Penguins, sharks, and beer pong, oh my
Boy, oh boy.
Week 3 was even more of a blur than the last two weeks combined. It's when most of our events planned for us and self-planned event collided. I was on the go 24/7 and I'm pretty sure I wasn't sober for more than 24 collective hours. (Sorry, mom.)
We took a gorgeous scenic drive through Chapman's Peak and stopped to take in the incredible views.
Then we headed down to Boulders Beach, famous for the home of Africa's only native species of penguin. Yes, you read that correctly.
The Jackass Penguin (you also read that correctly) got its name for its distinctive braying sound. They migrated to Cape Town about 40 years ago and took refuge in the giant rock formations unique to this beach to protect them from the wind in this particularly blustery area. They are considered an endangered species, but this guy didn't seem too worried about it.
We enjoyed some ice cream and a delicious seafood meal. It was a perfect day.
Later on we had dinner at the same place we went on our first night and ate and drank ourselves silly. And yes, we paid our own bills this time.
Monday - Tuesday
I had a couple things planned these days but I bailed to focus on work. This is more of a not-so-subtle reminder I am working like a normal human being. Not on vacation. Although it may seem that way ;)
Wednesday was an average work day, but later on we had a fundraiser beer pong tournament planned in support of our positive impact initiative.
A few people were organizing a partnership with the Amandla Development Center in the Philippi Township to build a windy house for the kids. Basically a little hangout spot where they can chill and get out of the weather.
I partnered up with my friend Josh and we crushed it, obviously. We made it to the semi-finals, but were savagely booted out into 4th place in the most embarrassing loss of my entire pong career.
More importantly, the fundraiser was a great success and it's going to be a tradition in every city. So we'll have our revenge. (Watch your back Andrew & Mykkah...)
Saturday was the day I've been waiting for this entire month. I planned a Great White shark cage diving trip for a few others and it was worth every single penny.
Because of the tides and weather, they picked us up at 3:30am for a 2.5 hour drive out to Gansbaai. We had breakfast, a little info session, and got on the boat.
A quick 15 minute ride and we were in the The Shallows, just barely a kilometer from Shark Alley (super famous on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, etc. for a Great White hangout zone). Then it was time to suit up.
After an epic struggle and some professional assistance, I squeezed into my wetsuit just after sunrise and waited for my turn to jump in the cage.
The cage was attached to the boat and always above water, so we didn't have any scuba gear. We could just hang onto some railings and pop under the water and watch through our masks. They don't feed the sharks, but use chum and bait and a decoy to lure them close.
And when I say close, I mean CLOSE.
The largest shark of the day, 4.8m (almost 16ft) was barely 6 inches from my face. I looked him square in the eye and I swear he saw my soul. My heart literally stopped--it was breathtaking.
He swam the length of the cage and with one powerful swish of his tail he smacked the cage so hard we all were knocked backwards. It was EPIC.
We saw 5 Great Whites (none smaller than 3m) and a giant stingray as a little bonus. All and all, totally amazing day.
I feel like I'm getting into more of a groove with work, despite being in a complete career crisis. I think I just have some soul searching to do and need to really think about what I want and what I need. It's just hard because I really don't have time to figure it out, you know? I still have to pay for all this awesomeness.
Overall, everyone is amazing; I'm making lots of friends. We got our accommodations for next month and I'm in one of the largest apartments with 3 other amazing girls. Pretty souped for that.
This is my last week in CPT and I'm super sad about that, but really excited to see what Lisbon has to offer.
Up for this week is a tour of Robben Island tomorrow where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, our going away party on Thursday, a rugby match on Friday, and at some point I gotta get up to Table Mountain because obviously. The weather is kinda crap, though, so I'm hoping it clears up.