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Review: Deep Water

"Deep Water" - moving
"Deep Water" - moving

Deep Water is a film currently showing on DSTV. This documentary covers the true story of how Don Crowhurst, Bernard Moitessier and others attempt to sail around the world on their own.

The first words of the film are “We are all human beings and we all have dreams.” Very apt. This deeply moving film examines Man’s (sometimes tragic) quest for adventure and glory. But it is far more than that; it is about friendship, failure, family, priorities, greed and solitude. I would say it is essentially about men. Real Men; with their strengths AND weaknesses. But it also explores these men’s relationships to their families and how unwittingly destructive these men can be.

I like to think I have exploration in my blood. I think most men, especially Afrikaners, feel the same. I know my father has it in his blood; he has travelled into remote Africa on his own for months on end. This need to explore – in solitude sometimes – is something that fascinates me tremendously.

This film hit my right in the chest; Twice! I give it 8.5/10 – a must see!

Oudtshoorn vakansie

Na ‘n baie besige seisoen het ons drie (Ek, Lené en Elke) laas week ‘n vakansie in die Klein Karoo gehad. Ons het besluit om in Oudtshoorn te bly want dit is redelik sentraal vir ‘n klomp aktiwiteite in die omgewing. Ons het gebly in self-catering eenhede by Klienplaas. My indruk was baie positief – dis baie redelik; in die dorp en daar is ‘n reuse swembad (‘n moet vir die 40°C somersdae in Oudtshoorn).

Crocodile leaps 2m
Crocodile leaps 2m

Dag 1: Cango Wildlife Ranch. Dit is ‘n bietjie kommersieel en min mense hou van diere in hokke, maar vir kinders is dit ‘n belewenis. Ek moet sê die hokke is baie groot, silwerskoon en daar is ‘n bewaringselement (byvoorbeeld die jagluiperd program). Daar is ook wit leeus (waaroor ek maar skepties is). Die krokodille is nog steeds ‘n hoogtepunt van die park. Ek het ook by volwasse jagluiperds in ‘n hok geklim. Dit was iets spesiaals al sal dit nooit ‘n jagluiperd in die natuur klop nie.

Dag 2: Buffelsdrift Game Lodge. Pragtige plek wat waarskynlik heeltemal te duur vir ons sou wees om by te bly maar jy kan “klein” olifante daar voer teen ‘n aanvaarbare prys. Weereens ek verkies wilde olifante, maar dit was werklik interessant. En dit het ‘n groot indruk op Elke gemaak.

Ons ry aan Kango Grotte toe. Ongelukkig kon ons nie ingaan nie omdat Elke nog heeltemal te klein is. Maar as ek weer in die omgewing is sal ek baie graag die “Adventure” toer wil doen. Die storie van Veronica Hlabelela, ‘n oorgewig vrou, wat vasgesit het vir 10 ure laat ‘n mens egter twee keer dink oor die spul.

Meiringspoort
Meiringspoort

Ons ry oor die berugte Swartbergpas na Prins Albert toe. Dit was nie te erg nie, ‘n mens moet net stadig ry. Maar ek moet sê ek sal nie weer met lae profiel bande dit doen nie!! Prins Albert is ‘n pragtige sjarmante klein dorpie. Ons het terug Oudtshoorn toe gery deur Meiringspoort. Hier is ‘n baie bekende waterval & gat. Dit is rêrig iets om te ervaar. Jy klouter uit teen die omliggende kranse en duik in die skoonste water in. Die gat is vrek diep (ek het af geswem tot my ore begin pyn en ek was nie naby aan die bodem nie) so dis heel veilig om te duik; solank jy nie op die kranse gly nie.

Dag 3: Ons ry na die Rust en Vrede waterval so halfuur buite Oudtshoorn. Dis ‘n baie mooi waterval, maar dis nogal ‘n entjie om daar uit te kom en die gat is nie heeltemal so lekker soos Meiringspoort nie. Nog steeds beslis die moeite werd.

Ons verken ‘n bietjie Oudtshoorn self. Rêrig ‘n mooi Klein Karoo dorp. Daar is heelwat wat my aan Graaff-Reinet, waar ek op skool was, laat dink. Ons ry aan tot by Calitzdorp waar ons aangaan by die beroemde Boplaas. Die plaas is sekerlik die beste Port produseerders in Suid-Afrika en van die beste in die wêreld. Hulle verkoop direk aan die publiek en dit is nie duur nie.

Terug in Oudtshoorn gaan eet ons by Jemima’s, een van Suid-Afrika se top 10 restaurante. Die ambiance veral in die agterste vertrekke (by die tuin) is regtig spesiaal. Die kos is goed, maar regtig baie duur – te duur. Vir baie mense is die koste blykbaar nie ‘n probleem nie want die plek was so te sê vol, maar dit sit my af. Ek sal nie sommer weer gaan nie.

Dag 4: Ons ry oor die Outeniquapas deur George en stop by die Sedgefield mark. Ek is nie iemand wat mal is oor markte nie en hierdie keer was dit ook weer so. Te veel dagga en te min substance!! Ons gaan stop by ons ou gunsteling, die Lake Pleasant Hotel, vir middagete. Die plek beveel ek gemaklik aan. Die kos is nie goedkoop nie maar dis so lekker, dis beslis die koste werd!! En die uitsig is unbeatable. Alles inagenome is dit ‘n beter ondervinding as by Jemima’s en vir heelwat minder geld.

Bloukrans Bungee
Bloukrans Bungee

Vandaar ry ons huistoe – oeps nee amper vergeet ek. Nog een laaste stop. BLOUKRANS BRUG!! Ek het die vorige aand gelê en wonder of ek die guts het om te bungee. Toe ons verby ry het besluit ek moet probeer. Die hoogste bungee jump in die wêreld. Wel ek het my R620 betaal en gaan spring. Al het ek soos ‘n maer vark geskree, het ek dink baie geniet. Beslis een van die hoogtepunte van my lewe. Ek was net so bly dat ek dit uiteindelik gedoen het.

Alles en alles ‘n baie lekker familie vakansie en ons sal dit weer doen. Kyk gerus na al ons Oudtshoorn fotos en my Bungee Jump fotos.

Jupiter, Venus & our Moon

Jupiter, Venus & our Moon
Jupiter, Venus & our Moon

On Monday, 1 December Jupiter, Venus & the Moon was in the same area of our night sky. This is a relatively (to us) rare occurrence, the next time this is expected to happen is in 2057 when I’ll be 84!! The really good thing about this event is that it is entirely visible with the naked eye. I took this photo with my Nikon D70 and Tamron 200-500mm lens. The photo was published on DieBurger‘s website.

PE Oceanarium

On Sunday morning we took the kids to the PE Oceanarium. The kids loved it. I can recommend it if you have kids, but otherwise its a bit thin. I don’t know who runs it, but one definitely gets an “African feeling”; to the place. It just isn’t as tidy and well maintained as it can be.

The show is pretty much the same as it has been for years and even decades (I remember going there as a kid). And then there is the “Animals in a zoo” issue that also dampens the experience.

1.5m Cape Cobra in Riversbend

1.5m Cape Cobra (Naja nivea)
1.5m Cape Cobra (Naja nivea)

On Friday I took Elke to our new house to take photos. I got out of the car and walked around to her side. As I was about to open the door I heard a “slithering” movement. In that instant – before I could even turn around to look – I knew from the sound that it was a big snake.

When I turned around I saw it – big and fat; a Cape Cobra that was at least 1.5m long.

For those that don’t know, the Cape Cobra is a deadly snake with 60% fatality rate (if anti-venom is not administered or administered late). It is also known to, other than most other snakes, actually move closer to you when feeling threatened and will attack.

Needless to say I nearly crapped myself! I followed the snake to its hiding place under some kerbing. Later I phoned Fanie Fouche, a local Nature Conservation official. He and a colleague came out and caught the snake. They released it about 15km away.

This time of the year there are many snakes in our area.

Kruger National Park visit

Recently our friends from Germany, Dr. Carsten Holtmann & Anke Plog, visited us. When they visited us in England I kept on (sometimes I think too much) about Africa’s wilderness. Carsten specifically showed a real interest in the topic so I decided to take him to Kruger National Park. The Kruger and the Kalahari Gemsbok Park are the best options for “real Africa” in South Africa. Regrettably Anke was pregnant and couldn’t go (because of the Malaria risk) so she and Lené relaxed in the Eastern Cape.

As expected it was a great trip. And yes; we did see the big 5. My personal highlight was a leopard which we saw on our last drive of the trip! Before this I had never seen a leopard in the wild in South Africa. He was very close to us – in fact he was so close that my 500mm lens wouldn’t focus! Despite this temporary setback we took some great photos. Check them and others out at Kruger National Park Photos.

Irving Knight, Attie Heunis & Eliab KhosaAnother highlight was a morning walk we did with guides Irving Knight & Eliab Khosa. I can definitely recommend this. The guys are very experienced and they can teach you so much about the bush. From the word go we went looking for lions. That was very exciting, but unfortunately we didn’t find any. Our best sighting on the walk was an African Buffalo that was about 25-30m away from us. I love the fact that you can get so close to these magnificent creatures while on foot. Irving also kept it very interesting by telling us some entertaining stories about Kruger. He also told me of some awesome tricks to find predators and kills. Thanks Irving!

Unfortunately there were disappointments as well. They were the same as the last time I visited Kruger, namely: the restaurants. We had a buffet dinner with no service, a bottle of water and a beer and the bill came to R310!! My best advice is just to stay away from the restaurants; it really isn’t worth it. We had another minor disappointment when they overbooked a morning walk; but this was when we saw the leopard so in the end it worked out perfectly.

All in all the trip just proved again that you can’t beat Kruger! And I’m very pleased to see that arguably our greatest treasure is in very good hands – except the restaurants. 🙂

Middle Beach pools

Middle Beach pools

Friday was spring tide so yesterday at low tide we went to Middle Beach in Kenton to mess around in the rock pools. There is a massive pool there (pictured here) that is just wonderful to swim in. The water was very nice and it was hot enough so I couldn’t resist getting in. I tried to convince the old ladies I was with but they left their swiming gear at home so they couldn’t join me.

Check out some more Middle Beach photos.

Jeremy Clarkson goes too far

Generally speaking I like liked Jeremy Clarkson. I thought the furore when he destroyed a very old tree a couple of years ago was justified but I thought that maybe he just made a mistake. I couldn’t give a toss if he calls a car “gay”.

This week though he went too far. By ignoring the advice of their guide Clarkson and his crew literally tore up the Makgadikgadi salt pans. They say they “employed several environmental experts who advised us on where we could and couldn’t go”. We’ll it certainly doesn’t sound like it to me. Anyone from this region knows that you drive only where you find tracks. It is a fundamental that you learn it conservation 101 for heaven’s sake!!

I’m very disappointed in the Beeb’s reaction. On the one hand they promote heroes like Sir David Attenborough who fights for conservation but on the other hand they back Clarkson who destroys what needs to be conserved. I think this undoes some of the great work done by the BBC.

The best thing would be if someone literally beats Clarkson like a runaway slave – it seems that is all he understands. Given the opportunity I would oblige and he won’t call me a “pre-menstrual bird” afterwards.

Boesmansrivier Mond

Die is ‘n foto van die Boesmansrivier (die tweede langste gety rivier in Suid-Afrika) se mond tydens laagwater. Dit is ongelooflik hoe veel anders die rivier lyk as dit hoogwater is.

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