Monday, February 1, 2016

Penguins and Cape Point

We were surprised to discover that Cape Town is the home of a large penguin colony. We travelled to Simon's Town along the False Bay coast to see them. Boulders Beach is home to about 3000 rare African penguins. The beach has a raised wooden observation pathway so we were able to walk quite close to them.  Many of the penguins were sitting on eggs. Others had chicks tucked in their body's shade.
We passed this pretty home as we left Boulders.
We continued south to the Cape Point, the most south-westerly tip of Africa. Our cousins were so, SO kind to drive us to these wonderful destinations. We would never have done this on our own.
Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was the first to round the Cape Peninsula in 1488. He named it the “Cape of Storms”, for the notoriously bad weather, which can blow up quickly. A decade later, Vasco da Gama navigated the same route and sailed up the coast of Africa, successfully opening a new trading route for Europe with India and the Far East. An explorer named John II of Portugal later renames is as the “Cape of Good Hope” because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of this new sea route to India and the East. via
The Point’ has been treated with respect by sailors since it was first sighted by Dias in 1488. By day, it was a landmark of great navigational value until the introduction of radar. By night, and in fog, it was a menace. Ships had to approach closely to obtain bearings and thereby were exposed to the dangers of Bellows Rock and Albatross Rock. And so the lighthouse was built. via
The original lighthouse was built in 1859 on Da Gama Peak, the summit of Cape Point, 249m above sea level. It still stands here and is now used as a centralized monitoring point for all the lighthouses in South Africa. It is situated 284 metres above the high water mark which is a few feet away from the lighthouse in the horizontal plane. This made it very ineffective in mist which mandated the establishment of the second lighthouse at 286 feet (87 meters). The newer lighthouse, built in 1914, is the most powerful on the South African coast. It emits three flashes in a group every 30 seconds and revolvesvia
We took the funicular to the top.
Magnificent views.
Next stop Antarctica.

6 comments:

  1. I am so enjoying this vicarious venture to South Africa; thank you for sharing. I can't help but think that your drive to the southern most tip of Africa, or, "the end", might be what tourists experience when traveling to Montauk Point.

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    1. I was thinking about "the end" -- Cape Point felt much more desolate, but perhaps it is just because I feel more... at ease.. in Montauk.

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  2. I cannot beliee everything you dd and saw..the penguins would have been a wonder of the world for me..just so many and they are so cute!

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    1. The penguins were adorable. The were mostly just standing there - still - I think they were hot!

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  3. What great experiences you had, Gail, and how lovely to see the penguins up closee. Manly has a fairy penguin population and we've also seen the penguins come ashore to lay eggs at Phillip Island in Victoria. I love how you were down at the southernmost point!
    Val

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    1. Thanks Val! After this trip I appreciate more and more your long trip to the states to visit.

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Thank you for your comments!