While Aletta interviewed the workers and Jurg recorded footage, Lee and I walked around to get the “feel” of the place. It was difficult to feel anything but the cold early morning penetrating our bones and when I asked Lee if she was getting any good shots her initial response was, “my hands are so cold!” I guess not yet then. As we walked around we warmed up and could truly appreciate the calm and serene surrounds.
Giant pelicans waded in the shallow water waiting for unsuspecting prey or generous fisherman, whichever came first. Strings of bokkoms were hung out in the sun to quicken the drying process while countless more strings adorned the ceiling of the warehouse. The workers’ coffee cups lay forgotten, the steam growing fainter as their owners concentrated on scaling and threading the fish.
When we were ready to move on our next stop was Die Vis Vlekhuis up the road. Opening hours: “Monday to Friday 9-5 and Saturdays and Sundays 9/10 t0 Gatvol“. Just as well we had come at a good time. While Aletta chatted and lingered over choosing the perfect fish, Lee and I visited the harbour.
A quick stop at the bottle store on the way out, laden only with ice for the fish (we had begrudgingly reached consensus that perhaps 9:30 on a Monday morning was indeed too early to have a drink) we headed out towards Paternoster.
Paternoster – the place of dreams and far off travel destinations, an exotic Greek style fisherman village right here on the West Coast of South Africa. It’s difficult for any photograph to fail to capture and any morsel not to awaken the heightened senses of such an exquisite place. After taking photographs on the beach we walked a couple of metres to meet up with Suzi Holtzhausen of Gaatjie Restaurant perched right on the rocks.
A number of shots and a deliciously drawn out lunch later we had all quite forgotten why people don’t like Mondays as we navigated the scenic drive back to Cape Town. Our heads imbued with sea mist and hazy glimmer, we longed dreamily for our return two days later.
A second early start on Wednesday morning, (miss-start actually as Aletta took a wrong turn and started directing us towards her bed) saw us back on the road towards Paternoster. This time we met up with Kobus van der Merwe of Oep Ve Koep. We took most of the food shots upstairs in the loft above the shop. Lee and I admired the rails of vintage clothing and other old-fashioned items for sale as sumptuous plates of food made their way up the rickety staircase, often not to make the return trip back down.
Despite our over indulgence, Aletta’s appetite is insatiable and after a morning at Op Ve Koep we headed to a beautiful camping spot near the beach to fire up a fish braai. We soon realized we weren’t the only ones hungry for seafood and a peaceful flock of nearby seagulls soon turned into a menacing tirade of angry squawking and pecking. Jurg and I took turns fending them off as Lee and Aletta got to work.
A few hours later we wrapped up the shoot, threw water on the coals and packed up to come home. It was a memorable trip and a beautiful shoot. For more on this story and a truly fishy fix you can get hold of the November issue of either Weg! or Go! Magazine. Visit our Facebook Page to see more behind the scenes photos.
Watch recipe videos from the shoot here: