New Years Eve took us to Hout Bay to spend the evening with Tommy, Biff and Julie's old friend.
I remembered going to Hout Bay, located south of Cape Town in the shadow of Table Mountain, 15 or so years ago, but had forgotten how beautiful it is. We had expected a lot of traffic as we wound our way through Cape Town suburbs, as traditionally, New Year's Eve is one of South Africa's most popular celebrations and a lot of people head to the beaches. But we made it there in record time and spent that extra hour down at the harbor.
So many sad old boats! It's one of the main fishing harbors in the Cape, but there were boats half-submerged, stilled tied to the dock, the interiors rotting away, with their own ecosystem growing within the hull. Some so rusty, I was surprised they were still afloat. Even the operational ones look marginal to me! A very sad sight.
On the dock, an enterprising young man was hand-feeding seals who obviously were well aware of where their treats were coming from. Big animals, slicing through the water and rising up to take the fish from his hand. All for donations, ostensibly to buy more fish for them.
The beach is beautiful, but the water frigid! It was a searing hot day, so the water actually felt good on our feet, as far as I was willing to go. But typically, kids were swimming, watched over by doting parents and grandparents.
High on the hillside, Tommy's house is absolutely charming; whitewashed, thatched with a deck and garden that has an unparalleled view, overlooking the harbor and flanked by mountains. I could have spent the entire time outside, just taking it all in.
We definitely celebrated, even managing to stay up to ring in the New Year with song! And an Old Lang Syne circle dance around a black cat called Ginger, who calmly sat in the middle of the circle, gazing at a bunch of whackos bellowing out the song and hanging onto each other to stay upright! I believe that our luck changed after that.
It was quite a subdued bunch on the drive back to Villiersdorp the next day and we were happy to have a couple of quiet days before the next adventure.