The Octopus’s Garden

 

Krista poses the question this week: “If given the choice, what would you rather be doing, right now?”   Imagine a place – a “Stop-the-world-I-want-to-get-off” kind of a place where you can escape the hurley-burley and be amazed and awed by a completely different world.  False Bay here in the southern peninsula of Cape Town is a wondrous place, where the influence of two ocean currents – the warm Agulhas and the cold Benguela mingle and create a flourishing ecosystem.

It’s been a while since i dipped below the waters, but recently my interest is inspired through the marvellous Blue Planet II series where the episode the ” Green Seas” features the extraordinary creatures living in the kelp forest including the cunning behaviour of a smart octopus.

WPC: Rather

 

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WPC: Tour Guide – Let’s find the penguins

Playing tour guide, my first stop is this vantage point overlooking the splendid vista of False Bay.  Simon’s Town lays at the foothills, and way in the distance on the opposite side is Cape Hangklip.  The small town bustles with a distinct naval ‘air’ having been established as a naval base by the British in 1799 and where today the SA Navy is stationed.  We’ll pass through it, as we’re on our way to visit Boulders to see the African penguin colony.

The Boulders area is dotted with impressively sculpted granite rocks sheltering discreetly placed sandy coves.  Here a colony of African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) have found a comfortable nesting area.   From just two breeding pairs in 1982 the population numbers have increased to about 2200 in recent years.

We will venture down the boardwalk to see the main nursery.

As you will note the houses are quite nearby – this is as close to an ‘urban’ colony as can be imagined.  The area is fenced off, but often the penguins stray beyond the boundaries and care must be taken driving or parking to check if all is clear.

Sadly the African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species, and the birds are in considerably more trouble than rhinos.   With the decline in shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy they could be heading for extinction in the not too distant future.

To end the tour, a nod to the eminent granite Rock Stars, all of 540 million year old. A pathway follows along the coast for a nice leisurely stroll and swim to top off the experience.

WPC: Tour Guide

The Scend of the Sea

At times the elements conspire in perfect harmony to produce exquisite serenity.  The harsh wind retreats and the sea wallows quietly:

In the scene below Venus Pool lies unruffled in a silken sheen.

Conditions can change quickly though and the Atlantic Ocean can push up in rambunctious form with that devillish “Cape Doctor”, the southeasterly wind and the full moon spring tides.  Sometimes it also drives low cloud scudding across the Peninsula in a ‘black’ mood and cloaks the mountains in a foggy blanket of moisture.    On one such morning, we stand and watch in awe as waves come belting out of the ocean in a heart thumping rhythm smashing into the rocky ledges.  It’s as if Mother Nature lifts up her skirts to dance a fandango.  Two swimmers enter the pool and in a daring dash of defiance in the face of such raw power, they sprint across and back to safety.  Whatever it is, this sense of ebullience, we leave feeling high on elation.

WPC:  Variations on a theme – tying into the moods of the sea.