The mountain is abuzz with life and colour. This is thanks to the generous rains that we have received in the Cape. The spring flowers are out as well as every kind of beautiful insect you can imagine. It really is such a gorgeous time of the year.
This is also the time of the year when the whales hug our shores with their brand new calves. Sometimes they come so close in shore that I can see the barnacles on their bodies from my vantage point on my deck here at House Clifton, perched up against the mountain slopes of Lions Head with a sweeping view of the sea below.
Last evening while wandering around the garden enjoying the evening fragrance of the flowers in bloom, I saw one of the three clicking stream frogs that grace my garden, this one looking decidedly fat which makes me wonder if it is about to produce some offspring. Well it is spring!
And now I’m planning another trip, this time to Mozambique. I have on previous occasions had some amazing intrepid excursions to this part of the country; it will be interesting to see what this one brings.
I must look through my files for the written record of one particular trip. Returning after a scuba diving trip from Mozambique to Durban in a light aircraft, where soon after departing the airport we were engulfed in an unprecedented, tumultuous storm. Not being an instrument rated aircraft we were largely dependent on visual navigation…..there was virtually no visibility for the storm had closed in on all sides.
Skimming precariously over tree tops, trying to look for roads to guide us, we suddenly found ourselves over a large lake and then equally suddenly there was this large mass directly in front of us. The pilot’s good reactions and flying skills got us over the top of a huge range of high dunes where we picked up the coast line. We continued flying precariously low, following the shoreline as this provided the best visibility and if we were going to, possibly also the safest place to crash.
The plane was being tossed and buffeted all over the show, up down and sideways, and my body along with it. The pilot sitting next to me began to smell, it was the smell of fear, I realized then that we were in deep trouble.
We repeatedly sent out calls that we were in trouble, our signal eventually got picked up by a Boeing ‘The Springbok” flying directly overhead, they relayed our distress message and location to Virginia airport in Durban, gave our estimated time of arrival, so that if we did not arrive in or around that time, a search party would be despatched.
There were many times that I felt sure we would ditch the plane, but we made it, thanks to the pilot Peter who is one of my dearest and closest friends. There were 4 of us on the flight. Three people being qualified pilots.
I should write about the time Peter and I flew across Africa in this same small aircraft, but that’s another story.