Thursday, 21 March 2013

Everything that has a beginning...

aka Swansong - V

As far as spectacular cities go, Cape Town has to rank quite highly, no matter how much of the world one has seen. Of course, it helps no end that the Table Mountain towers above the city in all its magnificence :). It was approaching a smoky dusk as the flight made its approach and night had fallen by the time we made it to the Inn on the Square, our final stop.

You couldn't get much closer to the middle of town, I imagine, than staying at the Greenmarket Square. As an added bonus, it is a perfectly festive sight that greets you as soon as you leave the hotel in the day time, thanks to the colours of the flea market in the square.

We really had only two things we had to do in those last couple of days, and visiting the top of Table Mountain was one of them! We decided to be lazy and took the cable way to the top :). It was a gorgeous day, cloudless with a fresh sea breeze! We spent several hours travelling different paths till we lost one another quite thoroughly. But I, for one, found some spectacular views. Some, that I seemed to have entirely to myself :).

One of these days I'll look at the geography of those mountains closely. Somehow, I never quite got the lay of the peaks of the Western Cape :). Each different perspective seemed to yield a deceptively familiar vista, only to turn out to be something other than what I expected. It was quite entertaining, seeing how it is practically impossible to actually get lost as long as one stayed on the 'table top'.

Eventually we found each other, and our way back into town. The rest of the day, as we explored around the square, I kept stealing looks at the rocks soaring up above, wondering what force of wind and water had struck such shapes. The thoughts that crowded my mind as we drove out of the dark night into a grey misty dawn the next morning were similar. Only this time, we seemed to be treading the edge between rock and water as we headed towards Gansbaai.

Yep, the other thing on the must do list was diving with the Great Whites! That drive, though, really had something of the surreal in it. To make it in time for the dive boat, we'd had to leave the city pretty much in the dead of the night. As the first patches of light drifted through the valleys, we'd left the highways far behind and I found myself the only one awake to witness the surroundings.

A narrow road ran arrow-straight, snaking high and low along the rolling foothills, but never veering to either side. The hills ran along one side as the water made inroads along the other. Both sides covered in a mist, which in that half light, could have given wings to many a creature of fantasy. And every now and then the sun would crest the horizon just at the point where the road ran to meet it :).

But then the spell broke and we were off on another adventure, to see the sharks! I suppose on the best of days it's a matter of chance, whether the sharks show up or not. But we must have been quite lucky! More than one Great White chose our boat to sniff around, and after two stints in the cage, I was quite thoroughly satisfied. I'd managed to forget how cold the water on this side of the country was :).

Before we headed back to Cape Town again though, we decided to visit one last spot. Cape Agulhas, the southernmost part of the continent of Africa! It took us a bit to figure out the way, but we did finally make it. It's not like you can actually tell the difference, but we tried anyway, looking this way and that, to see if the Indian Ocean looked any different from the Atlantic :D.

And thus it was that our long, convoluted and frankly somewhat crazy trip of South Africa drew to a close. Through a coincidence that somewhat defies belief, around the same time it appeared that my sailing days were destined to come to a close. Nothing was decided, but somehow it seemed a fitting end. So when we toasted to the end, from the depths of some extremely comfortably worn armchairs at the Irish pub :), it wasn't just the end of the trip, but also the end of an unexpectedly entertaining, roller-coaster seven and a half years at sea.

Currently: in limbo
Listening to: The National - ADA

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