Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bouldering for Columbine

Paternoster: view from Cape Columbine lighthouse
This blog is specially for Tim and Jane, who ought to pack their children and go there without delay. It's about a special place, one of those rarities that lots of people know about, but few have actually discovered how to get to stay there. I'm talking about the lighthouse houses at Cape Columbine, the westernmost promontory of the Saldanha peninsula. It's a place that used to be pranged into by lots of unwary mariners before the lighthouse was built in 1936. 'Why so late?' many of them might have asked, but they asked too late. The Columbine was one of them, an early casualty [1829] of the mass of semi-submerged granite boulders that lie treacherously below the surface of the chilly Atlantic, each lying in wait for godknowshowlong to snag a ship. One of those was – ahem – hardly a ship, but a small clinker fishing boat owned by Willem Tities [pronounced, of course, 'taai-tees']. Willem did not survive the encounter, but his name is enshrined at Titiesbaai. The really sad thing is that most Engelsemense pronounce it 'Titty's Bay' – they would, wouldn't they – and fondly imagine that it's named after the voluptuously carved, sculpted and curved granite boulders that adorn the seascape, each lying in wait for godknowshowlong etc etc. I bet old Willem would've had a long throaty chuckle about that. Skande!
Tumbleweed Cottage
We chose Tumbleweed Cottage, and the view inland is deliberate, to hide for one more moment the fantastic view that you will have from your stoep, night and day ...
The lighthouse is so close that you are constantly under its benevolent spell [but don't worry, they've thought of that and the cottage curtains are thick enough to hide completely the beams that are visible for many miles out to sea].
This close ...
If you're wise you'll choose some days in August to November, when the flowers are at their best. The rest of this post is a sort of photo-essay but ... I nearly forgot. There are three self-catering cottages, magnificently equipped with everything you can think of except ice-trays [but there are ice buckets, go figure], lekker beds, fireplaces, outside chairs n braais n stoeps n n n ... even Japie, a genuine lighthouse keeper, a very appropriately very tall - and pleasant - man. Try to book online through
... it ain't easy, but eventually you'll end up with the ever-helpful Tasneem, who will guide you through.
flower fields and granite boulders ...
Clockwise from top left ...
Sour fig; Romulea; Ferraria; Madeliefies; Vygies;
Bokbaaivygies: Pelargonium; Piet snot
Bigger boats and smelly little boats ...
Birdies [rock kestrel] and beasties [fur seals]
and of course, Titiesbaai ...
Enjoy it, hay.

- Kaartman, Spring 2014

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