The storm brings a feast for Cape baboons

Two days have passed since the storm and the sandy beach where I photographed the galloping zebra has altered in the aftermath. Today it is strewn with huge piles of kelp,  dislodged by the powerful waves and borne in on the spring high tide.

The kelp brought with it a bonanza for the baboons, a feast of  mussels still attached to the fronds.  The baboons living along the coast supplement their diet with this highly nutritious resource which is rich in omega oils.  They tucked in with gusto, and I noticed that some of the older females had packed their cheek pouches until they bulged into hanging pouches.  There was a lot of ‘chatter’ as they sucked and chewed and a delightful sound of ‘hiccups’ as one greedy adult male gulped down the morsels far too quickly.

The Road Taken: Ecosystem Engineers

Travelling through Sweden last summer, a back road through a forest took us through an unexpected landscape.  It looked as though a storm had cast it’s devastation striking down trees which lay hapzardly across a water course.  On closer inspection it turned out to be a piece of skillful engineering accomplished by a rather innocuous looking creature.  It was my first encounter with the extraordinary feats of a beaver family’s industrious accomplishments.

Their ability to physically alter habitats by cutting down trees, building dams, digging canals and building lodges has resulted in their recognition as ecosystem engineers.  The resulting change to the environment is far reaching, benefitting and altering the distribution and abundance of many organisms.

WPC: “The Road Taken”.

Flotsam Art

Ocean pollution is a huge concern worldwide, but head way up to 71*N in the extreme northern hemisphere to the remote village of Honningsvåg, on the island of Magerøya in the North Cape of Norway and meet Erica Haugli through her blog – Experience North Cape and Once Upon a Dream and be aware of  how bad the problem is there. Her campaign “One Step at a Time” to clean up the environment along the coastal stretches in this far flung spot on the map can be read here.
Her idea was to create colourful art collages out the odd shoes, boots and plastic to raise awareness to the mass of flotsam and rubbish deposited by the ocean currents on the once pristine shores.  What an eye-opener to learn that there is so much waste in the ocean so far north.  She achieved her aim and by 2014 her gallery was opened to the public.

Shoe art by Erica Haugli_01

Midnight sun_Erica Haugli

I was fortunate to travel with my husband to these remote parts on a journey aboard ship to see the northern lights and other magnificent wonders.  The day we stopped in Honningsvåg the wind was so ferocious that the trip to the North Cape was cancelled.  Happily we did get to ‘walk’ the village without being blown back out to sea.   Although I never got to meet Erica, as at the time she was down with a bad dose of flu, I was in awe of the hardy inhabitants who live at the edge of this inhospitable but hauntingly beautiful landscape.  Her artwork reflects these local scenes and topics, perhaps you’d like to check her online galleries.

HonningsvagVillage of Honningsvag

Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Repurpose

 

 

 

 

CT Fires: Simon’s Town

The throb of the helicopter rotors cut through the air early on Thursday morning and alerted the anxious residents to news that the fire continued to burn on the mountain slopes above Simon’s Town.  In the clear light of day, the scene of devastation in the immediate vicinity was sobering let alone the full extent of it. The fire is believed to have started over the mountains in Kommetjie and it’s path of destruction has consumed many hectacres across the Southern Peninsula including the Wildland Urban Interface affecting Da Gama Park, Red Hill, Glencairn having reached Simon’s Town on Wednesday afternoon (11 January).

A change in the wind direction was expected and there is a worry that flare-ups will occur.  Up to this point, one house and a garden shed were destroyed while six other homes, partially damaged.  Considering the terrible conditions and the driving force of the wind it is remarkable that more homes weren’t lost and a credit of the City’s Emergency services as well as the volunteer fire-fighting crews for their vigilance and tenacity (see note below).

For more information  – http://bit.ly/2inuPf6

The following noted in the above link:

“The NSRI also listed the emergency services who were deployed to fight the fires along with the NSRI teams:

  • Community services
  • Neighbourhood watch teams
  • SA National Parks rangers
  • Table Mountain National Park rangers
  • SPCA
  • City of Cape Town Disaster Risk Management
  • Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services
  • Working on Fire
  • Volunteer Wild Fire Services
  • Fire helicopters
  • 22 Squadron of the SA Air Force with 2 Oryx helicopters
  • The SA Navy (including the Navy’s ships fire fighting teams)
  • Western Cape Government Health Emergency Medical Services
  • Cape Medical Response
  • Community Medics
  • ER24 ambulance services
  • Law enforcement
  • Cape Town Traffic Services
  • SA Police Services
  • Scores of members of the public who joined in todays effort and the fantastic community response.”