My experiences living in Cape Town and travelling in Africa

Latest

My failed attempt to reach the wreck of the BOS 400

I have been wanting to try this for a while now, that is hike to and photograph what remains of the BOS 400, a French derrick barge that ran aground in 1994 after it’s tow rope broke in heavy seas. I got up at 5:00am and set off towards Sandy Bay beach in the darkness with a headlamp hoping to reach the Oudeschip Peninsula at dawn and then make my way around Maori Bay to the shipwreck at sunrise to make use of the best light for photographs. Things did not go according to plan however….

BOS 400 wreck hike
I made it to Oudeschip and across the bay I could now see the wreck of the BOS 400 but where I thought the path would continue around along the coast around the bay, it didn’t. I scrambled over the rocks thinking I could find my own way until the boulders turned into sheer rock faces and I could go no further without jumping read on + see 8 more photos

On the eve of the 2014 Argus Cycle Tour

Paging through the official event magazine for this year’s Cycle Tour I came across this advert for the West Coast National Park and just thought I’d share it because, well, the image is a photograph I took on a clear morning back in 2012 just after sunrise.

2014 Argus Cycle Tour advert

That aside, I have oiled my chain one last time and my bicycle is in the car ready for the World’s Largest Timed Cycle Race tomorrow, the 2014 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour, known to most simply as the Argus. It’s a 109km cycle race around  the Cape Peninsula and every year approximately 35000 cyclists take part. For years after moving to Cape Town I would go out and watch the seemingly endless stream of cyclists whizzing past when I decided I’d really like to be one of them and I was hooked. I feel like you can’t call yourself a Capetonian if you haven’t ridden the Argus. I have missed the past couple of years, having been out of the country or travelling so I’m looking forward to being back on the road again. Despite starting in the third last group, because I didn’t do any of the seeding races, the weather forecast is looking favourable. It isn’t going be too hot and the dreaded south-easterly wind is supposed to not be gale force. I am known for never doing much training for events like these but I feel like I am fitter than I’ve been for a while and I will be aiming for a sub 4hr 30min time tomorrow. See you on the road Cape Town…

Update: The official results are in and even though the wind made for tough conditions on the day I achieved my goal finishing in 4 hrs & 26 mins with an average speed of 24.58 km/h and finished 21st out of the 518 in my start group. I even had time to stop and chat with my friend Guy McDonald who was MC at the Tsogo Sun supporters spot in Camps Bay and took this pic of me with some of the cheerleaders on the side of the road. All in all a good Argus and a time to beat for next year.

Argus Cycle Tour 2014

My Lion’s Head Resolution

For the last two years friends and I have started the year off with a hike or two on the numerous mountain peaks that surround us in Cape Town. While enjoying ourselves on these hikes we’ve all been guilty of saying that we really should do it more often given the proximity and access to great hiking trails we have in our very own city. Then work starts getting busier, our social calendars get booked up and inevitably the hikes become fewer and further apart until it’s the end of the year again and as everyone gets bored os sitting on the beach we end up hiking again. Well not this year, 2014 is going to be different.

Lions Head hike

A friend from gym said they wanted to start a weekly climb up Lion’s Head on a Wednesday evening and of course I was in but the first week it clashed with one of the Summer Trail Series runs and was one of the hottest days of the summer but I had made the resolution and climbed up anyway. The second week however there were a group of us that made it and what a great evening it was for a climb to the top. Starting at 6:oopm we were half way up as the shadow of Lion’s Head was slowly creeping towards the foreshore but my favourite view on the way up is continue reading + 7 more photos

Hiking the India Venster trail up Table Mountain

In another first for 2014 I climbed Table Mountain using the India Venster trail. I have lost count of how many times I have hiked up Table Mountain but I had never been up India Venster until last weekend. The week before I had climbed Lion’s Head with a couple of friends and we all said we should climb Table Mountain again but we all agreed the usual route, up Platteklip Gorge, was boring so I suggested we try something new. India Venster is said to be more technical and not for the novice hiker but we were up for the challenge and so the date was set.

India Venster hiking trail

I always advocate an early start when hiking, so you get to climb in the cool of the day and before the suns rays get to harsh. The plan was to meet at half past six at the lower cable station. Well, that was the plan but there was a slight mix up in communication which saw me only waking up at 6:10 not ready to hike. After a slew of messages and slightly desperate phone call from the rest of the group who were already there (because I was the one who supposedly knew the route), I told them to start hiking and I’d catch them up. continue + see 8 more photos

Shark diving, without a cage

One of my main goals during my visit to Thailand in November was to scuba dive and get my PADI Open Water Certification which I did and ever since all I’ve wanted to do is dive. The only problem with diving in Cape Town is the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean compared to the balmy 28 degree water of the Similan Islands off Thailand. Nothing a wetsuit (or two) could remedy but it takes a lot more effort. I booked the dive with Pisces Divers in Simon’s Town where you can rent all the gear you need (if you don’t have your own) and off we went to the boat launch at Miller’s Point. As I stood on the jetty I couldn’t help but ask myself if it was worth all the effort. Wearing a full wetsuit, booties, gloves and a second short wetsuit and hood over the top it was hotter than the sauna at my gym. Not to mention carrying the air tank, mask and fins.

Scuba diving with cow sharks in Cape Town

Once we were on the boat motoring to our first dive point, the cool breeze and excitement of diving underwater again made me forget about all the gear I was wearing. We arrived at our first dive spot which was Partridge Point, known for the colony of Cape Fur Seals that live there and after a safety briefing our skipper counted us down three, two, one … read more + 11 photos

Wakeboarding in Wilderness

For New Year’s I was lucky enough to be invited to join a friend and his family camping in Wilderness, a coastal town just beyond George along South Africa’s Garden Route. Approximately a 5 hour drive from Cape Town I have often driven through Wilderness on my way to Knysna but never really stayed there. My friend and his family have been going to the same camp site for the last eight years so are basically locals and I was the newbie. As the name suggests, Island Lake camp site is on the edge of a lake that is used for a variety of water sports and we had our own speedboat. As excited as I was at the opportunity to water ski, having never done it before I was a little trepidatious but willing to give it a good go.

Sunrise over Island Lake in Wilderness

Not one for being able to sleep in I was up at first light every morning which is great for sunrise photography and also the best conditions for skiing before the wind gets up and disturbs the water surface. The early bird catches the worm and my first morning there I got a space on the boat and off we set. The others, who had skied before, all had a go and then it was my turn. I had planned to water ski but the wake board rope was out and so I though why not try that first. I jumped into the lake, which was surprisingly warm, and strapped myself to the board while trying to listen to advice as what to do.  All ready the boat started to pull the rope taut and this was it, ‘hold on and let the boat pull you up’ I was told. read more + 8 pictures

Flying over Langebaan Lagoon

Last week I was lucky enough to go flying again with my mate Hilton Mundy, this time in a Sling 2 light sport aircraft. We had planned to fly around Cape Point for me to take some pictures but the infamous south-easterly was howling across around the peninsula so we discussed some alternate routes and decided to head up the coast to Yzerfontein and West Coast National Park and then come back along the beach.

Pre flight checks on the Sling 2 lsa

It was a perfect morning for flying at Morningstar airfield, just as the sun was peeking over the trees we pulled the aircraft out of the hangar, did the preflight checks and we were all set. There was no one else around as we taxied to the start of runway two zero, waited for the oil temp to reach normal and made our final radio call before takeoff. continue reading + 12 more photos

Cambodia & Thailand, the insta-essay

If you don’t follow me on Twitter and, more recently, Instagram then you may not have been aware that I spent the better part of November travelling in  Southeast Asia. A friend of mine planned the itinerary to the very last detail which meant all I had to do was get on the plane and what an adventure it was. Since I’ve been back, things have been a little hectic catching up with work and other boring things so I am still working through all the photographs. In the meantime here are some of the Instagram shots to give you an idea of the trip. To see the description for each photo click on the Instagram logo in the top right hand corner of each image.

 
see 12 more photos

SHORT FINAL – SA’s new aviation series

Those of you who know me and follow this blog will be aware of my love for flying and anything aviation related.

I haven’t had much spare time in 2013 because at the beginning of this year, my friend Hilton Mundy and I put the wheels in motion to fulfil a goal we’ve been working to achieve for some time and that is to create, produce and film a South African aviation magazine program.

We have some incredible aviators and aircraft that fly our African skies, but sadly, there is no dedicated video series supporting our passion for aviation and to showcase interesting insights into our community that could build and strengthen the aviation industry even more.

That is about to change. We have taken on the task to change the status quo and pitch an aviation magazine TV show, whose format and style aims to fill the gap. We aim to get the attention of both potential sponsors & networks to hopefully broadcast and showcase more on our local industry.

Fuelled by passion, commitment and with zero budget we have filmed a 24 minute pilot. This would not have been possible without the 100% commitment and drive of our team plus an incredible amount of co-operation by the featured subjects.

To date we have received endorsements for this initiative from:

• The Department of Trade & Industry through their support for South African filmmakers
• Aero Club of South Africa
• SA Flyer – South Africa’s leading aviation magazine
• RAASA – Recreation Aviation Administration South Africa

The challenge is always funding, and this is where we need you to help. No we are not asking for your money – just your support.

There are three simple ways you can help: Read the rest of this page »

Insta-anxiety, or was it just me?

So I finally reached the end of my previous cellphone contract and could upgrade from a brand of cellphone that I came to regard with as much superstition as actors do ‘that Scottish play’. Needless to say I have crossed over to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and, as some of my friends have pointed out, I’m all to eager to show it off. Forgive me, it’s new and exciting although I have had several futile debates with iPhone users as to which device is better. Either way, I am happy with my choice and that’s all that really matters.

Th touch screen took some getting used too but was all very intuitive but the app world was a whole other kettle of choices. The camera on the above former unmentionable handset wasn’t worth mentioning but now with 13 mega pixels at hand the Samsung S4 has added another weapon to my photography arsenal. The obvious first step was to create an Instagram account, easy enough, but then the anxiety struck.

What would the first image I shared be of? It has to be good? I don’t have any followers yet but if the first image isn’t good then will anyone follow me?

I also swore to myself that if/when I joined Instagram I wouldn’t share random pictures of plates of food (unless it was really unusual like the time I ate live squid in China), I vowed I wouldn’t take pictures of cups of coffee no matter how creative the design created by sprinkled cocoa on top is. There would be rules, I would only share images that were extraordinary but now where to start.

This had me paralysed for days and my account sat idle, until on a trip to the Northern Cape province of South Africa. We stopped overnight in the Augrabies Falls National Park and as the sun was setting I went off in search of a vantage point of the waterfall in the golden light at dusk and there it was. I took out my phone, played around with the effects, which I still didn’t fully understand, and picked a filter that matched the colours I saw with my eyes and I knew I had my first photo worthy of sharing on Instagram.

Did you have similar anxiety before sharing your first photo on Instagram, or was it just me?

Instagram