Cape Town and Driving the Garden Route
21.04.2007 - 30.04.2007 20 °C
We're finally in Cape Town then....
after 52 days on a ship we're now in the Big Blue Hostel (which is great!) and after last nights celebrations for our first night on shore (i.e. we all got hammered!) we're a bit rough this morning.
We walked down to the Waterfront in Cape Town and bumped into a few people from the boat that were also just milling about the dock whilst they wait for their flights home.
We of course, don't have flights home for a month so it's time to prepare the last leg of our journey (well for now anyway).
Today we walked up Long Street (which is the main street with backpackers hostels etc. on) and to be honest... Stab / mug central was the words I would choose for the place. During the Day, the place had an unsafe ring about it and to be honest... my spidey sense was tingling the whole time we were there. We did however manage to find the offices of AroundAboutCars and the tourist information centre and also the Internet Cafe.
The days are all mixing into one as we wait to decide what to do for the remainder of the trip around South Africa. I'm finding myself totally on guard with regards to people around us and I can't help but feel like we're in perhaps one of the most dangerous countries in the world.
We Met Jackie from the Boat (who lived in Cape Town) and we were given a personal guided tour of the Cape Peninsula (which was nice) and headed back to her house that evening for a cup of tea and a bitch session
The Next day we went up table mountain in the cable car (we were feeling lazy so decided not to walk up it as was originally the idea and caught a rikki... which is like a three wheeled motorbike taxi with a few seats on the back) and while we were on the top we did a walk along to the beacon point. We spotted a dodgy looking guy walking along the path some distance behind us and since he was on his own and had a hoody top on... we decided to speed up just in case. As we arrived back at the top of the cable cars... whoosh.... a police helicopter flew over us in the direction of where we'd seen the dodgy guy. We don't know whether anything had happened, however, even up on the mountain, Tourists are quite regularly mugged of their cameras etc. (unfortunately!)
It's the 30th of April!
Happy Birthday Steph!
And as her present.... we're going Shark Diving!
Now... we've heard all the arguments about Shark Diving in Cape Town and having seen the other tour operators that operate out of Hermanus (which is down the coast from Cape Town) and having spoken to a few of the guys off the boat who'd done this trip... There are about 4 boats.... all with backpackers and they Chum the water to death, until the fish arrive and then the backpackers are put into the cage (in the middle of all the guts and chum) and then they get to say they were in the water with these man killers and the operators get large ghunks of fish and draw the fish to the cages and the edge of the boats to get the "Tooth" shot!
Keith, Steph and I didn't want to do this!
Keith had done some research and as a result, we'd booked www.ultimate-animals.com
(African shark eco charters)
These guys don't chum (which was one of the most important factors we'd decided we didn't want to encourage as this is one of the more contentious issues with chumming being linked to the increase in Shark Attacks in South Africa in recent years!)
These guys are also the guys who take you to seal Island... which is where the Flying Sharks are............ ???
We arrived at the boat at 5:30 am! Ouch !
We arrived at Simonstown about and hour later, just as the sun was threatening to rise over the horizon, and then we shot off into the ever lightening ocean towards Seal Island.
We arrived by the island, which was covered with South African Fur Seals and smelt accordingly!
We were given a briefing, and we were told to watch lone seals porpoising on the surface of the sea as these were more likely to get "Hit" by the Great White Sharks.
No sooner had we started to wait and watch then .... BOOM ! A Shark went flying into the air some 100 yards away from the boat!
The Boat Started up and we shot towhere we thought the attack had taken place.... as we pulled up to the area... there was blood in the water and we saw the shark fin shoot off under the water in a quick splash. It was all over!
Apparently, Rob (our guide) informed us that when the sharks make a good hit, then it's pretty much over in two bites (as he put it!) As we could see from the blood in the water... it was all over!
We now moved over the the end of the island and waited, but unfortunately... no more Flying Sharks!
We then decided to get in the water.
Keith and I went in first as Steph was starting to have second thoughts
We got in the water and got some great views of these massive killers... however... unlike the impression I had before... these guys were beautiful and really not interested in us at all. There seemed to be about 4 of them all posturing around the boat. However, the sharks were just in the area as opposed to being attracted there by a loads of blood and guts!
We did have a lure though...... a piece of carpet cut into the shape of a small seal It seemed to work though as the sharks did appear and we did get to dive with them.
After a few minutes, Steph got into the Cage also to experience swimming in the water with these beautiful and surprisingly un-scary creatures.
Our respect for these massive fish has only changed again as we realised that they weren't the scary killers we'd been lead to believe and infact, were really not that bothered about us at all... Although I'm not sure I'd have got out of the cage though
We got home later that evening having also seen a Brydes Whale in the Bay and shoals of Large Fish and Gannets in the Bay.
We've hired a car and tomorrow we pick up our little VW Chico (like a Mark II Golf) and we've hired it for 6,600 Rand for 33 days (which works out at 200R a day... which is about £15 which was OK)