The pain is excruciating. It's been days and the rope is now so entangled around my mouth that it's impossible to feed. For a while I could make do, but now I'm weak. Slowly but surely it's becoming harder to even stay afloat. A wave suddenly crashes over me pushing me towards the shore. Normally I wouldn't even notice a wave like that, but now it causes me to roll onto my side. I right myself but not for long. Moments later another wave smashes over me and a sudden searing pain rips across my belly. I'm confused, disoriented by my weakness and pain. What's happening? And then I realise as the water recedes...I've been washed up onto a jagged rock. I cannot move. I try one last time but my energy is depleted. I lie still...waiting.
Entering the small museum we are immediately welcomed by two ladies. They usher us inside into the cool, dark - thanks to Eskom - space within. The sound of seagulls fills the air as sailors shout out from high up in the rigging of their ships. Traders line the shore waiting for the cargo to be unloaded from the sailing vessels.
The leather harness creaks as the whip cracks above the oxen as they pull valiantly at the laden wagon behind them. The smell of the salty air and animals mingles in the warm midday sun. The whip cracks again as the oxen heave in unison.
The report of a rifle shot shatters the silence and the bullet whistles dangerously close to the young man crouched behind the rock. In fact so close that as he sinks further down behind the protection of the rock he notices a hole in his hat. Inches lower and he would be dead, just like his older brother whose name he bears.
The stories weave into a living tapestry as our guides transport us back in time. It's not a museum, it's a time machine, and we are privileged to have tickets to travel.
Smiling and waving us off...I've never experienced that from a museum guide before, we head out for a walk along Port Alfred's beautiful beach. A pair of local fisherman smile a toothless greeting at us as we watch them attempt to catch their dinner.
This is Port Alfred, named after a prince who apparently never even turned up for his scheduled visit because something more interesting came up. Surely it should rather be named Port alFRIENDLY, because that is what sets this special town apart.