Farewell West Coast
Monday, 04 August 2008
Finally the majestic table mountain manages to force her way through the swirling cloud and overcast sky taking up her position looking like a massive island in the sea. A sight cherished by many a traveller on land and sea, for me a welcoming sight a beacon of strength, in a way a post marking a milestone of achievement as I was now to round the Cape of Good Hope and head up the east coast, the hardest leg of the journey was now to begin. But a time to reflect as the west coast slowly began to fade into an element of my imagination, thoughts of disbelief that I was back in the Cape. Standing staring over the bay at the mountain I slowly began to digest what I had just experienced along the west coast.
Stark beauty beyond description, a landscape of ocean, rock and sand that just seems to intertwine with a natural sparkle, perceived by some as an ugly duckling, but has this hidden beauty of one of Africa’s princesses. Plant life in abundance, small, robust delicate and unique to this harsh environment. Nurtured over the years by soft pampering hands of the coastal mist ensuring that there is water of life brushed over the succulent leaves daily .
Tiny beetles, handstand on the dunes with their front legs, their hind legs reaching skywards catching the mist and funnelling droplets of water down to their mouths. Small Steenbok in abundance, aroused by the rattle of a Korhaan as it screeches off into the sky, slowly they lope over the low bush evolving into a dance like rhythm as they run into the distant hills, shinny bristling coats reflecting in the lazy winter sun.
Clapper birds soar into the air , close their wings and swoop back down shrieking as they barley miss the bush, opening their wings at the last minute by doing this, marking their territory with a breakneck bush top skimming aerial manoeuvre . Tiny creatures mill around the base of the plant life, leaving tracks of their daily toil in the sands. Chameleons slowly rock two and fro as they cross the game tracks adapting to the terrain colour as they beadily eye any opportunity to ‘blat’ something looking slightly edible.
Through all the beauty are deep scars that the shore line bears, scars of mans relentless pursuit of the earths treasures, layered deep in the horizons of silt deposited over millions of years.
Wounds of open cast diamond strip mining just left to fester in the desert sun. A coast once abundant in sea life and fish, but over fished to the brink of extinction from years of the unchecked rape of the natural resources. Many a community now suffers the consequences .Sitting day after day staring out to sea hoping that one day the fish will return and the stories of old are relived with massive catches bringing prosperity back to the impoverished communities.
A coast of some of the friendliest folk I have come across. Nothing seems to be a problem, and there always seems to be time for you- Cherish what you have and protect the environment. “It’s in your hands” Thank you, West Coast.