Saturday, January 29, 2011

Billy of Bokramstrand

As I write this Vince and my father are climbing the mountain via India Venster. I've done it once before, but this time I passed. Too many scary bits for me plus a 5am wake up call. They were to have ascended with friends Herbert and Benita, but yesterday Herbet called on his way to rescue Benita, who had come off her bike in a gust of Cape wind, on Chapman's Peak (on the right in the picture above). She had been in serious straining for the Argus Cycle Tour. Result, fractured pelvis and bad lacerations to the arm. 

So only two walked up the mountain.

Meet Billy. Billy seems to be the ambassador of Bokramstrand, and attached himself to us the other day. I liked him. He fished quietly in the pools, gazing intently at minnows and looking at me speculatively from time to time. Several times a nose pressed gently to the back of my calf when I came to a stop, and it was Billy, saying, Get a move on, there is more to see.

We saw white-breasted plover chicks the size of fluffy golf balls, cormorants, gulls (hi, Guy), oyster catchers and four sizes of small fry in the shallows. The tide was out and a fog bank had started to roll in, even though we left home under bright blue skies and in blazing sunlight. The often turquoise sea was darker and moody, though still.

Ben the labrador would have loved to have come, but the beach is too much for him, now. His back legs cannot carry him far, though his spirit is willing. I had not thought that going with us last year really would be his last visit Bokramstrand.

This is one of the few places to find intact sea urchin shells. The pools between Bokramstrand and Noordhoek are shallow and quiet, the waves softened by a series of rock barriers. In them seaweed, anemones, mussels, limpets, snails and baby fish live together  in natural aquariums beyond which wetsuited crayfish poachers sometimes bob.We were told last year by a man on the beach that Cape clawless otters are still seen here.

If you need a dog to walk, go and find Billy. He will show you the things that matter. He doesn't talk much, and prefers it that you do not, either. He says it scares the fish.
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