Downtime in Coffee Bay
It is day 3 of our downtime in Coffee Bay. I spent most of Saturday cleaning the trailer, consolidating food and just organising my brain. I also uploaded all the pictures and ideas from the past 3 weeks and tried to catch up with myself. Sarah was down with a migraine, Cassie and Andy headed home for a break, and Frik spent the day exploring. I managed to have a 20 minute Epson salt bath, which was so relaxing.
However, my adrenaline was at an all-time high, and I was struggling to unwind. That night, I had a restless sleep battling mosquitos and stray thoughts as my brain processed the events of the past few weeks. I was also thinking about planning logistics and the puzzling strategy for the next stint. The pressure has been immense, juggling logistics, team dynamics and funding.
Sunday was a better downtime day. First, we had to move out of our temporary home to the manager’s flat due to the hotel being fully booked. We gathered our belongings and headed to the beach for a walk. We climbed up the side of a cliff to the top of a hill and found ourselves in a small forest clearing. We then headed down to the backpackers for a visit. The west wind started showing itself, and we headed back to the hotel for some more downtime. I tried to read and chill while Frik and Sarah had a nap. I made a few phone calls and caught up with news back home.
I slept mildly better last night. It was cooler but still plagued by mosquitos. Today the rain arrived, and we spent most of the day doing more admin, puzzling logistics, sorting our vehicles, making payments till my brain was overflowing. Sarah and I went for another beach clean-up walk for some fresh air before coming home to a lunch of tomato soup, courtesy of The Family Chef. With it, we had delicious homemade Xhosa bread. I was then treated to a massage by Amalia from Coffee Bay, which was so wonderful and helped me relax more easily. I did a few more catch up calls with friends, and finally, I started feeling a little more chilled. Yet, I am definitely ready to start swimming again, rearing to go in fact. Yet, this time has been good for us to regroup and consolidate.
On Tuesday, we had our buffet breakfast. After which, we were collected by Ruan and Roger to head out to Zitelele. Ruan leads an organization called Siyahambesonke, which focuses on empowering and building up future leaders. Roger has been in the industry for 10 years and is trying to set up a recycling initiative, amongst other things. In the car ride on the way there, we were educated on the many challenges of connecting with a culture that is so different to ours. Priorities are putting bread on the table and surviving, with conservation far from mind.
The drive was long and windy through many villages and potholes, but we arrived in a room full of eager yet friendly faces of 10 -12-year-olds. A projector was set up for us, and we had a fun Q&A with the kids before I moved to the senior group. Sarah stayed behind with the small kids to answer more questions, and I had over an hour with the future leaders of the community. I shared my journey and dialogued with some really challenging and good questions. This is one of my main reasons for doing what I do. It was a huge privilege to be able to speak to the kids. It was amazing speaking with future generations about dreams, passion and the importance of protecting our oceans by making small positive daily consumer choices. I trust that it was fruitful and hope for more opportunities like this.
Our new team arrived in the afternoon, and after a short beach walk to find some elusive caves, we had dinner together and then headed to bed. I am ready for a much-needed swim day tomorrow!