14 September 2012 – West Coast Peninsula Road Trip Part 1

Vasco da Gama Monument in St Helena Bay, South Africa

S32°43.695 E17°58.943

As the Suikerbossies spent most of Brunette Suikerbos’s birthday on the road, they decided to devote an entire day to caching around the West Coast Peninsula, starting in St Helena Bay and ending at the steel works near Saldanha Bay.

#1 of 12 commemorates Vasco da Gama’s first landing on African soil at modern day St Helena Bay – he had named it Bahai da Santa Elena, after the mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great.

Da Gama made landfall on November 4th, 1497, with his four ships, the São Gabriel, the São Rafael, the Berrio, and a storage ship.  They stayed for five days, trading with locals and stocking up on supplies, before continuing their journey to Calicut in India.

Visit da Gama Drops by for a Visit at www.geocaching.com

Shelley Point in St Helena Bay, South Africa

S32°42.533 E17°57.973

#2 of 12, as part of the Shipwreck Series, tells the tale of the Britannia – a 460 ton cargo ship, filled to the brim with a cargo of copper, stone china crockery, pickled fish, cloth, preserves, ale, cognac and wine, she was commissioned to carry from England to India.

In heavy seas on 22nd October 1826, she struck an uncharted reef (today known as Britannia reef), off St. Helena Bay.  Her captain succeeded in running her ashore on the stretch of beach today known as Britannia Bay.  Mostly the copper and liquor were salvaged and for more than a century the remainder of her valuable treasure laid buried under 4 metres of sand on the bottom of the ocean.  The wreck was rediscovered in 1998 with subsequent artefact recovery managed under supervision of the National Monuments council.

Visit SS: Britannia at www.geocaching.com

Britannia Bay in St Helena Bay, South Africa

S32°43.047 E17°55.529

#3 of 12 is another cache from the Shipwreck Series and tells the tale of the Sea Trader –  a Liberian motor vessel of 5,562 tons.  It was wrecked in thick fog, a little north of the Cape St Martin lighthouse on 3 June 1971 while on a voyage from Antwerp to Kuwait.

Visit SS: Sea Trader at www.geocaching.com

Great Paternoster Point, South Africa

S32°44.182 E17°54.412

We celebrated our 50th cache, and 4th for the day, by doing some unexpected off-roading with the A4.  Luckily we were escorted by a crazy little Cape Wagtail that was confident he could conquer the bird in the mirror.

This Shipwreck Series cache commemorates the Chub – a 172 ton South African coasting steamer that was wrecked in 2 November 1945 while on a voyage from Port Nolloth.

Visit SS: Chub at www.geocaching.com

Follow the rest of our road trip in Parts 2 and 3…


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