The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain

For those who recognise the movie title above may appreciate the story below.  In anticipation of my trip up the East Coast of South Africa I’d like to give our readers a little inside or local information about the first leg from Cape Town to Mossel Bay.

We will round two infamous points, Cape Point and Cape Agulhas.  Now maybe you will see it or not, but two Capes within a few Nautical miles from eachother, about 36NM, is enough to raise suspisions of eminent arguments as to who is the best, most dangerous etc.

Long ago we were not worried about anything other than our gold, platinum, diamonds and coal.  As gold lost its lure and countries moved away from the gold standard, the economy reached out for other resources and tourism became more important.  As such the Agulhas people felt left out, in fact they felt Cape Point was stealing their rightful fame.

Obviously the people in the movie wanted their little hill to be a mountain and so too did the little village people from Agulhas want to believe that they held more importance.  Firstly they famed their location as the Southern most tip of Africa.  Can’t argue that. They also wanted to mark their position as the point where the two Oceans converge.  Notwithstanding the obvious fact the naughty Cape Pointers did let some tourists believe that it was at the southern most tip of Africa.  Who could blame them the awe inspiring beauty of this area had to be the South Cardinal of Africa.

The next big debate was therefore where the convergence of the Indian and mighty Atlantic ocean was.  For obvious reasons both advocated that their Cape held the honour.  In favour of the Cape pointers though, there is quite a big difference of sea temperature between the waters of the two oceans.  The normal person can hardly put his foot into the Atlantic while you could comfortably swim in the Indian Ocean since it brings with it the warm Mozambique current from the North.

Anybody who has tried the water west of Cape Point will know this is not for swimming but as soon as you head east and took a dip along any beaches towards the east it is rather pleasant to swim in.  The Agulhas surfers or sympathisers insist on wearing a wet suit because they cannot let out that they are not surfing in the Atlantic Ocean.  That ocean needed to carry on 36NM south still.

As a child we were taught that Cape point was at the southern most tip of Africa and that, that’s where the two oceans met.  So now the Agulhas people came and messed up my whole childhood education.

Now look at the photo’s below.  Isn’t it self evident Agulhus?

cape-point-the-dividing-point-between-the-atlantic-and-indian-oceans cape-point-south-africa-where-the-indian-and-atlantic-ocean-meet Cape-Point2

So I guess we can conclude that Agulhas went down the coast and brought back a Cape.

Should there be any sailors aiming for our coast remember these terms: Cabo de Tormentoso (the Cape of Storms) and Cabo da Boa Esperança (Cape of Good Hope).  This is not Agulhas people this is the real Cape, Cape Point!

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Early Years
Sailing the East Coast of South Africa (Part 1)

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