Up the Nahoon

Last night Craig took me to the gay bar in East London. As we were getting ready, he told me not to worry about what to wear as the place was pretty gross. Actually what he said was “Like, you could crap your pants and consider going anyway.” The place is called Club Eden, and I would be extremely perturbed if I were a religious person. Five people in there and seven chromosomes. Oh Lady Kennaway, you always take me to the nicest places.

Today is a national holiday: National Heritage Day. We are up very early to drop off some food at a local church (let the do-goodery begin!) and then off to meet with Ron Begby, a local architect cum environmentalist who will be taking us paddling on the Nahoon River this morning, followed by a tour of his sustainable farming project and dinner with his family.

Boats at the Nahoon River.

Boats at the Nahoon River.

The boats are called skis and are like kayaks except that instead of stretching your legs out in them you perch on top, held steady by your rock hard abs. I am sure you can foresee the problem.

Craig and I lug the two-seater to the beach.

Craig and I lug the two-seater to the beach.

The beach at the mouth of the river is unlike anything I have seen before. It’s so aesthetically pleasing I don’t know what to look at first. The bank is a graceful swooping crescent and the sand is the softest I have ever stood in.

Where the Nahoon River meets the Indian Ocean.

Where the Nahoon River meets the Indian Ocean.

Craig will take the single-seater and Ron and I will double up in the two-person ski. This suits me fine. I am in the back which means I can get away with a lot of slacking as Ron’s powerful arms pull us up the river. I would’ve gotten away with much more loafing too if it hadn’t been for the fact that Craig had the camera.

Note the paddles resting on my knees. What a deadbeat.

Note the paddles resting on my knees. What a deadbeat.

The trip includes really informative commentary from Ron on the flora and fauna. Remember the cheerleader trees? Turns out they’re not indigenous: they’re actually eucalyptus trees from Australia.

Ron and I swing around to help Craig back into the ski after our one - and only! - upset.

Ron and I swing around to help Craig back into the ski after our one - and only! - upset.

For the record, Craig went in first. It was our twisting around, craning our necks to see what the matter was that unbalanced our otherwise solid vessel. Had nothing at all to do with middle age.

For the record, Craig went in first. It was our twisting around, craning our necks to see what the matter was that unbalanced our otherwise solid vessel. Had nothing at all to do with middle age.

After about an hour we paddle back to the mouth, where the river meets the Indian Ocean and watch the waves crash into the shore. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

In a ski on the Nahoon River where it meets the Indian Ocean.

In a ski on the Nahoon River where it meets the Indian Ocean.

But this is Africa so it barely surprises me when all this tranquility is shattered because Ron tells us that sometimes sharks swim up the river (DANGER!). We decide to go get breakfast. Best latte in South Africa followed by a really good couple of eggs and toasted seedy bread with a slab or two of back bacon. Over the food and coffees Ron talks about his experience as a left-thinking kind of guy during apartheid. It is good to hear a first-hand account and makes me feel like I understand better what happened here. He also talks about his sustainability projects and we make plans to meet up again in the late afternoon for a tour of his sustainable farm.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Up the Nahoon

  1. Kelly

    The Shark Warning sign in the Beach post mentioned the danger from sharks at river-ocean confluences several time. EEEEK!

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