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Monday, 21 August 2017

Hondeklip - A photo journey Part 2 (days 11-20)

Hondeklipbaai is one of those rare places in the world where first appearances might be deceiving. Upon first entering Hondeklipbaai you get the impression that it is a small inconsequential town in the middle of nowhere that has little to offer. You could not be more wrong. Every day in Hondeklipbaai gives opportunity for great photographs and another unique sight. I want to invite you to leave the comfort of your vehicle and explore Hondeklip on foot with me. For it is only when you slow down, and take the town and its surrounds in one step at a time, that you will truly be able to discover the beauty that lurks within.

An overcast sky sets the lighthouse and town off brilliantly

Birds captured in flight over the wreck as the mist roll in from the sea

The sun making one last futile attempt to keep the mist at bay

The large diamond mining boat towering overhead

The incredibly beautiful foam of Spitfire/Spatklip (Splash Rock)

Interesting caves and coves are rife in the area due to wind and weather

This boarded up house next to the abandoned fish factory is exactly the ideal location to stay in my opinion.

A place where children can still safely play in the streets and be as innocent as they were meant to be

Every hike leaves me with the impression of a thousand textures, as depicted by the cracked mud in the road

The town is so undisturbed that even the millipede's trail can be followed in the sand

Another brilliant show by Spitfire/Spatklip (Splash Rock)

The local park where the kids play after school

Brilliant sunsets follow each other daily

The view from what's left of the jetty.

One of the locals who layers the diversely coloured sand from the bay in bottles and sells it to tourists. This is a brilliant way to take a little of Hondeklipbaai away with you.

I even found time to make some tomato jam for the local coffee shop, The Shack. You can read more about making this jam in my other blog, A Pretty Talent: Making Tomato Jam In Namaqualand.

The ruins of the mining compound where the 'Baaienaars' felt deceived by the mining company.

Graffiti

I found this graffiti on the walls of a ruin here in Hondeklipbaai, and it is actually quite brilliant artwork. Yet, it was the weight of the word, more than the art, that struck me most. Where there is no honesty, lives are left in ruins, much the same as this building. Distrust, manipulation, jealousy, lies, deception... these are things that will ruin relationships.
I can not recall the details of the story behind these ruins, and never knew all of the facts, but I understand that these were built as housing by the mines. Yet, the community were unhappy about what was done and felt deceived. (I have not checked these facts, but this is what I was told). Regardless, the lesson stands clear for all to see.
Honesty is depicted as a well spring of life-giving water in this dry and arid world. Dishonesty is depicted in the ruins.
On the way to the wreck of the Aristea, I found this guy lazing in the sun

I almost thought I encountered ET in the rocks

The vast expanse of coast-land is enough to take your breath away

One of the things that will never cease to amaze me is the amount of shells that covers kilometers of beach stretches. Here I stand with my feet (not so firmly planted) on shells.

The klip (rock) that is shaped like a dog (think bull terrier) that gave Hondeklipbaai its name. Roughly translated is means Dog Stone Bay.

I was impressed by how the wind painted zebra stripes in the sand

A ram's head captured in sand and stone?

Moordenaarsbaai is a small beach where the 'sand' is blood red, brilliantly offset against the stark white sand of the dunes in the background. The red sand is actually crushed garnets that is dumped by an ocean current in this particular spot.

Moordenaarsbaai roughly translates to Murderer's Bay. The local folklore, as I am told by Elize from K9 Pottery Studio in town (a wealth of information when it comes to the town, its history or the wildflowers!), holds that two fishermen became friends. One was married and the other not. One night the unmarried man pushed the other off the rocks at Moordenaarsbaai in order to pursue his wife. It was firmly believed that he was dead and the wife was getting ready to marry the murdering friend when the husband turned up out of the blue and exposed the deceit of his former friend. In true Hondeklip fashion it does not explain the colour of the sand, but the story is worth the telling simply for being a story - and stories are only stories when they are told. Until then, they are merely ideas.

This natural composition could not have been better arranged by a skillful hand; shrubs, flowers, twigs, rocks, ocean and bird all work together to form the perfect picture.

Hondeklipbaai from a different perspective

The panorama of Hondeklipbaai at sunset

A discarded shoe drew my attention and this is the only reason I noticed this small but peculiar little plant taking shape on the ground. Almost like a rose that has adapted to the harsh arid elements of the area. 

More graffiti on the walls of the ruins.

The graffiti left me with a couple of impressions that I captured on my phone's voice recorder:
"From the rubble knowledge rose; knowledge that man could not be lied, deceived or cheated into submission. From the rubble rose the knowledge that the truth will set you free!"

It is indeed a rare sight to see one of these jackal, but I was fortunate to find one hiding behind its own bushy tail in a crevice in the rocks. 

On this hike I came across two seals frolicking in the surf, almost like two kids playing in a bubble bath.

The wreck of the Aristea. It was shocking to see how little was left of it since my last visit 13 months before.

The wreck of the Aristea 13 months earlier

My idea of picnic food on a hike 

I believe I will never cease to be fascinated by the oddly geometrical plants that are to be found in Namaqualand.

When the East wind finally arrived with warm air from the Karoo, the sea quieted down and the day turned sweltering. 

The best thing to do in such hot weather, is to laze the pm away in the company of good friends. Die Rooi Spinnekop served this delicious fish platter and I could find nothing to fault with it. 

I don't think that I have missed photographing a single sunset since arriving in Hondeklip. They simply leave you in awe. 

In between sightseeing, long hikes and making new friends, I also managed to grow a sourdough starter and tested it on a seed loaf, which I immediately dubbed my Namaqualand Seed Loaf. You can find the recipe for baking this bread in my blog, A Pretty Talent.

It is not only the sunsets which are pretty in Hondeklip, but the sunrises are quite awe-inspiring as well. 

With the weather hot from the East wind, the local children were quick to take to the water 

There are interesting shapes, colours and textures all around

There are some mornings when you will wake up and the sea will have disappeared behind a curtain of fog 

The North wind had been blowing promises of rain into Hondeklipbaai all day long

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
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