Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Catlyn is starting to look like our boat again. There is a shimmer of hope and hopefully soon a shimmer on her deck as well.  It is almost a week that we are busy cleaning and trying to get her livable again. It is amazing how dust and mouldy spores crept into everything. I am so thankful for vinegar. Before we locked her up almost five months ago, I rinsed her down from top to bottom with pure white vinegar, not diluted a bit! And now I wonder, was it the vinegar that stopped the mould from getting their roots into my stuff? Was that why all that was left was their black dead spores leaving a dust all over?

We had to get some food, and went to the West Fall Mall, and the Hi Lo close by.  It was when we were standing at the cash register,  the voice of the girl on the celphone, got my full attention. Afrikaans! My language! I politely waited for her to finish her call, before I left Johan at the till with the shopping, making a new friend. To my utmost surprise she came from my very small birth town! And she was the daughter of my fathers` doctor in this small town! To me she was only the little smiling girl on the doctors` desk in his office! We exchanged phone numbers and promised to get together.

With our heavy shopping bags on our way to the side of the street to get lucky to get a taxi, a car stopped. It was Margaretha, our new friend and she offered to take us to Peakes. Again she left, but this time she invited us to come along to a trip with a group of young people, to the Bat Caves!  The Tamana Caves sounded so exciting, and we couldn`t resist. Sunday morning we will join her on this adventure!

Johan decided to stay with Catlyn keeping an eye on Chris who was doing an excellent job on polishing Catlyn. But maybe bats were not his thing, or maybe he took the opportunity to be all by himself for a change... Nothing could dampen our spirits, not even the rain and thick black clouds gathering.

After quite a long drive with Margaretha, we reached our destination, way up the mountains. By now it was pouring down steadily. I grabbed a long stick for extra support, and I could see all the young people looking at me sideways..".Old lady needs a walking stick already!"   It wasn`t high up the mountain, slipping through the mud with the rain not helping at all, that I saw the young people gathering their own walking sticks! Hmmm, wisdom...!

When we reached the top of the mountain after about an hour and a half, the beautiful view was obscured by some more rain, drenching us, and we knew that what goes up must come down, and down is going to be in the dark!  We slipped and fell and the boys 'mud board' down, until we reached the caves.  It was creepy crawling down this black unknown, and luckily Margaretha remembered to bring some gloves for all of us, not to touch the sides of the caves and get sick. Our small torches were the only light in the darkness, and when your beam hit the roof of the cave, the bats were hanging right above us. There are from five hundred thousand up to three million bats in these caves, and they were all around us! But they were not too bad, at least they were up above and only now and then flying down low, touching my arm softly. I was really hoping that their radar were spot on. The worst was the floor. It was thick and black and moving! Cockroaches, three inches big, and smaller ones and some other crawling things were all over. Our guide, Courtney Rooks, from Paria Tours, very politely told us to rather stay on the ground and not in the water, because he saw a snake the other day in the water. 'Oh no, I'll go for the odd snake in the water, but those big cockroaches all over my feet,' I thought when my feet got soaked.

We crawled through tiny places, with the water running down your neck, over your spine, and I knew the water was mixed with the bat crap! At last we left the clammy darkness and headed down the mountain to the entrance of the caves, watching these nocturnal creatures flying out into the night! Slowly and slippery we made our way down the mountain, with the rain still washing down. By now we were all covered in mud, no dignity left. Every single one of us had a chance to land in the mud. We were thrilled with exhaustion of a wonderful experience. We ended the day in a little stream trying to wash down most of the mud from our clothes and shoes and bodies! Thriller? Thrilling!

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