Friday, August 01, 2008
Winter in Cape Town
Intimidating as it may sound, winter here is no colder or harsher than a San Diego winter. A little wetter, and a little greener, with rainbows around every bend and Right Whales right offshore. That’s right, whales. The Southern Right Whale was so named because it was at one time considered the “right” whale for hunting – a very large, very slow moving target very close to shore. Today, the only hunting is for a place to pull over and watch.
What’s most amazing about approaching False Bay from the city is this…the river mouth opens onto a white sandy beach at Muizenberg with perfect waves rolling in, the kind of waves you get at Waikiki, complete with crowds of surfers in the water. And a seemingly permanent break in the clouds with sun pouring down. Yes, the surfers are in full wetsuits and the water is icy cold, but get this: just beyond the surf break, something lurks in the water. It’s got a fin, and it’s big….no, it’s not a great white shark (though they are plentiful in these waters), but a huge mother right whale and her calf. Here, in False Bay, in winter, the whales hug the shore, and breach only a whale’s breath away from the surfers. It’s incredible.
As if that’s not exciting enough, further down along the coast is a real treat any time of year. In 1983, apparently, a pair of the African penguins came ashore at Boulder Beach...
and two years later they decided it would be a cool place to raise a family.
Well, the rest of the colony soon caught wind of the posh residence...
and the breeding colony at Boulder Beach increased by 60% each year, and is now a protected National Park.