Posted by: smithdavid | August 18, 2013


It’s late afternoon on Gonubie Beach, Jess and Megs (my 10 and 8 year old nieces) have just come in from the sea. Sue, Greg and I are sitting on the beach, taking in the last of the day’s heat. There is a satisfied ache in my muscles after my earlier lesson with Andre. For once I have not surfed in the afternoon, two and half hours at Nahoon was enough.

‘I wonder how far Yellowsands is?’ I say, thinking of the beach with the long, gentle right that Andre mentioned earlier.

‘Why don’t we go see?’ says Sue.

Soon we’re in the Silver Slug (Greg’s bakkie), heading north, up along the R102, towards Kwelera River Mouth.

fading light, but not yellowsands...

fading light, but not yellowsands…

We’ve been going a while, longer than the fifteen minute drive Andre quoted.

‘We’re going to miss the sunset,’ Jess says, in her ‘proper’ English accent.

‘Jeez Jess, I live in England and that accent would’ve fooled me…’

‘Thank you very, very much…’ says Jess, now doing a decent Indian.

I try my Russian on Megs but she’s not buying it.

After a while we turn off, there is no tarmac and the light is fading quickly. I’m calculating whether I could bring Phoenix (my Dad’s bakkie) on this road. After while we drive through a deep puddle and pull up so that another car can pass. There are no lights out here, just residual daylight and the tepid moonlight that spills out from behind the clouds from time to time.

There are no sign posts other than the map that showed Kwelera River Mouth a few kilometers back.

the moon, but not the yellowsands moon...

the moon, but not the yellowsands moon…

‘Wonder if this is the right way?’ I say.

‘Doesn’t really matter,’ says Greg, ‘ it’s a great drive…’

At last we come to a clearing in the bush. There are two other cars parked here but they’re empty. When I get out the Slug I can see the river mouth down below and a long beach running away from it. I’m still wondering if this is the beach Andre was talking about but then I see a line of swell form – it’s dark, dark blue, almost black. The swell approaches the shore, jacks up, begins curling over and then runs along the length of the beach. I can picture myself here with Christine, catching one of these waves on the clean, riding for a few hundred meters.

‘Wow, look there…’ Sue says. Out where the beach reaches a point, the moon’s silvery beams have filtered through the clouds and have lit a patch of water with a luminescent glow. The patch begins moving towards us as the wind shifts the clouds,  it’s like it wants us to see its full brilliance. At last it is on the rolling waves of Yellowsands.

Jess and Greg are trying to take photos with I-Phones, but I know that not even my camera (if I had it here) will be able to capture what we’re seeing.

‘This needs to be one of those that you take a picture of in your mind, Jess,’ says Sue, ‘so that it’s there when you close your eyes.’

I close my eyes for a second to make sure I have it.



  1. I absolutely love that first image of the shoreline. The fading colours and the drama of the waves crashing. I think the rawness of it all draws me in…

    • thanks for the comment and for reading nic…

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