Monday, February 05, 2007

another visit to the port

New policy on comments:
Thanks to all who visit here, and I LOVE getting your comments. I have always replied to comments, where necessary, in the same comments page they were posted on. As i have surfed and visited, and left comments, often reading back several posts in the process, i have often forgotten where i need to go back to to see if there has been a reply. So i think it becomes a bit unwieldy doing it like that.

So where a comment needs a reply, from now on I will copy the relevant phrase, and reply to it, in my sidebar, below my strange aristocratic title. That way you will be able to scroll down easily and catch up with any debate that is going on, without reopening lots of old posts. Let's give it a try and see how it works!
The Port
We went of to the port again, this time for a sort of working holiday. (For those who are thinking "what port is she rabbitting on about?", i have described the place here and here and here!)
We have been slowly adding a few of our own personal touches to the hotel suite we bought as an investment. This weekend we went down with drills, hammers etc, to hang some pictures and fit shelves. We always relax so totally when we are there, so it took a bit of self discipline to get motivated to actually lift a finger!
We had a great surprise, as our friends Glen and Hilarity came down and had lunch with us. Afterwards we went for a stroll to the harbour wall. Here they are enjoying the view of the harbour from a cleverly designed port hole in the wall outside a restaurant cunningly guessed it.............the port hole!
On the harbour breakwater, we came across a few interesting things... the fisherman on a chokka boat were unloading their catch... it is also called calamari. Is it popular where you live? It has become a huge industry around here, and is called white gold because it is so lucrative to catch and export. Essentially, it is a type of squid, which used to be considered bait by the fishing industry. Then some genius discovered it was really quite delicious, and started marketing it as a delicacy, and voila, a new industry was born. It is now tightly regulated because when people realised how much money was to be made, they got greedy (sigh, what else is new?) and the species is now carefully monitored, and yearly quotas set.
In the mornings the seagulls are usually skittish and hard to photograph. At this time on a hot afternoon, it was a different story, and Max had a ball getting action shots as they lethargically lifted off as we walked by.

Our friendly little seal, who you have met before, was also there, this time basking on the rocks at the harbour mouth.That afternoon there were some interesting clouds reflected in the harbour

On Sunday morning we went off to Cape St Francis for breakfast at the little coffee shop which has opened next to the lighthouse. It is next to the new penguin rescue station, and some of the proceeds go towards helping oil fouled birds. We were lucky to see a very rare visitor, apparently only the 3rd Emperor penguin to be seen on the South African coastline, the previous ones being one in the 80s and another in 1977. (Sorry he looks so scabby, he is moulting and was photographed through a filthy window!) Apparently he has strayed from one of the subAntarctic Islands, and there is a debate going on about how best to return him to his home. As the season for shipping going south is almost over, they may have to keep him till next season, and are having to constantly cool him down!This is our absolute BEST thing to do, sitting watching the waves pounding onto the rocks near the lighthouse, I mean just look at this, it is so magnificent.

Remember last week I spoke about the hot dry conditions we have been having, and runaway veld fires?

There was evidence of it at the Port as well, it must have been seriously frightening for the owners of these homes......There is a big problem in the Eastern Cape coast, because the Port Jackson willow from Australia was brought in years ago to bind the dunes. It thrived here, having no natural enemies, to the point where it is now a noxious weed and costs a fortune to eradicate.

This is an example of coastal indigenous bush.

Because Port Jackson has very volatile sap, (as do the eucalypts) when it burns, it is extremely hard to control, and makes a fast hot fire which destroys everything. In the areas where the indigenous coastal bush grows, fires are slower and cooler, plants are able to recover, and wildlife can often escape the flames. If you compare the devastation in these pictures, where the Port jackson was so dense that it prevented all growth beneath it, and bare dunes are now exposed, with the gentler burning of the local bush around the houses, you will see what I mean. Those home owners were very lucky that they had cleared the Port Jackson from the bush around their homes!
Ok that's it for today... see ya


talj said...

Wow! Looks like you saw some fabulous sites! Love the seagulls you captured in flight, just excellent! And the water looks such a lovely colour :o)

Sheila said...

What fantastic colour in these photos, I love therm all., but like Talj, I found the seagull ones excellent.

Deb R said...

Ooooooh, those ocean photos - oh my! It makes me want to be there!

Libbys Blog said...

Some super photos there!!

RUTH said...

The close up of the gull is wonderful and you've captured the waves crashing so well. Another post full of fabulous photos

CJ said...

Hi Suzi, and wow again! I love your photo's. I get so homesick and going to your blog always gives me such a boost. We lived on the highveld with a Bluegum plantation and faced some horrific fires over the years. 'Cause we were "op die plas" we fought them ourselves...they are terrifying! But that ocean, what a colour. Thanks for the memories ;-)

smilnsigh said...

"...sitting watching the waves pounding onto the rocks near the lighthouse,..."

Oh Yes!!!!!!!! Lucky you!!!! Oh sighhhhhhh... Lucky you. :-)