Along the coast at Port Elizabeth

Saturday’s heat and humidity had been tiring and so we decided on a quiet Sunday, wandering down the coast from Port Elizabeth with stops to smell the sea and perhaps see dolphins. The sea smells salty here, and fresh, and stretches forever as ‘proper’ sea should, very different to the English Channel, which is what I usually see (!).

Looking towards Cape Receife Nature Reserve
Looking towards Cape Receife Nature Reserve
Sunday fishing
Sunday fishing
Rocks alongside the Indian Ocean
Rocks on the edge of the Indian Ocean

Schoenmakerskop, or Schoenies, is an extended ‘village’ stretching from Summerstrand to the sea and down the coast, and these days includes humble cottages and grand mansions. A Portuguese ship, the Sacramento, was wrecked off this coast in June 1647. I think it might have been a Carrack, or more likely a Galleon, which was used both for trading and war. The ship had 60 fixed cannon, and carried a cargo of brass cannon, probably made in the foundry in Macao which had started in the mid-1500s. The name of ‘Bocarro’ is on this particular cannon. Manuel Tavares Bocarro took control in 1626 and the foundry ended with his death in 1672. There were 72 survivors from the wreck and they decided to walk up the coast to Mozambique, 1400 kms. Eventually nine people survived.

Gun from the Portuguese ship, the Sacramento
Gun from the Portuguese ship, the Sacramento

The Sacramento Trail is an 8km circular trail from the site of the gun and normally this would have been just what we wanted on a quiet Sunday, but we looked at the sky, smelt the approaching rain, and just strolled a short way down the track before heading back to the car.

We arrived at the car just as the rain started. South African rain is heavy, not the gentle dampness of England, but hey, it was Sunday with nothing else to do and we continued down the coast to Seaview where we were treated to dolphins!

Rainy weather in PEDolphins at Seaview Dolphins at Seaview

Driving on we found ourselves at Maitlands Beach with its spectacular sand dunes. But the weather was not good – this was not the day to explore the Nature Reserve or walk along the beach or the trails, and we headed back to PE.Maitlands Beach Maitlands Beach

Further information
The Sacramento Hiking Trail and here, and Hiking Trails around PE
The Portuguese Navy’s History
A glossary of ship types
Portuguese ships

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