Here in Cape Town, we may live on land, but we live with the ocean. We pass it daily as we move in and around the city, we gaze out over it from mountain peaks, we inhale its cool breeze from the shore and and watch the antics of its whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, gulls, surfers, kayakers, bodyboarders, divers, sailors and fishermen.
This World Oceans Day, we wanted to head out into its expanse with Ellerman House‘s team, on a fishing trip with local fishermen in a rather dingy dinghy from Kalk Bay harbour. We had a plan. We were excited. We were ready to ride the waves and reel in dinner, to learn more about the traditional ways, the sustainable fishing practices carried out daily in the Cape of South Africa.
But a storm hit. The biggest storm in decades. There was heavy rain, hail, gusting winds, lightning, power outages, flooding, displaced homes, closed businesses and schools, fallen trees. Chaos. And so, all the boats were grounded, so to speak. There would be no fishing.
And while we retreated indoors, wondering where Cape Town’s drought had disappeared to, we were reminded of nature’s power. Of the ocean’s strength, one covering 71 percent of our little Earth’s surface, and 99 percent of all the living space on the planet. We were humbled and a little in awe as we watched massive waves break onto the roads along our coast. The ocean was taking over.
Sometimes, we as earthlings, landlings, neglect that the waters around us are part of us, our lives. We think that they don’t affect us, that we don’t affect them. Sometimes, it takes a storm, conveniently timed with a day dedicated to just this revelation, to remember the importance of the Big Blue.
Atlantic, we see you. Indian, we feel you. Pacific, Arctic, Southern, we hear you. Rather than being separate, we are one. Before the storm, we headed to a favourite lookout point in Cape Town to spend some time with the sea – the rugged rocky cliffs of Cape Point, in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, at the tip of the Cape Peninsula 60 km south-west of the city. It is a place aptly named the Cape of Storms, by Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, treated with great respect by sailors for centuries. A place where the immensity of the ocean is really unveiled and understood. (Take a look at the photos below.)
So while we have no fish dish to prepare, to celebrate this day with, perhaps that’s just the way the ocean wanted it. This rude awakening of the strength of the world’s oceans might have derailed our plans for World Oceans Day, but it taught us much more in the process.
For more about sustainable fishing practices, we caught up with a few influencers around the world in our magazine, Instants.
Read more in:
That Which the Sea Offers Us – Lionel and Manuela Brezo catch fish for the restaurant Mirazur. For them, as for its chef Mauro Colagreco, the sea is a constant source of inspiration that must be protected and preserved at all costs.
For the Love of Fish – Chef Julien Dumas is passionate about the sea. On the occasion of World Oceans Day, he spoke to us about the relationship of trust he has with his fish merchant Gilles Jégo, his decision to support sustainable fishing, and his love for cooking fish.
And discover more about our hotels and lodges in the Indian Ocean islands and the Cape, here in our blog, for a look at life lived in harmony with the world’s waters.