15 November 2012 – Sporting a Century in the Strandveld

097 Smulmondjie

Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°34.999 E19°21.077

Once a year all the different Western Cape regions belonging to Brunette’s directorate within the Department of Health, gather to celebrate annual sports week – this year held at Uilenkraalsmond near Gansbaai.  Unfortunately, this year’s celebrations coincided with widespread and violent labour protests throughout the Boland.  As result, several of the regions were delayed, giving us enough time for a quick detour to Gansbaai and the Strandveld before joining in the fun.

The first cache was located within a small store in Gansbaai, so a quick grab and on to the next…

Visit Smulmondjie at www.geocaching.com

098 Gansbaai Gateway

Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°35.334 E19°21.016

Number 2 was located within the Gansbaai tourism office.

Gansbaai was founded in 1881 after an 18-year-old fisherman walked there across the dunes from Stanford and discovered excellent fishing in the area.  He settled there, and soon after other families followed suit.

Today it is considered the Great White Shark capital of the world, with shark cage diving drawing some of the highest tourist numbers to South Africa for any singular activity.

Visit Gansbaai Gateway at www.geocaching.com

099 Shark Encounters

Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.334 E19°24.193

This cache is located near a boardwalk along a path through a coastal milkwood forest and over a dune unto the beach in Franskraal.

Visit Shark Encouters at www.geocaching.com

100 Strandveld Museum#100 STRANDVELD MUSEUM (GCVHXC)
Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.583 E19°23.558

100th cacheOur 100th cache!

The Strandveld Museum is situated in Franskraal.  The Strandveld refers to the coastal region extending all the way from Hermanus towards the mouth of the Breede River.

The quaint building dates back to the 1860’s  and houses a variety of local artefacts including the largest privately owned collection of artefacts from the HMS Birkenhead which sunk at Danger Point near Gansbaai in 1845.

Visit Strandveld Museum at www.geocaching.com

101 Blousloep#101 BLOU SLOEP (GC2KNJV)
Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.832 E19°23.107

This spot along the coast of Franskraal is named for the channel of sea water separating an small island of rocks from the main land.

Luckily there was no tourists around, so a quick grab and on to the next…

Visit Blou Sloep at www.geocaching.com

102 Step It Up#102 STEP IT UP (GC2N4PE)
Kleinbaai near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°37.276 E19°21.074

This was another quick park-and-grab along the coastal path in Kleinbaai.  While looking for the cache, we spotted two contractors working close by on one of the houses.  Trying to look blasé in our search, we were a bit dumbstruck when the elder of the two, wearing a neck brace, started up the ladder towards the roof…

Visit Step it Up at www.geocaching

103 Abalone Island#103 ABALONE ISLAND (GC3AM1C)
Kleinbaai near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°37.405 E19°21.000

Another tribute to  Vorsprung durch Technik

We took a drive along what looked like a dirt road, and ended up doing some serious off-tracking with the A4.  After finding the cache, we considered it the opportune time to share a Windhoek Light, before Brunette tackled the return trip!

Visit Abalone Island at www.geocaching.com

104 Milkwood Hiking Trail#104 MILKWOOD HIKING TRAIL (GC1653F)
Franskraal near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°36.334 E19°23.494

The last one for the day was quite a disappointing trip.  What was expected to be a hike through a milkwood forest, ended up as a bundu-bashing along a poorly maintained trail, frequented by vagrants, to an uneventful cache containing the paper maché remains of a log book and some other rusted items.

Having found our eight for the day, including our 100th find, we decided to call it a day and join the colleagues at the sports day.

Visit Milkwood Hiking Trail at www.geocaching.com


11 November 2012 – Watching Whales

094 S7 Hartjie

#94 S7 HARTJIE (GC188HR)
De Kelders near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°33.102 E19°22.153

It was a lazy, Sunday afternoon, so we decided to go grab a couple of quick caches in De Kelders, near Gansbaai.

Arriving at the first cache located near a heart-shaped tidal pool, we were fortunate to spot at least eight southern right whales leisuring around in the waves.  True to their usual showmanship, they did not disappoint and we were treated to an exhibition of breaching, tailing and all their other usual antics.

Visit S7 Hartjie at www.geocaching.com

095 S8 De Kelders

#95 S8 DE KELDERS (GC188J1)
De Kelders near Gansbaai, South Africa

S34°33.273 E19°21.870

This cache, also located along the coastal path, allowed for some more views of the many southern rights.

A popular explanation for the name right whale is that they were the right whales to hunt.  Being slow swimmers, often found close to shore and easily recognizable by way of their distinctive, wide V-shaped blow, caused by the widely spaced blow holes on the top of its head, these leviathans had enormous value for their plentiful oil and baleen.  Because of their thick blubber, right whales also float accommodatingly after they have been killed.

During the whaling heydays of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, populations of these whales were hunted almost to the point of extinction.  All species of right whales are endangered and, since 1949 have enjoyed complete international protection.  Populations however, tend to grow slowly as females only reach sexually maturity at age ten years and give birth to a single calf after a yearlong pregnancy

Several thousand southern right whales are believed to survive, and they have shown encouraging population growth since their protection.  South Africa’s population is believed to have grown from 100 to 1000 animals since 1940.

Northern right whales are the most endangered of all large whales.  They number only several hundred, and populations do not appear to have grown in the decades since their protection began.

A sad case of wrong to be right, don’t you think…?

Visit S8 De Kelders at www.geocaching.com