My Dearest Friends,

It has been a roller coaster ride all the way from Newport Beach, California, to South Africa. By now, most of you might have heard that I was deplaned in Dakar. Delta Airlines made an error, and Cole (my dog) could not travel with me in the cabin; he had to be checked in cargo. So, I was escorted off the plane as if I were a terrorist and spent a day and night in the capital of Senegal, all at Delta's expense. It turned out to be a worthwhile stopover.

Unfortunately, when I arrived in South Africa, Cole was now manifested as coming from Dakar instead of Los Angeles, and they wanted to quarantine him. That is when I lost it. Needless to say, I left the airport with him in my arms, with no quarantine. I was, to put it bluntly, one very upset woman by then.

My welcome home in Somerset West was wonderful, and my lovely mother nursed me back to health. I had picked up a bug on board and was sick in bed for a few days, dead tired and jet-lagged. Anyway, with all the unpleasantness behind me now, I love being home (Image of the Strand, 10 minutes from my mother's place), an endless stretch of beach where I walk every morning with Cole.

Somerset West Image: Noleen Kutash ©


My photography course was a major success, but oh boy, it was not for the faint-hearted. We worked tirelessly from 5 am to 10 pm, non-stop, for a full five days. The location was aptly named the Heaven & Earth Valley.

Just outside Hermanus, a popular holiday resort renowned for whale watching, we embarked on a boat trip specifically to capture images of these incredible sea creatures, and we were not disappointed. Several of them swam right up alongside the boat, putting on a spectacular show for us, complete with this charming smile.


The lead photographers were truly exceptional. Our course comprised 20 participants, including both professional and amateur photographers who had traveled from all corners of the country to enhance their skills. I had the pleasure of meeting people from various places and received invitations to study photography with many of them across the country.Needless to say, I was the least experienced photographer among everyone, but I achieved my primary goal during the course—I've vowed never to use the automatic function on my camera again. As a next step, I am joining the Helderberg Photographic Society in Somerset West (see the image of the Strand near SW below).
A few people from the course are also members of the Helderberg Photographic Society, and from what I've heard, it's considered one of the best, if not the best, photography clubs in the Western Cape. 

At the end of my course, my dearest and oldest friend Elzette, whom I've known since we were both 11 years old, came to pick me up. She lives only 10 minutes away in a place called Onrus, and I stayed with her for 4 nights. Her home is absolutely magnificent, situated right on the Indian Ocean. I had my own quarters upstairs, including 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, dining and living room, and terraces with 180-degree ocean views. You can see my first attempt at a "High Definition" image taken from my living room at Elzette's home just before sunrise.


I'm absolutely loving it here; it's a delight to be back home. My next installment of "Letter From Africa," Number 2, will be coming your way shortly. Until then, I send my best wishes. 

With love,