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This is Table Mountain, without doubt the most beautiful mountain on earth. It is also the scene from the Bloubergstrand beach 500 metres down the street from where we live in Bloubergrant, Cape Town. To the right of the mountain, roughly 90 degrees off the picture, lies Robben Island.
Bloubergstrand (literally "Blue Mountain Beach") is the closest area of the mainland to the island. In August 1806 the Battle of Blaauwberg took place here, when the British chased the Dutch out of the Cape for the second time. Over the years, usually when the Cape of Good Hope switched into its Cape of Storms mode, Bloubergstrand has also seen its fair share of shipwrecks. These include the SS Hermes at Milnerton beach north of the lighthouse, the Nieuw Haarlem also near the lighthouse, the Oosterland, and at the Milnerton lagoon, the Winton and the Commandor.
The latest shipwreck occurred at 06:30 on Tuesday 19 August 2003, when the Sea-Land Express, loaded with 1037 containers, ran aground at Sunset Beach at roughly the same spot where the Hermes was wrecked on 12 May 1901. She was supposed to dock in Table Bay Harbour that morning and was to depart for Newark the following day.
Eleven days later, during the early morning springtide on 30 August, the three tugs (one of which can be seen in the picture of Table Mountain at the top of the page - the red ship at left) finally managed to turn the Sea-Land Express about 25 degrees away from the beach, after a barge had been busy all week removing sand to the seaside of the ship. The remaining problem was that the ship was now no longer lying on sand, but on bedrock. This picture was taken at 17:00 during the afternoon's high tide.
Exactly two weeks later on 13 September, after the barge had been dredging sand around the ship 24 hours a day every day, the three tugs finally managed to get her turned about 45 degrees away from the beach and also to drag her about 100 metres forward during the early morning high tide. And during that afternoon's high tide at about 15:00 the tugs finally managed to get her afloat again.
On the rest of these pages we want to introduce ourselves to you, and also show you the self-catering holiday flat that we added on to our house. Some pages are also devoted to my prime hobby, model railroading. And since I use digital command control (DCC) to run the trains and have therefore gained some experience on converting analog DC locomotives to run on DCC, I'm also including a few DCC decoder installation guides for N scale locomotives. Finally, since we're both railfans, we're also showing you some 12 inch to the foot trains and adding some links to other interesting railroading sites. To get to these pages, please use the index below.
Click on the headings below to go directly to the appropriate pages.
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Created on 23 May 2002. Last updated on 13 September 2003.