Buffoonery at Boulders Bay

I don’t know when the penguin obsession began but after missing them in Argentina (Buenos Aires is too far north), I am determined to see them while I am on the Western Cape. And I don’t mean those benumbed beasts at the aquarium, either. I want happy, free penguins weebling around in the sun. Rumour has it that Boulders Bay, just ouside of Simon’s Town has a penguinery, so off we go.

We’re very lucky. Chapman’s Peak – a winding road etched into the edge of the mountains that run along the coast – has reopened just two days ago. Within 45 minutes of leaving town we are driving a route that is definitely in my top 5 ever.

Morning sun on Chapman's Peak. The mountain in the distance looks like a rhino.

Morning sun on Chapman's Peak. The mountain in the distance looks like a rhino.

They are still finishing up the roadwork (DANGER?) and I am not too sure about those retaining rocks (DANGER!)

They are still finishing up the roadwork (DANGER?) and I am not too sure about those retaining rocks (DANGER!)

After about an hour and fifteen we crest the mountain and are looking down on the ocean. A cluster of houses pepper the mountainside, architecturally different than the brick or cement homes I have become accustomed to. These are monied affairs.

The homes of Glencairn.

The homes of Glencairn, a short distance north of Simon's Town.

The area has a military history. You can see the ships in the distance.

The area has a military history. You can see the ships in the distance.

We reach Simon’s Town at around 8:00am, and ask a parking lot attendant where we can get breakfast. He directs us to the restaurant at Boulders Bay, overlooking the penguin colony.

This view + eggs benedict = excellent breakfast

This view + eggs benedict = excellent breakfast

After breakfast we’re off to see the penguins. To begin, we take the scenic stroll alongside the beach.

Penguins.

Penguins.

Summer is coming to the Western Cape.

Summer is coming to the Western Cape.

Prickly pear. I just found out that these are not indigenous to the area.

Prickly pear. I just found out that these are not indigenous to the area.

In the underbrush, there are penguin homes, each marked with an address.

In the underbrush, there are penguin homes, each marked with an address.

I'm ready for my close-up.

I'm ready for my close-up.

The guy on the left needs to loosen up.

The guy on the left needs to loosen up.

We explore the paths, and then make our way down to the beach where a handful of people are enjoying the sun and sand. We decide we must have our privacy, and begin to pick our way over the rocks.

Craig goes over.

Craig goes over.

The waves hitting the rocks. Craig tried going over, but I had to go under and between. Naturally, I got soaked but it was fun in an Indiana Jones kind of way.

Lacking Craig's upper body strength, I had to go under and between. Naturally, I got soaked.

After a series of overs and unders and arounds we come to a small beach. It is gorgeous and the water is actually warm. I read somewhere that Boulders Bay has the most temperate water on the Cape because the boulders create a bay that is sheltered from the open ocean.

The view from the water at "our" beach.

The view from the water at "our" beach.

For the next 40 minutes we do what anyone would do in this situaton: frolic in the waves, make jokes about the Blue Lagoon, and take pictures of Craig wearing sea shell pasties… I am enjoying the water when Craig looks up from the Boulders Bay pamphlet he’s been reading and announces that he’s going to check to see whether the tide is coming in:

Ummm, DANGER! The tide is coming in so fast that the water level rises noticeably with every wave that hits the shore. Holding my camera high, I splash back to the beach and begin to frantically shove all of our stuff into my backpack. We wade back to the “path” we came in on. It is now submerged and the waves are coming in with force. The water pulls at our legs and the sand (some of the finest I have ever experienced) rearranges itself around and over our toes in a deceptively pleasant way that makes me think for a second that it’s not trying to suck me under. Despite the wooing of the sand, we make it back to the accessible public beach, drawing inquisitive looks as we emerge soaking and half-dressed from a crack between two boulders.

We have to be back in Cape Town for lunch, so we reluctantly return to the car, observing this most awesome sign in the parking lot.

My favourite is the little box in the lower left.

My favourite is the little box in the lower left. Is that a penguin under the rear right tire?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Buffoonery at Boulders Bay

  1. callie

    Delightful post. Glad the two of you made it back safely.

  2. Fawthuh

    I’ve seen that look on your face at the top of the CN Tower.

  3. Tara

    OMG that uptight penguin is my favourite. Totally like me *sigh* and the other two are – like – you and mostly anybody else, but today, I think Noelle.

  4. Cristina

    OH MY – I love prickly pears – If you get a chance try one!!! They are delicious! Be careful of thorns but just cut off both ends- slit em up the middle and peel back the skin casing. A soft sweetness and a tonne of unnecessary seeds 🙂

  5. Kim

    Wow, that looked beautiful. And the penguins are adorable!!

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