At 08h30 on Sunday the 26th of November 2017, a total of 31 members from The Hikers Network Hiking Club convened in the Olifantsbos parking area of the Cape Point Nature Reserve to partake in the Shipwreck hike scheduled for the day.
Wayne was leading the hike, whilst Conrad was responsible for maintaining safety in the middle and I brought up the rear, as the sweeper. After the briefing session the group set out on the Thomas Tucker shipwreck trail at a steady pace despite the extreme windy conditions we endured. The yellow tipped markers made it easy to find our way to the beach.
The group took their first break at the wreck of the SS Thomas Tucker. Wayne gave everyone the opportunity to take photos, for the kids to play and enjoy the shipwreck, the scenery as well as a snack to eat. We took a group photo here and Wayne went on to explain how it came about that the ship stranded on this section of the beach.
In 1942, the SS Thomas Tucker, carrying troops and weapons, was sailing close to the Cape Point coastline to avoid detection by the German U-boats. Due to the foggy weather the crew ran the ship ashore thinking they were close to Robben Island. They disembarked and left the cargo ship behind to ultimately meet her demise.
Some huge whale bones can also be found, on the beach, close to the shipwreck.
The group continued from here to the next rest stop which was the Nolloth shipwreck. After scrambling over some rocks we found a beached whale in a severe state of decomposition. Not too far from it, on the beach, a dead seal was discovered, its body partly covered by sand.
At the wreck of the Nolloth it was my chance to give a brief narrative on the ship’s demise. Legend has it that the Nolloth was a Dutch coaster carrying a cargo of mostly liquor and goods. In 1965 her captain ran her aground to save the cargo and prevent loss of life. The crew was lifted off by helicopter and customs officials salvaged the cargo.
Heading back we agreed on the circular route and veered off to the path taking us inland. A gradual climb of about 60m took us to the highest point of the hike, with magnificent views before the start of a gradual descent which leads one back to the car park area.
The inland trail took us past various species of indigenous plants and vynbos. Whilst on this part of the trail the juniors were excited to spot some wildlife such as an ostrich, a bontebok family and various birds. Lizards and hairy worms were also discovered along the path.
The hike was very well executed and without incident. The leaders and members worked very well together. The Hikers Network SOP was adhered to at all times and a great respect towards the environment, the elements of nature and each other was displayed. We reached the Olifantsbos parking area at 11h30, after which the debriefing session was done.
Then, it was time for everyone to say their farewells and we went our separate ways, windblown yet content 🙂
Hikers Network leader