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Location: Cape Town, South Africa
This morning, we sleepy Argonauts headed out of Cape Town for a day of tours. As we filed on the bus, a knowledgeable and cheery South African guide greeted us. Of course, the usual ritual of asking us to repeat “Good morning!” with more zeal after our first, lackluster reply disappointed him, our tour began. Skirting along the coastal road, we passed increasingly glamorous homes until, at one point, the guide gestured toward one of Cape Town’s many beautiful white sand beaches and said, “That is where you want to be seen.” He told us that Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey had homes there. In awe of South Africa’s beauty, I couldn’t blame them. I would want a house there, too.Our first stop was tucked in the shadow of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, a mountain range named because the 12 peaks sit at the “table”. Maiden’s Bay greeted us with gusty breeze and roaring waves that extended far into the Atlantic Ocean. Whitecaps pummeled the beach and anyone wearing a hat had to grab it before the wind took it away. There we learned from our guide that Dutch traders established the port of Cape Town in order to refurbish their boats and feed fresh food to their crew on the way to the East Indies. Some of us paid a few rand at the next stop in order to feed ostriches. The ostriches’ long necks made for an amusing display as people attempted to take selfies with the precocious birds. Next, the bus took us to the Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern-most point on the continent of Africa. Some argue that this is the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet but the debate on the boat has yet to determine whether that’s the case.While at the Cape, the wind blew so strongly that we could lean forward and the breeze would hold us up. Coated in salt water and sporting new, messy hair-dos, we drove off toward Cape Point, the site of the Cape’s old lighthouse. The new lighthouse was built because the old one often disappeared in the clouds because of its elevation. The SS Lusitania wrecked on a reef near the Cape as a result of this. Lower in elevation and more powerful, the new lighthouse can be seen from nearly 70 km away.Our second to last stop was Simons Town, a naval harbor that was originally named Simon’s Bay. We ate lunch there and enjoyed the singing and dancing of an African music group as they serenaded the tourists enjoying the waterfront. Just a kilometer or so to the South, the last site the Argo crew saw was by far the cutest: a beach full of South African penguins! The birds waddled and rested in the sunshine and there were so many penguins that it was impossible to count. Watching the penguins play in the surf and hiking to the top of Cape Point were my favorite parts of the day.