Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I must go down to the sea again!

Scarborough, near Cape Town.

I'm not and never have been a 'beach-goer' in the traditional sense .  I've never liked getting sand in my eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth.  I dislike its grittiness.  Perhaps it's because my childhood years were spent in landlocked Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia).  We used to go to Beira in Mozambique, for long weekend breaks occasionally.  It was little more than a fairly primitive coastal resort in those days...hot, white, sandy beaches and sheet-metal rondavels that served as the 'luxury' accommodation...otherwise, I think you just pitched a tent right on the sand itself!  In any case, I have vivid memories of lots of sand.  It seemed to get into everything!  [Beira has subsequently grown into an imposing city, which I've never seen.]

I remember getting very badly sunburnt and eating an entire bag of mint humbugs, which all came out in an unstoppable projectile of sticky black goo at bedtime, much to the consternation of my parents.  It was undeniable as to who had pigged down the missing bag of humbugs!  I guess, with early beach memories like these, it's no wonder I'm not that wild about spending too much time, 'on the beach,' California Beach Babe style!

Sunbathing on the sand is, however, quite different from taking a long stroll along the water's edge in the early morning or evening; or intently examining all the fascinating life-forms hidden or lurking in rockpools.  Quite different, too, from hunting for shells and bits of washed up flotsam; or from sitting on a rock, in silent contemplation right beside crashing, churning, foamy waves...delighting in the thrilling intensity of it all!   Oh, yes...I do love the sea...the changing moods and colours, the  sights and smells, the thunderous roar of the eternal ocean!

So, let us pretend...

The day has opened up bright and sunny, but with Autumn approaching the Southern Hemisphere, this can cause the weather to become unpredictable.  By the time we reach this very attractive, rocky, coastal stretch near Cape Town, at around midday/early afternoon, the wind has picked up and there are quite a few clouds looming.  Nothing too dramatic.  Just enough to chill the air and add a touch of moodiness to the panoramic seascape  we've come to admire.
Please click the Read more button below to continue this post...
Boulders at Simons Town is home to a colony of African Penguins.
The penguins don't seem to mind the windy conditions out in the bay, as they sun themselves on the rocky cliffs.
Others prefer the sheltered basin of a rocky hollow, protecting them from the full force of the wind.

John Masefield's words ring so true...I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.
When was the last time you spent a quiet moment, doing nothing, just sitting, looking at the sea, at the waves crashing onto the shore? "The sea heaves up, hangs loaded o'er the land, breaks there, and buries its tumultuous strength." ~ Robert Browning Hamilton

When last did you feel sea-spray on your cheeks and taste the saltiness on your tongue?
When last did you gaze, far off into the distance and allow your concerns to float away on the receding tide?
Poets and philosophers throughout the ages have been inspired by the differing moods of the sea in different seasons...are you willing to rest quietly and let it inspire you, here, right now?

"Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me."
~ Lord Alfred Tennyson ~
"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky." ~ John Masefield ~
"Voyage upon life's sea,
To yourself be true,
And, whatever your lot may be,
Paddle your own canoe."
~ Sarah Bolton ~

I hope this selection of photos, taken along the Scarborough coastline and at Boulders (both an easy drive from the centre of Cape Town), afforded you a wistful, virtual-visit to the seashore...most especially  those of you who do not live close enough to the coast, to be able to visit in person  :)



  1. Those are lovely sea shots--my favorite in all the world! The sunbathing days were long ago and now I just enjoy the beauty as I stroll.
    It's funny that Hubby just shared a day or two ago that he didn't know there there penguins in Africa and neither did I!!

  2. Oh Desiree, I love the sea! Your pictures really brought me right there. I admit, I love a sandy beach but just as much a rocky shore. I live about 800 miles from the nearest ocean. *sigh*

    And - I had no idea there were African penguins! I had to show the pictures to my son who is home for spring break from college this week. He was impressed as well.

    How strange that you are in what I think of as the "closing" part of the year - heading into fall and winter while I am looking forward to a forecast of sixty degrees on Thursday - for the first time this year. I sat through a frigic soccer game (football to you?) this afternoon (my daughter's) with a wind that wouldn't quit and a tempurature just above freezing...

    But the crocuses are just starting to pop up where the snow has finally melted... there's hope.

    Once again - African penguins! huh.

  3. I get shivers looking at the photos. They are really beautiful. You are very lucky to have such beauty so close to you. Your words made me wish I could visit there and run barefoot along the shore in the shallow water.

    We also have an opening to the sea side in my country and we have often gone there on holiday. But the beaches are always overcrowded, loud, dirty. Only at dawn, when we went to see the sun rising from the sea, did we get a small glimpse of what you described.

  4. Ooh,ooh,ooh! I've got a shot like that taken at Camps Bay near Cape Town. The rocks are fabulous aren't they? I also tried to draw them so if you want to have a laugh I'll email you my drawing.
    I've just been reading your wickedly funny comments you left for me and for Michele...they completely cracked me up. Thank you so much and for supporting me today...you are simply the best!

  5. I didn't see the sea at all last year; possibly for the first time in my life. I fully intend to see it this year!

    As far as sand is concerned, when my children were very small, Tracy from http://edenhouse7.blogspot.com/ (who was then at the same church as me) gave me an invaluable tip... Talcum powder removes sand really easily! It's true!! What a life-saver! I now never go to the beach without it!

  6. Your description is amazing, so vivid...enjoyed reading it so much. And now I miss the sea too...

    Next week am gonna be near sea, so that's my consolation :)

  7. Siddhartha:


    Will expect a post about it when you return ;)

  8. I will surely write from there as well, will be there for a while I guess :)


    Yep, we really do have penguins in South Africa...they were originally also called Jackass penguins, on account of the braying sound they make, but due to confusion with those found elsewhere, the name was changed to African penguin ;)

    The colony at Boulders is quite large and they have had to be 'controlled' (fenced off) as they were apparently making a nuisance of themselves in the gardens of the shoreline townsfolk! :)

  10. Carol:



    TALCUM POWDER!!! What a clever, yet jolly simple idea (should be common sense, I guess...what does that say about me ???) Thanks for the tip :)

  11. Oh My!! Yay Desiree....how enchantingly gorgeous...I would love to hop straight into this beauty! Wonderfully enlivening and inspiring...Thanks for sparking my day!And thanks for your lovely visit too!!

  12. A beautiful visit to the sea with you Desiree. I like your "let's pretend" trips.

    We are fairly near to the sea and when sitting on the sand looking out, I love the gentle lapping sounds of the waves. It's a constant, beautiful and peaceful sound.
    Looking at your photos, I heard it again. Thank you :D)

  13. Lovely photos and your choice of poems are wonderful. I almost got that feel of beach sand between my fingers and sea breeze on my face.

    On doing nothing, by the beach or anywhere....trouble is, you never know when you're finished!

  14. Hi Desiree, The sea is very beautiful in your photgraphs. I did not know there were penguins outside of Antartica.
    You have made me homesick with all the views of the sea! I am from the east coast of Canada and grew up in a small city on a coastal harbor.
    Congratulations on 4 months! You are off to a great start.

  15. Absolutely gorgeous photography! And some of my favorite poems.

    I'm land locked in the mountains and do miss the ocean -- though our long views of mountain ranges have a similar calming effect. But nothing can replace the lovely murmur of the waves and the smell of salt air.

    Thanks for a beautiful post!

  16. I live within about an hour of the ocean. I love it. I do but I also know it's power. Like you, the beach is not my favorite place and I am not crazy about the sand. Unless of course I can find some wet that I can sculp and play in...then that's different. Sort of. My hair gets kinky at the beach and I feel sticky...not sure if it is that way everywhere but it sure is in Southern California.

    My daughter lives two blocks from the beach in Santa Cruz and often calls me while she is sitting on rocks overlooking the ocean, having her morning coffee. She loves the water and the ocean and has since birth. She swims like a fish..and lived in Hawaii for years before returning to the mainland to be close to family and of course she chose an art colony to live in. She is happy...and so that makes me happy.
    Funny how some are just born to water..
    Your photo's are fantastic...and the poetry...just as beautiful.
    Hugs for stopping by.

  17. It's so interesting to see how different beaches look around the world. I love looking out at the ocean and if I could sit in a comfy chair with yummy food and drink nearby I'd love it. I don't really enjoy the sandy, seawater stickiness part. And that part always seems to come with having my kids there with me. The ocean beach is several hours away from where we live, we have Puget Sound, but as pretty as those beaches are, they aren't really the same as an ocean beach. Last summer we enjoyed the beaches in southern California and they were gorgeous and sunny and my family loved it.

  18. OOOooooh!! Desiree...so gorgeous!!
    when i think BEACH...i think gritty sand...people lying around...frying...in the sun...crashing waves...

    me?? i'm more of a woods and forest person...but i DO like to stroll on the beach now and then...collect shells...
    BUT YOUR beach there...wow! to a person who LOVES rock...those boulders on the beach...such beauty! i would love to be there....to climb around...

    and the penguins! now THAT was a surprise. when i think Africa...penguins are the last thing to come to mind!

    thanks again...as ALWAYS...for taking me someplace i'll probably never get to see in person! what a terrific journey!! i'll have to come back here...during the week...to just sit and stare out to sea...wow!! what a nice break. thanks! :] laura

  19. I woke up in the early hours of the morning with this on my mind...I blame you:
    'I must go down to the sea again,
    to the lonely sea and sky.
    I left my socks upon the rocks.
    I do hope that they're dry.'
    Sorry - just had to share. Hope I haven't lowered the tone of this beautiful blog ;)

  20. I've just read your fabulous comment on my blog. Desiree you are hilarious in your own right. You should start writing a humorous blog because I am still laughing even now.
    Thank you so much. You are a great friend and with encouragement like yours I shall carry on writing with renewed vigour.

  21. Arriving late to your blog this week but a breath of sea air is very welcome to me. I'm feeling a bit down about things but somehow seeing the sea always reminds me how insignificant our indivdual daily battles are, and somehow that's comforting. I didn't realise you had penguins in SA - it seems funny to see them running around on grass.

  22. Loved this post. My favorite beach is just outside of Scarboro, Maine and "Sea Fever" is one of my all time favorites.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by". Now that I live in the desert that is impossible, however, there is that "dumped boat" just down the dirt road. :0)
    Thanks for jogging my memories of the sea.

  23. I've popped over to your blog, because I enjoyed reading your comments on Facing50Blog.com's post this morning, and thought you had a good sense of humour!! Hope you don't mind if I follow you from over here in England.

  24. Thisisme:

    MIND??? I'm delighted!!!

    Thank you...I'm off to say Hi to you now, too!

  25. Carol:


    Thank you for visiting and for your flattering suggestion that I might consider writing humour, too - I doubt anyone could compete with you, Carol and, in MY case, I really would hate to steal any of your limelight, so I'll just continue to skulk in the wings and cheer you on!!!!!!!!!!

    When you're famous one day and coining millions from your published works and the movie rights...you can mention my name in your Oscar's speech, how's that?

    Now, get that second book written and get on to the phone and ask your editor what's taking so long with getting the first published! You have a FAN CLUB out here, DYING to get our paws on a copy!!!!

  26. Oh Desiree you are priceless.
    I shall send you a free personally signed copy (or several, depending on how many I have to buy to get sales up)as soon as I get the big green light. My poor editor has had some family problems but has promised to get back to me this week and then I shall be sending it out to every publisher I know of. I am a woman on a mission this year to get it out there.
    I am delighted that Thisisme has found you. She is another wonderful person and I'm sure you'll love her blog.
    I'd never fire you Desiree...you can scribble all over my blog to your hearts' content. It's not every day that you find such generous spirited people like you.
    Sloppy hugs from a touched Facing50

  27. Your words and your pictures are making me itchy to get to the ocean. It's only a couple of hours from here and I was there late last fall, but it's clearly time to return and renew.

    A gorgeous post, both words and pictures.

  28. What glorious photos, I could smell the salt just looking:) We had lunch on the weekend with our lovely ex neighbours, Marc is from Durban and the family are off for a month in SA next week, I am soooooo envious, you have just made me even more so!:) x

  29. Those photos are fabulous. I haven't been near the water since I can't remember when. I'm jealous. Thanks for popping by my place when I was away.


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