Storms River Adrenaline

So after the safari I headed from Port Elizabeth to a little village called Storms River. I stayed at Dijembe Backpackers, which is such a cool place. You can just feel the good times from previous guests ooze out of the walls.

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See that white fuzzy thing? That’s a goat. A goat that looks like a sheep and acts like a dog

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After arriving on Sunday, I mostly chilled and read what people had written on the walls. I took photos of some of my favorites

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A French girl, Emanuelle, was also staying there. We played some pool (with me failing hard core- I’m awful at pool) and then planned several activities for the next day.

I also borrowed a bike and rode to the market to get some food. Beautiful village!

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We woke up Mondayย morning and packed our bags for a long day. We then headed downstairs to take advantage of the free pancakes (well, we had to cook them ourselves, but still. Free food!)

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Cooking free pancakes!

Emanuelle taught me how to flip the pancakes by tossing them in the pan. I’m super proud of this new skill ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

We then hopped in a shuttle (more of a taxi, really. But they called it a shuttle so who am I to change the name?) and went to the Tsitsikamma section of Garden Route National Park. We were dropped off at a parking lot on the thin bit of land between the mountains and the sea. After applying sunscreen, we started hiking. We went mostly along the coast, occasionally going into the bush (or jungle? It seemed pretty jungle-ey to me).

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In the bush, everything was shades of green, the ground was moist, and the vegetation so thick with trees and vines that we couldn’t see more than a few feet off the trail most times. I felt like I was in Tarzan. Especially when we saw baboons running along the rocks beneath us.

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So many pretty flowers!

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I love the red and white on these rocks against the blue of the sky and the sea

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Seriously y’all, it was JUST LIKE Tarzan

We eventually turned around and headed back to the parking lot. We ate a quick lunch outside the stall for Untouched Adventures, who we would be doing our next activity with.

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Lunch views

Once full, we geared up and met with a guide to go kayaking up Storms River. We picked the perfect time to kayak- there was no one else in our group! So we got our fantastic guide Tate all to ourselves.

We kayaked across the ocean just a bit and then headed into the mouth of the river.

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The mouth of the river- there’s a bridge going across it that baboons like to hang out at.

The walls of the canyon rose above us, covered in moss, mold, and vines. I was in awe the entire time. Eventually we reached a point where the kayaks could not continue. So we jumped on lilos- thick, red inflatable rafts that we just laid down on and paddled with our hands. We went a bit further up the river,, walked around some col rocks, and then headed back to the kayaks. Near the kayaks was a cliff that people often climb up to and then jump into the water. So we did that too ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a short jump, maybe 3 or 4 meters. But the water was cold and refreshing. I was most certainly awake after that!

While kayaking back, we saw a bunch of White Breasted Cormorants sitting on the rocks and drying their wings. And beneath the water we saw countless stingrays.

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Emanuelle and I, post kayak & lilo trip

Once back at the parking lot, we dried off, changed into dry clothes, and hopped on a shuttle to our next stop- a bridge. A very very tall bridge. Which we jumped off.

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1, 2, 3, BUNJEE! Photo credit: Face Adrenaline South Africa

So, bunjee jumping is cool, and I most certainly enjoyed myself, but I don’t need to do that again. Nope, I am good. But glad I did it once ๐Ÿ™‚

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Before the jump! Photo credit Face Adrenaline South Africa

Not gonna lie, I cursed for the entire first and second drop. At that point I tried to relax my body and focused on my breathing. Basically, I turned into a puppet.

We jumped off the Bloukans Bridge- at 216m high it is the highest commerical bungy jump in the world and the largest bridge in Africa. Face Adrenaline kept us safe and took these great photos and videos! The staff on the bridge are really fun, energetic, and professional.

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After the jump. Photo credit: Face Adrenaline South Africa

And after that exciting event, we headed back to our hostel. Because we signed up for kayaking together, we got a voucher for a free pizza at the pizza place in the village. We borrowed bikes and rode to the restaurant/bar and had a very delicious pizza. A group of six French guys wandered in and ended up sitting with us. Emmanuelle really enjoyed the opportunity to speak French again! We hung out with them for quite a while. I even learned some French! The hard part, of course, is remembering it the day after… Anyways, the evening ended at our hostel, my playing guitar and one of the hostel staff, Ziggy, playing a djmebe. We jammed until 1am and then I had to call it.

Damn what a great day. Pancakes, ocean, jungle, baboons, kayaking, jumping off cliffs, jumping off bridges, pizza, new friends, and music. People, life is pretty awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Scramble, Be Flexible

You know, my attempts at rock climbing just never seem to pan out right. And not in the way that plans always turn out slightly different than expected, but in the I though I’d spend all day rock climbing for four days only to climb 3 routes Friday and 2 routes Saturday. And that’s it.

I hope one day I’ll get to actually do some decent climbing.

I mean, the climbing I did was fun. It’s just we spent 3 hours driving to the crag (Hillwood) on Saturday and after just two routes it started to rain on us. Not pouring, mind you, just a little sprinkle. But enough that we called it. And then Greg didn’t want to camp in the rain, so instead of staying in the same area as the crag we drove all the way back to Hobart. 3 hours.

Well I was pretty frustrated. And I decided to just scrap the weekend plans of climbing. I stayed at a hostel Saturday night instead.

Which was fantastic! I met a couple girls from China and we headed out to Port Arthur on Sunday.

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We stopped at a beach along the way- these girls were so fun!

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My time in Hong Kong turned me into such a beach girl. I can’t get enough of that blue water!

Fascinating place. It was developed as a penal colony in the 1800s. The prison system at the time would send the repeat offenders from the prisons in Australia to Port Arthur. So that means the inmates had already done enough crime back in England to get sent to the colonies and then continued to cause trouble. Port Arthur is a peninsula with a very thin stretch of land connecting to the rest of the island, so there wasn’t much that needed to be guarded to prevent escape. No one ever escaped from Port Arthur. They also implemented training and education programs, so a lot of inmates left with job skills and built successful lives. However, Port Arthur also did some crazy isolation stuff that was really messed up, but the education program was on the right track.

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They originally built just one church on the settlement. So all religions could be acknowledged, the building was never consecrated. After the prison was closed, some fires came through and destroyed the place. Now just the brick walls are left. It’s still pretty magnificent.

Some of you may recognize the name Port Arthur from the massacre in 1996. 35 people died and another 23 were wounded. I expected to see a lot of plaques and memorials remembering the event. And yet I saw nothing. The visitor guide mentioned there was one memorial, but we never found it. And during our tour the whole event was never mentioned.

I was messaging Daniel about how strange I found this and he responded “We tend not to have massive memorials out here. I guess every day with our gun laws we acknowledge them.”

Well shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

Wouldn’t it be great if the US could figure that out? Because Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since Port Arthur.

Anywho, Monday I mostly chilled and watched tv. I know, I know, how could I spend a morning sleeping in and watching Jane the Virgin when I could be out exploring Tasmania? Well, one I couldn’t figure out a good plan for the day, and two I kinda needed a day to just chill. SO I took it ๐Ÿ™‚

Majid and I headed out in the evening in search of luminescent organisms in the water. We drove out to Opossum Bay, found a place to park, and had dinner on the beach.

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I want to live in this house. Or, a house painted this color blue ^_^

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Sunsets, man. Sunsets

The sun went down beautifully, as it always does, and we walked along the edge of the water looking for glowy things. And, would you know what, we found ’em ๐Ÿ™‚

It looked as if the stars had decided to go for a swim in the bay. Or like someone had sprinkled diamonds in the water. We rolled up our pants and started walking in the water. The flashes of light stuck to our legs and every step was followed by a stream of glowing water. I had a blast jumping in the water, watching the sparkles.

We eventually headed to Goat Bachย to spend the night at. Unlike Opossom Bay with it’s calming lapping waters, this beach had no land protecting it from the full strength of the ocean. Large waves crashed onto the shore. And sometimes the white foam glowed. I was stunned. And, of course, the stars were out in full force, the Milky Way showing off. An absolutely beautiful night ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t have any pictures of the luminescence or the stars because my camera just isn’t good enough :/

Today (Tuesday), began with watching the sunrise.

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How amazing is that pink????

Majid and I headed back to Hobart pretty early so I could meet up with Jimmy and Patrick, two guys I met climbing last Friday. We drove to Hartz Mountains National Park and climbed Hartz Peak. The views from the top are amazing.

Or so I’m told ^_^ It was a biiiiiit cloudy at the top…

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Jack, I’m flying! (but actually the wind was super strong and right after I took this picture Pat almost fell)

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Pat, myself, and Jimmy! Happy to have hiked to the top ๐Ÿ™‚

But it was a gorgeous hike. I loved the colors of the flora, the lichen and mos growing the rocks, the green tint to the water in the lakes… It was all beautiful.

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A lot of the trail was actually these wooden boardwalks. Leave No Trace means different things in different places and this was a great solution for this area!

The three of us had a great time hiking and chatting. Good guys, these two!

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We ate a lot of chocolate to, uh, keep warm. Cause it was cold. So chocolate

Thanks for reading โค