After a recently completed Overberg Explorer tour I had some time to kill, so I decided to pop into the penguin sanctuary at Kleinbaai. After a thoroughly rewarding experience I still had a few more hours to kill, so I thought I would drive down to Kleinbaai proper, a little trip down memory lane if you may. My family has been holidaying in the Sandveld area since well before I was born, probably for around 50 years. Every January after the Christmas rush my Dad would load up all the Kielblocks and we would make our way to Pearly beach, for 2 weeks of vitamin sea.
A regular outing during this period was a picnic and some fishing at Kleinbaai ( small bay). When my Mom was a child, her family used to camp out under the old Milkwood trees next to this quaint little fishing village. And so, during our annual Kleinbaai picnic,my Mom told us stories of her childhood, sitting on a blanket next to the sea, while my Dad fished, my sister read her books and my brother and I threw stones at each other. This was my Moms treat and she spent most of the day dreaming of forgotten days with a smile on her face, until one of us got hit by a stone, that is. Not much has changed on this side of Kleinbaai, the old picnic spot is still there, all be it now blocked with a big iron gate, the sign of our times I am afraid, stay out or…..
The seaside road leads on to the old lighthouse at Danger point and since I still had a few hours to kill, I thought why not…so on I went and arrived at one of the most famous lighthouses in Southern Africa, Danger Point. The weather that day in the Overberg was fine, it was one of those days when the sea was smooth as silk and the breeze so light that the whole point of a lighthouse being out there couldn’t be fathomed. A swim across Walker bay and on to Simonstown across False Bay seemed like something one could attempt before a light lunch and a couple of pints on the way back at Hermanus. But the seas are not something to trifle with in these parts, winds blowing out of the Southern Atlantic and swells carried from the Antarctic can hit the coast with the might and suddenness of a hammer blow, no wonder its called Danger point.
Better known for its famous Shipwreck than the lighthouse itself, the lighthouse keeper told me that on the 26th of February a commemoration service would be held for all the good soles lost in the great shipwreck that was the Birkenhead tragedy , ……………