The day after we arrived in St Helena Bay dawned brightly, wind-still and with a clear blue sky. We jumped into our rental car and set out to explore the surrounding coastline of South Africa’s West Coast Peninsula.
Our first port of call was Paternoster, one of the oldest fishing villages on the west coast and a lovely little tourist town known for its white houses and blue fishing boats. We parked the car in the main street and walked down to the beach, dipping in and out of curio shops along the way. Shoes kicked off, we walked barefoot on the soft white sand, not quite brave enough to venture into the cold Atlantic waters. Some of the local kids had no such inhibitions, however, and we watched them playing exuberantly and undaunted in the icy cold surf.
With sand still between our toes, we set out again and followed the coastal road into the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. Surreally, we entered the park with blue skies behind us and a thick mist in front of us. So thick, in fact, that the Cape Columbine lighthouse, guiding ships since 1936, was barely visible.
Unperturbed, we headed deeper into the mist until we reached Tietiesbaai, probably so named for the two perfectly round smooth boulders (a literal translation from Afrikaans would be Boobies Bay) on the coastline. It was time for that quintessential seaside activity – rock pool exploration in search of tidal treasures. We clambered on the rocks like little kids and had fun taking pictures of seabirds and crashing waves.
All the physical activity eventually worked up quite an appetite, so on our way back home we stopped at a pub called the Seekombuis. It had a lovely atmosphere and an even better view of the sea, but it was the fish and chips they served that made them unforgettable. What better way to end off a morning of seaside exploration?
Have you been to Paternoster and Tietiesbaai? Share your story in the comments below.
For more posts in the Western Cape Whirlwind 2015 series, click here.