My trip to an ocean wonderland

I am a huge fan of the ocean, and sadly I had not been to a coastal area for 14 years! Yes that’s right, i have been denied the pleasure of the sea for just over a decade. But of all of that changed this week, as I was whisked away by my colleagues and taken on an unforgettable journey, down to the coast of the Eastern Cape. Hit the jump to read up on this amazing experience.

The company I work for is seriously one of the best ones I have worked for since starting to work several years ago. The benefits are what makes it so great. One of which is the fact that I get to travel to places I have never been before.

I have been to Port Elizabeth only once in my life, but unfortunately I was just too young to remember it, and on top of that, I am told by my parents that the visit was very brief, so that didn’t help matters along either. This time around, I was flown in, courtesy of the company I work for. The flight itself was quite uneventful, but the approach to Port Elizabeth was simply breathtaking. Beaches that stretch for massive distance, parallel to the ocean as well as inland. Once we reached the airport we were picked up by my boss and transported to the picturesque Cape St. Francis resort.

Upon arrival we were booked into a quaint little 4 bedroom home called Robin’s Rest and after freshening up we were off to symposium where my job was to film the proceedings. The sessions were interrupted by coffee breaks and lunches, and we were treated to some of the most delicious food I had ever had the pleasure to taste. Eastern Cape hospitality is legendary. More specifically, the staff at Cape St. Francis resort is legendary.

Day 2 started with myself and a colleague, as well as TV personality David Viljoen (Kyknet’s Tuine en Tossels) took a walk down to the beach (which was less than 200 meters away from where we were sleeping, so you can imagine the peaceful sound of waves lulling me to sleep). Shortly after our return from the excursion to the beach it started to rain lightly, and we proceeded to the second day of the symposium, where I again resumed duties as videographer. I must say I have come to enjoy shooting videos, and it is definitely something I would consider picking up as a hobby. Look out for some videos from me on YouTube in the future.

At the end of day 2 we were treated to a candlelit dinner in the fully transformed hall. We had the distinct pleasure of eating fresh Calamari rings for starters, along with various breads and we were thoroughly spoiled by our gracious hosts at the Cape St. Francis Resort by means of several bottles of wine strewn across the tables. From Dom Peregnon to Sovegnon Blanc. It was definitely magical on the palate. For the main course we were treated to scrumptious chicken and deliciously moist beef with several different types of vegetables and finally to end things off several different types of sweet and delectable deserts, including some of the best Milk Tart I have ever tasted.

We certainly ended the night on a high note and I for one slept fitfully that night. As they say in Afrikaans “Magie vol ogies toe”.

Day 3, we were up again at 6:30 and my colleague Lukas and I set out to the beach again where we met with some of the scientists from Cape Town and proceeded on our extended walk up to the lighthouse at the peninsula of the area. It was quite a long and strenuous walk, and I can still feel the burn on my legs, calves and the soles of my feet, but it was well worth it, as we managed to snag quite a few beautiful photos (some of which are here, and some of which will be added later, when Lukas returns from his photographic journey through South Africa). I managed to grab some souvenirs in the form of seashells; something I haven’t done in years; as well as some beautifully patterned and coloured rocks.

We then returned to the resort and proceeded to a wonderful breakfast, again prepared by Cape St. Francis Resort, followed by the final two sessions of the symposium.

After the symposium, we booked out of the resort and took a detour to Saint Francis Port and admired some of the picturesque holiday homes as well as some beautiful ocean views. I must make mention of the absolutely gorgeous canals that run in between the holiday homes which allows residents to embark directly onto boats and jet-skis at their own leisure. It is very reminiscent of Venice, at least that’s what it reminded me of.

We then proceeded back to the airport in Port Elizabeth and while we were driving I managed to snag some “normal” pictures of this far-off city, which I will likely not see again for quite a long time, but one which I hope to visit again soon. Despite the many warnings by friends and family of the cold Indian Ocean, and the windy nature of Port Elizabeth, the city is (and was on this particular day) quite pleasant. My bouts in the ocean during my stay at Cape St. Francis resort was not freezing cold, and was actually quite pleasant, even though it was quite early in the day. Overall the weather was quite favourable during our stay.

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The flight back turned out to be quite interesting. Firstly, between myself and my boss (I got a window seat again – not that it helped much with the dark), was one of several school girls who were making their way to Johannesburg for the much-talked-about Justin Bieber concert. So this was the topic of much interest during the flight. Towards the approach to Johannesburg we experienced quite a bit of turbulence which wasn’t all that scary on its own, but looking out the window at the plane, through the misty canopy a thought crept in – John Lithgow in the iconic scene from the Twilight Zone. Check it out below:

It was an absolutely awesome 3 days away, and I managed to return to one of my favourite places in the world. The beach! Through the entire process, I made great new friends, and strengthened bonds with existing ones. I even learned a thing or two.

For more information on the Cape St. Francis Resort, check out www.capestfrancis.co.za or contact them at 042 298 0054 or email seals@iafrica.com

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