31 December 2012 – Caching Out in Langebaan

130 West Coast One Stop#130 WEST COAST ONE STOP (GC27F12)
Along the R27 near Langebaan, South Africa

S33°01.592 E18°06.405

We decided on a quick cache trip to Langebaan, as it offers a good excuse to enjoy a celebratory cocktail next to the lagoon.

Our first cache was located near the popular Weskus One Stop – one we previous failed to retrieve due to construction work near its location.  It was a quick find this time, as the area was infested with killer ants and we refrained from lingering…

Visit West Coast One Stop at www.geocaching.com

131 Langebaan - Lagoon View II#131 LANGEBAAN – LAGOON VIEW II (GCPWN5)
Langebaan, South Africa

S33°05.900 E18°02.125

This cache was located on top of a small hill in Langebaan and offered a panoramic view of the lagoon.  The wind was blowing quite severe and even the usually tranquil lagoon appeared choppy and restless.

We decided to leave our newest Travel Bug, Lego Man created in honour of Brunette’s lifelong affair with the little interlocking plastic toy bricks, in the cache…

Visit Langebaan – Lagoon View II at www.geocaching.com

As this was our last find for the year, perhaps it is a good time to reflect on our cache achievements throughout 2012:

Total 2012 Caches:  128 finds
Best Month:  September with 60 finds
Best Day:  12 caches on 14/09/2012
Longest Streak:  30 consecutive days with 66 finds from 26/08/2012 to 24/09/2012
Trackables Discovered:  46 Travel Bugs, Travel Tags and Geocoins
Trackables Launched:  10 Travel Bugs and 2 Travel Tags.  One is on its way to the UK and three have already been logged in Germany.  Petrus, the Endangered Rhino has travelled 9919 km, Bacchus, the Thirsty Bactrian Camel has logged 9619 km and Wasabi, the Green Sea Turtle 9584 km, while Suikerbossies’ Travel Companion has accumulated 4578km to date.Trackables1-001

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29 December 2012 – Sneaking Through Saldanha Security

126 SS Middelburg#126 SS: MIDDELBURG (GC2E8ZN)
Saldanha Harbour in Saldanha Bay, South Africa

S33°01.669 E17°57.821

After a brief caching hiatus – mainly due to Blonde Suikerbos being on leave with her folks in Dwarskersbos along the West Coast, Brunette took a lucky day off work to join up with them over New Year’s.

Our caching road trip took us to Saldanha Bay and four of its coastline Shipwreck Series caches – the first three being within a semi-restricted part of the Saldanha harbour, but no fear!  The ladies smiled friendly, applied some sugar charm and we where on our way past harbour security and into the restricted “military area”, boots, cameras and all…

With some help from the local fishermen, we quickly found our way along the granite boulders and the first cache was ours.

It tells the story of the Middelburg – the only Dutch vessel not to fall into English hands following a surprise attack in July, 1781 on a small fleet of Dutch vessels anchored in Hoedjies Bay along the Saldanha coast.  The British had the element of surprise and quickly captured most of the Dutch vessels apart from the Middelburg.

On the Middelburg, first mate, Abraham de Smidt, stayed behind after the rest of the crew abandoned ship and began to light several fires deep within the ship.  The vessel was soon ablaze and exploded once the fires reached the powder magazine after which she sank.

The breakwater has been built over the site of the wreck.

Visit SS: Middelburg at www.geocaching.com

127 SS Ovambo Coast#127 SS: OVAMBO COAST (GC2E8ZF)
Saldanha Harbour in Saldanha Bay, South Africa

S33°02.219 E17°58.402

The Ovambo Coast was a South African vessel of 217 tons, built in 1939.  She was wrecked on Marcus Island on 23 July 1958 in fog with a cargo of fish oil bound for Cape Town.

Visit SS: Ovambo Coast at www.geocaching.com

128 SS Merestein#128 SS: MERESTEIN (GC2E8Z9)
Saldanha Harbour in Saldanha Bay, South Africa

S33°02.527 E17°58.336

This cache is located near an area featuring spectacular breakwater action with massive waves crashing and cascading over boulders and other rocky outcrops.

The Merestein was built in Amsterdam in 1693 and was on her way to Batavia laden with silver.  As most of the crew suffered from scurvy, it was decided to enter Saldanha for fresh water and supplies.

On 3 April 1702, her Captain entered the bay along the narrower and more treacherous southern channel between Jutten Island and Jut Point.  A westerly wind was blowing her onto the island and an order was given to sail the ship into the wind, but the helm failed to respond and the vessel eventually ran aground on the south-west corner of the island.

Only ninety-nine of the 200 crew managed to save themselves and the graves of some of those who drowned can still be seen on Jutten Island.

Visit SS: Merestein at www.geocaching.com

129 SS Stellenberg#129 SS: STELLENBERG (GC2E8ZX)
Saldanha Bay, South Africa

S32°59.787 E17°57.898

Our last one for the day commemorates a 36 metre whaler which ran aground in 1959 when she broke anchor in heavy weather.

Visit SS Stellenberg at www.geocaching.com

12 December 2012 – Powering Up on 12-12-12

125 Power Play 2

#125 POWER PLAY2 (GC3AC0K)
Along the R43 between the N2 and Villiersdorp, South Africa

S34°06.175 E19°16.982

This is an example of what happens if you’ve found all the close vicinity caches, and now have to blitz-travel to find caches in celebration of souvenir days such as the 12th of the 12th of 2012!

Got this one, up a hill overlooking the Theewaterskloof Dam near Villiersdorp.

Visit Power Play2 at www.geocaching.com

8 December 2012 – Fancying around in Franschhoek Pass

119 Theewaterskloof Dam Cache

#119 THEEWATERSKLOOF DAM CACHE (GCPMFM)
Theewaterskloof Dam near Villiersdorp, South Africa

S34°00.200 E19°11.394

Noting several trackables in various caches located along the R45 via the Franschhoek Pass and toward Paarl, Brunette Suikerbos suggested a scenic caching trip via the majestic Franschhoek Mountains and their surroundings.

Our first stop was along the Theewaterskloof Dam to grab a cache located on top of a roadside lookout point.  We were lucky to find not one, but two trackable items, so grabbed them both and left some of our long time travel buddies.

For more detail on the Theewaterskloof Dam, read our post Celebrating One Year of Caching.

Visit Theewaterskloof Dam Cache at www.geocaching.com

120 Oppikoppi#120 OPPIKOPPI (GCW100)
Franschhoek Pass, South Africa

S33°55.873 E19°09.829

Just as the name implies, this cache was located on top of a koppie situated along the winding R45.

Despite an injured toe, Brunette managed to hop-along all the way to the summit to enjoy a panoramic vista of the Du Toit River flowing through the kloof.

Managed to loose not one, but TWO pens on our way down – still trying to solve that mystery…

Visit Oppikoppi at www.geocaching.com

121 The Haunted Franschhoek Pass#121 THE HAUNTED – FRANSCHHOEK PASS (GCRNPK)
Franschhoek Pass, South Africa

S33°55.186 E19°09.560

This quick park-and-grab roadside cache commemorates an interesting piece of rock art resembling a dragon.

Quick find and on to the next.

Visit The Haunted – Franschhoek Pass at www.geocaching.com

122 Franschhoek Pass Historical#122 FRANSCHHOEK PASS HISTORICAL (GCN3Z8)
Franschhoek Pass, South Africa

S33°54.400 E19°09.381

This cache is located near a beacon commemorating the oldest path – Cats Road – over the Franschhoek Mountains between Paarl and Villiersdorp.

By the time the French Huguenots settled in what was then called Olifantshoek, the only way over the Franschhoek Mountains was along a track created by migrating elephants, a route inaccessible to wagons.

Local farmer SJ Cats was contracted by the Cape government in 1818 to build a mountain pass.  He completed it a year later, but Cats Road remained dangerous and impractical and soon fell into disuse.

In 1822 formal planning of a pass over the mountains commenced.  Labour was provided by 150 soldiers of the Royal Africa Corps stationed temporarily in Cape Town while waiting to be deployed to Sierra Leone.  The pass was completed in 1825 and the road was broad enough to allow for two wagons to pass each other.

Franschhoek Pass is South Africa’s first professionally designed and constructed mountain pass, and it also holds the country’s oldest stone arch bridge (Jan Joubert’s Gat bridge), and the oldest still in use.

We were a bit disappointed to have lost out on a trackable listed for this cache, as it was grabbed the day before by another cacher.  However, we decided this a perfect spot to set our Travel Bug – Wasabi, the Green Sea Turtle on his journey.

Visit Franschhoek Pass Historical at www.geocaching.com

123 TF5 Toby Heywood#123 TF5 TOBY HEYWOOD (GCVRZW)
Goederust Guest Farm near Franschhoek, South Africa

S33°53.100 E19°04.369

This cache promised a Geocoin and was located within a restaurant situated on the Goederust Guest Farm.

We arrived just in time as the venue was closing for a function later during the day.  Disappointment however soon dawned when we realised that the Geocoin had gone missing – as so many unfortunately do.

Visit TF5 Toby Heywood at www.geocaching.com

124 Bridge Over The River Berg#124 BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER BERG – WC (GCVXMC)
Berg River near Franschhoek, South Africa

S33°52.669 E19°02.058

Our last cache for the day was a small micro located on a disused railway bridge over the Berg River.

Having already lost two pens earlier the day, we were down to the bottom-of-the-bag one.  So, no surprise it stopped writing midway through our log entry and even less of a surprise that all the ink squirted out while Brunette tried to resuscitate it.

Having ink all over our hands, this promptly ended our caching trip and Paarl will see us on another day…

Visit Bridge over the River Berg at www.geocaching.com