To The Sea
(22 - 24 June 2018)
“You be you and I be me
To live to live tempestuously
As each wave breaks at the edge of the sea
You be you then I’ll be me”
*Skinny van Schalkwyk*
We all have vivid images of the coast. Probably more so for us Northern folk.
We think of yellow granadilla ice-creams on a stick. We think of sand collecting in hidden pockets of newly bought swimming costumes. We think of sunburn and the smell of Fridge.
(My own memories often get interrupted with salty water of another kind…)
But first you had to sit out the trip, cramped in the backseat of a car – ARE WE THERE YET?
Salt is good for you in the not so digestible way, and what better idea to refresh the soul than a dip in the big blue?
It was time, even if we had only one weekend in our busy Gauteng bustle.
We headed down to the East coast with its warm Agulhas welcome.
Storm aka Jenice Lehmann
Storm invited us to stay over at the coastal villa they call home. I haven’t seen Storm in yonks and miss this SA legend of biking. She’s the first SA woman to have raced on an island of man (she competed in the MANX Grand Prix).
She’s faster than a speeding helicopter. No really – SHE IS! She raced and won a tjopper Bell 407 around Phakisa raceway.
There was a backlog in hugs.
(Over the years Storm has honed her skill in photo manipulation. Here is her version of Storm-&-Skinny-By-The-Sea)
The national roads down to Durbs were mayhem. Between school holidays and burning-trucks-at-tollgates protests, we eagerly picked the lesser traveled side roads. It was eerily quiet on these roads and we didn’t encounter any other bikers, or even caged holiday makers.
It’s noteworthy how the sheeple rush down to their destinations, and miss out on all the fun in between. Chikita and myself tend to enjoy the travelling more than the last stop, in so much that we’ve often never made it to point B. Luckily – not this time.
We stopped at the Memel hotel, had a quick breakfast and caught up with old friends. The more you travel, the smaller the world becomes.
It was slowly warming up and we started peeling layer after layer of warm clothing.
An unlocked gate is one of the small gifts that nature bestows on the conscientious adventurer.
The universe has laws and we obey these purely out of fear. As scientists, we call these laws theories. Most bikers have tested the theory of gravity somewhere along the road, and we therefor know what the result is of treating these laws nonchalantly.
Then there are the laws of the land. These might be less obvious, but they do materialize in signage form. And to a select few as ‘common sense’. These would be the ‘no entry’ signs, or purely to leave the gate as you found it.
Another rule; do not destroy the roads as not all farmers keep a grader in the barn. And – NO FIRES, unless you’ve spent three days fighting fires in the Magalies mountains. Stuff that – just take a can of sardientjies…
An obvious one…
Rubbish in – rubbish out!
NO HUNTING… unless you’re starving, or if that damn frikkadel won’t sit still.
“Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing.”
*Christina Georgina Rossetti*
We’ve ticked our fair share of passes; some easy, some barely noticeable, some scary, and some skid mark deadly.
Normandien pass – serene, tranquil, majestic, magnificent
Friends stick together till the end…
Even if that end is horizons away
As you slide down the tail of this dragon, the views to the east and to the west open up as the road swaggers left and right.
It’s quite a steep pass, but they implemented some cheat codes, aka cement tracks, on the steeper parts.
Evidence of recent rock falls lay strewn next to the road, and any evidence of lost traction
victims would have been gobbled up by the sheer cliffs echoing into pitch darkness.
We rode past olive green plantations bordered by golden yellow grass fields and pale blue skies. All the colours of winter hazed by the dust of our adventure.
Back on the N3, we were racing time again trying to make up for minutes wasted sitting on a mountain staring at silence. It soon turned into a game of Pac-man trying to eat as many Pac-kilos as possible without being eaten by die motor-ghosts. The only difference… we only have one life each.
We were welcomed with hugs, slobber Pitbull kisses and steaming lasagna. Life could not get better.
The next morning we HAD to get down to the beach. These mermaids were drying to a crisp…
But we were told that no swimming was allowed. IT WAS SARDINE RUN TIME!
This is an annual event where large shoals of sardines move in a band up the coast. Because the fish become concentrated near the surface in a narrow inshore band of water, the shoals are quickly located by schools of marauding predators that are whipped into a frenzy by this brief period of plenty in these otherwise less productive waters. Sharks, such as the copper, dusky, blacktip and spinner, join gamefish such as shad, garrick and geelbek, and marine mammals like Cape fur seals and dolphins in hot pursuit of the shimmering mass of sardines… or each other… or stupid G’tengers… Therefor – NO SWIMMING!
There are three terms that describe me best. Apart from those terms – the fourth would be Stupid G’tenger!
We sprayed on some anti-shark musk and flopped into the foam.
It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist: the threat is rather to life itself.
With our batteries instantly charged up with one bar, we went to visit the shark-garten (a kindergarten for baby sharks), played fetch with Cupid the Pittie, and took a ride up the coast to a spot where bikes were allowed on the beach.
How could we not spoil Brom and Melk with their first visit to the sea??? They dived right into the sand, got a suntan, and stared at the biggest water crossing they had ever…
I do not speak Oceanis. All I hear is a rhythmic song of tumultuous water in a language I do not understand. But the power with which this aqua lady sings her lyrics, forces you to listen – almost mesmerized. She is telling you a story beginning with disbelief and ending in mystery. Between doubt and unknown she’s advising you to live.
Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.
We left behind a broken pond with white stitches on crescents keeping all the liquid parts together.
How could you not smile when your shoes are filled with sea sand, your cheeks are glowing red from sunburn, and your skin is sticky from dried sea drops.
Our trip back home started with a ride through the Valley of a 1000 hills.
Valley Of A 1000 Hills
The area is named after the thousands of hills which tumble down to the mighty Umgeni River, flowing from the distant Drakensberg Mountains to the Indian Ocean.
We started the ride with a caramalized apple pancake at The View Pancake Cafe
We screeched over 304 hills before we ran out of time. The other 696 will have to wait for another trip.
At the Van Reenen’s pass, we decided to pick up a bit of speed to sweep through the twisties, but we soon got reprimanded by a khaki and reflective bib-wearing citizen. We were in trouble… BIG TROUBLE!
We fell into the category of NO ADMITTANCE OF GUILT and spending a night in a damp cell was lying in our future.
But Constable King had the heart of an angel. He dismissed our case and gave us each a hug and good wishes for our further travels. It must have been the aroma of the marine still clinging to our boots – it softens most souls. Or maybe his surname was Neptune…
And so, a short holiday came to an end.
Rolling back into Gauteng, with smoke bulging into the sky, the only blue we could spy was the mood of a city-society.
CHIKITA PRODUCTIONS PRESENT:
Chikita and Skinny rode down to Durban taking the long way down via Normandien Pass. We dunked wheels in the Indian ocean filled with sardines and sharks. We lost a ball fight with a Pitbull (we did kiss and make up). We flattened a thousand hills. And we escaped a jail cell... just!
Life is not just plain sailing. Even though it looks like we’re having a whale of a time, funding these adventures are another kettle of fish. Asking for a donation is like being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, but each coin, however small, is a drop in our ocean!
If you're familiar with the rural concept of the honesty bar, this honesty newsletter ain't much different... I'm a completely un-paid journalist, relying instead on readers using the honour system. You read the newsletter and then leave an amount you see fit for the entertainment you've received.
If you don't find it particularly amusing, then you fork out NO dosh. I won't stop sending you the letter – it is still mahala to those that count their coins and... I love sharing my stories.
As requested by my overseas readers, you can donate to this newsletter on my PayPal account:
You can do an EFT transfer to the account below.
YouTube: Skinny van Schalkwyk