Cdnpearly's Blog

Pearl's musings

Cape of Good Hope, 2 Oceans and Some Penguins! October 26, 2014

Long Beach, South Africa

Long Beach, South Africa

Hout Bay, South Africa

Hout Bay, South Africa

A full and complete day!

On our recent South Africa holiday, Tasha and I spent an entire day exploring points south of Cape Town.  And it was epic.

Sandra from Africa Dynamics set us up with a wonderful tour guide–Albert Pote.  Albert picked us up at our apartment and the day started with a stop at Hout Bay–a little fishing village with a lovely marina.  Lots of sea life makes this a popular spot to view seals.

From there we wandered down the coast and over some hills with incredible vistas including beautiful Long Beach.

 

 

 

Tasha and the ostrich!

Tasha and the ostrich!

IMG_1267

Cdnpearly and the ostriches

Albert stopped at an ostrich ranch.  He taught the finer points of feeding these HUGE birds!

 

Pincushion

Pincushion

From there we entered the Table Mountain National Park.  The pincushion flowers were spectacular.

IMG_3439

Two Oceans Restaurant

IMG_3441

Two Oceans Restaurant

Two Oceans Restaurant

Two Oceans Restaurant

Lunch was at the incredible Two Oceans restaurant at Cape Point.  Albert had arranged an amazing table overlooking False Bay.  The restaurant is open air and the views are as good as the food!  Birds and baboons also enjoy the Two Oceans, so squirt bottles are placed strategically along the railing–guests and staff “encourage” the creatures to move along with a well placed squirt of water!

 

 

 

 

Cape Point

Cape Point

Following our lunch, we took the Funicular (cable car) to the top of Cape Point.  It was bustling with tourists, but Albert expertly guided us to the best vantage points where we took photos and simply soaked in the location–the southern-most tip of Africa.  Also, we could see the delineation of the two oceans–Indian and Atlantic.

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

Well, actually, that’s not quite true–the oceans don’t seem to mind where they co-mingle!  However, tradition suggests that Cape Point is the meeting place of these 2 bodies of water.

Albert recommended hiking between Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.  Since the weather was glorious (again!) and the views promised to be spectacular, we strolled along the well maintained board walk/path hugging the coast line high above the beach.  Tasha and I loved every moment of this hike.

 

 

IMG_1366

African Penguin

IMG_1368

African Penguins, Boulders Beach

From here we traveled north and stopped at Boulders Beach in Simonstown where the ever popular African Penguins hang out. These adorable creatures were formally known as Jack Ass Penguins due to their distinctive mating calls!  Everyone loves penguins!  So it was pretty busy here, however, once again, Albert knew the best place to view and take pictures.  A lovely boardwalk lead us through a wooded area where we saw the penguins’ burrows (nests).  As we approached the beach we were delighted by these sweet birds–waddling on the beach, swimming in the surf, falling/jumping off boulders in the water…mesmerizing!  Definitely worth stopping here for awhile!

Cape of Good Hope

Cape of Good Hope

And just like that, our very full day of sightseeing drew to a close!

If you have the chance to explore this remarkable area, I recommend a tour with Albert.  He immediately understood the type of activity we enjoyed and tailored the day to suit us.  Albert’s knowledge of the area, history, culture, sights etc. was impressive.  He also suggested some other activities to take in during the rest of our holiday–and offered to help us book reservations.  We took him up on his generous offer and in my next post, you’ll see how much we really enjoyed them!

 

Advertisements
 

Olympic National Park August 2, 2014

IMG_0702

Marymere Falls

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Recently I travelled to Olympic National Park in Washington State.  I’ve never explored Washington beyond working at a conference in Seattle years ago.

It is a beautiful spot in the world for sure.

cdnpearly on the ferry

cdnpearly on the ferry

We flew into Seattle and rented a vehicle to reach our destination.  The drive to the park included a ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and then across several large bridges.

The weather was perfect–sunny and warm.IMG_2796

Arriving at the NatureBridge campus I was amazed at the lush greenery and the peaceful vibe.  Located on the shore of Crescent Lake, the historic property showcases many charming cottages and a dining hall that takes you back to bygone times.  I heard rumors that this location was a favorite of IMG_2840President Roosevelt!

Lake Crescent is unbelievably clear, with a teal blue color that reminded me of the Caribbean.  I actually looked forward to waking up early to enjoy tranquil mornings on the dock!

Our guide provided many opportunities to explore the area.

We canoed across the lake to hike The Spruce Railroad trail that was repurposed from an old train track. Wood from these forests was used in World War 1 for creating airplanes…to make it easier to get the lumber to the plane manufacturer, a rustic train track was constructed.

Tunnel on the Spruce Railroad trail

Tunnel on the Spruce Railroad trail

One of the most thrilling parts of the trail was through a tunnel.  Abandoned rail road ties littered the ground and made for challenging navigation.  I have some claustrophobic tendencies, so I was somewhat terrified reluctant to go through the gaping chasm that ended in the center of the earth tunnel.  Emerging on the other side was a relief!  It was a growth opportunity for me for sure!

Second Beach

Second Beach

Storm King Summit

Storm King Summit

One day we climbed Storm King.  This mountain overlooks Crescent Lake and provides a good burn for the quads as you ascend.  The views at the top were worth the effort, even on a misty day!

This region is also known for the Twilight movie(s).

Evidently Second Beach was the setting for some of the well known scenes (full disclosure:  I have never read the Twilight series or seen the movies).  We hiked along a beautiful trail that opened up onto the beach.  Interesting rock formations and the marine layer rolling in and out like the tides…well, I could definitely picture vampires, werewolves and whatnot cavorting here!

banana slug

banana slug

barred owl

barred owl

In addition to these “imaginary” creatures–we saw a number of other wildlife.  IMG_2871The ubiquitous banana slugs…a barred owl…a snake…ducks…crawfish…a deer…And the flowers were spectacular.

 

What an amazing experience.

Scottish Broom

Scottish Broom

 

Rachel the pig

Rachel the pig

We made a quick stop at the Pike Place Market in Seattle–saw  Rachel the pig and grabbed a tasty fresh salmon sandwich.  And then it was time to go home…IMG_0658

If you haven’t had the chance to explore Olympic National Park, I definitely recommend adding it to your list!