Backpacking – Whale What?
Seagulls circle overhead, a constant caw indicating their proximity. There is a wind, but it’s warm. I sit on the sand-coloured rocks and admire natures beauty. All around me are small pools of water, natural homes for small, amphibian-like fish. My presence is felt and a small cloud of sand rises as they take off to hide in the reeds. Mussel shells litter the bay, stuck to the rocks like a very dense moss. A wave crashes before me, as I hear one of the fishermen swear in Afrikaans. I understand now, after a second of interpretation, that he’s motioning to another fisherman to get back to helping him. I’m intrigued, watching as he digs behind a rock with a small metal tool. A wave comes crashing and he jumps out of the crevasse.
The sun peaks through the clouds, boasting a wonderful reflection on the water behind me. I realise that they’re breaking mussels from the side of the rock, probably to use as meat for bait. The guy with the tool quickly manoevers as a wave comes in, before getting back to the task. They look over to me, suspicious.
Why not just ask them, I wonder to myself. I walk over and start talking to them. “Are you from Plett,” one asks. “No, i’m not from here.” I ask them if they use the mussels for bait. “Yes. And also for eating” they tell me in broken english. Then they start joking about how eating too many had some sexual side effects.
I’m telling them about my studies when suddenly one prods me and says “look there, a whale.” And indeed there was. Not just one but three, huge whales just 25 meters from the rocks. “Wow,” I said, quickly navigating the rocks to the highest point to watch. Such elegence, blowing from their blowholes as they bob above the water. It’s amazing, standing here and watching some of the worlds biggest creatures just meters away contrasted with the tiny fish I’d admired moments earlier.
My second night in a backpackers was good, was up for a few hours talking to the guy in the next bunk. I took it easy in the morning, eating croissants and chocolate spread. Waiting for some friends to pick me on their way from Cape Town, I got to know some of the other guys staying at the backpackers – it was strange to find so many from the UK.
We drove to Plettenberg bay, stopping on the way at a cool roadside restaurant/shops next to an Eagle Sanctuary. I remember seeing some raptors when I was younger, but this was more real. Such fantastic birds – falcons and owls eating out of your hands, attacking in a swift, agile motion.
Now I’m staying with the friends of those friends (who also are friends of friends) and loving this endless adventure. I’m being rude, so best push off and join in the conversation!