The sun lances through the water scattering into bands of light as it sparkles off the bubbles rising from the sea bed below. With ease I slip through the rays of light, gliding above the sandy ocean floor below. The clear water and calm sea above makes swimming easy, although a slight surge causes the seaweed to dance back and forth as though in response to an unseen hand. Suddenly a dark shadow breaks the sun, and seconds later with a quick flick of my tail I dart to the side to avoid inevitable death from above. The water erupts in an explosion of bubbles as a huge beast lances through the water where, just moments before, I was swimming.
“I can’t believe this is low season,” I say as we pull up at the back of a line of 10 cars waiting to get into the Tsitsikamma National Park. “I’d hate to see what it’s like here in peak season,” I grumble as we wait for about 15 minutes in the rising heat for our turn. Once more I’m thankful for our Wild Card, it's saved us a fortune in entrance fees to national parks.
Once we’re inside it does not seem too busy as we quite easily find a parking. We unpack our picnic lunch and sit down to eat it in God's diner - endless deep blue sea stretching out to meet endless deep blue sky, wrapped together by the free audio ambiance provided by seagulls floating effortlessly on the light wind.
“Hey, look at the cool raft floating out in the sea,” Hannah says pointing to a small wooden pontoon secured about 30 meters out from shore. We’re sitting on the small Tsitsikamma beach, nested between the wooden structure that houses a shop and restaurant and the cliff that rises up next to the Storms river. “Let’s swim out to it,” Hannah suggests. With the early afternoon sun causing the temperatures to reach the low 30s, we don’t need a second invitation. The cool sea instantly washes away the heat as we swim out towards the pontoon. Pulling myself out I flop down onto its gently bobbing, warm surface. It’s like having your own private island as we watch the people back on the shore. It’s the sound of a motorboat that catches our attention, as it deep throaty roar rises in intensity as it bounds playfully out to sea. “Now that is what we need to do,” Joshua says looking on with excitement.
I’m warm now and it’s time to swim back to shore…there’s no other way off our little piece of tranquility. I stand soaking up a few more sun rays as I steel myself for the waters cool embrace. Diving in I frighten a silvery fish, that with a flick of its tail darts away looking noticeably relieved that we did not collide.
It’s not long and we have purchased tickets for the boat ride which promises to be a combination experience - some fun wave bouncing action, and a photographers dream ride, slowly up the Storms River.“You should hold on tight,” the friendly boat captain explains, as he we all put on our lifejackets and cling tightly to the seats. “We will head out to sea then turn around and return to the river. Once we are in the river you can walk around and take photos.” With that the powerful twin-engined boat roars into life and within seconds we are racing away out to sea. The sea spray whips into my face as the boat goes faster and faster, flying over waves and crashing down the other side in a spray of water and shouts of euphoria. The adrenalin induced smiles are still carved on our faces as we finally slow down to enter the mouth of the Storms river.
A hidden world of stunning beauty opens up before us, as the rusty dark water slowly makes its way between the huge cliffs that tower on either side of us. Our camera is smoking as we turn it from one stunning spectacle to another, from the grandeur of the cliffs, to the colors of the water, to the overhanging caves. It’s like a lost, quiet world in here, a stark contrast to the heart pounding, thumping noise of a few minutes ago.
With our souls satiated with beauty we turn around and a few minutes later we are once more white knuckled as we laugh with childlike glee as we bounce like riders on an untamed horse over the glassy waves, leaving a swathe of foam and memories behind us. As I step off the boat, the mixture of tranquilly and adrenalin, of beauty and adventure swirling in my mind, it seems like I’ve just enjoyed two espressos with a cream scone between them. Perfect!
Enter your email address to join us and get the latest blogs fresh for the bush/beach/berg: