The urban porcupine is often considered a pest due to their destructive habit of digging for bulbs and a prize garden can be wrecked overnight. They belong to the rodent family although in my view they are rather exotic members. One of our Afrikaans poets, (I think it was Breyten Breytenbach) described breaking waves as “porcupines storming a beach” (or words to that effect). The imagery has stuck and I see their fine spindrift spines swept back in curves. Their arrangement of quills is fascinating, the long body quills graduate to short stumpy stabbing weapons, while the head quills are fine and coiffed back in long strands. They’re a difficult subject to photograph as they are shy and skittish, but this evening the waves are pounding below and the click of my camera was disguised by the heartbeat of the sea.