01 November 2009

Cape Point: Shipwreck Trail

Date: 1 November 2009

Location: Cape Point, TMNP

Walkers: Michele, Dorothy, Helen, Delphi, Mer, Marilie and Tracy

Back to Cape Point at last! Our walk started in the rather remote north-west corner of the park, a spot called Olifantsbos. There wasn't a soul around.

Near the start was a field of little Geranium incanum. Lovely!

Following the route markers we set off along the trail, in a southerly direction, towards the coast. This first section of the walk took us through some coastal fynbos. Lots of reeds...

... and this peculiar plant, Euphorbia caput-medusae.

When we reached the coast we were greeted by an impossibly beautiful turquoise-blue sea.

I loved the contrast with the orange lichen-covered rocks.

Once we got down to the bay the blue ocean and white sand truly looked like an idyllic tropical beach paradise.

The reality was that most of the beach was strewn with smelly seaweed and teeming with seagulls. Also, when the water is this colour in Cape Town it is freezing cold. This did look like a lovely place to swim, however, and on a warmer day we might have considered a dip.

These beaches are not sterile wastelands, but alive with sand fleas, kelp and other seaweeds, sea birds - and their eggs.

A little further down the beach, we noticed something grey-white in the white sand. Whale bones! These looked very old and calcified.

Beyond that, our first shipwreck!

There were several wrecks in this vicinity. The oldest ones date from the 18th and 19th centuries, but there are couple from the mid 20th century. This is clearly a very dangerous stretch of coastline.

We had a good look around.

I found these wrecks very strange. On the one hand they are so obviously ugly messy junk, and an eyesore in such a beautiful place. And yet, they are rather fun and fascinating to see up close, and the forms and colours of the rusting metal have a kind of beauty.

We proceeded over the rocks and down the wide open beach.

In the next bay we came across another wreck, right on the shoreline.

This one hadn't been broken up as much as the others - yet. It even had a wooden section intact. Nevertheless the whole vessel was weathering from the sea-water. One has to wonder about the drama and violence of the running a-ground. Many sailors must have lost their lives here.

A little further along we saw our route marker. Time to turn left, leave the beach and head inland.

Our path headed gently uphill.

The flats were dotted with Syncarpha vestita. We could see why this bush is commonly known as Cape snow.

Other flowers seen here: the silky puff, Diastella divaricata.

Pretty purple Corymbium africanum.

Prickly Cullumia squarrosa.

Geissorhiza tenella.

Chironia linoides.

Creeping pincushion, Leucospermum hypophyllocarpodendron.
(Phew, what a tongue-twister of a name)

We got to the top of the rocky hill. At the fork in the path we headed back to Olifantsbos. This route along the ridge is called Staavia Edge.

We passed a magnificent Mimetes fimbriifolius. This is one of my favourite fynbos plants. I just love its colours and soft fuzziness.

And Staavia of course. I think this one is Staavia dodii.

The fynbos was lovely and very varied.

After a while Olifantsbos Bay came into sight again.

We made our way down the hill, back to the car park. Vygies were growing amongst the rocks on this sunny slope.

And also the pretty climber, Cape sweet pea, Dipogon lignosus.

Beasties seen on this walk: tortoise and blue-headed lizard.

The colour on the lizard was actually more like turquoise. Handsome fellow.

And then, as we got back to the cars, a troop of baboons arrived. Big daddy baboon arrived first.

Followed by the rest of the family.

I'm scared of baboons. We didn't hang around. Instead, we drove across to the other side of Cape Point. Leaving our cars again, we strolled along the path to Venus Pool (previous visits to the pool described here and here). It's about a kilometre's walk.

The weather had improved, but it still wasn't warm enough to swim.

Instead we picnicked, paddled and watched the waves. Delightful day out.

(Photos by Helen and Michele)

1 comment:

Adorador de Paquetá said...

Hi Helen,
Although born and bred in Cape Town, I have never been to many of the places you walk through.Cape Town is much more beautiful than I thought thanks to your walks.