Rounding the Cape of Good Hope

Gryphon II
Chris and Lorraine Marchant
Tue 13 Jan 2015 16:33


Simon's Town to Cape Town around the Cape of Good Hope


Time to move on and this is a fairly thrilling sail simply because it is the Cape of Good Hope with its precarious weather and exciting history. The land and sea-scapes are rugged and the colours on this bright day are exhilarating.


Cape Point light house at the very tip of the Cape of Good Hope





An intrepid canoeist fishing as we round the Cape and pass below the light house his tiny figure can be seen in the centre above. The fishing is obviously good around these rocks, this is an open, sit on canoe and he's carrying 3 fishing rods!




The chart for Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are a testament to its chequered history showing the rocks and the wrecks that have fallen to them. We are so lucky to live in an age of good weather forecasting, sophisticated electronic charts, global positioning satellites, excellent radio communications and emergency distress alarm beacons if needed. Our forefathers had their charts and sextants, barometers, chronometers, compasses and experience but the number of wrecks in this area show that these were sometimes not enough. It feels sad when passing some of the rocks to think of the many who perished here including children. Even now with all our equipment good judgement cannot be overlooked, as one of our previous blogs shows at Richards Bay a coal carrying ship left the harbour in a 6 metre swell only to break its back across two wave peaks, it is still being removed slowly.


m_Cape of Good Hope Screenshot


A recent wreck, mid 1990's crane barge now firmly fixed on the beach, it moulders away.




Bellows Rock off Cape Point makes for a daunting view of spume and spray in a strong sea assuredly marking its treacherous rocks below the waterline. In calm weather it is not so obvious, it is a very nasty piece of work and one to keep well away from. A ship named the Lusitania (not the infamous Lusitania) managed to hit the rock in fog when the light high up on the cliff was obscured. Because it was calm the crew and passengers were all taken off safely. It was after this loss that the light was moved to its current position much lower on the cliff and less prone to being obscured.


Fortunately for us we had chosen a calm day and even the seals were sunbathing with flippers skyward.




We rudely disturbed one family group who spluttered into life with a great commotion.




The passage along the coast is very dramatic with the 12 Apostles, the ramparts at the back of Table Mountain, towering down.




Then the final turn into Cape Town Harbour which must be one of the best entrances anywhere in the world.




And here we sit below Table Mountain!





S/V Gryphon II