A little bit of paradise

Today was one of those rare November days in Cape Town when the wind doesn’t blow. This is the month of the dreaded 10-day southeast gale, and although it made a brave attempt, the air pressure declined to play the game and we were left with a few days of glassy seas, light northerlies to take the sting out of the UV rays and a magnificent display of breaching and tail waving by superpods of humpback whales cavorting close to shore along the Atlantic seaboard.

About 20 miles out, a shoal of tuna is attracting every seaworthy fishing vessel, and the maritime app resembles a baitball in the sardine run, with boats cheek by jowl (or should that be bow to stern?) in a concentrated area. A constant stream of skiboats passes by as the sport fishermen join the bonanza, and the poacher boats speed by almost unnoticed, but not quite. If you are a tuna fan, now is the time to look out for it at your favourite fish shop – it easily surpasses steak as my protein of choice.

A visit to Fish Hoek beach this morning was an unexpected pleasure – a very low tide, people dotted here and there enjoying the spacious sands, further down the beach the trek fisherman were preparing to launch and, as always, the restaurant was doing a flourishing trade as early summer visitors return to escape the colder northern hemisphere. The shark net was up despite the orcas appearing to have sorted out that problem, and swimmers wallowed in the cool water, as smooth as a lake. The whole scene was one of peaceful enjoyment on a perfect early summer’s day.

Lunch was a simple braai in a shady spot of the garden, a light salad and good company. A fuss-free day. The dogs of course were taken to the beach for their evening walk and for us to sit on the dunes and look across the bay at a view that can never be tired of, particularly in the soft light of the setting sun. A huge bonus was a sighting of a pair of white-fronted plovers who live on this little beach, with the tiniest little baby plover running happily in and out of the piles of kelp while they made sure of its safety. It must have been the size of a R5 coin. A large dog came bounding along, and we watched amazed as the baby scuttled to hide in a little pile of kelp. Once the coast was clear, the parents ran up to the pile, and their precious ball of fluff popped out and carried on with its beach adventure. Isn’t nature marvellous?

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