As luck would have it, we had a week in Cape Town before my contract finished, and came across Kaskazi, a South African Kayak builder, rental and school owned and run by Tracy and Arthur. We joined one of their tourist trips for two hours and had a great Christmas Eve trip off the Cape Town harbour, with seals, dolphins, jackass penguins and the Table Mountain backdrop from all angles.
That wasn’t the half of it though. Once we ‘fessed up as (reasonably) competent paddlers, and with big seas due, closing down the tourist trips for the coming days, Tracy invited us to join her and some friends for a Boxing day peer paddle at a famous reef break called Dungeons, down the coast at Cape Point. Getting up at 3:45AM to meet up and collect the boats, the first problem was getting to Kaskasi’s beachfront boat house with breakers from the 28 foot and 22 second period swell (per Magicseaweed) bursting against the door! The biggest seas in in 10 years apparently! At one point, dashing with a kayak from beach to slip, Tracy and I just made it before a wave took the 200 pound door right off its hinges and tossed it aside.
With due trepidation we drove down the dark coast road, fortunately only hearing, but not seeing the breakers! The launch was uneventful, in as sheltered harbour, as the beach car park was completely awash at the time. Strangely, all the seals (sealions really) seemed quite content to enjoy the sunrise from inside the harbour walls.
Heading out to sea was another matter, with building swell, and fabulous froth, as well as vast rafts of kelp and flotsam, including an unfortunate (and rather dead) sealion. Still a few pictures are worth a thousand words!
If anyone is looking for a great winter paddling destination (Capetonians think their 15 degree water temperature is COLD!!!) with great quality boats (Arthur makes a variety on singles and doubles, mostly for the SOT/fishing market, but we were out in his Greenland, Skua and Katana designs, shown in the photos below - similar to the Tahe Greenlander, a Nelo and a Taran respectively), this is a place to go. The paddling is fabulous. Tracy wants to build the business from tourist trips to include supported extended multi-day trips for serious paddlers and whilst the airfare can be a bit pricey, the food, wine and accommodation are great value and quality once here!
Not a plug, but these are really great people, passionate about sea kayaking, and the sport is in its complete infancy here, given the great water they have on their doorstep. The Cape has got to be a classic! http://www.kayak.co.za
I must confess that I wussed out at the end and headed back in, but Niamh and Ed went on out to argue with the jetskiers towing the surfers about safety, and do a bit of Greenland rolling on the wave backs to make her point that she had every right to be there too!
(several photos courtesy of Tracy, thanks for a great trip and the use of the boats, thanks Ed for the loan of the Greenland paddle – probably the only one in Africa - and thanks to all the others on the trip!)
Trips reports submitted by members
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