Camping location: 18.39600 S; 12.00489 E, 5km from Cape Frio
The wind continued to howl all night and was equally as strong as yesterday. I counted four jackals hovering around our campsite amongst the large sand moguls. I set off at around 7.30am, back to the beach. This time however, the tide was in, so there was nowhere to cycle except on the soft sand and sticky, salty mud/clay. It was even slower going than yesterday. I just had to hope that these conditions won’t last forever.
After 8km, I came across a dead whale and rotting carcass. When to team arrived we decided that I track behind Elago’s vehicle for a while to give me some momentum.
The highlight of the day was coming across the site of the Dunedin Star which was wrecked in 1942 on perhaps the most desolate, isolated coastline in the world. Like many ships before her, the Dunedin Star, which was a frigate sailing during the Second World War from the UK around South Africa to Egypt. The ship hit rocks just off the coast, hundreds of kilometres from any chance of help. He then grounded the ship just off the shoreline to enable the passengers to land on the beach via the ship’s lifeboat. What played out over the next month was one of the most involved rescues by land, plane and sea. All 100 (about) crew members were saved, but unfortunately, two men were killed trying the effect the rescue from a tug boat called the Charles Elliott. In the end, two boats were lost and one aircraft. It was a fascinating story. To find out more, I suggest checking out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Dunedin_Star.
76 years on and all that remains of the Dunedin Star are a few rusting pieces protruding the sand. About 200m away inland are the remains of the survivors’ camp, built from materials dropped by an aircraft.
I struggled on into the raging headwind and we made it to a point just short of Cape Frio, camping on the edge of mudflats.
Camping location: 18.72296 S; 12.30992 E
Total distance: 191km
My luck was in this morning, the wind had dropped to a light breeze and a misty fog had settled; perfect for cycling. As I set off I noted several brown hyena tracks, quite close to camp. There became more frequent as I approached the Cape Frio seal colony.
Tens of thousands of seals huddled together in large groups, some nursing young calves. Unlike the seal colonies farther south that are used to people, these seals were not and as I tried to creep closer the whole group would waddle off. I kept to the fringes, perhaps about 15m away, and cycled slowly for about two kilometres around the colony.
I mostly cycled beside old vehicle tracks, constantly trying to find the firmest sand. Eventually, the tide receded and I was back on the beach. Huge waves crash into the shore forming copious amounts of sea foam, often green in colour due to the amount of algae in the water (I believe).
I spent today enjoying the absence of all but a light headwind. The day remained in a foggy haze. I just hope it remains so tomorrow as we edge towards Mowe Bay, roughly 80km away.
The team is working together really well; Elago is leading the support as he has great experience of the area, ably assisted by Thomas who is driving the other vehicle. This is Thomas’s first Skeleton Coast trip. Kas always has lots of energy and is very methodical and enthusiastic with his work.
For me, the first four days has been very tough; headwinds, sand and spending 7.5-8 hours pedalling every day in such conditions. Apart from being sore and tired, I am fine and in good spirits. With about an eighth of the journey done, it feels like we are getting somewhere now.