Posts Tagged ‘ship wrecks’

Alexander Bay to Elands Bay – The Highs

Overall I enjoyed my 2 month journey from the Richtersveld through Namaqualand and down the West Coast and although there were some lows there were  many more highs. The highs include places, sights and people that I met along the way. Overall it was the people that I met and chatted to that really made the trip worth while for me.

Koos and Letia
Koos and Lieta Prince

Met up with Koos and Lieta at Brandkaros and I am sure that it was the 2 days that we shared that spurred me on to continue my journey in spite of all the set backs  I had suffered. They have been caravanning around SA for years and taught me a lot. Wonderful couple.

Pieter van Wyk
Pieter van Wyk.

Meeting up with and spending a morning with this young man was definitely one of the highlights of my journey. I am not going to try and recap all about this remarkable 21 year old so if you want to read more about him go to this link. I hope that one day, soon, he will have his book published, be awarded a bursary and given the opportunity to further his education at University.

Annemarie and Saome Reck.
Annemarie and Saome Reck.

I spent a wonderful morning with this mother and daughter team who manage a B&B right on the banks of the Orange River. Talk about making the most of very little.

Alta
Alta Kotze.

I enjoyed Port Nolloth and also received one of my biggest surprises in a long time when the lady above broke into song so that I could hear her voice and one of her own compositions. Truly amazing. I hope she gets the opportunity to further her ambitions and become a full time singer/composer.

George Moyses.
George Moyses.

Although I was not too happy with the caravan park at McDougalls Bay I did love the setting and also got to meet a real character who lives there in diamond diver George.

Dragline at Kleinzee.
Dragline at Kleinzee.
Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.
Ship wreck just south of Kleinzee.

The 2 photographs above represent one of the the most pleasant days of my journey and I have to thank Gert Klopper of De Beers for showing me round Kleinzee and Dudley Wessels for taking me on the 4×4 trail along the coast. I thought Kleinzee was great and was amazed at what is being done there to make sure that the town does not go the way of places such as Alexander Bay. I see a big future for Kleinzee and if I had some spare cash I would buy property in the area as an investment or as a retirement option.

I enjoyed Springbok,  the Springbok Caravan Park and exploring places like Nababeep and Okiep as I had travelled there 40 years ago and it was interesting to see how much things had changed –  for the good and  the bad.

Fields of flowers at Skilpad.
Fields of flowers at Skilpad.

Kamieskroon, because of the good caravan park was great and I also enjoyed my visit to Skilpad in the Namaqua Park where I spent a day looking at the beautiful Spring flowers.

Hondeklip Baai

Hondeklip Baai

Friendly people.

Friendly people.

Loved Hondeklip Baai and the people. If you love the sea I think it would be a great place to have a holiday house or even to retire.

Strandfontein

My set-up at Strandfontein

Although I found Strandfontein a bit of a strange place I did enjoy my caravan site with its private ablution block.

Doring Baai and the power of the sea.

Doringbaai and the power of the sea.

The last part of my journey included Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay. Lamberts Bay was interesting and I enjoyed exploring and meeting some of the locals. To be honest the best thing about Elands Bay was that it was only 5 km’s from my final caravan park call Vensterklip.

Set-up at Vensterklip.

Set-up at Vensterklip with Verlorenvlei in the background.

Vensterklip was great as, again, I had a private ablution block and it was really quiet and peaceful. It also provided me with an opportunity to try my hand at photographing birds.

On the wing?

On the wing?

If you read my previous post you will see that the highs far out way the lows of my journey.  As to the question will I carry on with my voyage of discovery the answer is YES. There are still so many more interesting places to see and people to meet that, God willing, I would like to carry on until I have covered the whole of the South African coast line.

Lamberts Bay Attractions.

Apart from the normal attractions of most seaside villages – great beaches, surf and wind surfing, hikes etc – Lamberts Bay offers a few special attractions that are well worth spending some time exploring. The first of these is called Bird Island and is situated in the harbour area.

Welcome to Bird Island.

Welcome to Bird Island.

There is an entrance fee of R20.00 but that does also allow one to walk to the end of the pier and get some great views of Lamberts Bay, the beaches and the boats in the harbour.

The wonderful beaches.

The wonderful beaches.

One of Lamberts Bays jewels is the sea-bird breeding colonies on the internationally famous Bird Island which has the most accessible Cape Gannet colony in the world.

Cape Gannets.

Cape Gannets.

Gannets packed together like sardines?

Gannets packed together like sardines?

There are thousands of these birds packed together on quite a small area of the island and I was told they do this as a form of protection from their main enemy, the seals on nearby Seal Island.

Whale bones on one of the walkways.

Whale bones on one of the walkways.

Not sure if this sign was for the tourists or the birds.

Not sure if this sign was for the tourists or the birds.

I am always amazed how these beautiful flowers manage to grow just about anywhere.

I am always amazed how these beautiful flowers manage to grow just about anywhere.

Another of Lamberts Bay’s main attractions is to take a boat trip to go have a look at Seal Island and hopefully to spot some dolphins on the way.

Seal Island boat trip.

Seal Island boat trip.

All aboard for Seal Island.

All aboard for Seal Island.

The round trip costs R150.00 per person and if you are lucky one normally sees quite a lot of dolphins as they have become  used to the boat and come up really close. I was not that lucky as they just streaked around the boat and did not do any jumping. As a result I only managed 1 or 2 photographs and they were not great.

This is a Heaviside Dolphin and are quite rare.

This is a Heaviside Dolphin and is quite rare.

Seal Island.

Seal Island.

I had heard about a shipwreck, about 5 km’s from Lamberts Bay, that happened in 1901. The ship was HMS Sybille, a twin screw 3,400 ton second class cruiser. The ship was sent to Lamberts Bay as a patrol boat during the Anglo Boer war (1899 – 1902). On the morning of 16 January 1901 she struck a reef near the farm Steenboksfontein. The crew were all saved and guns and torpedoes salvaged.

Unfortunately, because of the exposed reef that she ran aground on, there is nothing of the wreck left to see but there are some wonderful artefacts at the Sandveld Museum in Lamberts Bay.

Write up about the Sybille.

Write up about the Sybille.

A displsy of artifacts from the Sybille.

A display of artefacts from the Sybille.

One of the propellers from the Sybille.

One of the propellers from the Sybille.

There were  other really interesting displays in the museum, which was opened in 1980, and is at present run by the the Friends of the Museum. The day I went there it was officially closed but the friends were having a meeting and kindly let me browse around.

Number please!!

Number please!!

Ex rugby flank and Springbok Jan "Boland" Coetzee was born in Lamberts Bay

Ex rugby flank and Springbok Jan Boland Coetzee was born in Lamberts Bay

Mountain or Leopard Tortoises.

Mountain or Leopard Tortoises.

While outside the museum photographing the Sybille’s propeller I came across many  of these tortoises,  from tiny babies to pretty large adults. They can grow up to 50 cm in length and have a mass of over 13 kilograms. Come rain or shine one of the Friends of the Museum comes in everyday to feed them.

I still have one more post to do on Lamberts Bay and that is going to be a short one on the Caravan Park.

Hondeklipbaai – Part 2

To be honest I wish I could have spent a few days in this quaint little fishing village. The people are so friendly and willing to chat that I got caught up, and ended up not having enough time to meet half the characters I wanted to.

On going into the village itself  the first person I met was one of the local constabulary standing in a very pretty garden in front of his neat house. What a nice guy. He told me about which roads I should take and which to avoid when he heard that I wanted to visit Koingnaas on my my back to Kamieskroon.

A very colourfull flower bush in the policemans garden.

A colourful flower bush in the policeman's garden. The bee loved it!

About a hundred meters  from the policeman’s house I came to the little harbour which has been used for many different purposes over the years – shipping copper ore, as a base for the diamond diving boats and for the fishing and crayfishing boats.

The harbour area

The harbour area

The fish and chips shop right at the edge of the beach.

The fish and chips shop right at the edge of the beach.

The four in picture placing their orders, all residents of Hondeklipbaai,  were very friendly and invited me to sit down and have lunch with them. The guy on left of picture and his wife, 3rd from left, have had a plot in Hondeklipbaai for 10 years and over time built a house and moved in  permanently just over 9 months ago. The guy 2nd from the left, Stanley Cierenberg, is an artist and also runs a small art gallery from his home.

The Cierenberg Gallery.

The Cierenberg Gallery.

Inside the gallery.

Inside the gallery.

Stanley sitting at his favourite spot for tea and breakfast.

Stanley sitting at his favourite spot for tea and breakfast.

One of the artists on display at the gallery is local photographer “Roberto”. Roberto and his wife Dawn also run a restaurant, and offer tented self-catering accommodation called Skulpieskrall.

Sheltered tenting accomodation.

Sheltered tented accommodation.

Skulpieskraal tented camp comprises six comfortable tents with two single beds and bedding in each. The tents are pitched on timber decks under A–frame structures which are covered with shade netting where one can relax and enjoy a late afternoon sundowner.

Die Rooi Spinnekop Restaurant run by Roberto & wife Dawn.

Die Rooi Spinnekop Restaurant run by Roberto & wife Dawn.

This old sailing boat, I think it might be a Dabchick, is used as a serving table.

This sail boat is used as a serving table.

Unfortunately Roberto was not available to have a chat so my friendly guide, Stanley and I moved on as I was a bit worried about what I still wanted to see and do and it was getting late.

The Outside Gallery run by Villain.

The Outside Gallery run by Villain.

A wreck in the harbour area.

A wreck in the harbour area.

While I was sitting at the Fish and Chips shop having a bite to eat I spotted this wreck on the other side of the bay. I have no idea what, how or when but thought it looked quite dramatic and I also wanted to a view shot of Hondeklipbaai from the same angle.

View of Hondeklipbaai across the bay.

View of Hondeklipbaai across the bay.

It was getting quite late, and I still had a long way to drive, so I reluctantly left and started the rest of my journey for the day. I also wanted to make sure that I did not have to drive on the gravel roads in the dark.

Entrance to Koingnaas.

Entrance to Koingnaas.

I should probably have stayed longer in Hondeklip than try and rush through to Koingnaas as there was just not enough time to get signed in at security and get to have a look round the town. So once again I was on my way and hoping to see  flowers on my way to Soebatsfontein. I don’t know if it was to late in the day but I saw very little in the way of flowers. What I did get was the worst road I have travelled on so far in my journey and thought the old Pajero was going to get shaken to pieces.

Soebatsfontein rugby field.

Soebatsfontein rugby field.

I did find something interesting at Soebatsfontein and that was the Wallabies (Australian Rugby Team) having a secret scrummaging practice in preparation for the rest of the Tri Nations Rugby Competition.

All in all a good day but I do wish I could have spent a least 3 or 4 days exploring Hondeklipbaai and its interesting, friendly inhabitants. There is such a great attmosphere there and all seem to live in peace and harmony.

Hondeklipbaai – Part 1

Woke up to a beautiful day on Saturday 15th – sun shinning and no wind – so decided that this was the day to take a drive down to the coast and visit Hondeklipbaai.

The road from Kamieskroon to Hondeklip, about 85km’s, is gravel and you travel over 2 small passes. All in all it was not too bad but there were a few really bad patches so one had to concentrate all the way or risk some major damage to the vehicle. No way would I tow a normal caravan on that road.

On arrival at Hondeklipbaai I  got the feeling that it was going to be a special place and that’s the way it turned out for me.

Entrance to Hondeklip Baai.

Entrance to Hondeklipbaai.

This little village was once the main harbour from which the copper ore of Namaqualand was exported in the 1800’s. It is now a settlement of about 750 people and for the 4×4 enthusiast it offers a vast, unspoilt, coastline to explore. One of the major attractions is the wreck of the Aristea that ran aground in 1945 and is situated about 5 km’s south of the village.

Info about the Aristea.

Info about the Aristea.

The wreck of the Aristea.

The wreck of the Aristea.

Amazing to think that this wreck has been lying exposed to the element s for over 64 years.

Amazing to think that this wreck has been lying exposed to the element s for over 64 years.

Braai (barbacue) set-up.

Braai (barbecue) set-up.

Obviously a popular spot as they have braai facilities at the site.

Also met up here with 4 students from Cape Town who are studying at the African Film and Drama Academy. They were in the area for the weekend location scouting for a student film. Two of them were very lucky to have escaped virtually unscathed after rolling their car on the road to Hondeklipbaai.

Spotted tis guy sunning himself on the rocks.

Spotted this guy sunning himself on the rocks.

I was not really a flower photographing person, before this trip, but now love the challenge to show them off as best I can, so took these pix right at the beach.

Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.
Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.

Taken in amongst the rocks at the shoreline.

Info on The Dog Stone.

Info on The Dog Stone.

The Dog Stone.

The Dog Stone.

Info on crayfish/rocklobster.

Info on crayfish/rock lobster.

This old structure, in the harbour, was used in the old days for unloading and processing the crayfish.

This old structure, in the harbour, was used in the old days for unloading and processing the crayfish.

Hondeklipbaai is renowned for it’s crayfish but the income from crayfish can be very erratic as it is seasonal and sometimes the weather does not play ball. They have now started a pilot abalone mariculture project that is looking very positive. Unfortunately it being a Saturday I could not get in to have a look around.

Abalone piolet project.

Abalone pilot project.

I was originally going to cover Hondeklipbaai in 1 post but it would  really be too much as I have not even started on the people and the village itself so – to be continued.

Back to Basics – Backpackers

I met Bruce Wessels when he accompanied his father, Dudley, and I on the 4×4 Ship Wreck trail between Kleinzee and Koingnaas on my recent visit to Kleinzee. He has just recently, December 2008,  opened a Backpackers a few km’s from Koingnaas aimed at budget travellers who are looking for good surfing, crayfish diving – in season and with a permit – walking trails and back to nature experiences. They charge R100 per person per night and there is a rather cool surf spot on the doorstep called Workshop or The Workshop.

At the end of the 4×4 trail we dropped Bruce off and I had time for a quick look round and to take a few photographs.

Bruce Wessels infront of Back to Basics Backpackers
Bruce Wessels infront of Back to Basics Backpackers

Originally there were 2 groups of diamond divers huts in this area and both have now been renovated into very pleasant accommodation establishments. The first to be renovated was at Noup and is owned and managed by Bruce’s Mom and Dad. These are more upmarket self catering units with bathrooms en suite and epitomise the “on the beach” accommodation experience.

Back to Basic Backpackers was the second group of huts to be renovated, basic but comfortable,  self-catering huts just north of Noup. Communal bathrooms, kitchens and social areas make it ideal for small groups. Limited electricity supply in the evenings, 7pm – 10pm, warm water, gas stoves and braai facilities.

One of the larger huts which can sllep 4.
One of the larger huts which can sleep 4.
Communal lounge area
Communal lounge area

One of the bathrooms.

One of the bathrooms.

Some of the original decor.

Some of the original decor.

A reminder of the past?

A reminder of the past?

The lapa type braai area with the sea as your backdrop.

The lapa type braai area with the sea as your backdrop, ideal for sundowners.

All in all I think this would be a great place to stay for more than just a couple of nights. Because they are situated between Koingnaas and Kleinzee one needs to obtain clearance before being able to stay over night, therefore one must please contact Bruce at least 3 or 4 days before arriving so he can organize the relevant permits. (no charge)

Bruce Wessels –  Back to Basics Backpackers – 084-964-5856

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