Go Darke

Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it


De Kelders

I am obviously not much of a traveler. Anymore, he added, after some consideration. But sometimes I imagine I should put aside my usual-blog staples (those of rankle and grouse) and branch out into other (exciting) genres that could sprinkle me with fame, positive reinforcement and fairy dust.

I have racked up several impediments to my roaming nowadays. I am venerable, broadly regarded as quite sedentary and I have sired two, often violent, midgets, that haunt my every footfall. Traveling anywhere with young children is in exercise in… well, preparation (which I am notoriously bad at1) which before you step forth, you might want to weld onto an iron girder of saint-like zen and then lather up in fucken cheerfulness for easy entry (into ones rectum).

[1] I will almost certainly forget to pack sunscreen, towels, jackets, food and any form of hydration. In addition I will only ever charge the iPads to 13% pre-journey…

Also, I have only ever dipped a toe into travel-blogging… so really I have no idea what an actual travel blog post would entail. I mean this could be remedied quite easily with a search engine and reading selective other works, but that might also be burdensome… and I like to take premonitions, that portent work, seriously, and avoid them (preferably with a wide side-step) if at all possible.

On the plus side no one reads my blog. Although that may not be true… I haven’t actually checked in what seems like forever. If you don’t know whats going on behind the scenes, then it can’t upset you. That, and I can actually just do what I want. And today feels like a travel-blog day.  Even if that attempt turns out to be amateurish and boring.

I’ve actually gotten quite bad at the whole sojourning malarky. Which my brain, somewhere within its vast, cavernous interior registers as interesting. I am fairly certain I used to regard myself (in my bachelor days at least) to be quite the accomplished wayfarer. But then I only ever had to consider my own needs. And I am notoriously easy to please.

Still, skills not kept honed, degenerate and become… actually, just an annoyance, especially when my mind keeps reminding me that I used to be better at all of this.

Today we went to De Kelders. Which is either Dutch, or its unsanctioned sibling, its sometimes difficult to know where the one ends and the other begins… in any event, it translates as ‘The Cellars’.

It’s on the other side of the bay from where we now domicile and while not quite a hop, skip and a jump, it’s a short enough road-trip that if the pygmies start to get rowdy or we stray dangerously into nap time it won’t be a complete and utter cataclysm.

Its namesake derives from its sandstone bedrock2 that the ocean… and an underground stream, bored out into a cave system underneath the town. At least one of the caverns is big enough that you can go for a swim. (assuming you aren’t terrified of swimming in the pitch black, where unknown things from the darkest corners of your imagination could tickle your nether regions)

[2] I may be using the term bedrock incorrectly. I dropped Geography in the eighth grade in favor of the Teutonic language (which was the easier credit for me).  I often just use terms flippantly without an real appreciation for what they actually mean. God did I just define the story of my life?

Unfortunately… or maybe fortunately, these subterranean vaults were never (as far as I know) put to any economic or spiritual use… either through piracy or smuggling nor were any Lovecraftian temples hewn to any Old ones, their murky confines never bore foul magicks or hellgates. I cut my teeth on Goonies and Enid Blyton… and then later Innsmouth and Locke and Key. Subterranean features that run underneath towns should always have had some nefarious other purpose. Preferably ones that can be spelunk’d by plunky (often teenage) investigators, who then… solve the mystery, stop the bad guy and get the… eh… girl. (or whatever person is desired by whoever is deemed to be the protagonist, where the feelings are reciprocated by the other person and everyone is at the legal age of consent, did I cover all my bases?)

To be completely honest, it feels like a missed opportunity. Cinematographically (probably not a real word) it would have worked quite well to have a line of maroon cowled cultists descending the steep switchback stairs down to the caves with their tiki-torches, chanting… you know… gibberish3.

[3] Do you think the new cultist in the group always feels like a bit of idiot… because everyone else knows all the words and they’re just… humming along… or worse yet, just making up stuff as they go? Doesn’t that mess up the dark rite or the magicks? Or is it marked by your evil deity as a group project? Or maybe there is a workshop before… or group-practice. Which, when running a clandestine cult, must be an organizational nightmare.

De Kelders itself is quite a bland little… pre-township. Its technically part of the town of Gansbaai (Goose bay). I wonder how much of that assertion is because I live in Hermanus and therefore my default settings (now that I live here) is to be quite snobby and dismissive about the all the other little towns in the Overberg. It feels like they could have done better… you know, with some town planning and a bit of… architectural cohesion. It’s one of those tiny holiday towns where people come and build tiny little edifices to themselves… but there is no… central theme, I guess. That and because almost the entire town is seasonal residents, there isn’t that sense of… community, maybe.

Which annoys me. In a weird way, because the location is so very pretty, and it could be an eight out of ten with some design tweaks. And maybe a scary backstory. The neighboring town of Stanford (a genuinely pretty little hamlet) has done so much more with less.

Still, the caves are very cool. The views across Walker Bay are great. And while I have never seen whales here off these particular cliffs I did once see two huge Manta Rays in the crystal clear water down below. Next time I must remember to take my free-diving gear, it looks like it might be a great place to swim.

If I were planning an itinerary and my goal was Cape Agulhus (the Southern most tip of Africa) for example, I would stop in Stanford for coffee and and then walk around there for a bit… BUT, I would also then do a quick recce of De Kelders. From the main road its just a short jaunt down to the cliff-side parking lot (which has bathrooms). If it’s a nice day, the views are great… and if there are whales (or other marine life) it might be amazing. 

If you want to picnic down by the caves you may have to check a tide chart and time it so you’re there at low tide. It’s possible, I think, that the tide could trap you down there… so maybe keep a weather-eye out.




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