24 January 2016

Cool and cloudy in Silvermine

We had to queue to get into Silvermine this morning - even though it was not quite 7.30.
Pauline joined us,
as well as Thea and Tessa. It wasn't nearly as hot as last week, in fact it was cloudy with a delicious cool breeze. Welcome respite after all the fierce heat and fires.
Looking back over Fish Hoek mountain which had a huge fire on Thursday that engulfed our human grandmother, Alice and Maddie and Estea and Irene's houses in smoke and soot. There was lots of talk about arsonists and a "department of dirty tricks".
This whole area burned in the March 2015 fire, but it has all grown back - filled with flowers and fynbos. These are Roella triflora flowers with the common name of Black-eye Bell.
And Roella amplexicaulis.
Lots of Paul's curly grass - (we think its Pentameris curvifolia) with ends that look like musical notes. Makes us feel like singing...
The Alph heading towards tea.
Some Agapanthus africanus plants on the rocks.
Our troop on the rocks - the Alph, me, Tessa, Pauline and Thea - for tea.
A distant view of Hangklip, floating.
Lad and Tessa were being silly,
so I decided to leave and do some solitary exploring - hoping to find something delicious.
video
Just as well I did, because things got quite wild and woolly.
Then all of a sudden they thought they saw an arsonist coming up the path, intent on laying an incendiary device.
Luckily no fires today, and we carried on through the long grass,
with clouds rolling in from the north.
Tessa keeping us safe from arsonists.
On the way down to the dam we saw some Senecio purpureus.
Meandering home after a lovely swim - not fair - lots of people just setting out for the dam, and we don't feel like going home yet.
SANParks still have done NOTHING about repairing the river walk after the fire in March last year,
and NOTHING about the severe erosion on the path. The Food Lady is very disappointed in them, and you don't want that believe you me. She gets disappointed in me when I eat bergie pate and it makes me quite uncomfortable. But not uncomfortable enough to stop eating it when I can.

17 January 2016

Heat, smoke and high water

With temperatures set to reach 38 degrees today, we decided on a very early start to our planned walk on the beach from Pauline's new house. Even at this early hour there was thick smoke in the air from a distant fire in the Overberg - and several other fires that were started in Glencairn and near Noordhoek village. The humans think that its arsonists and loons at work to "make the Cape ungovernable", but I leave politics to them ...
We had Harvey with us today and we met Paul and Pauline, and Thea and Tessa at Imhoff, and set off in the smoky air
into the wetlands.
We saw lots of bulrushes (Typha capensis) - which are indigenous to the Peninsula - and nearly lost Harvey in them, but luckily he came back when the Alph roared rather loudly and terrifyingly.
We came across this sign
and thought that they needed one for humans too!
Not very wet here, but water and Chapmans Peak in the smoky distance.
A Bokmakierie called, making us all rather excited - the humans too.
Along a little track we walked, through the reeds,
and down a little stream - perfect for hot little Scots. Can you see the horses and riders looming up in the distance?
Pretty Sea Pumpkin (Arctotheca populifolia) plants on the path, and the wetland sign telling us we were nearly on the beach. Phew, about time. #overheating.
The horses passed us, but couldn't seem to get across the stream - the tide was really high, and the water had flooded the beach, making a huge lake.
Just how were we going to get across the flooded beach to say hello to those dogs?
Tessa and me made a plan. We would just swim across. 
The humans sat on a bench debating which way to go and finally Pauline showed them the way.
The bench had a rather sad plaque on it - dedicated to a surfing dude who had died here in a shark attack.
Birds for Lad and the Harv to chase! But this Oyster Catcher was well out of the way in the cold cold water 
and these terns were just too swift for any dog - even Harvey.
Harvey and Laddie just love Tessa - and they just never stopped chasing and playing and just having fun. Luckily there was quite a stiff sea-breeze and the icy water of the Atlantic helped us all cool down a bit.
The Alph found a tea spot in the shade of the 115-year old boiler of the SS Kakapo shipwreck.
This sand gets everywhere!
The Lad and Tessa keeping watch,
while the rest of us had tea.
Then Laddie grabbed a piece of kelp and the chase was on.
Crazy youngsters!
We explored the wreck,
and what does that squiff mast remind you of. (The clue is in the bottom left of the photo.)
The looooooong walk back.
Eventually the wreck receded into the smoky distance.
Paul found a dead Three-spot Swimming Crab (Ovalipes trimaculatus) with a funny sad face.
We waded back over the flooded stream, enjoying the cool water. Thea and Tessa went further upstream - lucky for Tessa she has longer legs than us.
Back we went up the path lined with everlasting daisies (Helichrysum patulum)
which looked rather pretty the Haggis said. Frankly, I didn't give a damn, especially when I was so hot and bothered.
And now I am seeing ghostly things! What the @#*& is that?
A flippin ghost camel!
Lots of ghostly camels. "Can we go and chase them? Please please please!" Stupid muts.
Now we are crossing the camel's friggin desert. #not amused.
While the Haggis photographed a Grey Heron that Paul spotted in amongst the Sacred Ibises,
I grabbed a delicious snack of fresh horse poo. Yummmm. #mood improvement.
When we got back to Pauline's house we all had to have a hose down to get rid of any traces of poo and the rather boggy water that we had waded in after seeing the camels.
"This is my house and I will hiss you all to death if you take one step over the threshold! Do I make myself clear?"
Sadly we couldn't prove him wrong as the Haggis kept us firmly on leads while they scoffed rusks and cheese and coffee. All in all, despite the heat, we enjoyed our wetland walk - thanks Pauline for organizing it.