COASTEER ON THE CAPE PENIN­SULA

Getaway (South Africa) - - Travel - – KATI AULD

Wind­mill Beach, like its bet­ter-known neigh­bour Boul­ders, is well-pro­tected from the wind that can whip across the Penin­sula, but it has the ad­di­tional ben­e­fit of a wider, more panoramic view across False Bay. This makes it the per­fect set­ting for an ac­tiv­ity known as coas­t­eer­ing. De­vel­oped in Wales, it’s a sort of marine kloof­ing – snorkelling, scram­bling over rocks and jump­ing off them along the coast. There are of­ten pen­guins here, but they must have been per­form­ing their tiny-but­ler du­ties else­where on our visit. For most of the morn­ing, your job is to ex­plore the rich At­lantic wa­ters like a kid. First is the snorkelling: red, pink and pur­ple urchins line the rocks like pom­poms, as well as mas­sive starfish. This wa­ter, usu­ally fairly chilly, is per­fectly friendly when wear­ing a wet­suit. Round­ing the sea­ward face of one of the gran­ite boul­ders, there’s a mas­sive drop-off: you can use the sturdy necks of the kelp to jet­ti­son your­self down on one lung­ful of air, watch­ing big­ger fish flit about in the

depths. (Not ter­ri­fy­ingly big, though – great whites tend to avoid kelp beds.) Then it’s time to swap your snorkel for a hel­met and life vest, and play in the gully, which feels al­most like a white-wa­ter rapid when the swell churns through it. (Fight­ing with the cur­rent was in­fin­itely en­ter­tain­ing for the teenage boys among us.) Then there is the jump­ing. Un­like kloof­ing, there isn’t a ‘route’ – so the jumps aren’t a nec­es­sary means of get­ting from A to B, but a glo­ri­ous way to up your adrenalin for the thrill of it. Af­ter about two hours of be­ing tugged around by the tide, and leap­ing eight me­tres into the glassy em­brace of the At­lantic, I was out of breath, salty, and ut­terly sat­is­fied to laze on the beach and take in some sun.

The kelp beds around this part of the coast are a play­ground for all kinds of crea­tures, both marine and ter­res­trial. OP­PO­SITE BOT­TOM Spiny starfish like this, held by An­drew Kel­lett, are plen­ti­ful: this one was busy eat­ing a peri­win­kle. BE­LOW On a good day, the wa­ters around Si­mon’s Town are crys­tal clear and mul­ti­ple shades of green-blue.

en­ture­sis Grav­i­tyAdv guided the­first­toof­fer inSA coas­t­eer­ing

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