South Africa Day 7 – with Neale Bayly and Anthony Carrino

Day 7 – I awakened to an incredibly warm and sunny day!  We had a long day ahead and I wanted to use my breakfast to catch up on emails, and send a quick hello to my lovely wife back in Calgary, Alberta.  Sitting on the deck outside the dining room at the Beach Cabanas, Jeffrey’s Bay was the perfect way to start my day, coffee in hand, with the smell of breakfast wafting out to me from the kitchen.  It was not long before I could not take the smell any longer and was filling myself with food from our hosts Jeff and Linda Smith owners of the Beach Cabanas.

Beach Cabanas Jeffrey's Bay South Africa

I packed up my gear and got ready for the day, it was so amazingly beautiful and I was looking forward to Joahnn’s promise of even more incredible sights for us all!  In short order everyone had rode their motorcycles out of the small gate and into the parking area, all motivated to get going as quick as possible, Route 102 beckoned!

I had wished I was riding, the day already hot, but I allure of two wheeled adventure was speaking to me, calling, and that day especially I was wished I was riding instead of being the photographer in the support vehicle!

Route 102 was a narrow windy road with interesting scenery and when we crossed a girder bridge over the Gamtoos Rivier, I captured the feeling of that bridge while ripping along at 30 mph!  The road eventually took us to an area where we could see Van Stadens Bridge (Highway N2) about half way between Jeffrey’s Bay and Port Elizabeth.  This bridge is infamous worldwide as Suicide Bridge, with 88 people taking their own lives by jumping off the 460 foot bridge.  We stopped to absorb the tragedy palpable in this place where people would land not far from where we stood.  There was a wonderful man standing nearby, a grandfather who was holding his grandson watching us intently.  Neale approached him and they began to exchange stories, the grandfather talked to us about the bridge and his family, he was so interesting I wanted to stay and hear more of his life stories.  As everyone was driving away Neale and I lagged behind slowly walking to our vehicles and it was at that point we heard people unseen in nearby bushes singing incredibly powerful African songs.  Neale and I stopped captured by the beautiful chorus which was now echoing in the valley.  I was so amazed by the wonder of the moment I forgot to do my job and missed an opportunity to record this amazing song, I was sad I missed that chance.  The beauty of the singing as it echoed off the canyon walls in the shadow of tragedy that is Van Stadens Bridge, was an incredibly powerful moment.  This was the South Africa I had imagined, and although it was at a place of infinite sadness, the song gave me shivers of energy and power!  Neither Neale nor I wanted to leave, silently savoring the moment.

Neale Bayly and Grampa in the shadow of Van Staden Bridge

Van Stadens Bridge - Suicide Bridge

As we drove the rest of R102 to Port Elizabeth my mind kept returning to the singing, the power of that song, the echoes resounding like the souls of those who perished there and that moment will stay will me for the rest of my life, it was truly that powerful!

Once we reached Port Elizabeth Joahnn tried to get us into the port area so we could get some unique photographs, however there was no amount of convincing the stalwart guards that would allow us entry.  It did not matter as we left to follow the coastal highway R72, which eventually took us to Port Alfred where we stopped for lunch at Guidos Restaurant overlooking the Kowie Rivier as it exited into the Indian Ocean!  I was able to get some shots of Neale riding along in the sandy beach area as well as getting him to pose for a few portrait shots.  I could have stayed there for a few hours as there were many incredible sights that would be perfect backdrops for motorcycle photographs, I would head back to Port Alfred in a minute if given the chance!

Neale Bayly's BMW R1200GS in Port Alfred South Africa

Neale Bayly riding the beach in Port Alfred South Africa

Bob enjoying the view of Port Alfred South Africa 2

Neale Bayly Adventure Portrait Port Alfred South Africa

Bob enjoying the view of Port Alfred South Africa

Soon we were back and heading east along the coast to our destination for the evening Kidds Beach!  I practiced my 70 mph landscape photography and came away with some interesting shots, one in particular with the sun shining through breaks in the clouds illuminating portions of the countryside!

South African Landscape at 70 mph

South African Landscape at 70 mph 2

Neale Bayly on the R102 South Africa

We arrived at Kidds Beach much earlier than anticipated and the owners of the bed and breakfast were not home.  Neale, Anthony, and I decided to go explore the beach area and came across a wonderful man made Tidal Pool.  The waves were so big that they would still splash over the walls of the tidal pool with a thunderous roar!  We all looked at each other and immediately we wanted to go for a swim!  We geared down to our shorts and plunged into the surprisingly tepid waters and swam out to the wall facing the ocean.  We took turns sitting on the wall while being on the receiving end of huge waves, it was incredibly fun except for a minor wardrobe malfunction.  Let’s just say that Neale has been traumatized by life…and I learned that not to wear shorts with holes in them!  We laughed and joked for easily an hour, and the tidal pool was truly was one of the highlights of my trip.  We were able to enjoy the water that day…completely living in the moment.

When we got back to the bed and breakfast our host had arrived, and we were assigned our rooms.  I ended up going to a different nearby bed and breakfast with Cris and Keith as there was not enough room at the Inn so to speak!  Once I settled in I headed back down and went for a long walk along the beach, which we basically had to ourselves except for a little white dog!  It was fun photographing the sand, the landscape, and the ocean, and I found myself immediately at peace, the constant sound of waves calming my mind.  Neale ended up bonding with a little white dog, becoming chums for the duration of the walk, and they even shared a few moments of thought looking out to the ocean.

Fisherman at Kidds Beach South Africa

Neale Bayly and his little friend hanging out at Kidds beach South Africa

Shadow Chums South Africa

We headed back to the B&B where we enjoyed a wonderful BBQ, laughed and told jokes about the day.  I could not help but think about how much planning Johan had put into this trip and just how incredible each day had been to that point.  Johann said there was more amazing sights in store for us…I had no doubt!!!