Seven days in and it feels as if I have reverted to stone age man. The water ran out on Wednesday and then the electrics went down last night. I am running up the hill to boil the tea water and have emptied the geyser. I bathe in warm brackish water from the vlei.
Willow Point is the old Veld and Vlei and Outward Bound base located on a peninsula where the Hoëkraalrivier flows gently into Swartvlei, the largest of the brackish lagoons along the Wilderness lakes between George and Knysna, and part of the Wilderness National Park. I am holed up in a decaying building perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the vlei and onto plantation land a kilometre away. Johnno and Sarah have done their best to spruce it up and have kindly lent it to me for a sojourn to inspire some words, in peace and quiet. As I look outside there is a white mist pouring over the water like the steam of enormous kettles, and a fish eagle has just broken the silence with its cry. It is a tranquil retreat.
The camp consists of a jumble of ramshackle sheds, rondavels, wooden structures and an endless supply of dunnies for the students, and it has seen better days. Tom and Johnno have acquired Willow to turn it into a glorious retreat.
Since arriving I have had an encounter with a porcupine at night, whilst driving back at night from a rendezvous at a local hotel with the Challis family. I was sitting on a bench by the waters edge and an otter swam by, not that Themba noticed. A mongoose rustled around in the bushes below the deck and today had my first sighting of the Knysna Lourie. The fish splash regularly in the shallows below, and so far have evaded my hook. There will come a time when a cob in parsley sauce will be lying in front of me ready to be demolished.
More updates to follow…