Visit Seal Point Lighthouse and shipwrecks

2015-09-17 06:00

WITH Tourism and Heritage Month both being celebrated in September, it only makes sense to visit the only lighthouse in the Kouga, and some of the shipwrecks whose remains can still be seen on the coastline.

Our Kouga coastline claimed many vessels over past centuries, and the Seal Point Lighthouse was completed in 1878 in order to assist vessels passing the second southernmost point of Africa.

The Lighthouse, standing at 27,75m, is the tallest masonry lighthouse in South Africa and still fully operational, although without a lighthouse keeper on the premises.

It was originally equipped with a 3-wick burner and had an intensity of 15 000 candelas, providing a single white flash every 20 seconds. In May 1906 it was changed to a petroleum vapour burner, increasing the intensity to 120 000 candelas, and the characteristic changed to one flash every 5 seconds, as it is today. The intensity of the electrical bulb however is now that of 2 750 000 candelas. The lighthouse boasts a modern radio beacon, a fog signal and fog detector.

Close to Seal Point Lighthouse, the wreck of the Cape Recife lies a few hundred metres to the west. The accident occured in February 1929, and many pieces of the wreck can still be seen in the gully during lowtide where she was grounded. Her propeller was salvaged by founder of St Francis Bay, Leighton Hulett using his fishing vessel Moby Dick in 1979.

Further west, on the Wild Side, lies the boiler of the HMS Osprey, a Royal Navy warship that was returning from China. This happened during the night of 29/30 May 1867. The Osprey carried a crew of 83 of whom only Stoker George Devreaux drowned whilst trying to bring a hawer from ship to shore. Today the HMS Osprey’s anchor beautifies the entrance of Cape St Francis.

On 22 July 1870 the Dutch East Indiaman, the Nederlandsche Vlag was lost when 12 crew members drowned. In September 1870 a sailing vessel, Liza andamp; Alice wrecked, but no lives were lost. Very little remains, but parts are still visible in the rock pools at low water. Other ships lost in the small area were the Berwick on 30 June 1827, Auguste on 22 January 1858, the Runnymede on 6 February 1866, the Milford on 12 October 1875, the British Duke on 13 November 1880 and the Derby on 27 April 1895.

A shipwreck still standing tall on the coastline is Meng Yaw 366, a Taiwanese trawler that came ashore at Brakkeduine, west of Seal Point on 2 June 1989. Some 850 tons of frozen chokka aboard her was lost, and her bunker fuel pumped ashore and burnt off to prevent pollution.

WIN! WIN! WIN!

To stand a chance to win an unforgettable breakaway,

take a photo of any historical site in the Kouga region and send it to kougaexp@media24.com before noon on September 30. The photo must be accompanied by a short description of the specific site, the date the photo was taken and contact details of the sender. All photos received, will be uploaded onto our Facebook Page - Kouga Express Newspaper

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