October 20, 2010 GMT
Time At The Tip Of Africa

Phew! I took a bit of a rest there. Eight days or so at the "suidelike punt van die vasteland."
And a very nice place it was to spend some time in. The tiny village of L'Agulhas, the tinier hamlet of Suiderstrand (population less than a hundred), and the slightly larger village of Struisbaai (only one pub but a couple of restaurants).

The tarmac road ends at L'Agulhas, you can go no further on it, but a little gravel track continues past the lighthouse and marker cairn and then another four miles to the very end of the road at Suiderstrand. So it's nice and remote.

It's out of season still, so not many visitors. But a few South Africans exploring their own country by road come down here to see their version of Lands End. Normally they go north to the parks of Namibia and Botswana.
"Hey! How did you find those nice straight roads up north? Don't they go on and on and on? Never-ending! The land of the dead straight roads!"
So I wasn't alone in my comments.

There were some busy interludes.
Well, one. Being interviewed by the local newspaper.
That is, a five minute chat in the proprietor's front garden.
They must have scouts and lookouts, waiting for weary-looking foreigners arriving at the southern-most marker cairn and tracking where they're staying. I have a copy of their publication - it's not on the web, but they said they'd email me a copy of the article.
So much for celebrity.

I have a number of things on the bike which are held on with zip ties. The rack being the most notable.
All have survived.
And now I find a like-minded soul: the person who maintains the Agulhas Lighthouse.
It's open to the public when the light isn't shining, ladders inside all the way up to the outdoor look-out gallery. There, on the outside, there's another narrow ladder stretching up to a tiny circular gangway above, surrounding the lantern-room itself. Massive curved windows enclose the lantern and lenses, held in place by vertical struts next to the gangway.
The bracket on one strut has long-ago fallen off. This is the repair, holding a window, about six feet by six feet, against the gale-force winds:


Sharp eyes may notice that the zip part of the tie isn't even holding the bracket in place - but just a single loop of a knot, sort of, in the end of the plastic tie. At least it goes through the bolt-holes, so that's alright then. But if I'd had my Meccano set with me I'd have done a proper job.
This is how it should look, a little higher up:


Here's a view from the gangway looking south to Antarctica:


And a view through the lantern-house window with a tiny section of one of the four huge lenses.

In the opposite direction, most of L'Agulhas, and the edge of Struisbaai in the distance.
H.M. The Bike even gets in this scene. Well, one has to, doesn't one?

After Lighthouse Inspection it was time to explore Suiderstrand for a few days. Entertainment there comprises sunrise (above the eastern half of the hamlet):



And sunset, above the western half.



Very nice, just what I wanted.

Now, if the longest journey starts with but a single step, what does it end with?

Posted by Ken Thomas at October 20, 2010 05:52 PM GMT

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