Day 6

31 July 2017

Today was gonna be hot. Well, 27°C is not the hottest this region can get, but compared to what we have been acclimatised to these past few days – it was sweltering. In addition to the warm weather, berg winds blew, threatening to throw our gazebos off their legs and sand into our eyes.

Today Danika, Kamogelo and I accompanied Azraa to get samples from four different calcrete sites, while the rest of our group stayed back and excavated at the site. Kamogelo, armed with the handheld GPS, led us through the veld to the first point. I, who was wearing tights that exposed my ankles, initially got many scratches from the spikey C3 grasses before I made the executive decision to forget how ridiculous I might look and pull up my bright neon pink socks to prevent any further pain (I’m pretty sure that all hockey players would have been jealous).

Before we even found the first GPS point, we got distracted by some interesting calcrete formations. Azraa got very excited at the discovery of these calcretes as they were exactly what we were looking for. At first sight, they may just look like some ugly looking rocks, but once she cracked them open we saw the beautiful, neat layers of calcium carbonate. We found a perfectly laminated calcrete rock that turned out to be extremely hard to break up into a suitable sample size. We ended up spending our entire time dedicated to trying to break down this rock, but after hours of chiselling, hammering and muttering curse words under our breath, it still would not budge! No matter how hard we knocked the calcrete would not give in. We ended up packing up, returning to site frustrated, parched and delirious from the heat with handfuls of semi- suitable calcrete samples from rocks near by.

Hopefully, we will be able to return to that beautiful calcrete rock with some sort of chainsaw-like-weapon or Superman that could break it up as it is way too good to leave it in the veld.

Zakiya Abrahams



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