Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Bad Weekend's Fishing...

is always better than any good day at work...

And even though the fishing was lousy, we still had a great weekend at Komati Lodge.

We left Shit Towne on Friday afternoon, around midday, to drop house keys off at Steph's aunt who was looking after the house and the monsters for us. Needless to say, Steph and aunty had to catch up on the latest gossip, so we only ended up hitting the highway around 1pm. I was not impressed as I wanted to get to the lodge around check-in time, which was 2pm. With around 300km to go, we were going to be late. On top of all that, we'd seen two accidents on the other side of the highway, both causing the direction we were supposed to be going, to be blocked. I decided to take an alternate route and, though definately more scenic than the Witbank highway, turned out to be about 30km longer. However, rather that, than have to sit in gridlocked traffic for 30mins.

We took the N12 out past Springs, heading for Carolina which I knew was vaguely in the right direction we were going. I'm pretty good at navigating by the sun, so as long as it was on my left shoulder I more or less knew we would be okay. Only once we hit Trichardt though, was I a little concerned, but a friendly traffic cop who must have got worried when I voluntarily pulled off the road (maybe he thought I was going to give him a hundred bucks, just in case I was going to do something wrong), guided us in the right direction, "Eehhh, kerry on heah, jump the foway stop end tek the neks lef by de Engen gareeg". BTW...his exact words were "jump the four way stop" and I was about to take him to task and make a joke about maybe stopping, but I let it go...we were in a rush as Steph needed to get to the Engen's loo...

As it happened, the Engen was still 30km away and we barely made it before the car filled with warm, pale yellow liquid, but seeing the condition of the place decided that we'd hunt down the local Wimpy as they would probably have better facilities and we could grab a quick take-away too.

Satisfied on almost all fronts, we hit the road again to discover that Carolina was another 70km away. Not too bad...

We found the turnoff to the lodge and hit the dirt road. We only had another 13km to go and we could start chilling. The road was typical dirt road, full of rocks and slippery sand, but the bakkie handled it fine. As we opened the large game-control gate, we saw a huge Kudu bull standing about 100m to our left which, as we drove away, walked down toward the gate. I'm convinced he's trying to make a getaway as he did exactly the same thing when we left on Sunday afternoon.

The lodge is nestled right in the gorge (which might rightly explain its name) and you have a serious downhill gradient to negotiate before you get there. Luckily they concreted the road as, in wet weather, there isn't a hope in hell that you would get out, or might have a serious crash if you were going down the hill.

It's actually a strange setup that they have, as it's very unusual to have the lodge and all the chalets facing a huge rock face, literally 100m in front of the buildings. I would have pointed them all a little to the right which would at least have given a view of the gorge itself and made for more interesting viewing. Anyway, it is very picturesque and is still better than looking at highrise buildings.

We checked in without any major problems ("I can't seem to find your booking. Oh wait, there it is") and were shown to our River Lodge unit which was located right next to the top trout dam. There were a few rises and I was chomping at the bit to get the rods tackled up. As it was, we had to unpack the bakkie (I had two bags, one for clothing and the other for fishing tackle, while Steph had about 43 suitcases) and then investigate what we had in the unit before I poured us a Capn's Organ and started assembling fly rods.

The wind was blowing a little too strong for my liking, but it was also concentrating surface-feeding trout at one end of the dam so I was sure we would get a pull on a dry fly. No such luck. The lodge has a catch-and-release policy, so it is my considered opinion that all the remaining trout had been pricked by hooks so regularly that they had been able to distinguish between a fishing fly and a real one.

Having had not even a pull, we retired back to our unit for another drink before dinner, which was served in the main lodge building. It was a set menu, with a choice of three starters, main courses and desserts. I settled on the rump steak as my meal, as I wasn't too hungry, and Steph had the salad to start, followed by the chicken dish for a main course. Neither of us bothered with the desserts, except for the couple of Capn's Organs we had, followed by the Laphroaig 10yr old Quarter Cask back in our unit.

The lodge is extremely well-equipped and we even had an electric heater (the fireplace had been converted to gas, which wasn't working apparently) and electric blankets on the bed, so we were nice and warm during our entire stay.

It was great to not be woken by our dogs through the night and to get a full night's sleep for a change.

We woke just after 7am, refreshed and decided to go and throw a few more flies at unwilling trout in the dam outside the unit. I prepared a floating line and dry fly rig for Steph, gave her some basic casting tips and let her get about her morning exercise. For myself, I rigged up a sinking line and a beaded nymph, but neither of us had any joy so we decided to give it a break just after 9am and go for breakfast.

Once we'd eaten enough and had a cup of tea, we took a drive to the bottom dams on the farm to see if the trout there would be any more cooperative, but we couldn't even get a line thrown due to the strength of the wind that was blowing through that part of the gorge.

At around 11am, we hung the rods up at the unit and took a walk along the river in front of the lodge, to see how the yellowfishing might be, but the water looked very calm and too off-colour to tempt me to get the boat out and the waders on. Instead, we drifted back to the unit and took a quick mid-morning snooze...all that fresh air really tires you out, believe me.

We had ordered a picnic basket for lunch and, at just after midday, I picked it up from reception. We decided to take a drive around the farm to see what game there was, but then came upon a road with a sign that read "weir", so we decided to see what that looked like. As you can see, it was a pleasant little spot, on the river, which looked like it might offer up a few yellowfish on a summer's day. for today, however, we were content to sit in the shade on the river bank under a rock ledge and just watch the time and river go by.

The picnic itself was nothing fantastic, but we had some snacks and a couple of colddrinks and I took a walk down a short stretch of the river to see what was around the next bend.

Before we headed back to the lodge around 14h30, we must have spent a good half hour watching Mayflies hatching on the water next to us. They're amazing little creatures which spend the first part of their lives under water in a larvae state, then at some point (after getting all wrinkly from the water, I suppose) decide that they need fresh air and a shag, and they swim to the surface where, in literally a second, they split their shuck open along their back and fly off with the wind, to spend the short 24 hours of their lives procreating and laying more eggs on the water's surface for the cycle to begin again. It was quite fascinating to watch them evading predators (wasps and flies) by quickly swimming to the surface, breaking open the shuck, and flying away.

A few photos of the weir later, we headed back to the lodge to go and watch the Springboks get an absolute hiding from the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. What a disappointment to the afternoon. I had tipped the 'Boks to win by six points, but in the end they didn't even score one, going down 19 - 0 to a far superior team in all respects. I thought the 'Boks had made only one mistake in the game.....they arrived at the stadium. Actually, the one mistake was playing a sadly out of form Fourie du Preez instead of (and I hate to say it cos I seriously dislike the little fuckers attitude) an on-form Ricky Januarie. Du Preez didn't have a clue, and I was wondering how may times he was going to make the same mistakes before he realised that the 'Blacks were onto him. As it happened, he didn't realise and they just kept shutting him down.....dom fokken Bloubul...

After the game, the wind had dropped a little, so we decided to give the trout dam another crack to see if we could entice any of the little fuckers this time. Again, the wind had blown the Mayfly hatch into a corner of the dam and Steph plonked her DDD fly in between the fish, without any success. Steph later claimed that she'd had a chase but had struck too late. If anything, the fish had felt the prick of the hook and spat it out, leaving Steph a little irritated.

We came off the water just before dark and sat in our unit, with the warmth of the fire next to us, having a drink before dinner. I popped out into the cold winter air now and then to see if the moon had come up, as there was supposed to be a lunar eclipse starting around 19h30. The air was lovely and clean, but there was almost full cloud cover by now with the moon only peeping out when a hole in the clouds passed. By 8pm, I'd decided that my stomach was empty enough to go for dinner instead of waiting for the moon to show itself, but I took the binoculars along with us in case.

We had another great dinner, accompanied by another couple of Capns' Organs, and the lodge maitron asked why I had the binoculars with me. She said that she hadn't known about the eclipse, but by the time we'd had dinner the clouds had gone and we made our way back to the unit to see if it would happen. By 10pm, however, I was disillusioned enough (and the clouds had returned) to say "fuckit" and went to bed to read for a while. Apparently, the next lunar eclipse is only in December 2010, so hopefully I'll be around to see it.

That night's sleep must have been one of the best I've ever had as, when I woke on Sunday morning, I looked at my watch to see that it was 09h40, and we had only 20mins before official checkout time. I must have slept for almost 11hrs and Steph, for even longer as she didn't bother reading the night before.

We scrambled out of bed, had a quick shower, and then headed off for a late breakfast. Luckily, the lodge maitron had told us they were going to serve a brunch rather than the usual breakfast, so no-one batted an eyelid when we arrived.

Following a light brunch, we packed our bags reluctantly and then the bakkie. At about then, a light rain started falling and the temperature dropped a few more degrees. It was now, I reckon, just above freezing point and I expected the rain to turn to snowflakes, but that didn't happen before we left the lodge.

After settling the bill for meals and drinks, we hit the dirt road and then the N4 highway in pouring rain, which lasted almost halfway home, and is really unusual for this time of year.

As usual with such weekends, it was too short and, had it not been for the price tag, I would have booked us in for a couple of days longer. However, at almost R1k a night for the two of us, excluding dinner and drinks, and fuel to and from the lodge, it got me thinking that it would have actually been cheaper to drive down to my folks for the weekend. We'll do that next time, I think. There's a short week coming up in September, for which I've already taken a couple of days off, and we'll go down and see how the folks are getting on each others nerves these days...

Our Unit - top floor

View of the Gorge Wall

View to the right, into the gorge

View across the top trout dam to another unit

Ok, now what the fuck do I do with this?

Full moon rising over the Gorge

View to the right of the Weir - some rich fuckers new mansion in the distance

View to the left of the Weir

Our picnic spot at the Weir

The Weir

Adventurous me, checking out the river for future fishing expeditions

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We need to get out of Shit Towne for a few days...

so I thought I'd spoil us and booked us on a weekend away at Komati Gorge Lodge.

We are both seriously stressed in the Shit Towne environment and can do with a couple of days R&R, on top of which I can satisfy my lust to go fishing a little too.

We'll be leaving Shit Towne on Friday at about 10am, will probably have lunch along the way, and check in at 2pm sharp-ish.

No doubt I'll be fly fishing within a half hour of checking in...

I'll take some photos and post them next week sometime...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Apparently, this is a real Zimbabwean cheque...

I wouldn't be surprised if it was, seeing as the country has the highest inflation rate ever recorded in human history...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Children's Bible in a Nutshell...

A child was told to write a book report on the entire Bible. I wonder how often we take for granted that children understand what we are teaching???


In the beginning , which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one, but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did. Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden. Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars. Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he Was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than His brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top ten Commandments. These include don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff. Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed upon the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn, too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.')

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyway's, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.