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One certainty in life is that when it comes to organising anything ocean related the weather is sure to throw in a curve ball.
We were pushing our luck a bit when we decided to take a group of journalists to Kleinmond to showcase the work WWF is doing with small scale fishers in the Kogelberg area ahead of World Oceans Day on 8 June.
The wild card was that we wanted to get our guests out on a boat to see how baited underwater remote video cameras (BRUVs) are deployed to monitor marine life for the benefit of local communities and conservation.
True to form, as the appointed day approached, a series of cold fronts started to stack up offshore. With the swell rather than rain being the key issue – we had to make a judgement call a day before. After consulting all the charts, we decided there was enough of a weather window to go for it.
As we drove out of the city in the rain, one of the journalists WhatsApped to say: “You must be the most optimistic person I know. The weather is awful.”
Happily the weather gods proved her wrong – and the weather started to lift as we approached Kleinmond. Thanks to YR.no and Windguru, we had banked on a few clear hours ahead of the front which kept the sea calm enough to get our guests into the boat and out onto the bay to get their footage.
We were glad we did.
The rain held off just a little bit longer as we headed over to the penguin colony at Stony Point, part of the Betty’s Bay Marine Protected Area managed by CapeNature, a key partner in the Kogelberg area.
As we drove out of Betty’s Bay, the thunder started to rumble and the rain started to bucket down, threatening to send rocks tumbling off the fire ravaged mountains onto the road.
I couldn’t help wondering whether the two downy penguin chicks I had watched being fed by their father in an exposed nest would make it through the night? Penguin expert Cuan McGeorge had told us that severe weather was a threat to young chicks.
The next morning, I checked in with Cuan to find out how the chicks were doing.
“They’re fine,” he said, explaining that both parents had returned to the nest and sheltered their offspring through a very stormy night.
Now that’s what I’d call a happy ending.
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