It's already half way through January of 2019 and I can't believe it. Time seems to be speeding up as I get older and to be honest, it's a little frightening.
At the moment we are back in the Seychelles. After being in India and the Maldives, we came back to Seychelles for a while and then went home and when we arrived back I realized exactly how much I had missed it. South Africa is such an amazing place and while most of our posts have been about adventures elsewhere, this one is about the adventures of home.
We spent the first part of our holiday in the South Peninsula of Cape Town. Somehow the stresses of the city don't reach it and the absolute beauty of the mountains and beaches just catch me every single time. To me it is home, not just because my parents and siblings live there, but because the place as a whole is one that I genuinely love. We wake up overlooking the mountains, spend our days on the beach and come home for a braai (South African word for barbecue). My dad's potjie's (A stew cooked over a fire in a cast iron pot) are absolutely world class. I reckon he could give Ramsey a thrashing! He has perfected the art of the potjie since we have been away and my word, we were blessed with the best! Chris brought home some freshly shot tuna and dad delivered a first class potjie. There were also chicken ones (Chris and I did that one) and a prawn one. Absolute perfection!
While the fires were going and dad was cooking, Chris and Nate would skate and Jet would play guitar while Mum, Em, Mink and I chatted and drank wine. Jam sessions with dad's new iRig were fantastic as every jam session is. Man, I miss them when we are gone. There is something so special about playing music with people you love.
There were a few surfers this holiday as well and while my body took to the water with a shock, I really did have the best time surfing with my sister. The boys went to surf more gnarly spots than we were keen for so we made our own mission and had an absolute blast. I am so proud when I see her in the water. She is so fit and beautiful and to see how she has taken to the waves just makes me so incredibly happy and proud. When I got too cold and got out, she stayed out there charging with only one other girl in the water. Fearless little sparky.
Another highlight is always doing the Christmas tree. Getting the tree, the decorations and the carols is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas holidays. Well, that and the food of course. My great-gran passed away a few years ago, but at Christmas time, it still feels like she is with us. Every year my mum makes her mince pies and her homemade ice-cream. It's amazing how traditions are formed, how something as simple as a shortbread base, fruit mince and ice-cream can take you somewhere else entirely. How the traditions are passed through generations and we continue to pass them along. I think there is such beauty in that.
We had two Christmas's this year. We had one a bit early with my family in Cape Town, and then we spent Christmas with Chris's family down the South Coast. We did the whole nine yards for both and felt truly blessed to have so much love in our lives.
While we were down the coast, I played golf for the first time, nearly caused a few deaths in the process but on hole six out of nine I think I started to get into the swing of it, if you'll excuse the pun. Unfortunately, we spent some of the holiday with stomach bugs as well. This was rather inconvenient as last Christmas eve Chris and I spent our time in the Emercengy room and it was looking like Christmas eve was going sideways again, but thank the Lord we were all pretty much 100% by Christmas eve.
Despite the misfortune of not feeling so well, we managed to get ourselves to the beach quite a lot with some beautifully sunny mornings spent swimming and reading on Southbroom beach, and then heading back home to spend the afternoons by the pool, play Hackysack, soccer, and rounds of golf in the garden. G&T's were mostly the order of the day and sunburn was inevitable. If you don't get sunburnt at least once then it wasn't a proper South African Christmas holiday in my opinion.
After the South Coast we headed back to Cape Town where the majority of our afternoons were spent playing volleyball at the yacht club and tagging in out and to go swimming. I never really gave the sport much attention but oh my goodness, it is such fun! When you find a sport that your parents and youngest sibling can play with you, then you definitely have a winner.
Ironically, the water in Cape Town was warmer than the water down the South Coast this year.
New Years was on it's way and Havana Night's was our theme of the night and we had the best time braaing, dancing, chatting, and just enjoying the holiday. It was all going brilliantly until just after mid night when our neighbor broke his ankle while jumping over the wall. Not the greatest start to the New Year I reckon, but other than that it was an absolute blast.
I have realized something this year that makes leaving home even more difficult than it is already: Goodbye's never get easier.
With that in mind, we had to leave home once again to continue the journey we are on. So far it's been going well with rather extravagant amounts of rain in the Seychelles.
But more on those adventures later.
Our travels and adventures revolve around the oceans. Our days are planned by the tides. Our way is a seaward way.
I would like to explain how Seaward Way was created, where we started from and what inspires us. This is a journey for Chris and I, the journey of our lives together up until this point. We are still learning how to tell the story, still learning so much in so many different ways.
The ocean has always been where our hearts beat hardest, whether from adrenaline after the perfect wave, in awe of the beauty we find hidden beneath the surface, or from fear when facing the predators that cruise below. The way she churns beneath a boat in the middle of a sea on the blackest of nights with the rain beating against your skin, she commands a type of respect that only those who are inlove with her will understand.
She has bested many and captured many hearts, including ours. Life changes so quickly and time moves so fast, the future is never certain and we have found our one constant on these travels, besides God and each other, is the sea.
There are many frustrations that life throws in the way, and just being in the ocean makes it all seem so minor in comparison, whether its free diving, snorkeling or surfing. The constant vastness and immovable presence it has across the world put things into their proper perspective . When we were apart, Chris and I would both spend nearly our whole days in the sea and he would always tell me that it connected us. The waters were the same ocean. We were joined in some physical way and I always held to that.
We, lovers of the sea, nearly lose our lives to the her on a few occasions, but like some sort of addict, we always come back to it. I think it is where I am most passionate, the work I have had that has involved the sea is the work I have been most enthusiastic about. Well the sea and music and, to be honest, I see so many similarities between the two. Both a part of another world, neither are able to be bound, elements of them may be confined but neither can be constrained. It forms part of who you are and this is truly a magnificent feeling, it is such a great passion in our lives and we wanted to share this journey with any of you who are as passionate about the sea as we are. At the end of this post we have put together a list of our favorite atolls in the Maldives and the places to visit and things to do within them.
I have always been fascinated with shipwrecks. The beauty of what has been forgotten, what foreign objects the sea has claimed for itself and what lies beneath will always be remarkable to me. This wreck that we free dived is located in Vaavu Atoll of the Maldives. The atoll is picturesque and genuinely looks like you stepped into a post card or a chalk drawing like Mary Poppins. While the atoll may be lacking in waves, it certainly does make up for it in ship wrecks and shark dives.
Nurse sharks are pretty much the puppies of the ocean, and even though they get pretty large, they are harmless and great for underwater cuddles. It was such a great experience to be able to free dive with so many of them at once and to have them interact so beautifully and calmly with us.
Throughout the past three months we have sailed, cruised and adventured through some of the most incredible atolls! Had breathtaking waves to ourselves and learnt so so much! Our adventures are taking us back across the seas to the Seychelles and a whole new round of missions.
Our favorite atoll by FAR! If you are ever in the area, take a trip to Veymandoo and look up Jack Black and Sameer. Absolutely legendary friends of ours that know how to have the best time! Try the Beetlenut, the Roshi dishes and curry in the way of local foods. Be warned that spicy has whole new meaning for the Maldivians!
Explore the wreck on the unnamed island next door and snorkel the outer reefs of the deserted islands. The drop offs are epic and, if you are lucky enough, the Spinner Dolphins will give you the chance to say hello.
It is so much more wild than up North and if you enjoy the wild element that reminds me of our home (the African continent) then Thaa is definitely for you!
Like I said before, the shipwrecks were a huge draw card for Chris and I. The islands are gorgeous and also quite remote and if you are looking for a postcard holiday then its definitely a fantastic option!
The nurse shark dive is off the island of Alimatha and it truly is something special. There are night dives available as well with hundreds of sharks.
Last but not least is Laamu. This atoll has numerous dive and snorkel spots, and waves to boot! Lots of deserted islands make up this atoll and plenty of waves spread out over the atoll means lots of space for everyone (not such bad crowds! Yay!)
The islands are great and the locals are friendly and helpful! We didn't spend that much time on land while in Laamu but it is a definite recommend.
So it's been a while and seven countries have passed us since we last wrote to you. I can honestly say that I have learnt a lot in the past few weeks. We have sailed a catamaran across the Laccadive Sea with no autopilot, spent and interesting two weeks in India, surfed a bit, and amazingly, have only been sunburnt about three times since we arrived in the Maldives.
The weather has been crazy with winds and thunderstorms nearly every day. We spent the past two weeks in Thulusdhoo which was a tiny but beautiful local island with wonderful, friendly and helpful people. The anchorages were good and the mooring was free.
We have just left Thulusdhoo and are moving down to Vaavu Atoll and are beyond excited to explore some waves and shipwrecks! On Saturday we spent the afternoon on Malé on a supply run and with a storm pulling in and evening approaching we needed a safe spot for the evening. Chris found a small bay called Gulhi Falhu, and while it may not be the most scenic spot, it was great protection from the wind and swell.
The most valuable asset we have had these past few weeks has definitely been OvitalMaps. We have used it every single day. Its accuracy and interface are fantastic and it really has been so valuable to us.
On Sunday night we learnt how truly important it is to have accurate data. It was pitch black and the middle of the night. I woke up with a jump as the boat jarred against a wave and the anchor alarm turned into a constant buzzing and the engines started. The wind was wrapping itself through every single crevice of the boat at about 70km/h. We had put down our main anchor and reef anchor between two reefs just before it got dark as it was the only place we could find. Everywhere else went from 2 meters to 30+ in the space of a meter, maybe two. Before we had gone to sleep we had done our best to make visual markers and coordinate ourselves for the utter blackness that was around the corner. The rain had been relentless for the past 5 hours and had still given us no respite as we swayed in the monsoon around us. Chris worked at keeping us in one place because our anchor was slipping and our reef anchor had buckled and come loose. I took over the helm and Chris pulled up the reef anchor that was now bent. We made the call to lift anchor and keep moving instead of swaying blindly, closer and closer towards the reef.
Dave (the engineer) and I got to work pulling the main anchor up. We had lifted 20m when the windlass fuse blew and we had an extra 20+m to pull up by hand. We got it up, tied it down and moved off while feeding the rest of the chain through the gypsy by hand.
The rain and wind didn't stop all night and with a big swell running, the seasickness was a pretty real cloud over my head. I couldn't sleep when Chris was on watch and he couldn't sleep when I was on watch so eventually, after being soaked completely, we fell asleep at 5am.
The next day was much of the same and we kept moving until we reached a little bay and anchored there for the night. With more protection from the wind we were happily anchored next to two fishing boats for the night.
Tuesday we moved down to Laamu atoll and found a newly built harbor on an empty but soon to be resort, island. We found the channel leading through the extremely shallow reef and got the lines and fenders ready. I was on the roof spotting for bombies while Chris neatly navigated us into the harbor and against the wall where a few of the resort builders kindly caught our lines.
That evening Chris went ashore to ask the resort builders if there was a place that we could dump our rubbish. They said of course and the three of them, smoking Maldivian cigarettes, proceeded to walk him off into the jungle. They insisted on showing him the bridge they had built between two islands and the four of them stayed chatting on the harbor wall for ages. They told Chris how their boat had been damaged by the monsoon that had given us so much grief.
Despite the weather, the atolls are absolutely exquisite. The small islands are mostly deserted, leaving you feeling as if you are a pirate from the 1700s. The wind has calmed down a bit and we are hoping that the waves will be in top shape this week. We are craving some surf!!!
In my experience, we are all scared of something. Fear can be healthy in certain situations, but it can also be very unhealthy. In my life, it is something to be faced daily and I’m sure that for many of you it’s the same. How many times a day do you think of something that frightens, intimidates or stresses you? No matter who you are, I’m pretty sure that it crosses your mind. I know that it certainly crosses mine.
You aren’t alone. We have medical aids, hospital plans and insurance, all based in fear in some way or another and the reality is that it is part of life. I have grown up in one of the most dangerous countries in the world and I know what it’s like to walk out your door and around your town with the fear of being raped, murdered or mugged. It is a constant thought in our minds. Fear is a poison in these cases. Being scared does not help you! It changes nothing. That is the cold hard truth of it. I am the last person who should be offering any advise on this subject but I would like to share a few thoughts that have helped me when I have come face to face with this age old enemy.
Like I said, just a few thoughts. Remember you are never alone.
01:49 It takes me a solid minute to remember what day it is. This past week has been full of planning and the days seem to jam together into one and yet, at the same time, the seem to expand over more time than they actually consumed.
The day before yesterday we had a stunning dive over this massive boulder. We moved our way through the underwater over hangs while dodging octopus. There wasn't much in the way of sharks. Although I am taking my time in overcoming my initial reticence when confronted with one of these underwater killing machines that patrol the waters beneath us while we snorkel on the surface like a free happy meal, I was a little disappointed in their lack of appearance. I have, however, found the cheetahs and leopards I have worked with to be far less intimidating.
The rest of the day was pretty relaxed and we started to move towards our next destination at about 16:00.
Yesterday we were on the move the whole day and the winds were cooperating with us to some degree while the current was with us all the way, giving us a steady nudge in the right direction. At about 17:00 things got interesting. We'd had the one rod trolling behind us for a solid six hours and another two hand lines in the water at the same time. All we'd had so far was our lure stolen by what we assume was either a big Wahoo or a Mako Shark. Finally we got a bite, well more accurately a fight. The Cat was moving at about 5 knots and we were nearly at the end of our line. The thing on the other end had almost reeled us out completely when Mike managed to get the sail in and slow the boat down. With no bucket for the rod I wrapped a towel around Chris's waist and he started to wrestle the fish and the current that was putting even more strain on the line that was only 120 pound test. As the boat moved, Chris decided to move around the starboard side, then followed across the bow and down the port side towards the stern again in order to better his position.
We watched intently as he managed to finally get, what we then saw was a beautiful yellow fin tuna, to the side of the boat. As he pulled the tuna in, the drag slipped and the reel got an overwind so he had to pull the rest in by hand. I've never seen a fish put up such a fight before. I had never gaffed a fish before and with it thrashing so madly I tried and failed to do so now. Eventually Mike and Chris got the 20kg fighter on board. I handed Chris a knife and took over the gaf. As he grabbed the tail, the fish wriggled out of his hands, straight off the gas and right into my legs with the hook half in and half out of its mouth. Just before it managed to flip off the boat I managed to gaf it again and held it still while Mike beat its head with the baseball bat and Chris plunged the knife into its brain. By the end of this ordeal, everything was covered in blood as it's main artery had been severed, sending sprays of blood everywhere as it had fought us. We looked like we had stepped straight out of a Tarantino movie. To add to the violence Chris and I gutted, filleted and skinned the fish quickly. First time I had gaffed a fish, first time I had filleted and skinned one too. That night we had sashimi and fresh tuna steaks with guacamole and egg fried rice.
Right now Chris and I are on watch, moving at 4 knots with a bit of a floppy Code Zero. It's so humid that it is a strain to breathe. You know it's hot when the sea temperature is reaching 31.9 degrees Celsius and you are sitting in the wind at 02:00 in a bikini and you're sweating. Though we have only had a little wind these past few days, we've managed to move quite a bit and I have learnt so much. At the moment we are just 5 people from 3 continents, floating in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Chris and I spend the rest of our watch examining the stars and learning new constellations as we lie beneath the mast. At about 04:00 I start to drift to sleep a bit and we trade watches with Keo.
The Code Zero is replaced with the Spinnaker in the early hours of the morning and by the time we wake up a little later, the flat horizon has been replaced with the familiar group of islands that I have come to adore.
12:30 We have been here for a day already and have just got back from a dive, got the gear cleaned and footage downloaded. It's a beautiful afternoon so we are heading into the atoll this evening for a bit of exploring and sundowners.
20:30 On the way to the atoll we went for a snorkel over the one reef and were greeted by a gorgeous mass of reef fish and clean water. Some Black Tips joined us as well as a Barracuda...Those things have some serious teeth! The Atoll was as lovely as ever. We explored parts of the islands that I haven't seen before and by the time we left the dingy was filled loaded with pieces of rope, buoys, drift wood, shells and old glass bottles. Our version of treasure hunting.
00:10 We are on our way again and making use of the small amount of wind that has picked up. We are heading back towards the main island and plan to stop at another outer island along the way.
14:00 We have dropped anchor just about 3 miles from the island and the first thing we did after lunch is jump into the water with the two massive Dogtooth Tuna we saw as we arrived. We took the flasher with us and Chris is itching for a spear gun as the fish allows him to get within 2 feet. We spent about an hour afterwards looking for a reef that doesn't seem to exist and fighting a current that makes the ocean look like a river. The dingy moves along slowly and we finally make our way back to the Cat.
10:45 So this morning we decided that we would drag behind the boat as we were sailing along slowly. We had been doing this over the past few days and it is a wonderful respite from the heat.
Chris and I grab our masks, check the line and though we aren't 100% sure about it we figure that it has been fine for the past so it should be fine with just two of us on it. We jumped in a spend about 5 minutes dragging over the channel that runs to about 3200m deep. As I reach to pull myself back towards the boat the line snaps and I watch the boat move out of our reach far too quickly. We shout to Mike and thankfully he pops his head up and sees us drifting in the middle of nowhere. With nothing but a green costume and a mask and Chris in blue board shorts and a mask we are lucky that it is a calm day and they can see us. Proud keeps her eyes on us and soon they have the sail in and they are turning around to pick us up. The rest of the day is relaxed and we spend the whole of it sailing and reading.
We arrived back on the main island this afternoon and said our goodbyes. Unfortunately it is time to head back to the real world and we have a plane to catch in a few hours. Proud Cat has been a fantastic experience and hopefully we will all meet up again soon, and so, the journey continues...
Hey guys! This is our humorous bloopers edit for our ZigZag Clean Your Beach entry #68. Please follow this link, give it a share and please leave comments in the comment section. Much appreciated, and remember "Grab your rail".
The cyclone off the coast of Madagascar has been sending swell our way for the past couple of days. The 5-7 footers have been rolling into the south side of the island and the boys have been indulging while I've been beach bound due to a head injury. Last week I decided that a deep take off in about 1 foot of water was a good idea. My board and my face battled it out in the barrel and unfortunately my face didn't get off as easily as my board. My fin struck my nose and came out of the board and the rail got dinged into my forehead but apart from that, not even a reef cut. Stitches, and a week later it's nearly healed with only bruises and scars left to prove it happened at all. Not too bad in all fairness.
During this beach bound weekend we met a great couple, Mike and Proud, sailing their 46ft Lagoon Catamaran, Proud Cat, around the world and we got to chatting while I filmed Chris and Matt charging the dredging beach break. We started talking about the cost of eating out in the Seychelles and it was decided that a pizza evening was in short order. Due to the large amount of swell pulling into the bay, Proud and Mike were having a tricky time making it past the back wash and the sets. Chris and Matt gave them a hand getting past the backline. Mike went back to the Cat to get the tender to fetch Proud from the water and nearly missed her while navigating the surf. We stood on the beach pointing and shouting and trying to reunite them and eventually all was well again and I made my way to lunch with two broken and battered young men.
We decided to do this on Monday and with is came the wind and rain. We waited patiently, making pizza bases and baking them while we waited for a break in the rain. Our opportunity arrived and 5 of us jumped on the small tender and made our way from Mahe, across that bay, to the lee of Cerf Island. After a tour of the most idyllic Cat, the Gin and Tonics started flowing along with the pizzas, and stories exchanged of diving, surfing, fishing and sailing. It's funny how similar mindsets draw people together and it can be as simply described as a passion for the simple life, and being drawn by the love of the sea.
Yesterday we made our way to Praslin on the Proud Cat and after 28.8 nautical miles at an average of 6 knots of free wind propulsion (sailing only) we arrived in a bay and dropped the anchor.
Trawling was a great success and we managed to catch a Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo and 2 Bonito, part of which made up our dinner. The Wahoo put up a noble fight as Matt and I pulled it in on the hand line we had swimming off the stern of the sailing Cat. Chris and Matt then wrestled the massive fish with razors for teeth onto the deck and it was quickly gutted, skinned and filleted. That evening we prepared the Wahoo fillets in lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic and grilled them between a skillet and the flame. I'd never eaten Wahoo before but according to Chris, it's his favorite fish and I can without a doubt say that it has become mine too.
Mike is from America and Proud is from Thailand and I jumped at the opportunity to learn to cook Thai food properly. She and I got to cooking, well, more accurately I got to learning this time around, and I am incredibly stoked to know how to make egg fried rice correctly! We have been trading cooking methods as I teach her the Western ways and she teaches me Eastern. She showed me how she release certain flavours, and which methods she prefers to use in order to do so, as well as which herbs are the right ones to use for certain dishes. After Eastern food we had a Western dessert of chocolate brownies and vanilla ice-cream and politics became the discussion of the evening. This is particularly interesting when you are 3 South Africans, 2 Australians, 1 Thai, and 2 Americans on board. Trevor Noah would have had a field day!
The next morning I woke up to the sound of the anchor being hoisted. It was somewhere between 4am and 5am and the moon looked eclipsed with nothing but a sliver of light. The only proof that there were any boats around us were the single lights on top of their masts and we switched the radar on for good measure as small fishing boats, common to this area, wouldn't be seen at all.
Before we knew it we were back on dry land and still felt like we were swaying. The boys scored cooking left hand barrels that evening and as usual we are relishing all our time in and on the ocean... What can we say, our direction is seaward.
We have a new edit coming out next week so keep an eye on our blog, Instagram and YouTube!
Alrighty! So we have changed things up a bit and to celebrate we have a little something for you to watch. Subscribe to the Seaward Way below to stay in touch and join the adventure.
We're going to keep it short and sweet with this post and let the video do the talking.
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It’s been two months since we got married, that is the reason for the decline in our posts of late and we are truly sorry for the appalling delay. Between the holidays and the wedding we haven’t had much time for anything else.
"I have found the one whom my soul loves" - Song of Solomon 3:4
They say that three of the most stressful processes in life are 1: Moving, 2: Getting married, and 3: Changing jobs. Well, this past year we decided to do all three at the same time. To be perfectly honest, neither of us found the getting married part very stressful, and the wedding itself went beautifully which was all to the credit of our families. This was particularly amazing considering the fact that our families only met three days before the big day... We are basically the same person with the same type of background and upbringing, the same beliefs, passions and it was so wonderful to see our two families join the way that they did.
However, like all weddings, the guest list was definitely a tricky point. Chris and I found ourselves questioning the reason for having a large wedding. Was it to impress people, or was it to celebrate a special day with those we love? As soon as we asked ourselves this question we realized that we already knew the answer and our list was kept to 58 people. Small and intimate and we wouldn't have liked it any other way. We knew that we wanted to spend time with each person there and that we actually wanted to enjoy a meal with them and not be pressured with unnecessary obligations and expectations that we put upon ourselves.
It was a complete family affair and everyone was absolutely incredible. Parents and siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, as well as our friends, each of whom we can never thank enough, you are all amazing. We love you all endlessly and are forever grateful for your love and support and we are privileged to walk this road with all of you.
Christmas Eve arrived in short order, and we went from preparing a wedding to preparing for Christmas three days later. The Christmas season has never been a white Christmas in terms of snow, but rather a white Christmas in the way of beach sand, and to be honest, that is how we like it. Christmas day is a beach day for us and sometimes we are fortunate enough to have waves thrown in. What followed was table tennis tournaments, one bounce games, traditional Christmas Cricket and a mixture of left overs and braais. It is truly spectacular and involves everyone and everything we love most. More importantly, however, it brings our focus to the Guest of honour, the One who's birthday it is. We so often get side tracked with celebrations, family, friends, and gifts, that we overlook the real reason for the celebrations in the first place. Though we don't go to a formal church we have our own gathering at home, and we are honoured to be joined by Him. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." - Matthew 18:20. We are reminded of what a privilege it is to be able to worship our Lord Jesus freely and what a blessing it is to be loved so passionately and so perfectly. I have found that to be such a comforting way to bring in the New Year. To end off the past year with love and gratitude for all that has happened, both good and bad, and to bring in the new year with thanks and joy, with hope, trust, and faith that He works all things to the good of those that love Him.
New Years Eve of 2017 saw us flying out to Seychelles once again. The first flight went by quickly and our following flight was a relaxing experience, apart from the chilli incident. I ordered the pasta and I thought the lovely green strip on top was a pepper (no the hot kind of pepper) so I popped the whole thing in expecting the usual sweetness. This was sorely missed and my lips started tingly and the beads of sweat started to form on my forehead. The air steward passed us with fantastic timing and I asked for some milk. This took a while to get to us so in the mean time I drank a liter of water in under a minute. This didn't do much for the fire that currently raged in my mouth. By the time I got back to my seat the milk had arrived and I tried to make it last and not down it too quickly. After about 20 minutes the hell fire stopped and the night carried on without a hitch. We arrived at the airport, found a taxi with a lovely driver named Rhon, and loaded our bags and boards into it. It was a 45 minute drive to where we were staying and the rain held off for most of it. In the dark I couldn't see all that much except the dense darkness of the deep green jungle that I knew surrounded me. I hadn't been here since May and the green and the rain are a welcome change. About an hour after we arrived, the sky finally broke and the sheets of rain made themselves known to us as they hit the metal roof. We brought in the New Year in a simple way, dancing under the stars (we could only see a few through the clouds) in the rain, in our underwear with G&Ts, courtesy of our friends back home.
The Seychelles has treated us well, as she has time and again and, between the thunderstorms, we have been blessed with a renewed appreciation for the warm water and perfect waves. Among other things we have done some really beautiful hikes and discovered the wonders of the cinnamon tree. Chris decided to try his hand at ice tea and, using vanilla tea, he has added freshly shaved cinnamon that we have found on our hikes. It’s absolutes gorgeous and smells heavenly!
We have also indulged in our new favourite snack, courtesy of Seychelles as well, Bread Fruit chips. As far as addictions go this one is pretty healthy and completely local and natural as you find Bread Fruit trees next to nearly every road. The massive trees produce incredible amounts of the fruit, and the mangos, papaya and cinnamon trees in amongst these just make it a paradise of fresh and tasty goodness.
Our first few days here were consumed with the beach. Not many waves, but plenty of sun and great reading. We built our own gazebo from palm leaves, tree branches and vines which worked really well, though our location planning could have been a bit better as our creation didn't exactly keep the sun out, as it was 9am and the sun was still below the roof, which was its original purpose...on the bright side (excuse the pun) it looked great!
Since then we have been blessed with barrels of both the left and the right variety. Having never really surfed a barreling wave before, this was a bit of an adjustment. Chris's help is a constant as we navigate these pieces of moving perfection together and I am slowly getting used to dredging take-offs in 1-2 feet of water and then getting dinged into the reef. I have sizable bruises to prove it. Chris is somewhat used to suppressing fear and hesitation and it is slowly starting to rub off as I watch him get shacked in the perfect green room with a grin spread across his face. I feel like a kid as the thoughts "I want one too" and "I want to do that" run through my brain. The excitement is starting to outweigh the hesitation.
In the past two months we have started to get into a bit of a routine with new years resolutions thrown swiftly out the window as usual. Not sure about anyone else but mine usually get thrown out in the first few weeks. So many things seem to distract from the purpose you had in mind at the start of the year. However, I have found that aligning your resolutions with things that you gravitate towards naturally, seems to be the way to go. I have found that in the past few weeks, instead of biting off more than I can chew, I rather think of goals I want to set in the areas of things that I already do and how to improve on those. So, speaking of such things, here are my 5, new, New Years resolutions.
(Wedding photos by Callum Tilbury)
Have you ever wondered how couples make long distance relationships work? I have heard so many stories about how they fall apart and I have seen first hand the effect that they have on people. I've learnt that it is nowhere near easy to keep it going. You are split across the world, time differences, work distractions, friend and family obligations, and about a million other obstacles are thrown into the mix as well. Along with all of this, how the heck do you maintain your love across the planet?
We have been at this long distance game for eight and a half months and I don't know if we have figured it out yet, but we have definitely learnt a lot. We have put a short list together of things that make distance a little easier and we hope that it helps those of you going through the same thing. Share in the comments other useful habits that help you guys with long distance.
God is the glue that binds us and without Him none of this would work. It is important to us that we make that clear, first and foremost. We have realized that patience and kindness are the most critical elements in maintaining any relationship and that most relationship issues can be broken down into two things: Misunderstandings and Selfishness. So here are 10 things that you can do to avoid these potholes and keep your long distance relationship healthy.
1: Make the time to talk.
Even if there is a time difference, you are tired, have a runny nose and have stubbed your toe. Make the time to hear each others voices, even if its just to say goodnight. Voice note each other where ever possible, its much more realistic than a text conversation, its good to hear your persons voice at least once a day.
It's easy to get down and feel sorry for yourself about the fact that you have to be apart, so we always try to remind ourselves that we are so lucky to live when we do. We don't have to wait a month, maybe two months, for a written letter to arrive by ship because we can WhatsApp call each other any time of the day and it's instant. Video calls are an even better option. If you have fast enough internet, video call is the way forward. Video seems to let the conversation go as realistically as possible, and seeing the other person warms your soul again.
2: Share things that interest you.
It is so important to do this as it makes you feel like you are part of the other persons day in a way that is a little more tangible. It also allows the other person to know that you are thinking of them and want to share things with them. Whether it's a link, lyrics to a song, an article, a Bible verse or a photo, it doesn't matter, share these things with them and share things that remind you of them. Remember to share your life, you are still connected even though you can't touch.
3: Laugh together.
A sense of humour can work wonders when life gets a little too serious. Things will never always go your way and it is important to make the most of the situation anyway. Have as positive an outlook as you can during these times, add a little humour and you will be surprised how well it works, not only for you, but more importantly for your significant other.
4: Make plans for when you next see each other.
Planning for the future helps to focus your mind and gives you something to hang onto through the rougher days. Being able to count down the days also really helps. Try to at least have a rough date even if it's not a plane ticket home. It also helps you to use your time efficiently when you are together. You won't waste as much time vacillating on what to do, but will rather have a list of things you have been planning to do together.
5: Don't hold back.
When it comes to showing the other person that you love them and care for them, enough is never enough. You can always love more and give more. This is a fundamental point of loving someone and it also teaches you to love selflessly. This means you both give 100% of yourself and put in 100% effort, its easy to think that each of us only needs to give 50% and the other will give 50%, but for the relationship to make it through the tough times you need to dig deep. Always remember to put your person's needs before your own. Showing someone you love them doesn't mean showing them in a way of materials such as buying each other things. Showing that you love the person is as easy as listening when they talk or holding their hand. It is in these simple, and seemingly insignificant actions that the depth of love really speaks. Remember that.
6: Always be honest.
This is a slightly more tricky point and is to be wielded carefully. Firstly, always remember that your words and motives can do a lot of damage so always think about the reason that you are saying something and try to think about how it is going to effect your significant other. If something hurts, upsets, or concerns you, it is best to talk about it ASAP, (this goes for guys and ladies), because if you don't, resentment starts to set in and this causes a host of other issues, so rather just be truthful. In the same way, also try and understand where your significant other is coming from when they are being honest with you. Healthy honesty needs a safe environment in order to flourish and you both need to know that when you are being honest, you are safe and loved even if what you are going to say may hurt.
7: Be there for each other.
Be ready for midnight calls when she has had a bad dream. Read into the WhatsApp messages for the emotion behind them, understand the situation and give as much support as you can. This is probably the most painful thing in long distance, a hug is far away and your ability to comfort is sorely limited.
8: Make memories.
This is something for when you are apart. It is really important to have something to look back on and remember the times you have had together. It also allows you to feel close to each other and bound by something you experienced together. Take pictures to remember these moments and make as many memories as you can.
10: Pray together.
This is without a doubt the most important thing we have shared and learnt to do together. Keeping God at the centre of your relationship is the foundation that will not only keep your relationship together, but also keep it healthy. We were designed to live in a relationship with God and our lives will never be complete unless that is how we live. It is how we need to live both as individuals and as a couple. When you are centred on the Lord you can rest, knowing that He has got you and He will never let you go.
- C & H
Three days ago we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to jump in the car and cross the border from the warm Mozambican ocean and head to the South African bush. After hitting up Kwangwanase (Manguzi) for some groceries and some local fresh vegetables, we headed inland for half an hour to our old home, Tembe Elephant Park.
South Africa is well known for its wildlife reserves by tourists who browse the internet looking for things to tick off their holiday bucket list. Nothing could be more appealing than having the Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and the ever elusive leopard) right on your doorstep. Tented camps have become major draw cards for luxurious stays in the African bush, with these lodges providing amazing dining and nights under the stars, where you can sit in front of the bush t.v. - a crackling log fire. An evening spent like this couldn't be more perfect. Tembe supplies all this and more. The entire atmosphere of the lodge is one of African warmth and hospitality, where you feel most welcome. The love and value for the bush and the wildlife shown by the staff is contagious to all those who are lucky enough to experience this park and lodge.
Tembe was our home for four years in the early 2000's. My Dad, whose background is in conservation, was working closely with the Park management and the surrounding communities in pursuing community conservation options where the communities reap benefits from expanding the park's borders. Tembe is an interesting game reserve in that the land that the park is on, is owned by the community. There is a co-managment agreement whereby KZN Wildlife, a government organization, manages the reserve on behalf of the Tembe people. Historically, the land used to be marginal cattle grazing land, but now it produces sustainable revenue for the community mainly via eco tourism in the community-owned and run Tembe Lodge. The lodge is staffed and run mainly by local community members.
The Tembe Lodge was fully booked but my dad was offered the opportunity to stay in the Bhekula Sand Forest Lodge. Bhekula Lodge is situated just outside of the Tembe park boundaries (across the road) on 4000 hectares of community land. But due to lack of attraction (no Big 5) compared with Tembe, it never got off the ground and has basically been a 'white elephant'! The Bekhula community have recently approached Tembe Lodge and asked them to take over the management of Bhekula, and my Dad was asked to give it some constructive criticism. The end goal is to have Bhekula Reserve being incorporated into the Tembe park, along with other land that the community want to add in for Elephant Range Expansion. The result of this initiative is to expand elephant range while simultaneously creating permanent jobs in an area where jobs are very scarce.
We were a little apprehensive as we approached Bhekula, not knowing what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised with the accommodation and facilities!
The attraction of a visit to the Tembe reserve is found not only in the amazing wildlife and unique landscape but also in the local community who have worked together to create something beautiful. The Elephant Range Expansion Project is run by the Tembe Elephant Park Development Trust, with the goal of adding land into Tembe Elephant Park, thereby giving this incredible gene pool opportunity to expand. Tembe elephants are known to have excellent genetics, with some of the biggest bodied and largest tusked elephants in Africa. It is imperative for these elephants to have the opportunity to breed rather than be under a contraception program- which is their current status!
On the short trip from the Tembe gate to the Lodge to get the keys for Bhekula Lodge, which we ended up having to ourselves the whole trip, we bumped into our first elephant.
The first morning saw us waking up to an extremely misty morning. The mist hung thick and low and gave the whole landscape a rather eerie feeling. The spiders were out in full force and the webs, drowning in dew drops, hung suspended between branches, catching the sun as it made a weak attempt to break through the grey blanket.
Our days started before the sun was up and we watched the sun rise each morning while following fresh leopard and lion spoor with bated breath, as we traversed along the sandy tracks.
When our fingers started getting cold we would stop at a water hole and dip Ouma rusks in coffee and listen to the bush, along with trying to identify as many different types of birds as possible.
When our tummies started growling louder than the lions, it was time to whip out the skottel and fry up the eggs and bacon at one of the picnic spots.
We followed game from dawn till dusk and the experience was always rewarding. Whether it was elephant bulls fighting for dominance at a waterhole, a lion chasing down an Nyala, getting charged in the car by a breeding herd's matriarch elephant or simply just seeing the beautiful Nyala and their babies browsing, it is always a privelege to see such magnificent creatures up close and in their natural habitat.
The benefits of Elephant Range Expansion are limitless, getting land back to how it was 100 years ago and providing a way for the local communities to live without having to poach animals for food because those animals are bringing tourists, who bring money. You thus have the safest situation for the park and animals, where the community fights for the protection of the wildlife. This is not how it works with most game parks - the park management usually having to keep the jobless, destitute, and hungry local communities who often live adjacent to the reserves, from poaching in the park. However, here in the Tembe model, we have the community fully involved and protecting the reserve and animals for their own benefit.
Firstly we would like to apologize for being so quiet lately. We have been split across the world doing courses in England and South Africa but now find ourselves back in Mozambique where it all started for us just over a year ago. Being apart, our babies have been neglected...those being our surfboards. So out came the resin and the sandpaper, which brings us to the subject of this post, "What to do with your busted ride." Well like the old relic below, if it's big enough and old enough, paint the exposed foam with enamel paint and keep surfing it, you might find that it rides better... like this back end of a longboard.
That only took 15 minutes to sort out.. Now we are going deeper into surfboard surgery. It started when we found 2 boards (6'3 and a 6'5) on the side of the highway. The 6'3 had its nose chowed, tail in pieces and fins ripped out, and the right rail had a tire print in it, it didn't look like much. We decided to try and Frankenstein this one into something different with what was left.
Seeing that all but the centre fin was ripped out, we decided to do major surgery and create an alaia (old Hawaiian finless wood plank) hoping that this one would actually float.
Chris has made one of these alaias out of an old plywood shelf, which works well but as it has no buoyancy, it's extremely difficult to paddle.
Due to the fact that a car had driven over the right hand rail of our road kill board, compressing it and making the rail a whole lot sharper and the fact that home is a right hand point break, we figured an asymmetrical tail would be a fun thing to try experiment with.
You will need:
· Second hand strips of sandpaper
· A blunt saw (that Dad lent to Noah)
· A rusty set square
· A brand new pencil (that mom moans at you for because you took it out the art box without asking... And is now lost)
· Green resin that doesn't match your board.
· Fibreglass (donated by my uncle)
· Screw driver
· Scissors from my grade 3 pencil case
· Kitchen knife (as with the pencil, I also got lip for that from mum.)
After scrounging the wrong tools, that we can hopefully blame our poor workmanship on, we cut the tail off just in front of the centre fin, at a mathematical angle discovered by Plato, also known as, "Baby does that look straight?"
We then moved on to stripping some of the fibreglass off the bottem deck at the tail end of the board so that we could shape some channels into the foam. Having it as a finless board meant that we needed a sharp, long, straight rail so that the rail and the channels keep the board from sliding out.
From there we proceeded to guesstimate the volume and length that we wanted it to be, by the old "hold it under you arm and wiggle your shoulders " method, and chopped the nose off. The nose was now really square so we cut it at a bit of an angle so that it wouldn't stop dead in the water if the nose started to dig in. We then sanded the angles down slightly and rounded the nose off just a little bit.
Next we needed to add our own form of leash plug...we drilled through the top deck, through the stringer from both sides and threaded it through.
The glassing came next, in all it's itchy, messy glory. Our first mix of resin had too much hardener so it dried on us too quickly. After that the mixes got a bit better. You only really need about 10 drops of hardener per cup of resin. Don't be tempted to add more as it just hardens way too quickly and will get hot and burn the foam. But dont put too little hardener as we did while ding repairing all of the boards in the fisrt picture. We are still sitting, a day later, waiting for the resin to harden on 5 sticky boards...Disaster!
When applying the resin, first put a coat of resin on the board, then quickly put on the glass and then more resin and stroke the bubbles out with a comb. We were using a wax comb to spread it and it seriously sticks to your hands so unless you want your mom telling you to scrub your nails for the next 3 days or waking up with your toes stuck together, wear gloves and beware the drips!
Once the resin was dry, we sanded it lightly and painted the areas we worked on with enamel paint to hide the green and neaten up the board.
A new board for the quiver. What was heading for the dump is now drawing interesting lines down the point. It floats so it's 100 times easier to paddle than an authentic alaia and it goes well, if not better. The asymmetrical tail with the channels holds well and gives enough hold for a bottom turn.
And it was free!
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." - C.S. Lewis.
It was my first time renting a car. Paying for 10 days rental, the day before being in the same country as my new ride, was intimidating. When my mate told me that it would be much cheaper to prebook, the thought of saving money helped me type my card details into a web page, never knowing how fine the fine print might be. I was sure I'd heard of Hertz before so off went my card's CVV code. I landed at Cape Town International Airport feeling confident. I had a spring in my step, keeping pace with the business men coming home after a day of meetings in Joburg. The only difference was that I wasn't wearing leather shoes, but they all know slops are more comfy
I got to the Hertz counter, not knowing quite what the desk girl would need. There I was, I gave the chick slouching behind the counter my Passport, ID book, drivers license and the piece of boarding pass that air hostesses try to read your name off while smiling at you professionally. I smile, trying to look confident, hoping that I didn't give my credit card details to some 13 year old hacker the day before. All the lady asks for is my surname and I slip my ID contents from her counter sheepishly. She types away on her keyboard, quickly and fluently as only a girl behind a counter can, as I look on in amazement telling myself I too will dedicate myself to typing with all four fingers. She then makes me sign a Latin hieroglyphics contract that could possibly mean they are entitled to experiment on any children that I have in the future.
Starting off to my new VW Polo, thinking perhaps I need to wear a golf shirt while driving it and have a short blond comb over to fit in with the cool cat Polo drivers of Cape Town. I arrive at bay 82 but I don't see a Polo? I look around, press the key that's in my hand and a Toyota Etios Cross blinks at me. (Scratch of the head). I'm about to drag my luggage the 300m back to the office, when I realize that an Etios Cross has about 5cm more ground clearance then a Polo. That's when it transformed, in my minds eye, into a 4x4, dirt road eating, road tripping machine... even though the boot could only hold my check in bag
My sister messaged me while I was in the air, saying that she was jumping on a flight from Durban and that I should wait for her at the airport. I bounced into my new beast with excitement, hitting my head on the door frame while squeezing in and adjusting the seating to a normal human length, thinking of the tiny granny that was probably in here before me. In my new surrounding, feeling like the captain of a jet plane, I started to fiddle around, making myself familiar with the surroundings of my new toy. As one does, started to look into all the little compartments, secretly dreaming of finding something that the last occupant may have left in their hasty getaway for their departing flight. I tested the lights and gave the engine a run. The thing with these new cars, I thought, is that they are so quiet that half the time you don't quite know when you have stalled the thing. You have to pull away from a stop street hoping that she still purrs, while for some reason squinting your eyes and lifting your shoulders
After collecting my sister, still feeling a bit laden after eating myself into a food coma at Spur, we left for Hannah's place. It took me a couple of stop streets, indicating with my windscreen wipers, and I was settled into my cockpit.
The car...Young Etios (as I never called her) drove so straight and smoothly that I kept taking my hands of the wheel in amazement... wondering why a bakkie doesn't do that!
We hung at H's place for a few days while I went to my visa appointments (UK and Saudi Arabia), one in each RSA passport that I have. With both passports with the embassies I was now confined to the boarders of South Africa for the first time in a year. Relieved by the impossibility of being drafted off to some distant land, we were both incredibly happy with the idea of not having to worry about me getting a flight itinerary in the mail and interrupting our dinner dates for at least a week. I still had "Young Etios" on the leash and she was wanting to be set free of the city... free like so many of us want to be, unshackled from 'normal', unshackled from the same parking bay, day after day, the same stretches of congested road... free to go and feel alive, feel worth, feel insignificant...
But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air and they will tell you, or speak to the earth, and it will teach you: and the fishes of the sea will declare to you, who doesn't realize in all these, that the hand of the Lord has made this? - Job
As all good stories start, the storm of the decade was brewing, and we were looking at Google Maps for routes. We all wanted to go up the West Coast and due to the predicted storm, it was likely to snow inland. On the way back "home" (I have been at Hannah's house more times this year than mine...work...roll of the eyes) we would cut inland, in the hopes of making a snow angel, have a snowball fight and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows while in mittens, or whatever you do in the snow, (I'm from KZN). Up until now, Young Etios, who ran on nuclear power while driving in town as she didn't use any fuel, only had 4000km on the clock. So new, there were still the clear stickers on some of the dials, the kind you get on your new phone or watch, the ones you keep on for the first few days, not wanting your new watch to get scratched. When I dropped her off Young Etios had done over a 1000 km more. Luckily I had selected free unlimited miles or my bank account would be lower than my so called 4x4's clearance.
We headed out of the city and onto the beautiful, straight, empty roads that run up the West Coast. Most of these are perfect tar roads. And I kept piping up, thinking I was a Top Gear presenter, stating how well engineered the roads were and how pleasant they were to drive
he enjoyment of the drive was also due to having my girlfriend's legs on my lap and my sister rapping to us about her latest flavour of the month.
There is something strangely wonderful in a straight open road and in the freedom and relaxation of not having to check your mirrors and blind spots every 3 seconds. There is also great pleasure in the ability to maintain some eye contact during the conversation and being able to appreciate the way the passing scenery occupies the mind and keeps it from becoming bored, like a baby watching a mobile. Up the West Coast there are plenty of little, old forgotten sea towns, and the mind is never short of beauty to behold. Each one has something unique to offer and there are countless farmstalls to give you a taste of the land as well.
I must say, being in the car with two girls was great, firstly because I never went hungry and secondly I had no chance of falling asleep at the wheel. The female specimen is amazingly capable of keeping a conversation going for long periods of time and this was where it was most useful. The girls kept me entertained for hours. My favorite was teaching Em the basics of manual photography, and the two famous people games that we play while driving.
The giant swell that we had seen hitting Capetown wasn't really doing much up the West Coast. Being my first time up there, I was expecting to see Eland's bay heaving with giant waves, but due to the direction that the cold front had hit the continent, it didn't create much excitement. Having seen the stretch of coastline that was on our list, we started inland.
Setting up Google Maps for small Afrikaans towns that the lady on Google Maps pronounce in her American accent worse than I did made me laugh every time. The temperature was dropping and the sun was starting to hide more and more behind the grey cotton wool that we hoped would produce snow. I still have the comical image of my sister hanging out the window holding my dive watch on temperature mode hoping the degrees Celsius would go into single digits.
Our first night inland was in the Cederberg Nature Reserve. On arrival, pulling out half a pine tree that young Etios had managed to get stuck in her undercarriage after only 100 meters of gravel and grass track to the cottage, we unpacked. We had a quick hike, short but as most hikes in the mountains end, with a great view. Back at the cottage I got my alpha male on and made a fire, that wonderful bushman TV that engages all 5 senses in a hypnotic state. I was in my element, forced to make fire, to survive while in the icy house, that is a childhood dream right there.
I secretly hoped that it would continue to rain outside so that Young Etios could wash off all the gravel road that stuck to her coat, after my antics of trying to drift "the rental". In the back of my mind the Hertz lady was saying something under her breath about valet cleaning services charges...
The next morning we went further south towards Ceres and hopefully to where the snow lay not just on the mountain tops. Now it rained hard for about 4 hours while driving Young Etios was shining after that al natural shower.
We came over one pass not being able to see more that 100 meters around, the following day we realized that if we could have seen, there would have been snow very close to us. The next morning we could see snow on some of the peaks and now we had to get there. It was the climax of the trip, we had to find snow and Young Etios had to get us there and prove herself as a true rental, able to get to places no car owner would ever take his car that he has paid for with his own, hard earned money.
The Cederberg mountains were beautiful and being able to blame the lack of communication on the nonexistence of cell signal was quite wonderful. We were tucked away in an old farm cottage for our 3rd night. Nestled between two peaks. The rock formations of these mountains are spectacular, rock slabs balanced one on top of the other with perfect precision
Ceres was where we ended up finding the snow and although Young Etios thought she was the worlds best 4x4, in actual fact she wasn't even pulling with 2 legs, our best combined efforts to actually reach said snow was courageous to say the least. With great enthusiasm we hit the farm roads, the now muddy, wet gravel, at one time getting lost in what I think was a peach orchard. All these roads led to the base of a snow capped mountain. We were soon seeing more cars all heading in the same direction. At the base was a farm house with loads of muddy cars parked outside and people in ugg boots. Feeling confident and not wanting to muddy my slops, we proceeded, singing Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer", confident in my Mozambican sand driving skills and the youthful vigor of Young Etios to get us to the snow. That's when we started to notice the size of the other cabs on the track. Then came a river, that was easy... then came the 4x4 sign, and a fairly treacherous single 4x4 mountain track wound up vertically ahead. Thats when I knew that we had to turn back, not due to and lack of skill or mechanical will power, but due to a the single track. With 40 cars in front of us and 30 behind us, if we did get stuck higher up the mountain there would be no way of turning around due to the following line of 4x4s in an ant trail behind us trailing up the mountain.
Turning around was no easy task as there were about 30 cars lined up behind us on the one way track...we had to take control. H and Em made their way back down the mountain on foot to try and stop the next round of 4x4's driven by Afrikaans farmers. Thankfully and as I secretly expected, the Afrikaans farmers were delighted to be pulled over by two beautiful girls in tights. I felt a bit hard done by, having to do the drive of shame back passed the 4x4s, as though we had failed.
Back on the tar roads I was driving through every water puddle trying to wash off all the mud that Young Etios had been rolling in.
When we arrived back at H's place and had unpacked, it rained heavily, thankfully.
Moving the car the next day, to collect my passports, left an orange outline of mud the same shape as Young Etios on the pavement.
After a horrible goodbye to my two favorites, H & Em, I was off to give Young Etios back while on the way hoping that the fuel bar would stay on full so that I wouldn't have to top her up... it did.
I dropped her off, hung around with the Hertz guy and his little checklist book as he examined Young Etios, hoping he wouldn't look at the mud dripping from the undercarriage. I ask if everything was in order and went to the check out counter.
It's now 2 week later and I am still waiting for my R9000 deposit to be lifted. I have been charged with 2 or 3 extra R200 bills...
Trying to decipher the Latin hieroglyphics in the receipts, who knows, I guess they looked under the car and found half of the West Coast's sand dunes down there, and I think Young Etious must have gulped a mouthful of fuel in the parking lot to get me back for turning around on the 4x4 track.
Valet cleaning and fuel top up I guess.
ALWAYS TAKE YOUR MAGNIFYING GLASS WITH YOU... fine print...
When I was younger I had always fantasized about what the dream life would be. In my mind it was an island with warm water, clean barreling waves, coconuts and beach bonfires.
Chris and I found this paradise in the Seychelles and we have loved the moments we have spent in gorgeous heat beneath the palm trees and in the sea.
Time has less relevance there than it does back home and there is a beauty to the quiet and the isolation, an importance to an extended period of time where the normal concerns of life, somehow, don't seem to reach you.
Days are spent diving, snorkling, fishing and reading, with a surf or two thrown in when the swell hits the pristine coral reefs at the correct angle and the wind twists along the face of the oceans waves, holding her up and dancing with her as they move.
Sea glass and shells are the abundant treasures of the white beaches and stubbed toes from walking into buried coral are a small price to pay for such beauties. Fairy Terns often come and say hello, fluttering inquisitivly above your head when you stop to give them attention.
Evening's meant watching the sunset while fishing off the dock or drinking G&Ts in the sand. Chris taught me to fish...well more accurately I would cast and reel one in when it bit and he would do the taking the fish off the hook part. Learning to do the filleting and scaling was an interesting experience and extremely useful although a bit more work on the technique is definitely in order. While I struggled and continue to struggle with the methods of cooking fish, the locals on the island had it down to a science. John, a lovely man from India, made the most delicious fish samoosas, among other things, one Sunday afternoon and invited us over for lunch.
Homemade chapati, chicken curry, lemonade, chilli prawn sauce and a stunning fresh relish that he made with vegetables from his garden were a few dishes that brought the tastes and smells of India to his home.