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Friday, 1 September 2017

Hondeklip - A photo journey Part 3 (days 21-31)

My heart beats with the slow rhythm of Namaqualand. Everything here seems to be moving at a slow pace, as if time has no bearing on life and the tribal dance of the clock's hands are subject to its inhabitants, rather than the other way around. How different this is from what I am used to in Gauteng. And how refreshing... In today's blog I continue my explorations of Hondeklipbaai and its surrounding areas, once again bringing these lovely remote places to you as best I can through my camera's lens.

When the North wind blew in, the locals breathed a sigh of relief; it was going to rain. When? In good time. Time. It became a foreign concept in Hondeklipbaai.

When I approached the beach and saw this boat trailer at the ready, I knew that the men had once again taken off to sea.

I love the humour of the locals - even the smallest fisherman can have a dot com company, it would seem. I googled this address just for fun, and found a German vacuum cleaner company on the other end. Well, that sucks!

A bakkie, as the fishing boats are called, coming in with its catch of Hotnotsvis for the day.

I was lazing in the sun when this little guy pitched up to colour my day. I figured it was very thoughtful of him to settle on a colour that would contrast so beautifully with his own. But then, that has been my experience in Hondeklipbaai; everything seems ready to put their best foot forward to give you the most incredible photo shoots. 

Did I say that everything conspired to give you the most incredible photo shoots? The people who approved these lines and cables crisscrossing the view of the ocean, at literally every angle, has to be the exception to the rule. What a pity!

As if to prove my point, Spitfire made a humongous splash as I was contemplating the lines and cables, accentuating what I was thinking. Would this not have been so much more spectacular if the cables were out of the way?

 All over Hondeklipbaai you will find these rounded stones, rocks and pebbles. They bear testimony to the fact that terrible weather plagues this coast. However, they also testify that if you manage to withstand the storms, you end up prettier than before.

Spatklip (Spitfire) at its best. 

In rough seas even the wreck creates spectacular splashes.

On Day 24 of my stay in Hondeklipbaai, I rose very early one morning, beating the sun out of bed, to accompany a new friend to Garies. 

Elize Hough, owner of the K9 pottery studio in Hondeklipbaai, is a lay botanist that has a vast knowledge of the veld, which makes her the ideal travel companion. She also loves hikes and makes a point of taking in a morning hike every day. Look her up when you are in the bay. On our way back from Garies, she pulled over to point out some flowers along the road. Among these were the specimen featured above, called the Namaqua starlily (Namakwakool). Elze immediately plucked the flower right under the blooms and gave it to me to eat. It was simply delicious. This is also cooked in traditional stews, called Vaalkos. Eating a flower on my way home, was a definite first for me! 

Garies was overcast, but sadly no rain fell in this arid land which was suffering the worst drought in decades. It did not stop me from enjoying a leisurely stroll down the main road in Garies and stopping by all the interesting places on my way. I fell into conversation with a number of the friendly locals and admired the beauty of the traditional Namaqua building style that was evident all the way down the street. 

When going over my photos, I always find it hard to decide which flower shots to include in the blogs, and which to leave out, for there are so many and all of them are pretty. I simply had to include this photo for sheer beauty.

There are a couple of things that will forever fascinate me here in Hondeklipbaai on the West Coast of South Africa. One of these is how casually you will find whale bone strewn around the place. 

A second is the presence and abundance of ostrich eggs and thick sea rope.  

Braving the Southern Wind that was blowing with new-found passion today, I walked in the direction of the school. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by what I found. 

 I walked on and came to a crossing that had a sign up to ensure me that I was well on my way to nowhere. 

When I returned home, I found the geese conspiring to figure out the best way to taunt Vickey, the madam who is forever chasing them when she gets outside! 

Day 26 of my stay in Hondeklip saw rising early to make yet another batch of tomato jam. You have to try these when you are in town. It is available from The Shack coffee shop. 

A walk to the beach revealed the seagulls gathered together for what I must assume was some kind of political rally. 

 I was just in time to snap this interesting little critter before it disappeared into the foliage. I was enchanted by the textured pattern on its back.

 The geese had a little romance going in the pond.

Elize Hough at work in the K9 pottery studio. Ninnie and Elize were kind enough to invite me to photograph the process of making pottery mugs during my stay here. This process takes several weeks and I will blog about this in an upcoming blog when the mugs are done. 

When I walked into Suidwester Butcher and Baker I was just in time to see this fresh batch of bread being pulled from the oven. 

I agreed to paint the sign for the local charity shop, Die Rooi Container. This shop accepts donations of secondhand clothing, books and other household items which it then sells to the community at very low prices. The community is helped, as it costs R300 to get to Springbok by taxi, the closest town to buy clothes. The money raised is then donated to a local charity cause every year. 

I tried my hand at this unfamiliar braai setup which works on a pulley system and was pleasantly surprised by how well it worked. I now want to duplicate this at home! 

Spatklip (Spitfire) rarely ceases to deliver an awe-inspiring view. 

A gumboot discarded by the ocean. Must be that the shoe did not fit. 

The beaches around Hondeklip are so varied that it keeps me amazed. It ranges from white sandy beaches, to red crushed garnets, to shell-strewn, to pebbled, and more. This day saw me scrambling across rocks and pebbles. 

 This rounded pebble among the rest with their jagged edges, reminded me that hardships may just bring out the best in us.

A little bit further on I came across this perfectly in tact shell among the hard rocks and pebbles. It reminded me that life does not have to crush us, and we do not need to conform to our surroundings. Sometimes we may appear frail to the world around us, but our inner strength might be deceiving, even to ourselves. We may just find we have the power to withstand and come out whole if we give it our best shot.

If you are like me, loving photographs of old and weathered buildings in various stages of dilapidation, then Hondeklipbaai has a seemingly endless source of subject matter 

Zooming in on some of these ruins makes for interesting results 

Taking a shot from a lower angle will make the subject appear larger, as if looming over the land. 

I loved how this pole structure created a frame for the shipwreck in the bay. 

Spatklip/Spitfire doing what it does best with stormy tides. 

The ice house continues to intrigue me 

Kyna baking roosterkoeke on the coals 

Sometimes its not difficult to 'spot' the relationship between mother and offspring 

Delicate and lovely flowers 

This flower was roughly the size of my palm and splendidly beautiful 

Picnic on the rocks halfway through a hike.

On the last day I took a road that led to nowhere before heading off through  the veld for the rest of the way. I was impressed by this natural arch I found along the road. 

I found these beautiful flowers on my way. 

My route through the veld also gave me a new perspective on the lighthouse. 

My last photo for this month is a tribute to the team in green who keeps the town of Hondeklipbaai immaculately clean and tidy.

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