Midnight Cliffs

While walking through the restricted diamond section between Brand se baai and the Olifants rivier, I managed to get myself into a small spot of bother. It was getting towards dark when I came to another fence barring access to the beach. This one had very large, clear, and unmistakable signs that I was now entering a mine area. I duly decided that they did not have the legal right to hinder my progress down the beach along the Admiralty strip, and so decided to forge on. I would have the argument later, or possibly plead a bad education that resulted in a failure to learn to read and write, schools just aren’t what they used to be and all that. I wanted to press into the concession a ways before I stopped to lessen the chances of coming into conflict with the mine security.

After a short while I came to an area where they were mining on the beach. There were massive dump trucks and diggers stood idle in the mist that had descended along the coast. It was dead quiet and the ten or so vehicles stood silent, with no one around. Figuring the day’s operations had been shut down, I decided to walk on and find a quiet cove. A little further on I found the perfect spot. It was surrounded by cliffs on three sides and the sea was calmed by a natural rock wall in the surf. This created a nice, quite tidal [pool where I could pump water. It was low – tide and the tide had just turned, best of all as the tide came in it would cut me off from the rest of the beach, leaving no access for the pesky mine security to hassle me. There was also enough drift wood lying on the small sixty or so meter long beach to make a fire for cooking and coffee. I checked the sand and found a six or so meter strip that the tide did not reach.

Well settled with a small fire going, coffee quietly brewing I settled in to watch a beautiful sunset over the ocean. At this point I was feeling quite smug, I was warm, sheltered from the wind and content after a hard days slog. I fell asleep gazing at the millions of stars above my head. At around two o’clock in the morning, I was startled awake by the sound of crashing surf and something else. It turned out to be the large dump trucks trundling back and forth on the road above me on the cliff. The surf was also only 2m away from where I was lying. I had forgotten that we were coming into spring tides. My beach was disappearing fast.

Hastily I packed up my kit, now wet from the mist and contemplated how I was going to get out of my self chosen trap. I had no option; I would have to climb the very steep cliffs. I did not want to use my head torch as that may bring unwanted interest, so I had to resort to picking my route up the cliffs in starlight. The cliffs were crumbling sand stone and lime stone. Certainly not the best rock I have had the pleasure of making acquaintance with and my pack was heavy, threatening to over balance me and send me back the shortest way possible, straight down, no stops along the way. Man is born with two hands and feet, he does not possess the power of regeneration. That is until now, I am sure I found extra limbs and had I been able to find a suitable hold, would have used my teeth as well. Like a chameleon, testing every hold ten times, I slowly inched my way up.

I know now why gecko’s climb so well, they are scared of heights. Eventually I made it to the top in the dark. The rest of the night was spent playing hide and seek with the mine traffic. Who said childhood games are dead.

4 Responses to “Midnight Cliffs

  • Greetings. Hope u r well. I am the person in HondeklipBay with the white Isuzu. Can u plz send photos of the mining activities on the beachfront as discussed . My whatsup is 0719508523 or email dawidmarkus@hotmail.com All the best with your Big Walk. Regards Dawid Markus

    • Sorry about the late reply, I have not been able to log into the website for awhile. I will sort them out and send them.

  • The first time on your blog and will follow your journey with interest. Am a friend of Clive’s and a very avid hiker. would have loved to have joined you in my youth but sadly now am too long in the tooth. I will try to spread the word among my small circle of friends and look forward to your long and interesting hike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: