Wednesday, January 27, 2016

YOLO in Simon's Town, South Africa Jan 2016

This is an African Penguin, aka Jackass Penguin.  There is a large colony that lives in "The Boulders" park just around the corner from Simon's Town.  We passed it on the way in and walked back out there a few days later.  They are kind of cute and not terribly afraid of people.
A huge amount of the world's shipping makes its way around the bottom end of Africa.  By day, these large bulk carriers pass us by.  We just hope they see us in time to avoid us as we don't have AIS for them to see us electronically.

This one was heading the other way around Cape Agulhas as the sun was setting below a heavy cloud.  Cape Agulhas is the southern most point on the continent of Africa and we rounded it to head up into False Bay to get to Simon's Town.  We'd had a great run of a six-day window and had made it all the way from Richards Bay in one go.  Pretty amazing. 

As we sailed into False Bay, these disruptions in the water were all over.  They are huge schools of fish at the surface of the water, making little sipping noises and it sounded like raindrops.  We were in patchy fog as we came into the bay, but friends in the marina called us on the radio and said it was clear as a bell in there and to just keep coming in.  Luckily, the marina had said they had a place for us so we didn't have to anchor out or pick up a mooring.
 Our first glimpse of Simon's Town on the shore of False Bay.  We came through a fog bank and as the fog dissipated, there was the town.
Our spot along the dock, with Chespeake just off our port bow. It was a tight fit to get in here.  Saol Eile and Zephyr were on the docks behind us so we were in good company. We arrived on New Year's Eve Day.
 Of course, there was a party that night in the club house.  Here, Charles, the previous crew from Saol Eile is on the left.  He lives in  South Africa and came back to see in the new year here in Simon's Town. Myra is on the right and Jason is talking to Paraic in the center.
 Bill and Tracy from Zephyr smile with Jason in the club house.
 Having a few drinks before the New Year.
 Karen and Jason on New Year's Eve.
 Mike, who we'd met in the Caribbean years ago, lives here in Simon's Town and he and Lynn came to the party as they are members in the yacht club.  He is talking with Linda and Jim from Chesapeake.
 Tracy, Karen and Mark from Merkava share a hug after a few drinks.
 Becky and Karl from Windarra join Jason in the fun in the bar.  They are another American couple with two kids on board.
 A view of the docks at False Bay Yacht Club  Town from the yacht club lawn.
 The club sports an old cannon at their water's edge.
I decided I needed a new basket to hold all my shells and a Zulu woven basket would be just the ticket.  I'd been looking for one since we were in Botswana and now I needed to find one before we left the country.  These were a couple I first spotted when we went to look at the penguins, but I wanted to look further and didn't end up with either of these.  But this is the style I wanted:  grass wound with reed into rolls and then coiled and woven into the basket.  The designs woven into the basket all have meanings and represent things in Zulu culture and history.

A local market near the Boulders, where folks go to view the penguins.  These carved stone birds caught my eye.  Each one is unique and they are made from serpentine.
This hippo in a pool carving was fabulous.  They, too are carved out of serpentine.  They could be ashtrays or soap dishes or jewelry dishes.  I eventually bought one as I would never see them again.  This would be my rock souvenir from Africa.  Just polish it with black shoe polish to keep it shiny.
I am impressed by the talent of the carvers and artists in this country.  Everywhere we go, we see wonderful carvings and paintings and weavings.
We walked to The Boulders park and wandered along the boardwalk to see some penguins.  Here, you can see some of the granite boulders surrounded by kelp near the shore.  Some say it is like parts of California here.
More scenery at the Boulders park.
You can see some heads of swimmers on the right.  It looked cold, but this is a popular swimming beach for tourists.  The huge boulders and kelp keep the swell and waves down along the shore.  The penguins bask and roam around the rocks, too.
Those specks on the slanted rocks on the left are all penguins.  You must pay to get into the park at that location to see this group of penguins,but there are plenty to see elsewhere here for free.
Kayakers come in to float and swim among the penguins here.
It's a beautiful beach with lovely colored water along the sand and rocks.  A nice boardwalk follows the contour of the shore so you can view the penguins from several places.
A cool split rock.
Some penguins basking in the sun.
They just laze about in the sun until it is their turn to go swimming for food.  One of the park employees said they tend to go in waves so there are always penguins on the rocks for people to see.
More penguins on the rocks near the kelp and shore.
Looking back at Simon's Town from the penguin area.  A good long walk for the morning.
Looking the other way out to sea.
Karen at The Boulders.
Linda grabs her hat as it was a windy day when we went to see the penguins.
Karen and Jason at The Boulders park.  Windblown.
The signpost near the boardwalk told us this is one of the areas considered to be part of the Table Mountain National Park.
This penguin was squawking for food or yawning when Jason got this close up.

This is Magoshe, the seller of the stone birds and hippo in a pool trays.  He claims he and his brother carve all these things in their workshop in their village.  He puts the initial of one of his children or his wife on the underside of all the birds and that person gets the money from the sale put into their account.  I'm not sure I believe it as we saw these birds, paintings and carvings in many places and I just find it hard to believe so many folks have the same talents.  But it sounded good and he was a very nice guy and I came back to him with different folks several times.  So he gave me a good price when I finally broke down and bought something for myself.
Some happy rocks along a path back up to the street.
This is a close-up of the bark of a Eucalyptus tree along the walkway next to the road.  I just loved the colors in the bark.  They have some very old trees here and they are protected, but vandals have carved obscenities in this one.
The docks at False Bay Yacht Club have clear water and kelp grows on the flotation  boxes for the floating docks.
Kelp grows on the granite rocks that still are in the waterways here in the marina.  Several rocky hazards are in the middle of the fairways here, making entry and exit with a yacht a bit touchy sometimes.
This heron sits below the walkway to land at the marina, waiting for a small fish to swim by in the kelp.  Those spearheads are part of the kelp sticking up above the water.
This pair of Egyptian geese have a gosling that they are very protective of; he is just out of the photo.  Strange coloring on these birds.
Another view of the rocks and kelp in the fairway at the marina.  Kids jump off the bridge to land and swim around here in the shallow waters and climb on the rocks and a platform anchored out in front of the play area.
The sun dial still tells the correct time.
This old work boat was tied along the dock in front of us.  Nothing fancy about this one.
Looking across the water to the town jetty from YOLO.  The small white building near the right had the best fish and chips in town.  Always fresh here!  This is the waterfront of Simon's Town.
Jason and Karen at The Boulders.
Karen getting ready to look for shells along the beach at The Boulders.
Too windy for the hat any more.  Had to backtrack to get to the sandy beach.  We found lots of limpets, but not very many other interesting shells.

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