Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Of Boulders, Blooms, Diesel Tanks and Dust - Part 3 this escaped me for a while. I suppose I better publish the next episode...

From our campsite next to the sea, we had a short climb back onto another dirt road, which was to be the norm for the next couple of days. We camped so close to the water that you could just about pee into the ocean (but we wouldn't do that, we're conservation-minded folks).

At a pitstop a short while later, I came across a pile of sun-bleached bones which, althought we did not know for sure, were probably the remains of some small buck of sorts. This part of the coast is really desolate and we would go for days without seeing any other living thing.

The drawer system really paid itself off, even though this was just our first trip with it. SWMSBO didn't have to climb into the back of the Mazda-rati to get stuff out, and I didn't have to bugger my back up lifting heavy bins so that she could get a kettle out for a cup of tea. Win-win.

There were a large number of abandoned diamond digs along our route and this is where this one, like all the others, ended up...down the toilet. But is that a room-with-a-view, or what?

In the heat of the day, we came across the wreck of the wreck of the Namaqua, which ran aground in 1876. There is some confusion when researching the Namaqua wreck as there were two ships of the same name, and both wrecked in the same general area, the second one near Port Nolloth in 1889. All that remains of this one is the large pistons from the boiler room, still impressive. I could not get near to the wreck due to a deep water channel between the rocks and I wasn't going to risk my EOS in swimming across between waves.

Our campsite for the day was called exactly that on our itinerary, "Camp Site" and I'm still not sure what the proper name for it was. Needless to say, it was picked out carefuly, so that we were sheltered from the elements to enjoy the beauty of the nature around us.

The following morning, the clouds and miserable weather moved in and we had some rain along the way, but it also helped to cool things down for a bit as we had had some quite hot weather during the days to this point, even if they were a little windy.

Another lighthouse...short term memory loss causes me to forget the name now. Surprisingly, even with all the fog and low cloud, the light was not operating. No wonder it's called The Skeleton Coast...

Our next stop was at the mouth of the Groen Rivier (Green River), even though the water was definatley not green in colour (where do they get these names from?). Just after this, we turned off this road and into the Eco Trail and some decent sand driving, great fun in a 4x4.

On this part of the coast, there is a colony of Cape Fur seals and, while they look all cute and cuddly, they stink to high heaven. It's not a place for the queasy-stomach crowd, as the smell of urine and shit is quite strong. Even the offshore wind did not take all the smell away. Here are a few of the smelly inhabitants of the area.

This little episode was quite sad. A female seal had recently aborted her unborn pup and was now desperately trying to defend the body from the scavenging seagulls and other seals around her. We sat and watched this for probably a half hour so are not sure how it all ended, but it probably wasn't good for the mother. In this pic, you can see the foetus in her mouth as she tried to protect it.

You could see the sadness in her eyes and I think she knew that she would have to relinquish her baby to the predators around her. She was just postponing the inevitable for as long as she could.

Mr C, giving us his best Kilroy impersonation.

Our next campsite, at Koringkorrelbaai (Corn Kernel Bay). The weather had really closed in by now and even I had to dress warmly. During last year's trip through the Kgalagadi, I only once had to wear warm pants, but this trip was different and I ended up getting dressed up on a number of occasions. One of the nice things of this site were the stone walls built by the park authorities to act as wind breakers as they really helped to keep our campfire in check.

One of the gazebo's was erected for a bit more shelter and was a blessing with the side panel mounted to deflect the wind more.

If you enjoy camping and you haven't got one of these gazebo's, why not? This is where they pay themselves off...

This is what happens when you arrive relatively early at a campsite and it gets cold. We had a similar episode in Polentswa last year, where everything that could possibly put a heat in you, gets consumed at a rate to try and prove the point. In both cases, it worked. But what a view to get trollied with, huh?

Bundled up against the cold. Thank fuck for the new sleeping bags too.

The blazing campfire, with grids being fire-washed for the evening's braai. Can't beat a braai in the open, next to the sea, freezing cold, lots of "anti-freeze" being consumed...can't wait for my retirement in a few years so that we can go and do this more regularly.

By now, the wind had dropped a little and we could sit around the fire. Later that evening, Mr C and SWMSBO had headed for their respective tents and sleeping bags, and Mrs C and I sat and stared at the stars for a while, drinking Laphroaig 10yr Old Quarter Cask tipple in the world.

I'll try to not let so much time pass before the next instalment...promise...