Posts Tagged ‘Alexander Bay’

Catch up.

Right I have now spent the last 3 days and this morning (Sunday 12th) playing catch up for this blog and also sorting out the photographs I have taken so far into some kind of order.

Thursday and Friday were really hot and also quite windy. Saturday I woke up to the sound of rain falling on the caravan roof and not a breath of wind. When I stepped outside the air was clean (no dust) and everything just looked so fresh. It was truly beautiful. This morning is clear again but there is quite a nip in the air.

The camp has been empty, apart from me, for the past 3 days so it has been really peaceful and to be honest I have enjoyed the solitude as it has given me the space to do some introspective thinking about the past 12 days since I left Cape Town and also where I am going to go to from here and when. I have decided to stick around here for the next week and then go back to Port Nolloth and see what I can find there. There are still two possible story opportunities round here that I want to work on and a few more photographs I want to do in Alexander Bay.

Is it not amazing how a small group of inconsiderate and noisy people can stuff it all up. The peace and quiet I had been enjoying was shattered an hour or two ago with the arrival of a bakkie and trailer. I am still not sure how many people fell out when the doors were opened but at least 11 adults  and 3 children. The next thing fires were lit and loud music and much shouting and screaming was going on about 20 meters from where I am camped. All I can say is thank heavens they are only here to have a braai and will push off later this afternoon

Speaking of this afternoon I am going to go for a walk and also try my luck with some fishing. I have managed to get some dried mieles and am going to try them as bait. Will let you know if I had any luck in my next post.

5pm Update:

Breaking News, News Flash……..

Could not wait to tell you – There ARE fish in the Orange River.

Catch of the day

Catch of the day

Shame he wasn’t very big, about 12″ in the old measurement (not sure what that is in cm?) and no idea what kind of fish, so of course had to throw him back. Did get one very nice bite but lost it!!!! Next time hey…

By the way got the bites and caught this one on dropshot. The mieles did not even get a nibble.

Pieter the librarian et al

Tuesday 7th I spent virtually the whole day trying to get my act together so that this site could go live on Thursday. I have found it extremely difficult and frustrating to do because of the  slow internet connection I have here. Its been on a par with working, in the good old days, with a 56k modem. To be honest I am lucky to have any kind of data connection as I am 25k’s from Alex Bay and only got a GPRS signal there.

Wednesday 8th arrived and I set off early to meet up with Pieter van Wyk the librarian who was going to give me a tour round some of the interesting parts of Alex Bay. What an amazing young man – a virtual walking encyclopaedia of facts, plant names and history. A  librarian, photographer, writer, museum curator, ornithologist and conservationist and he is only 21 years old!!  He was born, schooled and raised in the area and his family have lived in the Richtersveld since the 1800’s. He has been writing a book for the last 6 years and it is due for publication in September this year.

Pieter van Wyk

Pieter van Wyk

Pieter the Librarian

His biggest passion are the Lichens of the area. There is a huge field of them, now declared a world heritage site and one of the largest collections in the world, that overlooks the town and that is where we started.

Lichen: plant organism made up of a fungus and an alga which grow together on rocks“.

If, like me, you are a total philistine who had never even heard the name before, and would like to find out more then please follow this link. Lichens.

Lichen field

Lichen field

The Lichen field overlooking Alexander Bay in the background

Pieter van Wyk

Pieter van Wyk

Pieter, in the Lichen field, doing what he loves most.

Pieters passion for what he is doing, research, conservation etc is so strong that it becomes infectious. The field is surrounded by a fence but the lock on the gate has been broken and all and sundry have unsupervised access to the plants which then get walked on, driven over or stolen. They can’t survive dust and while we were there about 6 police cars roared through the field, on the way to a shooting range. Even I was upset by that.

Lichen flower

Lichen flower

If I remember correctly this is known as “window of the world”

After spending some time in the field it was off to the Museum which is situated in the security area of the mine and I had to be signed in and a security card issued.

Pieters knowledge of the history of Alexander Bay and surrounds is quite staggering and we spent a good few hours going from section to section of artefacts on display, some of which he had put together himself. He has been appointed by the mine management to look after the museum and do tours but finds it very difficult to do justice to the work as he is employed full time at the Library. This was the 1st time he had been in the museum for 2 months and there was dust everywhere. I felt very privileged to be given the tour all on my own.

Museum display

Museum display

Time was running short as Pieter had to be back at the library by 1pm so we took a quick drive to the restricted boarder crossing into Namibia to get a photo of the longest bridge in South Africa.

Bridge spanning  the Orange River

Bridge spanning the Orange River

Difficult shot to get but also illustrates what the soil and vegetation is like.

On our way back to town we came across some more flamingos and I learnt that the area is also a Ramsar site.

Famingos

Flamingos

My time was up and we said our goodbyes.  I went to the restaurant to have a bite to eat and ponder on all I had heard and seen from this very knowledgeable young man and work out how I was going to try and capture the essence of it all on this blog. I have tried my best.

For more photographs of the day go to pix

If you wished to learn more about what has happened, and is still going on, in the lands claim scenario please go to Link

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