29 January 2013 – Ca(t)ching up with Old Friends

164 Margot & Frank#164 MARGOT AND FRANK (GC3BE10)
Along the coastal walk in Onrus, South Africa

S34°24.961 E19°10.344

Enthused to see this cache reactivated after a nine month hiatus, we found this one amidst a white shower of Pompeii-like ash, as a large veld fire was raging between Hermanus and Stanford with a gale-force Southeaster blowing clouds of smoke and ash in our direction.

A nice cache to have in our bag, as Ms Margot and Mr Frank’s younger son and his wife actually went to University with Brunette Suikerbos.

Good times….  Good times….

Visit Margot and Frank at www.geocaching.com

20 January 2013 – Happy Chappie Caching in Cape Town (Part 5)

160 Asthma Diamonds and Politics#160 ASTHMA, DIAMONDS AND POLITICS (GC1M0VV)
Rhodes Memorial along the slopes of Devil’s Peak in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°57.137 E18°27.568

The next cache took the Suikerbos-Chappie Alliance to Rhodes Memorial where we had to collect a series of clues, which led us to the final cache spot near Rhodes’s original wooden lookout bench.

Cecil John Rhodes (1853 – 1902) was a British-born South African businessman, mining magnate and politician.  He was the founder of the De Beers diamond company that markets 40% of the world’s rough diamonds today, and which, at some time marketed as much as 90%.  He was a believer in British colonialism and used his wealth and influence to expand the British Empire into new territories to the north of South Africa by obtaining mineral concessions from the most powerful indigenous chiefs, thus becoming the founder of the state of Rhodesia – later to be divided into the independent states of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1890, advocating greater self-government for the Colony, in line with his preference for the Empire to be controlled by local settlers and politicians rather than the imperialistic view of direct control by Imperial London.  His tolerance of Dutch-speaking whites, supporting Dutch as language in public schools and facilitating the removal of most of the legal disabilities English-speaking whites had imposed on the Dutch Afrikaners, gained him great support and was instrumental in his election.

Unfortunately, his legacy was tainted by his involvement in the Jameson Raid – a botched attempt at gaining interest in the mineral-rich Transvaal by overthrowing the Transvaal government under President Paul Kruger.

Rhodes remained hampered by ill-health throughout his relative short life.  He died in 1902, three months before his 49th birthday from heart failure at his seaside cottage in Muizenberg.  He never married and was laid to rest at World’s View – a hilltop located just outside Bulawayo in what was then Rhodesia.  Today it is part of the Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe.

IMG_4076The Rhodes Memorial located on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and complete in 1912.  It consists of a massive staircase with 49 steps (one for each year of Rhodes’s life) leading from a semi-circular terrace up to a rectangular U-shaped monument formed of pillars and built of Cape granite quarried on Table Mountain.

At the bottom of the steps is a bronze statue of a horseman, Energy by George Frederic Watts.  Eight bronze lions by John Macallan Swan flank the steps leading up to the memorial with a bust of Rhodes also by Swan.

Visit Asthma, Diamonds and Politics at www.geocaching.com

161 What You See Is What You Get#161 WHAT YOU SEE, IS WHAT YOU GET (GC2D67D)
Welgedacht in Durbanville, South Africa

S33°51.353 E18°37.645

This was the first of two impromptu micro-caches located around Durbanville that the Chappies wanted to show us.

A quick find by Blonde Suikerbos and on to the next…

Visit What you see, is what you get at www.geocaching.com

162 Elsjes Corael#162 ELSJE’S CORAEL (GC2D4XJ)
Welgedacht in Durbanville, South Africa

S33°51.466 E18°37.664

Another cleverly disguised micro, quickly found by Blonde Suikerbos.

Always an added bonus if you’ve seen a similar type of hide before…  Kasimani bolt!

Visit Elsje’s Corael at www.geocaching.com

163 Durbanville Race Course

#163 DURBANVILLE RACE COURSE (GC3DE8T)
Durbanville, South Africa

S33°50.557 E18°38.450

This was a quick, and somewhat embarrassing revisit of a previous DNF (Did Not Find) by the Bossies, this time quickly located by Brunette Suikerbossie.

Visit Durbanville Race Course at www.geocaching.com

With the sun setting on a beautiful Sunday and with 22 new finds under our belt, it was time for the Bossies to bid their new cache buddies farewell and return home.

As said earlier – most things are more fun when done in pairs…  Thanks to the Chappies for hosting us and making a good weekend, an awesome one!

Can’t wait for the next…!

20 January 2013 – Happy Chappie Caching in Cape Town (Part 4)

156 Van Riebeecks Hedge#156 VAN RIEBEECK’S HEDGE (GC25FXK)
Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°59.456 E18°25.881

Refreshed after a good night’s rest, the Chappies and the Suikerbossies set course for Kirstenbosch Gardens for day 2 of our caching weekend.

In 1660, by order of Jan van Riebeek, a hedge of wild almond and brambles was planted to afford some protection to the perimeter of the Dutch colony.  Sections of this hedge, named Van Riebeek’s Hedge, still exist in Kirstenbosch and has been proclaimed a Provincial Heritage Site.

IMG_3985-001The name “Kirstenbosch” is believed to be named for the original manager of the land in the late 18th century, J.F. Kirsten, with bosch meaning forest or bush in Dutch.

Following British seizure of the Cape Colony in 1811, a series of land grants led the area to pass through many different hands.  A Colonel Bird built a house, planted chestnut trees, and established a bath fed by a natural spring, while under the stewardship of the Cloete family, the area was farmed more formally, being planted with oaks, fruit trees and vineyards.

The land was eventually purchased by Cecil John Rhodes in 1895.  He provided for the planting of the famous Camphor Avenue in 1898, but unfortunately also allowed the area to become run-down.  The land was bequeathed to the Nation by Rhodes, who died in 1902.

At that time, the area was overgrown, populated by wild pigs, overrun with weeds, and planted with orchards.  It was under the guidance of Henry Harold Pearson, a botanist from Cambridge University who came to the Cape Colony in 1903 to take up a position as professor in the Chair of Botany at the South African College (the predecessor of today’s University of Cape Town), that it developed into the beautiful botanical garden it is today.

Visit Van Riebeeck’s Hedge at www.geocaching.com

157 Kirstenbosch Gardens Big 5#157 KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS – BIG 5 (GC1BZ22)
Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°59.329 E18°26.072

Our next find was a spectacular multi-cache that sends its seeker to collect a series of clues regarding the so-called “Garden Big 5” in order to calculate the final GPS position.

The first stop is at a 7-ton baobab tree, impressively alive and well over 1500km from its natural habitat.

The next was to meet one of the rarest plants on earth – the Encephalartos woodii or Wood’s cycad.  This cycad is known to be extinct in the wild with all living specimens being male clones of the last remaining wild specimen (also male) that had died in 1964.  Unless a female specimen is found, none of the clones will ever be able to reproduce naturally.

Fortunately, this cycad forms fertile hybrids with E. natalensis.  If each female offspring is subsequently crossed with E. woodii and the process is repeated, after several generations, such female offsprings may just become the closest thing we have to the apparent extinct female Encephalartos woodii

5258819558_0273a29966Stop 3 was at a Leucadendron argenteum or silver tree, endemic to the mountains of the Cape Peninsula, where after one is introduced to the Protea cynaroides, or King protea – SA’s national flower at stop 4.  The last clue was at yet another species extinct in the wild – the Erica verticillata.

Having managed all the clues, the Chappies and the Suikerbossies quickly made their way to the final location near a massive, centenarian Quercus robur, or oak tree where we discovered a very cleverly hidden container!

Favourite point, for sure!

Visit Kirstenbosch Gardens – Big 5 at www.geocaching.com

158 Between a Rock and a Hard Place#158 BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE (GC3TXHF)
Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°59.194 E18°25.876

This was a quick scorcher in the midday sun at the upper rock garden.  Our initial plan was to continue a short bit up into Skeleton Gorge, but we soon realised the sun was way to high for that, and rather took it as our cue to go grab our picnic stuff and retire to a shady spot for a cold one and some FOOD!

IMG_4030-001We ended up having quite a sitting with several visiting caterpillars, while Brunette Chappie needed to negotiate her way around a flirtatious guinea fowl, not to mention a near-hit by the misguided landing of an Egyptian goose, immediately christened Petrus, by Blonde Suikerbossie…

Visit Between a Rock and a Hard Place at www.geocaching.com

159 TS Chestnut#159 TS: CHESTNUT (GC2KPPT)
Along Rhodes Drive in Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°59.648 E18°25.610

We found this nicely hidden Tree Series cache after a short hike through a part of Kirstenbosch below Rhodes Drive.

Visit TS: Chestnut at www.geocaching.com

Our adventures will continue in Part 5 of this blog…

19 January 2013 – Happy Chappie Caching in Cape Town (Part 3)

152 Sandy Bay Cape Town#152 SANDY BAY – CAPE TOWN (GCHCWB)
Sandy Bay near Llandudno in Cape Town, South Africa

S34°00.867 E18°20.166

Our next cache was located along the little path between Llandudno’s Sunset Beach and Sandy Bay – Cape Town’s infamous nudist beach.

Apparently preferring to avoid a group of pesky car guards, Blonde Suikerbossie promptly set course along the boulders of Sunset Beach towards the cache location.  Blonde and Brunette Chappie courageously followed with a complaining Brunette Suikerbossie dangled with heavy Canon 650D, in tow – an odd scene reminiscent of Super Mario Bros., hopping and jumping from boulder to boulder, dodging the occasional surprise mushroom attack of a rogue wave, blue-headed lizard or naked sunbather, making their way to save the Princess…

Having exhausted all lives, the Blondes left it to the over-enthused Brunettes to hike up the remaining hill towards Princess Toadstool’s tower and its prize – The Cache!

Visit Sandy Bay – Cape Town at www.geocaching.com

OSuikerbossie Signnce fluid-refreshed, we continued our trip from Llandudno over Suikerbossie Hill towards Hout Bay, but only after the obligatory photo session next to the Suikerbossie sign!

153 WOB#153 WOB (GC2FP5H)
Hout Bay in Cape Town, South Africa

S34°01.037 E18°21.805

The next cache located near the World of Birds parking area, was a bit of a disappointment – poor directions and undergrowth that would make the Amazon forest look like a trimmed flowerbed kept blocking us mere metres from the cache.  Losing patience, Brunette Suikerbos finally tightened her laces, bolted all straps and ended up bundu-bashing through the jungle growth.  The obscured path was located and the rest of the team could make their way to Ground Zero.  What must have formerly been a cleverly disguised cache – finally spotted by Brunette Chappie – was found way removed from the coordinates, in poor condition and no longer in its original position.

Semi-battered, bruised, scratched and bleeding we made our way out of Indiana Jones and the Return of the Undergrowth and back to the Chappie-mobile.  Sorry, no favourite points here…

Visit WOB at www.geocaching.com

154 Constania Nek#154 CONSTANTIA NEK (GC1T057)
Constantia Nek Restaurant along Constantia Nek Pass in Cape Town, South Africa

S34°00.746 E18°24.319

A day of hardcore caching taking its toll, it was time to refuel at our next cache stop.  Constantia Nek Restaurant, located at the summit of Constantia Nek is reputed to be the oldest restaurant in South Africa.

Jan van Riebeeck originally named the Nek Clooff Pass at the time of his first crossing in 1657.  The pass also saw heavy, but unnecessary fortification by the French during a threatened English invasion in 1781.

Interestingly, the mountainside at Constantia Nek is covered in Peninsula Granite Fynbos, an endangered vegetation type that is endemic to Cape Town – occurring nowhere else.

Visit Constantia Nek at www.geocaching.com

155 TS Cork#155 TS: CORK (GC2TTTC)
Along Rhodes Drive in Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa

S34°00.289 E18°25.328

Our final cache for the day was a quick (but clever) park and grab Tree Series cache next to a beautiful cork tree along Rhodes Drive.

Visit TS: Cork at www.geocaching.com

IMG_3972-005With dusk setting in quickly, we made a hearty attempt at one more Tree Series cache, TS: Bluegum, but with the GPS bouncing all over the place, we soon found ourselves stumped.

Tired, dirty, but content we returned to Casa del Chappie for a well deserved rest in preparation of Day 2!

Our adventures will continue in Part 4 of this blog…

19 January 2013 – Happy Chappie Caching in Cape Town (Part 2)

147 Maidens Cove#147 MAIDENS COVE (GC341JF)
Maidens Cove near Clifton in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°56.691 E18°22.460

From Sea Point, the Suikerbossies and the Chappies set off to Maidens Cove near Clifton beach with its majestic view of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range and promptly decided it is time for ye four maidens to lounge back and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch.  We were treated to an artistic display by a pod of dolphins frolicking in the nearby waves, before continuing on along Victoria Road towards Oudekraal.

Visit Maidens Cove at www.geocaching.com

148 Shreks Boulder#148 SHREK’S BOULDER (GCZZDA)
Along Victoria Road near Oudekraal Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°58.965 E18°21.641

This aptly named cache is located near a lookout point along Victoria Road with panoramic views of the many and interesting granite boulders around Oudekraal beach – an excellent spot for anything from snorkelling to sundowners and definitely deserving of a favourite point!

Visit Shrek’s Boulder at www.geocaching.com

149 SS Antipolis#149 SS: ANTIPOLIS (GCK05H)
Along Victoria Road near Oudekraal Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°59.075 E18°21.364

The Antipolis, along with the Romelia, where both derelict tankers being towed by small Japanese tug, Kiyo Maru No. 2 from Greece to scrap merchants in the Far East.  On 28 July 1977 rough sea conditions, a fierce north-westerly gale and bad luck led to the tow-rope between the Antipolis and the tug to snag on the seabed.  All attempts to free it failed and it eventually broke, setting the 24,119 ton tanker adrift.

The Antipolis quickly ran aground at Oudekraal; the gale driving her right up onto the rocks, punching holes into her stern.  She was eventually cut down to sea level for her scrap metal with the remaining bits still visible 10 meters off the rocks at low tide.

Visit SS: Antipolis at www.geocaching.com

150 Victoria Lookout#150 VICTORIA LOOKOUT (GC3V644)
Along Victoria Road near Llandudno in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°59.999 E18°20.630

Before continuing the tale of the Antipolis and Romelia, we quickly stopped for a park and grab cache at this popular lookout point along Victoria Road.

This road with its beautiful backdrop of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range and sweeping views over the Atlantic Ocean was originally laid by Sir Thomas Bain in the 1880’s and named in honour of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

The recent upgrades and landscaping were made possible by a donation from a social enterprises organisation in memory of Pietro Ferrero – CEO of a giant Italian business group and heir to Italy’s biggest fortune, who died unexpectedly from an apparent heart attack while cycling near this spot.  He was 47.

Visit Victoria Lookout at www.geocaching.com

151 SS Romelia#151 SS: ROMELIA (GC2K05E)
Sunset Rocks near Llandudno Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

S34°00.726 E18°20.076

Llandudno – playground of the famed and affluent – named after the North Wales seaside resort of Llandudno, meaning “Parish of Saint Tudno” in the Welsh language, but also the final resting place of the Romelia.

With the tug, Kiyo Maru No. 2 involuntarily being anchored to the seabed by its tow-rope to the Antipolis, the Romelia – also being towed by the tug, started drifting ahead, its own tow-rope threatening to capsize the rugged little tug.  While the snagged cable was being cut by blowtorch, the Romelia’s own tow-rope caught on the sea bottom.  Emergency attempts to board the Romelia failed and the final tow-rope eventually snapped.

The 32,913 ton Romelia ran aground during the early hours of 29 July 1977 on Llandudno’s Sunset Rocks where she broke her back and quickly split in half.  The wreck was a local landmark for many years until she slid into deeper waters not so very long ago and disappeared.

Visit SS: Romelia at www.geocaching.com

Our adventure will continue in Part 3 of this blog…

19 January 2013 – Happy Chappie Caching in Cape Town (Part 1)

Most things are more fun when done in pairs and cache tripping is no exception…  Two teams, two days, twenty-two caches – double the fun!

For quite a while, we have been planning a weekend cache trip from Green Point all the way along Victoria Road to Llandudno, over Suikerbossie Hill into Hout Bay and back over Constantia Nek, along Rhodes Drive to Kirstenbosch Gardens, ending at Rhodes Memorial, and who better to bring along than new caching buds, the Chappies.

Merging some timetables and weather forecasts during the post-school holiday hiatus, we managed to dodge the manic migratory return of flocks of holiday visitors and ended up with most of the peninsula to ourselves.

We started out with a revisit of an old favourite, Hiddingh Security TB Hotel (see our previous blog post West Coast Route for more detail on this cache and the workings of a TB Hotel).  With our inventory restocked, we set course for Green Point with Brunette Chappie at the wheel…

142 Cape Town Stadium#142 CAPE TOWN STADIUM (GC259QE)
Cape Town Stadium near Green Point in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.335 E18°24.655

The new Cape Town Stadium was completed in December 2009 in preparation of the FIFA 2010 World Cup Soccer Finals and was constructed on the site of the old Green Point Stadium.  It was built at a cost of R4.4billion – or approximately US$600million and has a capacity of 55,000 pax.

Visit Cape Town Stadium as www.geocaching.com

143 SS RMS Athens#143 SS: RMS ATHENS (GC2AA8R)
Mouille Point in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°53.973 E18°24.529

From Green Point, we moved on to Mouille Point where we found our next string of Shipwreck Series caches along the beach and promenade.

The first one tells the story of the RMS Athens, a 739 ton Royal Mail Steamer that had sunk just west of Mouille Point during the Great Gale on the night of 17 May 1865.  The only survivor was a pig that somehow made it to shore.  Only the engine block is still visible today as a reminder of this tragedy.

Visit SS: RMS Athens at www.geocaching.com

144 SS Seafarer#144 SS: SEAFARER (GC2BCFP)
Mouille Point in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.164 E18°23.891

The next cache along the promenade presented a bit of a challenge – closed-off construction work.

For the record, Brunette Chappie did not ignore any signs, she did not break an entry, nor did she enter a restricted construction zone.  She did not find the cache and we did not log it.  In fact, we were never there and did not do any caching on this day…

Jokes aside, the S.A. Seafarer was a large cargo ship that had stranded only a couple of hundred metres from Three Anchor Bay beach in July 1966.  Its stranding was the cause of one of Cape Town’s earliest great environmental scares owing to her cargo of poisonous tetra-ethyl lead – a volatile and highly toxic compound used in motor fuel in those days.  The loss of over forty gallon drums led to the Green Point front being closed-off until divers managed to locate and recover all forty-four drums – all miraculously still intact.

Visit SS: Seafarer at www.geocaching.com

145 SS De Visch #145 SS: DE VISCH (GC2EE3W)
Mouille Point in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.061 E18°23.907

The De Visch was a Dutch East Indiaman that was wrecked on 4 May 1740 during her Captain’s ill attempt at sailing into Table Bay at night.  Mistaking a light shining from the newly built fort at Three Anchor Bay for the signal fire on Robben Island, he drove his ship straight onto the rocks just west of today’s Green Point lighthouse.

Visit SS: De Visch at www.geocaching.com

146 Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle#146 WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE (GC3VRM0)
Sea Point in Cape Town, South Africa

S33°54.395 E18°23.805

This aptly named cache is located next to the new Sea Point Outdoor Gym.

Don’t think we have ever seen so many flaying body parts together in one place…  Even the pesky Hartlaub’s gulls chose to vacate the chaos!

Visit Wiggle at www.geocaching.com

Our adventure will continue in Part 2 of this blog…

13 January 2013 – Microcaching in Somerset West

139 Cache With A View#139 CACHE WITH A VIEW (GC13PJP)
Monte Sereno in Somerset West, South Africa

S34°03.835 E18°50.649

We were visiting Brunette Suikerbos’s parents in Somerset West and decided to go microcache hunting while waiting for Sunday lunch.

A microcache is a cache of which the container is less that 100ml and usually only contains a log sheet.  They come in many different types of containers ranging from traditional film canisters, magnetic key safes, to Bison tubes. Exceptionally small micros are known as nano caches.

Microcaches are often hidden in locations where larger containers cannot be placed or would appear too conspicuous.  Micros in urban settings are usually designed and camouflaged for a specific location and are called urban micros.  Another element microcaches bring to cache hunting is the requirement of stealth as the cache may be hidden in a highly-trafficked spot, adding to the challenge of locating the cache while non-cachers are present.

Our first one was a clever magnetic hide near an urban reservoir with a spectacular view over lower Somerset West and False Bay.

Visit Cache With a View at www.geocaching.com

140 Park With A View#140 PARK WITH A VIEW (GC3BKPN)
Heldervue in Somerset West, South Africa

S34°03.816 E18°49.160

Our second micro was located at a urban park in Heldervue.  As we arrived, we were greeted by Namibian cacher, Nam Gecko already looking for this one.  We managed it quickly and soon moved on to the next…

Visit Park With a View at www.geocaching.com

141 Dead Drop#141 DEAD DROP (GC1XXDJ)
Steynsrust in Somerset West, South Africa

S34°03.277 E18°48.748

Our last one for the day was a traditional dead drop located along the wall of a small farm dam in Steynsrust.

Visit Dead Drop at www.geocaching.com