Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Road Trip 2.10

Sunday 14th June

We slept very well again in our electric blanket clad bed and despite being slightly hungover we all manged to climb back into the Kombi for our planned daytrip to Fraserburg to see some dinosaur footprints. Sod's Law dictated that the sky was blue and the sun was shining in sharp contrast to the previous day!

We had nearly 100km of Karoo dirt road to negotiate between Sutherland and Fraserburg but seemingly we didn't think to check the petrol before we left! We drove for an hour or so without seeing another car until we overtook another Kombi towing a trailer with a motorcycle on it. Unbeknownst to the rest of us in the back Carl and Stoffel were now breathing a little easier. Still blissfully unaware of the shortage petrol of we admired the semi-desert landscape and kept our eyes open for interesting wildlife. Soon enough we were all aware that there was a problem, the Kombi ground to a halt! We were only 10km from Fraserburg but the fact that we had overtaken the other Kombi meant that someone was behind us and would shortly catch us up.

Elaine stood with her arms out in the middle of the road and the other Kombi pulled up behind us. Now it was time for Carl to taste some unleaded! Our saviour provided a length of tubing and we provided an empty sherry bottle with which to siphon some fuel from the motorcycle. Well done to Carl who actually looked as if he enjoyed the taste!

So with another 750ml in the tank we set off again keeping everything crossed that we would make it! First the church steeple appeared, then some buildings and finally the town itself. Just as we got to the top of a rise we ran out again so Stoffel, Heinrich and Jon decided to jump out and push! We made it and actually accelerated down the slope! Deciding that straight on was the best option at the road junction we soon saw a petrol station totem! One last push to get us onto the forecourt and we were home and dry, much to the local police patrols amusement! We must have been the talk of the town and were probably the most intersting thing to happen here for some time!

After filling up and catching our breath we drove to the museum where our guide Vincent was waiting to take us out to the geological site at Gansfontein. A short drive later and we were there. The site was well worth a vist, discovered after a burst dam washed away the top layer of earth in the 1950s this ancient river bed provides an insight into the life of the dinosaurs 250 million years ago. Vincent was an interesting guide and showed us dinosaur footprints, worm trails marks left by fish and water run off.

We returned to the museum and had a look at some of the other intersting artifacts, including a set of Avery Scales from Jon's hometown of Birmingham, before heading back towards Sutherland.

We decided to stop for the packed lunch prepared by Jon and Elaine about halfway back. No sooner had we stopped next to the 'klein-rietrivier' than we discovered that we had a puncture in one of the rear tyres! So lunch was followed by tyre changing and once again we were on our way!

A short while afterwards Carl spotted a huge Martial Eagle perched on a telegraph pole ahead. This is Africa's largest eagle and a top predator. We parked up and watched for a long while. Moving closer when we could, following when it moved(because we were getting too close)and even climbed fences to try and get the elusive photograph. It never allowed us to get close enough for a full frame shot but we did manage to get some fairly good shots of this magnificent creature. What a privilege.

Eventually we left our new friend in peace and continued our journey, spotting some very inquisitive Dassies on the way, until we got to the main entrance of the observatory. We stopped for the photo opportunity that we didn't get the previous day!

A short while later we arrived home with some newly purchased provisions and built a nice warming fire. Heinrich fed us with an excellent vegetable soup and bruschetta and we talked and lughed until it was time for bed again! Quite an action packed day for a trip to see some dinosaur footprints!

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