It’s good to be back!

In March 2020, tourism came to a grinding halt. We all know what happened so no need to dwell on that but tour guides the world over have taken a huge knock. I have been unable to run any tours and spend my time doing an access course online with a company called Learn Direct so I can re-train and go to University in October of this year. I had all my eggs in the tourism basket and have been taught a painful lesson. My income disappeared totally and I have been kept afloat by my wife who thankfully, has a decent job. However, tough times, like good times are fleeting and I am beginning to receive e-mails enquiring about tours and a few days ago I took 4 people from Washington in the United States on a Winelands trip to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and it was brilliant

Exemplary Wineland Service: Waterford, Delaire Graff, Leeu |

Waterford Wine Estate https://www.waterfordestate.co.za/

It’s hard to describe how good it felt to be a guide again, meet new people and get back on the road, I had not realized how much I had missed it. It was more of a half day tour really because we left the One & Only (great hotel) fairly late but we managed to get a few quality Vineyards in.

Our first stop was Waterford’s for chocolate and Wine Tasting. The Vineyard is on a citrus farm and the building is in a Tuscany style. Each Wine and chocolate is individually paired to bring out the best in each other and the clients love it! In South Africa (unlike France I am told) cold cuts and cheeses are not often offered with tastings, there are of course some places that do offer that but it is not standard so the chocolate is very cool. While the clients drink I eat my weight in tangerines outside, and then come in for a chat.

Delaire Graff Estate | Wine, Dine, Stay, Spa & Art in Stellenbosch

Delaire Graff Wine Estate https://www.delaire.co.za/

Once we left Waterford’s we headed towards Franschhoek and stopped at Graff Wines, this place is outstanding, very beautiful and the wine is first class. Clayton, Tommy and the rest of the group loved it and we all got on really well. As you may have noticed, everything is about politics nowadays so although we flirted with that a bit, we just concentrated on relaxing, having fun and enjoying the moment. We were laughing so loudly that I am sure the other guests thought we were a bunch of peasants but who cares? We were having a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and that is what we all need right now, more than anything.

The Gang in Namibia before they reached Cape Town and Convoy Tours http://www.convoytours.com

We offer fantastic tours of the Garden Route, Cape Peninsula and Cape Winelands, for more information check here https://www.convoytours.com/garden.html

Me and my Octopus

On the 7th of March of this year, just before the world went into a Covid induced tailspin, I got married. It was a great day, great weather and I was marrying the woman I love. It does not get any better than that chum!

Although it can and did get better, because we had a unexpected guest. An Octopus!

We were married in Kalk Bay in the Western Cape at stunning old house that I used to live in and now live in again (in a flat attached to the house) I am not sure how old the house is but I do know that in 1910 a British Lord build a tidal pool so he could take his disabled daughter swimming. The house is on the rock, right on the water on the False Bay coastline. For my money it’s the best place to live, or just be, in Cape Town.

octopus

Roberto and me. In my fantasy, this is us. In reality I saw her twice for a few seconds then she got eaten

The tidal pool attracts lots of different types of marine life as you would expect, but sadly none last to long in there as the locals soon spot them and take then out. I have seen fish, large and small Starfish (even a pink one like Patrick from Spongebob) and we have even had a Cape Fur Seal in there and on my wedding day, we had an Octopus.

I heard excitement and walked to the steps that lead down to the pool, and then the Octopus, a big brown one, started climbing up the steps to see me! I mean this guy came up 3 or 4 steps and we had a moment. He was waving his tentacles around and I was smitten. Then he went back into the water

WHOOPTIDALPOOL2

Kalk Bay Tidal Pool in False Bay

I called him Roberto and it was the best thing ever. Getting married was awesome and so was this. Evelyn who has lived and worked at the house forever and who is very well known told me that he had been there for a while, she also told me she had eaten some of her babies.

Right, kill the motor dude.

I made Evelyn promise me that that she would not eat Roberto. It could be her wedding gift to me and she agreed. She did warn me though that the locals were aware that Roberto was there.

Then I knew that the game was up

See, Roberto was really big. Times are hard. That Octopus is worth at least R200 to the locals or even just a decent meal. The bottom line was that Roberto was money, a lot of money to a lot of people.

I saw him once or twice after that. Then he disappeared. I like to like she swam out to the open sea, found another boyfriend and had a nice happy family and who knows, maybe she did. People are often in the tidal pool looking for sea food or anything they can sell or eat. I would do the same if my situation demanded it. It’s not a criticism, it’s just life.

Roberto will always be my friend though and I will never forget her. She came to my wedding and that made me very happy. She will live forever

2020 & Beyond

Hello all, I hope that life is being kind and that you are finding a way through the new world we all find ourselves in. The new normal is not exactly great is it? Gloves, masks, no school, no sound of children’s laughter, no sport, pubs or hugs! When times are tough I always think of it as the weather. Good bad or indifferent, it passes. Everything is ultimately fleeting and Covid 19 will be no different. Acceptance is the key and I feel that we should not waste this opportunity to come out the other side of this thing a kinder, nicer, fairer world.

Tourism globally has been smashed and the job losses will be awful. In Cape Town we have had one of the strictest lock downs in the world. No exercise and a smoking and drinking ban although all that seems to have achieved is make the black market thrive. Every smoker I know is still smoking but I digress..

I am re-training in another field but Cape Convoy will go on and I will run the tours. Cape Convoy is now just me and a website. I have no buses or cars anymore. They have all gone. I will rent them as needed. The sector is just too vulnerable to invest long term in and I doubt this will be the last pandemic. I hope this causes  humanity to have a re think about how we treat our animal brothers and sisters. If nothing else this proves we are all connected and live in a connected world. There is also little difference in Asian wet markets and the factory farming in a western city. It’s not sustainable and its cruel. We are destroying the natural world that rely on for out own survival.

On a more cheerful note, I have made the best of it Meditating every day, exercising, learning Spanish, walking my dogs and online training. I have also started to take a few bookings for April 2021 so that is great news. I don’t have any fear in my heart. Everything happens for a reason and as the Buddhists say. Every grain of sand is in it’s perfect place. Anyone who is struggling should do themselves a huge act of kindness and read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. A very important book and I also suggest watching his You Tube videos. He has helped me enormously in my life and can do the same for you

I made a small video to try to drum up a bit of interest in the tours for 2021. Any action is often better than no action. Cape Convoy will survive, it has too much heart and soul. As Shakespeare said in his play As you like it “This poor virgin isn’t much to look at, sir, but she’s mine”

Wishing you and your family good health and good fortune

Your Pal

Rob