t wake up grumpy but I am defiantly more of a night person so needless to say I was not super excited to see what all the ruckus was about. I assumed it was some kind of altercation in the bird bath outside (Don’t ask, that’s for another time). I was shocked to find this little feathered tyrant standing outside my door giving me the stink eye. ( At this stage I am horrified to admit it, I have started talking…Hmmmm maybe even more like ranting at this bird)

If you cant picture the scene, I am standing at my door in my shorts first thing in the morning negotiating my work schedule with a 15gram bird. Something to the effect of( Its Sunday morn, its just rained, I will chop a bit later. Be patient… your like a slave driver. Aaaagghh) No good will come from this, it feels like I have lost my mind. I am half asleep, barefoot, shouting a  bird at sunrise on a Sunday morn.

A few hours past whilst enjoying a great snooze so I decided to go down and see my parents and have a coffee. Climbing in my truck and preparing to start I look through my windscreen to see… You guessed it. This bad mannered flying dictator has landed on my bonnet and is staring at me. His black beady eyes unflinching, unforgiving, refusing me any quarter. Its like a stand off from some old Hitchcock movie. Its official.. I am being stalked… I am being stalked by a angry bird. Even when I started the engine he stood fast. Only when I reversed did he fly off.

Long story short after a hour or so racked with guilt, I returned and started chopping all the while under avian supervision. He became so brazen landing on my chopping stump whilst I was still busy, forcing me to wait till he was done.

Bird 5Bird 4

I was starting to wonder if he would be able to even fly after all he ate. Through the coarse of the week this bird has eaten well. He has morphed from a sweet nimble slim bird into a fat flying mafia boss.

Bird 2

Again with the evil staring, So full but never happy.

Now that the job at hand is virtually finished best I go and find some more wood to chop, or I will probably be in Big Trouble.

Wood Pile 4

Thanks for reading.



Thankful …


Have you ever found that one amazing person whom you are able to love exponentially  & unconditionally experience life’s adventures together, share secrets, be outdoors together,  cry together, laugh together, fall together, be quiet together & continue to embrace all life’s challenges together. A person who is quietly as tough as nails but who is always willing to extend a gentle hand to anyone who needs it.

A dictionary doesn’t contain a word that would describe the type of  person who I share all the above & so much more with.

I am so grateful to have a person who doesn’t see everything the same way I do, doesn’t always think the same way I do and teaches me about different points of views, while continuing to remain open to learn from me too.

I have a strong minded person who isn’t afraid of their emotions, but isn’t as emotional as I am, so that we act as each others balance. Acting as my voice of reason that saves me from drowning in my own seas, and I hope to believe that I am the gentle rain that saves him from his own fires.

Somehow we have the amazing ability to communicate without speaking at times & how silence can also bring a sense of comfort and contentment.

I have someone in my life who knows what its like to build a life from the ground up starting from scratch, to loosing it all and then finding the strength to build it up again. An enduring strength that I am unable to find in anyone else.  A person who appreciates the great moments even in the bad ones!  Our relationship hasn’t always been rainbows & butterflies but I certainly have grown along the journey and  from all the experiences we have shared together.

I love this ambitious soul of a person. Sure, we challenge each other and butt heads at times because of it – but as long as we have the same kind of heart, we’ll fight through the hard times and survive them all.

A “soul mate” relationship doesn’t necessarily mean both partners always share the same views, but that our overall goals and ambitions match. I think this is the most fabulous part & I am so happy to have found a soulmate in Dan!

Love, laughter & a positive attitude  is key to a happy healthy life. Well this is my opinion anyway for what it is worth. Through everything in life, Dan & I continue to strive towards living a happy loving and positive lifestyle with everything we do.

We continue to be our own identity yet we conquer life as one team!

Now days it is so seldom that you find a person that is so willing to take a back seat so that others may succeed,  for these reasons I decided to post this blog and say, Thank You.

Here’s to many more great & unforgettable adventures that lie ahead!


Game Time


The Game… How much free wood can one person load in 1 hour and drop off at home (Excluding Cutting)

This much….

I hour Load

After the 5th load my enthusiasm for this game started to waiver. When my legs started to resemble boiled spaghetti and I could no longer make a fist I called it a day.

Now for part two of the challenge… How much wood can I split in a hour. ( This is Stone Pine with twisted grain so all bets are off………… Well only one way to find out.



The Anatomy of Friendship

F Ranger

A little while ago, I was faced with tough choice. I had to decide on and if I should part with some cash.

This is a strange one so if you can bear with me a bit I will try explain.

I was recently offered R 55 000 cash for my Bakkie (Truck in American). This came at an unexpected time as my tires were getting to the stage where all 5 needed replacement (4 + 1 spare). I was hoping to get a few more months out of them, but they were becoming a liability. First I looked at it from a financial point of view, working out if it was better just to take the cash from the sale and move on or to keep the vehicle, as I know what problems there are. The devil you know scenario. I have no real brand alliance nor do I believe that any one manufacturer can only produce great products or visa versa. But this is not about a brand so lets move on.

This offer to purchase forced me to look at the hard facts and try make the clever choice. (Not forgetting a short list of modifications that include, upgraded stronger suspension, upgraded inter cooler, boost pressure as well as fueling mods and for a short time, water injection.) Due to the fact that its no longer needed and that the miles are adding up, I have wound back the performance and tune as I need.

Looking at this purely from a financial standpoint is all good and dandy, but there is a different more complicated way of doings this that must also be factored in. The human factor. This got me thinking. Is it at all possible to become attached to a inanimate object? This led me to think of some of the things that we have seen or done together.

Over 500 000Km traveled on everything from dirt, grass, mud, mountain passes and city roads. Witnessed countless sunrises and sunsets together. At least 250 meals eaten in the drivers seat, towed and jump started more cars than I care to mention. Waded through a river with water flowing over my floor pans. Been stuck sump deep in mud and sand. Been crucial part of numerous kayak and diving adventures. Carried a multitude of tools and spare parts as a call-out vehicle . I have also run her using all different types of fuel ranging from pump diesel, farm diesel, paraffin and home made diesel (chip fat and palm oil). Once in a pinch I even managed to make it home on a blend of petrol, engine and two-stroke outboard oil.

Together we have delivered 33 diesel engines and gearboxes for the marine fishing industry. Towed 2 x 11 ton 800kw generator sets into position in a basement parking lot, towed a few trailer mounted gen sets to sites, my brothers boat from place to place as well as helped pull out 3 boats and trailers stuck on the local slip way. Helped 9 people move house and towed my dads old camper/cars 7 times (even to a camp site and back once). Carried approximately 17 tons of fire wood, 11 tons of cement, stone, sand and building rubble.

We have also been through three proper prangs. I rear ended a small car. I fell asleep behind the wheel one night then hit a overpass bridge base. In the last incident I was hit by a 18 wheeler container truck whilst I was stationary at a intersection. All with miner damage and no injuries. All the listed above does not include all the miscellaneous items like stranded or broken down bikes, scooter, various pot plants,wood, engine parts, friends, holidays and assorted items loaded and moved from time to time.

Its scary to think she has Used 43 oil filters 51 fuel filters and around 265lt of oil with a estimate of around 42 000Lt of fuel consumed.

Looking back at that day when I ordered her in 2007 it seems so long ago, its hard to believe we have come so far and shared so many experiences together. It also seems strange that one can develop a relationship with a chunk of engineered steel and plastic. Its just the amount of time and great moments in and around that car.

Ranger Sea View

Am I being a bit silly about this all?  But its just a car right! Or is there more too it? She may not be the best looking, the latest model or the fastest around, but who really cares as I do know one thing that she has been there from the offset. She is dependable and has delivered more than I could possibly ask for, even when pushed way passed design. What if I could bend the rules a bit and with a little stretch of the imagination, I then could without reservation call this car, MY FRIEND.

Actually thinking about it like this I cant see myself selling her any time soon. Decision made!  So I replaced my worn out 4×4 tires with smoother tread road tires.

F Ranger Road Tire

Who knows what the future holds, I just hope I have made the correct decision. I feel that striking a balance between pure numbers and sentiment was the right call. How could I turn my back on something that has worked so well for me in the past.


If you have any item whether it be a simple knife or any tool that is just very familiar to you or something that you may even call “lucky” please share with me in the comments.

Thank you for taking the time to read this strange story.





Most of us have seen the survivor type programs on TV. If not let me explain. Its a show that has a host (normally ex military) with a supporting crew of around 15 videographer’s, sound, safety and catering crew that embark on a “single handed” struggle for survival in some remote location, that is normally just off some easy access dirt road. In this Show we will see how the host fights the effects of various environmental challenge’s between takes. Forging dangerous ravines and canyons  (that you would normally walk around) and for viewer entertainment the unnecessary eating of a myriad of creepy crawlies, rambling on about the essential fats and protein from each animal.

All these types of programs are steeped in the “what should you do type scenario”. With around 70% of the worlds population living in urban areas and the balance very seldom finding themselves shipwrecked on some desert island. I don’t see how these types of programs are still relevant.(Honestly I am getting a bit tired of seeing a guy whittle two sticks thus miraculously making a boat to find rescue). I would be hard pressed to leave a island with shelter and fresh water to spend my last days drifting around sun burnt, sea sick and sleep deprived. Then again, that’s just me.

I have always thought that the toughest survival challenges we face today are in fact more urban based. With this in mind, how long would a guy last if he was dropped in some foreign city with nothing but his wits? No passport, ID book or qualifications, nothing to his name. Homeless, alone and without employment how long would it be before you walked passed him curled up in a gutter, hopeless and desperate.

Somewhere in our vast history of evolution we made a wrong turn. At some stage we decided not to judge a man on character or virtue but rather by the coin in his pocket. Survival challenges are no longer finding food and shelter in the typical sense, more about making sure you manage to make enough money to retire. Poverty as well as lack of broad based education are the leading threats to our environment and in turn humanity. Historically we would roam in small groups, each and every person fulfilling their role in the tribe. Each member a key component to the survival of the group as a whole. Now we have thousands of over qualified people applying to the same menial position. As population densities rage ever higher each day I am surprised that the statistics for crime , domestic violence as well as substance abuse are not much higher. Then again would the harsh reality and truth of this be to much to watch in the name of entertainment.

All being said this is just my humble opinion.




Time Travel

Chopping Wood

I am a big fan of the simple art of chopping wood. Some would say its a type of meditation. There is something very simple and honest about collecting and chopping your own pile of wood, ready to warm those cold hands or cook that perfect meal. I enjoy reading the grain of the wood, the rhythmic thwacking, the sweet sound your axe makes when you choreograph the perfect blow and finally the satisfaction of a job well done.

I tend to do about a hour or two at a time, slowly working my way through the task at hand. When the urge to chop hits me I normally put on a old pair of boots, a T shirt and some shorts. This helps stay nice and cool and anyway I am not a big fan of long pants and avoid it if at all possible.

One such day I was about 3/4 of the way through and Fiona popped in to visit. She knows to let me finish as I hate to stop until I am done. Plopping herself down on a stump she proceeded to tell me about her day ,all the twists and turns, ups and downs. It was at this moment, nearly on my last piece that a sizable chunk of wood flew of the chopping stump and hit me in the shin. As if laser guided hitting square and solid just millimeters above the top of my boot.

I instantly dropped to the floor, curled up into the fetal position clutching the affected limb. At this point I would like to mention that many people have debated if time travel is in fact possible. I think it may. Why? Because at this moment time stops, it transports you to a far away place, all one can think about is the white hot spear like pain that washes over you. You become totally present and focused. How did it happen? Reimagining the event frame by frame. I have entered the singularity.. or have I? Have I chipped the bone, it sure hurts more than when I broke my arm. Best I have a look. Oh gross…. it looks like a piece of bone, could it be? No don’t be silly it cant be. Nope its just a flap of fleshy skin with a bit of fat. Nothing some cleaning and a bit of tape cant fix, its all good. Now I end my time traveling experience and resume normal speed. As if coming to the surface the pain subsides to a bearable plateau, all I can hear is one thing.

Fiona is laughing, now when I say laughing I mean the kind of laughing that you only see in the movies or on a silly clip show. Laughing so hard that it seems that breathing is becoming a issue. Laughing so hard she is having to prop herself up. I have no choice but to join in, admittedly slowly at first. Looking back it must have looked very funny to watch this 6ft 5inch,110kg guy fall to the ground like a pile of dirty laundry. Especially since she probably saw it coming a mile off….Cheeky Monkey.

This refresher coarse reminded me of the following life lessons.

1. I cant do two things at the same time. Its a fact. Talking and chopping wood don’t mix.

2. I have the weakest most sensitive shins in the world. I must protect them when ever possible.

3. Even though it hurts something awful at the time, it will pass. Deal with it.

4. Any crash landing you walk away from is a good landing,(I could have barked myself with the axe, that would have been unpleasant to say the least.)

Have you ever hurt yourself in a silly way then laughed about it at the time or later, Have those experiences taught you anything?  If so please feel free to share your story. Thank you for dropping by. Dan


We Are The People

For the last two years I have been able to witness a very strange phenomenon. Winter is the time when Great White Sharks move from inshore, along the beaches, to the feeding grounds off Seal Island, South Africa, where they feed on young seal (Cape Fur Seals) pups.

Last year towards Winter they pulled a vanishing act for approximately 50 days and it seems that this year it will be the same, if not longer. Many experts have put their theories forward. The one that seems to be most accepted is that they are being harassed by a pod of Orcas (Killer whales). This seems to add up as we have seen them in the bay around the time of the last Great White sighting. Adding validity this theory there has been a spate of Cow Sharks( 7 Gilled Cow Shark) been found dead with their livers removed. I personally have seen large bull seals attack sharks and eat their livers so it makes sense to me that this is in fact possible if not plausible that Orcas are targeting the same food source. This means that the mystical Great White Shark could in fact lose its pole position as the Apex predator!

Winter is normally the time of year when I try make full use of the safer swimming and free diving conditions exploring new and deeper spots in clearer water without having to look over my shoulder all the time. However this year it really does seem especially quiet. I normally spend way to much time diving and looking at the various species of shark to the point that I recognise a few regulars. Even the spotted gully sharks are hard to find and non of the similar faces are were they are supposed to be. It shows that even now days with everything we know we still have lots to learn about our natural world.

With the governments of the world trying to screw us, souring unemployment as well as many other sad truths about this world we live in, it is all too easy to become a bit negative. Anyone who knows me well, knows, I choose to look at things in a positive light. Glass-half-full type of chap. I like to take this idea into everything I do even day to day work. We only get one life and sure not everything is a breeze, but hell why not make it fun and enjoyable as possible. If at all possible do what you enjoy and enjoy what you are doing.

This long story brings me to my point. Most people would shudder at the thought of getting out in our winter, no doubt its cold, wet and sometimes windy but I have had some really great times huddled up clenching a “cuppa” with frozen hands. Silly moments in a hypothermic stupor with a good serving of awesome company make for great times. Its so easy to fall pray to the seductive temptress known as my couch next to the TV. You cant buy real adventure and you cant experience life channel surfing. Fiona and I both know we have never regretted a cold swim, it just can be hard to motivate oneself in the moment.

I cant control nature or the government but I can choose how I spend my days. I know that if I choose to just sit back I would never have been able to put this little home video together. This is just a few moments as of late that we have managed to share between studies, jobs and general life. Each moment a great memory that we were lucky enough to share. So even though there are no real sharks in the bay, job prospects are looking frail to say the least. Just getting out when we could made all these moments a reality. Choose to live life. Choose to make the most of what you have, with what you have ,when you can.

Hope you enjoy