Sunday, February 7, 2016

YOLO Hout Bay Feb 2016

I love the markets here in South Africa!  They are so colorful and the items are so cleverly done.  These are ostrich eggs on display at the Hout Bay market. They have been colored and coated to stay shiny.  All sorts of designs on them.  They even poke holes into them and make them into lamps.

 Looking down the dock at the Hout Bay market on a Saturday afternoon.  Many of the vendors are already packing it up, but the goods still out on display are representative of them all.
 The serpentine carvings are so well done.  I like the intertwined giraffes.  We see the same designs all over the country, so there is someone somewhere who dictates the designs.  There can't be that many carvers who turn out the exact same things in such volumes.  I wonder if us tourists are being taken and they are all mostly machined??
 The animal carvings are really quite good.  The hippos all have a different personality that comes through in the little differences here.  The meerkats all look similar at all the stalls.  Cute still.
 A typical stall with carved goods for sale.  The bowls in the back are all colorfully painted.  When I ask what they're made of, the answer most often is "Wood".  I realize that, but what kind of wood?  I get so many different answers to that question that it would amaze you!  Teak, mahogany, dolphin wood, marula, etc.  I'm not sure they ever really know.
This guy took off his left shoe and was holding the chunk of wood he was chiseling with his left foot in a sock, presumably so he could get a better 'feel' for it.
Big baskets outside a tourist souvenir shop.  Real ones this size are rare and may have been woven from reeds and grass to hold grain.
All packed up, these guys wheel their crates and tents to that blue/white container to keep it locked up until the next day when they pull it all back out and set it up again.  The shop with items still out has her permanent storage right behind her, a lucky one.
The clouds here in South Africa are amazing to watch.  They form and flow and blow through so quickly!  It can look dark and dangerous, but it may just pass on by.  These low-lying clouds would be fog to those in them, but they came in from both directions into the valley through the gaps in the mountains around us.
 We don't get vistas like this much where we live in Michigan, so I'm impressed.
 You can see the leading edge as the fog/cloud blows into the town of Hout Bay.
 It swoops up the hill while we maintain the clear blue skies above us, just a mile away or so.
 Looking north from the back of YOLO to see the clouds sneaking in through the valley behind us.
 Looking out to sea, you can see the dark line of clouds that is fog out there.  A local boat a few days earlier got lost in the fog and was pushed by the current towards shore, hit some rocks, lost its keel, rolled and two of the three on board were killed.  The photo in the newspaper showed the wreckage washed up onto the rocks of a beach north of us.  Reminds us how fickle the weather and Mother Nature can be around here.
 The cloud moves inland over Hout Bay.
 The leading edge as it creeps quickly into the bay over the water.  Cold water with warmer air sliding over it (or vice versa) creates the fog.  We aren't sure which is colder--the air or the water--at this time of the year
 One last cloud shot as seen from the deck of YOLO.  The far right edge may be the top of Table Mountain seen from the back side.
 A man's home is his castle--literally!  This one is on the hill behind the marina.  Quite fancy and fairly new, it sits all by itself on the side of the steep hill above the bay.

This man's castle is sinking.  His boat takes on water constantly and he is here flinging 5-gallon buckets of water out of it, trying to bail it out before it goes under.  Someone told us it gets pumped out once a week to keep it from sinking at the wharf.  Note where the water line is.
He drew lots of lookers, watching him bail water out of this sinking hulk.
He finally got a powered pump to get the water out.  Notice how much higher the boat now sits in the water?  If it sinks, nobody will do anything about it here.  They still don't have the power back on the docks after the power lines had been stolen for the copper.  As we understand it, the experienced harbour master was replaced with a political crony appointee and has never been seen since.  So nothing gets done or maintained in the harbour.  It's running on self-control and auto pilot.  Not a good thing for a major fishing harbour with as much traffic as this one.  
Jason ready for race day in his new carrot suit made of orange rubber.  He got it all salty, but only two boats ventured out in the 40-knot winds and chop, so they canceled the race and headed to the bar to drink beer instead.

 The local in the rocks on the left has trained a seal to take fish from his mouth. Tourists take photos and provide donations for him to keep doing it.  He claims he uses the funds to buy fish for the seals but he probably feeds himself as well.
 This boat has been sunk here next to the walkway in the marina for seventeen years.  It's now covered in kelp and mussels.
Kids play in the corner of the marina basin.  The folks on the far side are watching a man feed a seal from his mouth as in the photo above.  He does it every day there, several times a day when tourists are around.  Hout Bay is a popular stop on the double-decker bus tours.  The parking lots are full with beach goers and market shoppers.  Fresh seafood here is a given and the local restaurants here do a bang-up business of fish and chips.
 The rest are all seal shots from the marina and harbour.  Lots of seals come by daily looking for food.  On Fridays, the fishing boats return with their catches and the carcasses are tossed out to the seals and seagulls from the big tubs at the fish cleaning warehouse on the wharf.
 Are you looking at me?
 They just roll like logs as they glide through the water.
 Most of the time they are on their backs as they go by
 This one disturbed me.  He was lazily rolling by, blowing bubbles as he exhaled.  But the bubbles you can see are coming out of his neck!  When I looked more closely at them, almost all the seals had cuts all around their necks, like they'd been strangled with fishing line.  Horrible.
 One fin in the air and they turn directions.
 Just enjoying a free meal of fish carcass.  That white thing just behind its head is the bony remains of a fish.  They thrash it back and forth so a chunk breaks off and they chew it up and then go back and grab it again and repeat the exercise.
 This one decided to jump out and sit like a circus seal for photos,
 Sitting in the sun amidst the plastic garbage that gets tossed into the water around here.
 Aren't I cute?  But I, too, have a cut ring around my neck.
The black spot is on my camera, not the seal.  Some goo in a splash must've gotten onto the camera lens.
 They turn and glide so gracefully.  You can see some of the pollution in the water near shore here. The big boats still pump their bilges as they come in, even though they know they shouldn't (but there is no active harbour master to do anything about it now).  We pick trash and plastic bags out of the water whenever they get close enough to grab.
 This guy brings a slab of fish to entice the seals to take it from his hand or mouth so the tourists can snap photos and give him money.
 This one is just hovering, waiting for the next chunk of fish to be offered.
 The teeth remind us they are still wild animals.  This one has just grabbed fish entrails a lady dumped off the wharf from a big bucket of bones and guts from fish that had just been cleaned.
 A lively swirl of seals when the fish are tossed in.
 Such a pretty boy, standing up on his flippers.  His 'necklace' is still a worry.
 A blur as a seagull swoops down and grabs this entrail of fish and flies off with it.
 This seal has just thrashed a carcass and you can see the white bit landing in a splash beside him.  He'll chew up his piece and grab the carcass and shake it so another chunk breaks off.
 A handsome young seal.
 A seal jumps up to take the fish from the man's mouth.
 They spend an inordinate amount of time upside down for some reason.  These back fins just flap out of the water,
 Another upside down shot.  Guess those "Butt shots" are still popular here in the ocean waters, too.
And another one.  Looks like a seal propeller.

Looking down the fisherman's wharf at Hout Bay.
 A mouth of bubbles as this one grabs a chunk of fish and chews.
 Rolling along thinking about snagging another bit of free fish.