21 PICTURE ALBUM
Monday, June 21
Steve: We are now officially in wind-down mode, and can
definitely feel it. Today was another slow-paced day - the kind we all really
feel that we need.
Our main activity today was a whale watch that we did on a small boat that
left from right here in Knysna Lagoon. We spent about two hours on the boat,
mostly watching a group of humpback dolphins and then a pair of humpback whales
that were migrating along the coast toward Mozambique. The dolphins are actually
an endangered species, with only about 1,200 left here along the South African
coast. Unlike the more common bottleneck dolphins, they mostly keep to themselves
and seemed to ignore our presence.
humpback whales were very impressive, and treated us to a couple of huge breaches.
The breaching behavior is thought to be used by the whales to remove lice
from their bodies, but it's impossible to know for sure. We stayed and watched
the whales for over half an hour before returning back to Knysna.
The most adventurous part of our time on the water was the passage through
the Knysna Heads. The water was much rougher here than yesterday, and only
after we got ready to pass through the narrow opening to the sea were we told
that this is the third most dangerous
sea passage in the world! Not to fear, however - our captain told us that
he had over 18 years of experience in these waters. We were told to assume
a "brace position" as the boat fought its way over and through some
very large waves, and we were all very happy when we reached calmer waters
out at sea. The ride back through the pass was much easier, as we simply found
a large wave and rode it all the way back into the lagoon.
This afternoon we drove to the western side of the Knysna Heads, to a spot
called Brenton-by-the-Sea. Here we walked down to a long beach that was being
pounded by heavy waves and surf. We have found the waters here to be some
of the roughest and most dangerous that we
have seen anywhere. There are very few beaches that are safe for swimming,
and there are some very significant undertows. The weather today was beautiful,
and we enjoyed simply walking and relaxing on the beach, admiring the
power of the ocean.
Tomorrow morning we will drive back to George, and then fly east to Durban.
From there we will drive along the coast to a place called Umhlanga Rocks
where we plan on staying for three days at a beach resort.