Flying shovels in Hout Bay

Never felt like outgrowing your childhood? Good. Then next time you hit the beach, take a shovel along and get digging!

Photo: Natalia Flemming

Hout Bay Beach: what a sky!                                                         Photo: Natalia Flemming

Last Saturday on 13 April, the white sand beach of Hout Bay near Cape Town in South Africa was turned into a creepy-creature landscape as children and adults (otherwise known as big kids, really) were invited to the annual Valley Pre-Primary Sandcastle Competition. The day couldn’t have turned out better: the hot air was cooled by a crisp breeze and curious onlookers started streaming in from both the local cafés with Lattés in hand as well as from the sea on kayaks and stand up paddle surfboards. At 9:30 a.m. the judges officially kicked off the competition and no sooner had the signal been given than the shovels and hands started digging, moulding and creating.

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Photo: Natalia Flemming

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Flying shovels on Hout Bay Beach.
Photo: Natalia Flemming

When I was a little kid, my parents and I along with a couple of friends went down to Hout Bay Beach on a sunlit late summer afternoon. While the grown-ups were reclining at the foot of the dunes, I started moulding a dolphin in the wet sand just outside the reach of the incoming tide. My friend Mireille told me I had to wait for the waves to wash over it, as they would take the dolphin out to sea with them where it would transfrom into a real one. Up to today, whenever I see sandcastles or children playing on the beach in the sand, I think of my friend and the dolphin I set free that day. Close to twenty years have gone past since then, but this is a childhood memory I am reluctant to either let go of or stop believing in. To me, it will forever remain a part of the magic that was my childhood.

Photo: Natalia Flemming

One of my favourites: The tower of Good Hope
Photo: Natalia Flemming

Genius! Photo: Natalia Flemming

Genius decorations!
Photo: Natalia Flemming

Photo: Natalia Flemming

Photo: Natalia Flemming

Here’s my personal favourite of this year’s event:

Photo: Natalia Flemming

Photo: Natalia Flemming

And after the music had died down and (almost) everyone had gone home, the sea sent in the tide and reclaimed its territory:

Photo: Natalia Flemming

Photo: Natalia Flemming

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