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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

Cape of Storms

We headed back down to Cape Town over Thanksgiving weekend (my 2nd trip in 5 weeks; JG’s fifth!) to meet up with Catherine and her friend Steve. We headed out to Gansbaai (with a few – okay, five – stops at various Elgin Valley wine farms along the way) for a 2-day guided hike along the coast. Mother Nature had a few tricks up her sleeve, but overall it was a smashing weekend!

We had fun with waiters and wine-pourers asking the group where we’re from, replying that we are two Americans who live in South Africa, one South African who lives in a America, and one un-confused South African who’s where he belongs.

Setting out on a 15km hike through 50km winds

Setting out on a 15km hike through 50km winds

"Spookdorp" (Ghost Town). South African planning at its best: the government built a sort of national park holiday resort right on the sand dunes, which the beach reclaimed within 5 years of opening.

“Spookdorp” (Ghost Town). South African planning at its best: the government built a sort of national park holiday resort right on the sand dunes, which the beach reclaimed within 5 years of its opening.

Catherine struggling to stay upright against the wind (I just mistyped that as "wine", which is rather another story altogether)

Catherine struggling to stay upright against the wind (I just mistyped that as “wine”, which was only later!)

Self portrait to demonstrate how many layers were involved in this "springtime" hike. Sunglasses were employed as sand goggles.

Self portrait to demonstrate how many layers were involved in this “springtime” hike. Sunglasses were employed as sand goggles.

In the mouth of one of the caves

Johnny G in the mouth of one of the caves

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4 hikers + an angry sea

4 hikers + an angry sea

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Day 2 = much nicer weather

JG, on top of the world

JG, on top of the world

We did a bit of caving with the most enthusiastic old local guy, who gives tours for free just because he loves to show off the caves.

We did a bit of caving with the most enthusiastic old local guy, who gives tours for free just because he loves to show off the caves.

Whales! Hard to capture, but this was a mother/baby pair, and the baby was albino. So cool!

Whales! Hard to capture, but this was a mother/baby pair, and the baby was albino!

We walked by the house where we stayed with the Cape Town peeps for Halloween 2010!

We walked by the house where we stayed with the Cape Town peeps for Halloween 2010!

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Mud Camping

A weekend camping trip to Albert Falls to celebrate Lisa’s birthday seemed like a fabulous idea … until the torrential rains started as we were all getting packed up to head out on Friday. It had mostly stopped by the time we arrived, but UGH the muddy mess that awaited us! Regardless, we had a fabulous time, and gorgeous weather Saturday and Sunday for chilling by the lake and cruising on Terry’s boat.

Our muddy home for the weekend

Our muddy home for the weekend

The (questionably smart) people at the campsite next to us had brought their tiny adopted vervet monkey who was abandoned by its mother. This was the highlight of John’s weekend – and possibly his year:

Monkeying around

Monkeying around

Cornhole at dusk

Cornhole at dusk

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Winter Content

Durban winter = awesome. 70F and sunny for as far as the forecast can see! This doesn’t stop native Durbanites from wrapping up in layers of coats, sweaters, and scarves; but to those of us from colder climates, it’s a welcome change and a perfect season.

Roxy likes to soak up the last rays of afternoon sun by lounging on the fake rock that covers our pool controls.

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Ride the Lightning

Photos do no do justice to this lightning storm. It was one of those like you see in movies (generally gathering over the skyline of a doomed city like Metropolis), where you never see a distinct lightning bolt, but instead the entire cloudscape lights up. VERY eerie, very menacing, very cool.

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Sunshine Day

Knock on wood (or “touch wood” as the SAfricans would say), the rainy season has finally ended! Here’s a peep from the balcony today.

Hello, blue sky!

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Durban to Cintsa

Miles driven: 394
Cows in road: 12
People in road: 127

In the Beginning

We headed out for our holiday road trip bright and early on Tuesday morning – which in Durban, means 4am. I don’t know why the sun rises so early here, but it’s absurd! Most people take advantage of the early light to get in some pre-work surfing; we simply bought a 2nd layer of curtains.

Anyway, everyone we spoke to had advised us to get on the road at that ungodly hour so that we’d get through most of the small towns along the route before they got too clogged up with people in the roads. What’s that, you ask?

Our planned route took us through an area known as the Transkei, which was designated as a “homeland” during apartheid (basically a province to which the white rule banished members of the Xhosa tribe). Though it was somewhat of an independent country for a while (according to the apartheid-era South African government, anyway, if not the United Nations), it was absorbed back into the Eastern Cape province in 1994 with the end of apartheid.

All this is to say… the Transkei is REAL Africa. Much of the scenery is stunning: lush, green, rolling hills punctuated by rock outcroppings and sheer cliffs. But it’s also defined by grinding poverty, piles of garbage, free-grazing animals, and thousands of people standing or walking on or beside the highway.

Between the wandering cows and the throngs of humans, it was – to say the least – an interesting drive.

Onward to Cintsa

But just 7.5 hours after leaving Durban, we rolled into Cintsa Bay – towards the southern end of the Eastern Cape’s “Wild Coast”. We were booked into a place called Crawford’s Cabins, which turned out to be a complex of gorgeous thatched huts built into a hillside sloping down to the stunning bay. Internet booking WIN!

Crawford’s was AWESOME, family-owned and insanely dog-friendly. The on-site restaurant put on an elaborate buffet 3 times a day, and their bar whipped up a mean Pimm’s cocktail. Except for one venture into town for lunch on our second day, we never even left the grounds!

The weather was pretty bleak for most of our stay. We got in one great, long beach walk before the rain started, but after that it was just cards and movies while listening to the rain on our thatched roof. Hey, we live at the beach, so it wasn’t disappointing in the least! A lovely, relaxing few days.

The view from our room, looking out over a gloomy Indian Ocean

Our room, which got ransacked by monkeys while we were at lunch. They ran off with our mixed nuts, banana chips, and all of the coffee bar's sugar packets.

The beach was strewn with this pretty pink seaweedy stuff. It smelled slightly less pretty.

Checkin' out the beach with Le Rox.

Real-doggin' it up! She had a blast on the trip - played (nicely) with dozens of other dogs, walked and ran and jumped and showed off. She's still sleeping, more than 48 hours after we got home. Love it!

Roxy says a sad goodbye to her camp friends. These girls LOVED that pug! John and I both thought that the one on the left looks like a girl version of our nephew Liam.

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Rugbees

We went to a big rugby match on Saturday (semi-final of the Currie Cup series, Durban Sharks vs. Pretoria Blue Bulls), on what started out as a gorgeous blue-sky day. A few clouds started to roll in just before game time, but the real issue was the swarm of bees. Yes, weird.

The game was delayed for almost an hour while officials did battle with a swarm of bees that had taken up residence on the field. They were apparently agitated by the color red, which is unfortunate since it’s the color of the Currie Cup sponsor, ABSA Bank.

They sent out a succession of men with escalating degrees of weaponry: first 2 guys with leaf blowers, then 2 guys with handheld fire extinguishers, followed by 2 guys with wheeled fire extinguishers, followed by a full-on smoke bomb. All of that combined with swapping out all of the red sideline paraphernalia seemed to calm the bees, and the game finally started.

By halftime, it was starting to spit rain. By halfway through the second half, it was an old-school biblical rain THROWDOWN. We stuck it out to watch the Sharkies pull off the win, but we got drenched to the bone. Good bonding with the other fans, but nothing compared to sticking out a snowstorm in Lane Stadium!

Fire extinguishers…

 

Bigger fire extinguishers...

 

Smoke bomb!

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