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Published: September 4th 2015
We woke early to clean the house in Bredasdorp, pack our bags and still make an early departure. Lindsey and I were going off by ourselves to Hermanus, a world-famous whale watching point.
The drive to Hermanus was a fascinating array of geology and botany. One particularly interesting formation was a hillside Lindsey described as being like the wrinkles of a sitting elephant. The rocks strewn across the slope formed concentric circles. I have no idea how they formed but it must have been a fascinating process. Since I was driving, I couldn't fully appreciate the beauty of the red soil and rich green grass. As a photographer I find it difficult to speed past without stopping, but sometimes progress must be made.
Not far from Hermanus we came to a cross-roads; to our left was the shorter road home, via Caladon; to our right the road for Hermanus; and in front the lovely little town of Stanford. We chose Stanford, mainly due to the presence of a farm stall - which turned out to be closed. We entered the town and noticed we were on Queen Victoria Street. Either side antique shops flanked the tree-lined road. Stanford is
a charming, picturesque town full of very friendly people.
The first place we went to was the tourist information. Inside was a bubbly lady, who obviously didn't get many visitors. We discovered a wealth of information and so many things to do that we couldn't have accomplished them in a week, let alone the hour we had. It was surprising how much this small town, no larger than an English village, had to offer.
Upon leaving the tourist bureau, we went into a few antique shops which were full of lovely and interesting things but we weren't really buying. Lindsey picked up an old postcard and the owner of the shop wouldn't let her pay for it. We walked to the end of the street and found another antique shop, which was also a second-hand bookshop and guest house. The lady in there was originally from Barnsley and had lived in many other places around the world. We had a good chat and then as we were leaving she insisted we take a postcard with her house on it - she was proud of living in the oldest building in those parts. We left admiring the house and
the distinctive church across from it.
Our stomachs were telling us it was lunchtime so we went to the local Spar shop which appeared to be housed in a former warehouse. We bought hot food and a couple of chocolate bars and took it to the local dam which lay between the old town and the more recent township. The setting was picturesque, if litter-strewn. Unfortunately, the food didn't match the scenery... it tasted like it had been sitting there for a week on the warm plate. The chips may have been even older. We also looked at the date on the chocolate bars, special Easter confection, which was left over, not from one but two years ago. We regretted the food but were having a lovely day.
It was time to leave for Hermanus. The drive was short, though the outskirts of the town seemed to stretch for miles. We arrived and struggled to find parking. Eventually we found one space in a really good position... on top of the cliffs.
We climbed up to the cliffs and our attention was pulled in several directions at once. In front of us was the wide deep blue
expanse of the Atlantic Ocean in Hermanus bay. At the far side of the bay we could dimly make out the headland of the other end of the bay. Looking down the cliffs, to our left was the Boiling Pot and to our right was Fick's Pool.
The Boiling Pot is a small area of roiling seas. It has a selection of rocks of different heights, mostly submerged under the sea. As the waves come in they crash over the rocks from in front, then bounce off the cliffs and cover the rocks from behind. The effect is a constantly swirling mass of water which looks very impressive. Looking beyond, further to the left, behind the headland, is a patch of sea which is eerily calm in comparison. The only thing disturbing its surface is a tail of foam, the remnant of the turmoil at Boiling Pot.
Fick's Pool is a cliff-lined channel which the waves roll straight into. At the far end is a huge mound of rock which upon which large black birds perch. Occasionally a huge wave crashes into the mound and startles the birds. The pool itself is white with the tumultuous waters, constantly
crashing in and reflecting from the different cliff faces. Every so often a larger wave will roll in and erupt against the cliff face throwing up a huge white cloud of spray. The sight is awe-inspiring; it really demonstrates both the destructive force and beauty of nature. Beyond Fick's Pool are further cliff channels and beyond them, still more. The whole area is a seething field of water. We could have sat for hours delighting in it.
Also distracting us was the rocks directly under our feet which rose straight in front of us in a looming mass. These rocks are the home to dassies: cuddly looking grey rodents. The dassies were stretching out in the sun, sometimes lying side by side together. We spent quite a while watching their activities as they darted in and out of rocks. These cute beasts were surprisingly hard to photograph as they blended so perfectly with the rocks.
We eventually pulled ourselves away from the cliffs and went to search for an ice cream. En route, we passed several art exhibitions on the cliff tops. We also passed a large impressive WW2 memorial complete with two artillery pieces. Near to the
memorial we spotted Hermanus' Whale Crier but couldn't make out what he was telling us. Unfortunately we didn't spot any whales at all during the day. The town itself wasn't very inspiring or pretty, despite its location. We eventually found an ice cream shop but our cornets disappointed us.
After our ice cream we walked down the headland. As we walked the cliffs got lower and there started to be some bushes along the path. The bushes displayed a vibrant selection of flowers which I enjoyed photographing. Running in and out of the bushes were more dassies. We dropped down from the headland to the beach below and sat on the rocks. It was amazing how much time could be whiled away just watching the sea.
We soon had to leave though as we had planned to drive over the scenic route back to Cape Town and wanted to catch the setting sun. This route took us over Betty's Bay and Gordon's Bay. We were too tired to fully appreciate the view but the sun setting over the red rocks and blue ocean was just gorgeous. We stopped for a few photos but quickly pushed on. We reached
home tired and hungry but buzzing with the wonderful day we'd had.
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