The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau
One of the greatest pleasures in life must surely be to escape to the ocean on a sea kayak with a bunch of friends sharing a love of the sea, the strains of distant traffic muted and our hectic life on land temporarily forgotten.
Whether the south easterly is gently blowing or the northwester is beginning to make an appearance there are a variety of scenic paddling routes along our section of the False Bay coastline that will bring you back to your starting point without a headlong battle into the wind.
When the south east blows it is pleasant to paddle from Simon’s Town Long Beach towards Miller’s Point. The great granite boulders in the water and along the water’s edge stimulate the imagination and create delightful channels to meander through while the plucky little penguins are always a delight to behold. We have experienced flocks of cormorants divebombing the fish around us, sea otters tossing tasty morsels about in their mouths, great stingrays gliding regally below our boats and bulbous white jellyfish dwarfing their dainty little pink cousins as they float through the clear water.
When the northwester nudges us gently from the side our route is usually towards Glencairn, Fish Hoek and Kalk Bay Harbour. Here we have been escorted for hundreds of metres by joyous schools of seals playfully slipping under and around our kayaks. A passing pod of dolphins makes us stop and stare, thrilling us to the core. A fin gliding by at a comfortable distance has the same effect, evoking a deep sense of awe and great sense of privilege. One’s soul expands!
And I have not even mentioned the whales yet! The great glorious Southern Rights visiting our shores between July and November each year sometimes startle us as they surface nearby with a huff and a puff and a sparkling spumescence. At other times of the year we are overjoyed by the sighting of a Humpback. The floppy fin of the Neolithic looking great sunfish might cause a moment’s consternation but that is soon replaced by exhilaration…. exaltation.
And as we weave our way across the water, spellbound in “its net of wonder”, we are grateful that we live in the scenic south and that we have the wherewithall to enjoy the oceans around us, the mountains beckoning when the seas are too wild!
A group of paddlers sets out from the little beach in front of Bertha’s in Simon’s Town on a Wednesday evening at 5.30pm in summer and 5pm in winter and on a Sunday morning at 9.30am. Experienced paddlers with their own kayaks are welcome to join us. Should you wish to know more contact Margaret or Derek at Paddlers in Simon’s Town on 021 786 2626
The loneliness you get by the sea is personal and alive. It doesn’t subdue you and make you feel abject. It’s stimulating loneliness.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.