Once in a while – not so often, sadly, but enough to make it addictive – we find ourselves in a place that completely overwhelms our senses and suddenly, a sharp dividing line is drawn between daily acceptableness and a rare, momentary near-perfection.

This needs not happen in a clash of thunder, the roaring of giant waterfalls or around a shark feeding frenzy. Sometimes our mind can be so bewildered by the simple sound of rain drops, the soft glittering of snow on a sunny afternoon or a field of spring flowers.

The Klein River estuary and its marshy maze was such a place. Once out on the water, my mind quieted down, my thoughts focused on the present and beauty and peace prevailed. Every night, for hours, we paddled, explored and followed the birds while waiting for sunset. Marie knows just about every specie out there – more than enough to repeatedly point and whisper in her contained but excited leopard-sighting voice: “That’s a birdybirdobirdicus*. Very rare. Shy. Cute. We’re lucky.” I am indeed lucky, but for very different reasons.

Sunset on the Klein River Estuary

In addition to the hundreds – if not thousands – of greater flamingos, we were blessed with a couple of fish eagles which we stalked back to their tree, graceful blue cranes, adorable dabchicks, African spoonbills, Cape shovelers, purple gallinules, glossy ibis, pied kingfishers, purple herons, blacksmith plovers, all kinds of ducks and many more.

One night, as the sun set beyond an impeccably still surface that reflected our presence with only a slight paddle-induced shimmer, Marie and I sat on two separate boats, tightly linked by the evening’s magic but lost in our own picture worlds. Another night, together on the kayak, I reckon we paddled almost 10 kilometers, first venturing upstream on the narrow river and later coming back down into the much wider estuary towards a huge flock of flamingos. It was very hard to leave. Only the promise of a braai and soft bed would manage to pull us back to shore.

Marie, speechless

The Canon 7D sat in her cool-bag-slash-dry-bag between photo stops to avoid getting splashed by the double-ended paddles. I hope these few pictures** managed to capture the softness and beauty of the moment. Marie too got amazing shots and should be posting them soon. Watch her space!


* I might have noted the name wrong but the birds were cool.
** I must apologize for so many kayaker-watches-sunset-on-mirror-like-water pictures; these are the result of serious, merciless editing and careful selection. I just like them all.