Tuesday, 31 May 2011


I am surrounded by white fog when I leave the house in the early morning.  It is so thick you cannot see your hands an arm’s length away.  It is 07h20 in the morning.  At exactly 07h30 I catch sunrise.  Not that anything changes in what I see, it is the same white colour all around, but the GPS changes its background from black to white, so I know the sun has crested the horizon.

I am on my way to Paternoster to meet with my first “official” visitor to the West Coast.  Maritha, a friend from varsity days, is visiting Club Mykonos with her mother.  This part of the West Coast was a favourite visiting place for her parents and it was her parent’s wish to come to Mykonos. Sadly her father passed away a month before the planned holiday.
I stay in the thick mist through Doornbaai, Lambertsbaai, Elandsbaai, Dwarskersbos and just before I reach Velddrif the sky finally opens.  In the car with me I have a shopping list (essential when travelling anywhere close to the civilisation), my computer, my camera and a small overnight bag – just in case.  (The just in case means just in case the sun actually comes out and burn the fog away and you may actually see something to make it worthwhile to stay).  By the time I drive into Paternoster the sun finally reveals itself and I can enjoy the view in all its glory.  I drive to the visitor centre immediately and secure accommodation.  Then I phone Hennie to make sure he can get a lift down with a colleague that works and live up north during the week, but spend weekends (and voting day!) at home with his family in Langebaan.

In true West Coast hospitality style (which I was not sure would apply to a commercial place like Paternoster), we are offered a two bed-room sea front villa for the same price as the more back-ward located one-bedroom: just because they like me! Ha-ha.  Because business is quite slow and no-one is in any event occupying the nicer unit, and as the guy is very clever, he has bought some loyalty from me for a future stay.
I am like a child in a toy shop and practically stop my car every 30m to get out and take a new picture.  The beach looks spectacular, and I can’t wait to take more pictures.  But first I meet up with Maritha and we decided to go to the Voorstrand restaurant for lunch.  As is required all three of us ordered “fish & chips” and we had a long leisurely lunch.  Maritha also manages to track down and speak to a few of our ex-Iscor Head Office colleagues that have moved to Saldanha Steel.  After about 2 hours in the restaurant the mist rolls in secretly like a thief in the night, and when we step out of the place you might as well be anywhere in the country as you cannot see the sea.  All our photo opportunities are gone…

Early evening I fetch Hennie from Velddrif and I can see he is impressed with our accommodation when we reach Paternoster.  We went to Paternoster Lodge for dinner, as the other recommendations such as Noisy Oyster was closed, and I have already done Voorstrand for the day.

Moon rise over Paternoster, our cottage to the right in the picture
We had yellowtail (a bit on the dry side), and calamari which was nice, though a bit cold even upon arrival.  We also stuck to our new local favourite white wine; Fryer’s Cove (forged by the earth- tempered by the sea).  The wine is made from vineyards right next to Strandfontein, a mere 30m from the sea.   (Remember Mr Fryer?  He of building the first brick house in Strandfontein?) Compared to the other local plonk, this is streets ahead. 

Sun rise, same spot
The next day we slept late, watched the sunrise (the only benefit of the very late sunrise is that you can sleep extremely late and still watch the sun come up).  Had breakfast at Oep ve Koep and listened how all the political parties still tried to sway the votes.  Each and every party had their own tent and music systems blaring.  The ANC had a double army tent with numerous flags.  One of the other parties had a gazebo and no flags or music, seems he did not manage to collect enough money for his election campaign. 
Voorstrand Restaurant
"Oep ve Koep"

Before turning homewards we satisfied our craving for civilisation and did some shopping at Woolies Food in Weskus Mall.  Bought lots of unnecessary stuff, but boy did we feel good when we walked out of there.

We bought a massive piece of yellowtail fish fillet at Doornbaai, with neither of us having any idea how to cook it and knowing that it is a dry fish so we have a very good chance of stuffing it up.  In the end we split the fish in two.  Hennie braaied an excellent portion on the fire, with lots of butter and other juices.  I steamed mine in the oven with tomato and onion.  The only voting we did for the day was which fish was best and mine came a very distant second in the competition, but must admit mine would have been the much healthier option if you could force yourself to eat it. 

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