6 January 2013 – Caching Along the R44

133 SS Meridian#133 SS: MERIDIAN (GC2JH20)
Betty’s Bay, South Africa

S34°22.268 E18°52.794

Being left with an empty and quiet house after all our weekend visitors had suddenly departed, we decided a quick cache trip as the best remedy to defeat the Sunday Blues…

We started out in Betty’s Bay to leave our trackable, Petronella Pikkewyn in the aptly name cache “Jackass” next to the Stony Point Penguin colony – a cache we have found previously (24 October 2012 – Saving Private Jackass) and the inspiration for launching Petronella.

Our next stop was a short way down the road and as part of the Shipwreck Series, tells the story of the Meridian – a British brig built in 1818.  She was wrecked near this spot on 19 May 1828 while on a voyage from Singapore and Batavia to Table Bay with a cargo of sundries.

What was odd was that she had arrived in Simon’s Bay for repairs on 5 May 1828 after being damaged in a storm and departed on 12 May for Table Bay to affect further repairs.  How she ended up wrecked along the Betty’s Bay coast remains a mystery.  The wreck was found in 1985.

Brunette Suikerbos had a bit of a gasp moment when two geckos suddenly climbed out of the cache – hope we were not interrupting…  We decided to leave The World TB – a trackable we found previously and which has already accumulated 122621.6km.

Visit SS: Meridian at www.geocaching.com

134 SS LSTV#134 SS: SLTV (GC2JH1E)
Pringle Bay, South Africa

S34°21.281 E18°49.009

This Shipwreck Series cache commemorates three different wrecks that occurred in this area – none of which the exact location is known.

The Louise Scheller was a German barque wrecked at Cape Hangklip on 6 June 1882 during a north-west gale.  She was on a voyage from New York to Singapore with a cargo of paraffin oil.

The Ternate was an early Dutch East Indiaman that went aground on 7 January 1680.  This ship was known for the severe discipline and cruel punishments delivered on board, including keel-hauling, running the gauntlet and nailing the offender’s hand to the mast with a knife.

The Verona was a Norwegian barque abandoned off Cape Hangklip in a sinking condition and driven ashore on 14 August 1902 during a north-west gale while on a voyage from Glasgow to Table Bay with a cargo of coal.

Visit SS: LSTV at www.geocaching.com

135 Happy New Year 2008#135 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2008 (GC189G8)
Along the R44 near Pringle Bay, South Africa

S34°19.556 E18°50.679

Our next four caches are all part of a Happy New Year series placed by Team j3caching.

This first one in the series was place a short way off the R44 near Pringle Bay to celebrate the beginning of 2008.

Visit Happy New Year 2008 at www.geocaching.com

136 Happy New Year 2011#136 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011 (GC2KVRN)
Rooi Els, South Africa

S34°18.154 E18°49.126

Our next find in this series was placed during New Year’s 2011 on a small koppie located central in Rooi Els.

We were quite surprised to find out how loudly dassies can shriek (or whatever it is that dassies do…) while searching around the boulders!

Visit Happy New Year 2011 at www.geocaching.com

137 Happy New Year 2009#137 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 (GC1KAX9)
Along Clarence Drive near Rooi Els, South Africa

S34°17.450 E18°49.423

The second one in the series commemorates New Year’s 2009 and is located a short walk up the mountain side along Clarence Drive.

On a clear day, this area is known for its spectacular views of False Bay with the entire coastline being visible up to Cape Point.

Visit Happy New Year 2009 at www.geocaching.com

138 Happy New Year 2010#138 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010 (GC22GE6)
Along Clarence Drive near Rooi Els, South Africa

S34°17.028 E18°49.622

Our last one for the day celebrates New Year’s 2010 and is place a short way further along Clarence Drive.

Finally having beaten the Sunday Blues, we turned the car around and made our way home for the obligatory Sunday afternoon nap.

Visit Happy New Year 2010 at www.geocaching.com


24 October 2012 – Saving Private Jackass

085 Jackass

Stony Point in Betty’s Bay, South Africa

S34°22.191 E18°53.706

We took the “Souties” (Boer&Brit) to see the Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay just in time to witness the collar-and-tied 5’o’clock parade from fishing grounds to breeding area.

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus), widely known as the “Jackass” Penguin for its donkey-like bray, is a species of penguin confined to southern African waters and is currently listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species.

The general decrease in their numbers has been attributed to many factors.  Until very recently, penguin eggs were considered a delicacy and were collected for sale.  This practice also included smashing older eggs to ensure only fresh ones were collected.  Their population decline was further hastened by the removal of guano from islands for use as fertilizer.  This eliminated the burrowing material used by penguins.

Other factors include commercial fishing that has resulted in a decrease in their preferred prey, and has forced these penguins to search farther off shore.  Global climate change is also affecting prey abundance.

An estimated 4 million penguins existed at the beginning of the 1900’s.  The total population fell to 200,000 in the year 2000, and ten years later, in 2010, the number was estimated to be only at 55,000.  If this decline is not halted, the African Penguin is expected to be extinct within the next 15 years.

Penguins remain susceptible to pollution of their habitat by petrochemicals from spills, shipwrecks and cleaning of tankers while at sea.

This was reiterated in 2000 following the sinking of the iron ore tanker MV Treasure between Robben Island and Dassen Island along the Cape coast of South Africa.  Over 1,300 tons of fuel oil were released into the coastal waters, oiling 19,000 adult penguins and thousands of other coastal birds.  Over 19,500 un-oiled penguins were removed from this area and temporarily relocated 800 kilometres east of Cape Town, allowing workers a couple of weeks to complete the clean-up of oil before they return to their nesting grounds.

Tens of thousands of volunteers descended upon Cape Town to help with the rescue and rehabilitation process.  It was the largest animal rescue event in history, took three months to complete and resulted in the successful rehabilitation and release of more than 91% of the penguins.

Suikerbossies support the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

Visit Jackass at www.geocaching.com

Post-blog note:  Suikerbossies have since activated Petronella Pikkewyn (Penguin) TB in support of the cause.