Arriving in Cape Town on the 16th November we were told that the flights to Antarctica are being delayed due to weather.
At first we were told that we would fly on Friday at the earliest, but then we were informed the earliest flight would be on Saturday.
The nature of any activity in Antarctica is dependant on the weather, air travel especially. So with time to kill in Cape Town we decided to explore.
Always taking the opportunity to see penguins we took a train to Boulders beach, south of Cape Town.
I like train travel because see different sights and you get a feeling for the people who live in the country you're visiting. The train was old and a bit rundown but clean and pleasant enough. People sat and talked quietly for the first half of the journey, until a seemingly blind man and his helper boarded and started to sing nicely in hope they would be given money. Next to pipe up was a preacher who delivered a continuous monologue for an impressive 30 minutes until we came to the end of our train journey. Unfortunately we weren't at our destination as the line was under repair,a bus replacement service was provided, just like the UK rail service. This bus also came with it's own preacher, although he had a more jovial style.
We reached Boulder Beach after a short walk from Simon’s Town. The mist descended from the nearby mountains and brought with it fine rain, but we continued regardless. As we walked through the vegetation of the nature reserve down to towards the beach we came across our first African Penguin. Unfazed by the onlookers, it was standing in a small clearing next a fellow penguin undergoing moulting and looking sorry for itself.
Down on the beach there were plenty of penguins, but all standing still. I was expecting them to be a lot more lively. Apparently as they moult for the summer they conserve energy by not doing much.
After exploring the beach a little more we ate lunch and then headed back with a much quieter train journey.
Following an early dinner, Jan and I took an impulsive hike up Signal Hill which overlooks Cape Town. It also gives a good view of Table Mountain which towers at 1085m and was covered in a blanket of cloud, which rolled over the top and swirls down like a wave breaking.
We missed the sunset but there was a golden glow on the horizon which gave us an idea of how good the sunset would have been.
In the next few days we’ll be getting our bags ready to fly down, attend flight briefings, and of course going up to the top of Table Mountain; as well making the most of the Cape Town weather and city buzz before spending 15 months in Antarctica.