I promised in my #introduceyourself post that I'd tell you the story of how I came to be here and I'm never one to go back on a promise.
If you think it can't possibly be as exciting as meeting the 'real' Queen you'd be wrong, I've actually met her too. Well, not really met; she came to open the new art block when I was at school. We lined up along the road waving our little flags as she drove passed and then as soon as she was out of sight, we repositioned inside the building. It was either some kind of ruse to make her think there were a lot more of us than there were or to make her think she was a lot more popular than she is!
Meeting the 'Queen of Cryptocurrency' was far more pleasurable and came with fewer rules. Talking to her was not only permitted but wholeheartedly encouraged and there was no need to curtsey.
And who is this 'Queen of Cryptocurrency'? Well none other than Steemit's @heiditravels.
There I was, hanging out on the rocks at the beach a 10 minute walk from my front door. I live in an incredible little spot about 45km south of Cape Town where the just happens to be a world famous big wave surfing spot.
I was trying to photograph the surfers catching some waves but struggling to focus through the mist hanging over the ocean that morning. I was in my own little world, as I often am taking pictures, when a friendly voice interrupted my daydreaming. I can't remember if it was the fact Heidi and I were both shooting with the same camera that sparked the conversation or that she casually mentioned she shoots at THE big wave surfing spot in Nazare, but it was one of those meetings where you feel like you're chatting with a 'new' old friend. Before I left the beach we'd exchanged Instagram info and I'd invited Heidi to join us for a day on the ocean in our little boat.
A few days later, we finally found time and a perfect weather window to launch so I gave Heidi a call. Even though I only gave her about 20 minutes notice she couldn't have been more up for it and raced down to the beach to meet us.
The seas surrounding the Cape are full of life and what brought me here in the first place. It's a story for another blog but five years ago I came to study a Masters in Marine Science at the University of Cape Town and never left.
Being out on the ocean is a treat in itself but we could never have imagined what mother nature had in store for us that day. We checked out some waves and headed to the spot where I shot the images used in the BBC Blue Planet iconic image.
The water was icy cold so none of us were tempted to jump in but it was still so much fun to watch the seals leaping around and playing like puppies in the water. However, the best was yet to come. On the way to see the seals, we'd spotted a whale in the distance, an incredible treat at the best of times so on the way back to slip-way we kept our eyes and ears open.
Although these 40 tonne mammals migrate along our coasts to calve and feed every year, they're often elusive but not on this day.
Having the 'Queen' on board was obviously a good omen and led to a spectacle on the seas.
There's something so humbling about sharing space with these incredible marine mammals, it sounds crazy but you can almost feel their inquisitiveness and intelligence. And it was a real pleasure to share it with a new 'old' friend.
It's been a while since I dusted off my rucksack, packed my dive gear and hit the road but I'd like to think the travelling ethos is always with me. I may have been just a few steps from home but being open to meeting new people can so often lead to learning about amazing new communities, like Steemit, and making lifetime memories.