With Carl and his mom, Joan in town we got up early and got math behind us so we could join them on a day along the coast. We had been putting off a few things we have wanted to do so that we could do them with Carl. So with a rough plan for the next few days we go to it.
We met up with Carl late morning. The plan was max flex. We would go to the coast and go east. That should be an easy goal to achieve! Off we went, we were in the lead with our awesome silver Opel with Carl in tow. I was a good lead and managed not to force him through any red lights or loose him. (We did loose him once, but that was because I wasn’t driving after too many beers at lunch). More on that later.
We quickly headed south over Chapman’s Peak drive which we wrote about earlier. It is a winding road over the large mountain to our south. If you are the type of person that gets car sick, or gets vertigo from sheer cliffs next to the road, this drive is your ultimate nightmare. We stopped a few times to marvel at the view and to let Alexa walk around a little so we could avoid the smell of her filling the car with pre-digested breakfast.
Since we got off to a relatively late morning start, we all got hungry early in the trip. By chance, certainly not by design, we drove up to a restaurant we had on our list of places to try. One that Carl had eaten at a few years back on an earlier trip to South Africa. All agreed, we parked and headed for some good eats.
A little back story. The guy who works at the dealership that services Debbie’s car is from Cape Town. When she figured this out prior to our departure she pumped him for restaurant and other such recommendations. One place he said was a can’t miss was a place called the Brass Bell, a restaurant that sits right on the ocean behind a break-wall. They have glass to protect you from the spray as huge waves crash around you. The seafood is fresh and the beers cold. It was this restaurant we found today.
The food was very good but not great. I have to give them a mulligan on this one however. Evidently a winter storm had come through recently and the restaurant, being on the ocean, was pummeled. Much of the place was destroyed. The day we arrived was their first day open and they were running on a backup kitchen on a limited menu. No worries the beer was good and it was cold. It was so good and the service so slow that I managed to drink enough to pass the car keys on to Debbie.
Filled up (and ready for a nap in my case) we pointed east and followed the coast. We drove for another two plus hours around the perimeter of False Bay. This bay is huge and most famous for migrating whales. Navigating today was easy as we kept the ocean as close to our right shoulder as we could without getting wet and kept going east.
We didn’t see any whales but did enjoy the drive. Eventually we arrived at a small town named Hermanus. This little town is famous for whales and is a cute little town built on a cliff side with a traditional Cape Dutch look to it. The surrounding waters are said to be the most dangerous in the world as they have the highest concentration of great white sharks in the world. These man-eaters are drawn to the area due to the high numbers of seal, which the sharks enjoy as much as I enjoy beer. We are planning a return trip to try and photograph the sharks in a few weeks.
It was in Hermanus we found our whales. The ocean is so deep here that the whales were only a few hundred yards away. From our vantage point fifty feet up on the side of the cliff we could see them quite well. As great as the view was, it was not a prime spot for photography so we mainly shot pictures for family purposes.
We spent an hour huddled on the cliff side. The wind cut through our jackets from time to time and the errant wave threatened to spray us but we had a good spot. Connor disappeared a few times in search of yet another rock face he could climb. He just can’t seem to understand why we get mad at him for climbing around on steep rock faces above the ocean out of our vision. Explaining that he could fall and get hurt , and we wouldn’t know, just doesn’t seem to be reason enough to heed our complaints. Not sure this will change anytime soon.
We stayed put on our perch watching somewhere around half dozen whales until sunset. Once the sun disappeared the temperature dropped faster than President Bush’s approval ratings. It had taken us almost five hours to meander our way to this point but fortunately there was a faster way home. We backtracked a few miles and shot out onto the highway. The highway system here in South Africa is world class and the speed limit is 120 kmph (75 mph). The only worry is going this speed in our glorified Opel go-cart.
Today was a long day of driving but a good one. We spent a lot of time marveling at the majesty of the mountains and sea that this area of South Africa is blessed to have. We constantly have to remind ourselves that we really are in Africa. Tomorrow promises to much of the same as we head inland this time with Carl and Joan to the Wine District.
Tags: Cape Town, Hermanus, South Africa, Travel