Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Water water everywhere

aka Swansong - III

In some ways, our extra day at Haga-Haga was my best memory of the whole trip :). Part of it might just be that we had had quite a hectic few days, not to mention the weeks on the ship before that. A day with nothing to do in just the right place can do wonders!

I for one, spent the day mostly either staring at the water or strolling aimlessly along its edge. There was even a river quite nearby, flowing to the ocean. As it hit the beach, most of the water sank below, out of sight, leaving just a trickle running into the waves. You could stand still and just feel the flow. The waves of cold ocean water drowning the river. But as the waves fell back, the warm river water rushed back to engulf your feet.

As we left the next morning, I think each of us were wishing we had more time. It was a quiet peaceful drive as we finally hit the east coast and once again the world around us changed. Fields upon fields of sugar cane. The weather was as different here from the Cape area as winter and monsoon back home. Almost :).

Our destination this time was Umkomaas, just south of Durban, and home of scuba diving at the Aliwal Shoal! Early the next morning we were back in the ocean! The weather here was as perfect as it could be, with visibility so much better, and the water temperature so much more civilized than the other side :D. We had a great time with a couple of long dives, but it was during the surface interval in between that we managed to do something really amazing, swim with a pod of dolphins!! 

Well, 'with' is a bit of an over statement. We saw them coming, throwing almost everyone in the boat in a frenzy to get their masks and fins on and jump in the water. I made it just in time to see a few of them pass fairly close by. And then all we could see were tail fins waving :). Man, those things are fast in the water. They did make a few passes, but I guess slow surface swimmers such as ourselves didn't seem very interesting.

Eventually we made it to Durban proper, and as luck would have it, we were staying quite close to the Moses Mabhida stadium. South Africa just happened to be playing one of their AFCON 2013 matches there that night :D. I was watching the match on TV, but the sound was better in the balcony, direct from the stadium! Not only did they win, it was a local lad that scored! The whole thing was quite festive, with fireworks and everything.

After spending much of the previous trip on the ship in dock in Durban, it was something of a full circle. Being back at the beach front, I almost felt at home :). But we weren't staying for long. The next day we headed for the Shakalands, a Zulu homestead providing a pretty neat experience of traditional Zulu culture and lifestyle. I guess the fact that it was literally in the middle of nowhere kinda added to the atmosphere.

Finally we headed back to Durban and after a good ten days and 2500kms, handed in our comfy, if somewhat underpowered Corolla :). The next few days were to be something of a breather for me in terms of driving. But seeing how we were headed on a three day safari, there was no let-up in the excitement!

Currently: in limbo
Listening to: Dave Matthews Band - Mercy (Live from Bristow)

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