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Published: November 25th 2013
We are up around 6:00. Before breakfast the hotel manager show us around the gardens where they have erected nesting boxes for Eagle Owls (none in residence at the moment). Our next stop is the Featherbed Preserve. We drive to a dock on the Knysna estuary and board a ferry to the preserve. The goal here is to take a nature walk from the top of the promontory to the restaurant below for lunch under the milk wood trees. We pick up walking sticks as the trail is steep, rutted and anything but smooth. It's 2 1/2k and we expect to take two hours. Much of the trail is shaded which is a blessing as the South African sun is intense. Here and there we break out of the thicket to glorious views of the opposite headland and the estuary below.
It is here that I encounter the only snake I have ever seen on my travels. It is sunning on a step. Pencil thin and about nine inches long, it is black with an orange pattern on it's back. It must sense my presence as it slowly moves off the trail. Anyone
who knows me will be astounded that I didn't faint, scream or levitate. I was so startled the I didn't even take it's picture. In addition to the snake, I saw lizards and some of the largest beetles and other bugs I've ever seen. In addition, the were interesting plants and geological features.
The entrance to the estuary is one of the most dangerous in the world so that Lloyds of London will not insure any vessel entering between the headlands. Once inside there is a protected cove where one sailor commented it was like sleeping on a featherbed. Hence the name.
When I got to the restaurant, I asked Donovan if he knew snakes. He replied yes, Washington, D.C., New York and I realized he thought I asked did he know the States. Still I thought his answer appropriate, don't you? Anyway, I was told it was a bush adder and would have sent me to the hospital if it had bitten me.
We had a lazy lunch under the trees. Then it was time to get back on the bus and on to Mossel Bay. This wonderful hotel, The
Point, is located just above the shore and again we are greeted by the staff, this time with Champagne. Our room is large with sliding glass doors that lead to a balcony overlooking the ocean (still the Indian Ocean) and behold there are whales out there frolicking. They put on a great show, spouting and diving with tail wags and fin flaps. Now it's time to explore the area around the hotel. On the headland above is a working lighthouse and below an archeological dig. While some went to explore up the cliff, Joe and I went down to the shore where natural swimming pools have been created between the rocks. This protects the bathers from those pesky sharks that patrol the waters. Still coping with my cold so I didn't swim but was told that the water was about as warm as Long Island Sound on an August day. A number of people were taking advantage of the water. The rock formations here are similar to those at Tsitsikamma and I really wish I was better versed in geology. The Rock Dassies are everywhere and so are the little baby Dassies. They are really cute.
evening we enjoyed a private dinner at the hotel, just for our group. Everything was tasty and we had a lot of laughs around the table. This group has been amazing, really bonding together and taking care of each other. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked how I was feeling I could eat at LeCirque.
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