Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cape Agulhas, where two oceans meet

Cape Agulhas, (Cape L'Agulhas), the most Southern point of Africa. The name comes from Portuguese Cabo das Agulhas, meaning "Cape of Needles". It would appear as though the needles on the compass would behave erratically when passing around the Cape. Most probably due to the true north and magnetic north readings coinciding.
Not as impressive as Cape Point, but the geographical point that marks the divide between the Indian and Atlantic oceans.
I went scratching around records of shipwrecks in this area. Between Arniston and Pearly Beach, which is not far at all, (60 miles?), 120 ships have been lost between 1685 and 1975, of which less than half have been located.
The centre of the "Cape of Storms". The stormy conditions experienced mostly due to cold winds (Roaring Forties)and cold antartic current colliding with the warm Aghulas current. To make things worse the waters are relatively shallow. (Aghulas Bank). Mix this lot and one gets stormy seas with rogue waves of up to 100'. A place to treat with respect.
The lighthouse was built in 1848. It remains a functional lighthouse and is a museum as well, worth wandering around. Since commissioning it has undergone a number of changes.
There is a shipwreck museum at Bredasdorp, about 35km inland.

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