The sea mist has moved in with a vengeance this morning, so we won’t have big winds, but this afternoon it will probably pick up.
I am well and at present in the very, very, very small old fishing village of Elands Bay. Elands bay is up the west coast of South Africa about 260km north of Cape Town. It is my first time here.
The bay has a huge name amongst the surfing community in South Africa. So I was surprised at how small it is. There is the Wit Mossel Pot Restaurant / backpackers and police station. A very small Chinese general dealer, a smaller grocery shop that is hugely expensive and a small hotel that opened especially for Noah to live in while he was building the Ark; it hasn’t changed much in all those years – I think maybe some of the staff could be descendants of Noah!
Then the three bottle stores (off-licences) to impoverish the already dismally impoverished community in the area.
Social-wise – in the evenings the surfers and some farmers gather in the Wit Mossel Pot restaurant and jam – all have a go at playing some instrument or other.
There is a south Eland’s Bay, called ‘Eland’s Bay South’! But this is where all the big houses are with a few expensive self-catering and Bed & breakfast establishments dominate the flora of the once scenic point. This is where the boring types live – so we don’t go there.
Further out on the point is the old crayfish factory. This has also closed down under the new South African government’s ability to create chaos. Hence the improved business of the three bottle stores feeding the unemployed and increasing those poor souls dependency on drugs and alcohol.
Eland’s Bay sits in the corner of a bluff a long bay curving towards the diamond beach areas of Namibia in the north. Oyster Catchers and Seagulls hang in the wind, landing lightly on the kelp and shell, white beaches. The icy cold waters are Atlantic ocean blue and turquoise. The prevailing south-easterly winds blow in over the expanses of the ocean.
I went for a long walk along the coast and slept one night in the dunes just north of Elands Bay. Like Tanzania, the stars went on forever. I had not charged my camera battery so did not get any photos.
I have ordered the stand and two new tyres. My present tyres, the originals, have done over 3,000 km – not bad for that quality of tyre – and to date I have had two punctures! The new tyres are touring tyres. Not cheap, but they will see me through the dirt roads and wild patches I am going to encounter through Africa.
The broken stand. The original is welded to the frame in such a manner that it IS part of the frame.
The new stand is built for touring bikes with heavy loads. The other issue was that when the bike was supported by the stand, the front wheel would swing around because of the weight in the front panniers. This was part of the original stand collapsing – ALL the weight on one side of the bike. The new stand arrangement is actually in two parts. The main stand that supports the rear of the bike, and a secondary stand that attaches to the front rack and stops the wheel swinging.
I will take these through to Vredendal with me where there is a bike shop. There I will get everything done that needs doing before setting out for Springbok.
As I move forward so I have been able to ascertain the best route to follow. The coastal road I was going to follow from Eland’s to Lambert’s Bay has been closed. So the possible route now, as far as Springbok is:
Graafwater to Lamberts Bay (alternative route), via Vredendal – 47 km; Vanrynsdorp – 84km; Nuwerus – 70 km; Bitterfontein – 17km; Garies – 63 km; Springbok – 118 km.
The distances between towns are getting longer now; and the terrain is a bit hilly in places with long, long straight stretches of road. It is very hot and dry. Open veldt and low harsh bushes.
The distances I will have to travel on any given day, working at my planned early morning 20km and late evening 20km needs, will give a minimum 40km per day. This is what I will need to cycle to get through the foreign countries and stay within my visa requirements. Extensions MAY be available but I cannot rely on those and need to look at the assumed plan. If I find I am battling to achieve I will tuck the Wobbler under my arm, stick Gordon in my pocket and hitch rides or climb on buses or trains.
After all the object of the journey is to get to England and not get imprisoned or hospitalised en-route.
I am feeling strong and fit. This rest has given my arm a chance to recoup, it seems fine now.
By the way – have you ever thought of making a few sleeping bags and dishing them out to some of those homeless we see on our pavements.
No, well have a go. After all if you made two a week – come winter you would make a lot of freezing people happy.
Making Sleeping bags from newspapers and plastic bags