What is the Sacramento cannon aiming at?

The name Sacramento is synonymous with Schoenmakerskop. There is the Sacramento Trail, the Sacramento cannon and the Sacramento Restaurant. But what is the Sacramento. She was a Portuguese galleon that aground just off Schoenmakerskop outside Port Elizabeth on 30 June 1647 in foul weather. By the time she hit the rocky coastline, she had a badly damaged rudder and her sails were in tatters. 72 of the crew made it ashore and set off towards Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), 1400km…

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Shipwreck memorial in South End Cemetery

Probably the biggest maritime disaster that ever took place on the Port Elizabeth coastline happened way back during the Great Gale of 1902.  On Sunday, 31 August 1902 there were 38 ships at anchor along the then North End Beach.  Rain and a south-easterly wind started to lash the bay and by midnight the storm turned into a hurricane.  By the end of the storm on 2 September 1902, 18 of the ships had been stranded on the beach, while…

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Bayworld’s Sacramento canon

The Shipwreck Hall in the Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld has some excellent information on shipwrecks around Port Elizabeth.  The displays contain a lot of artifacts salvaged from wrecks like the Sacramento, Amsterdam and Doddington.  One of the items that form the centerpiece display is a cannon salvaged from the wreck site of the Portuguese galleon Sacramento near Schoenmakerskop in the 1970's.  The Sacramento ran aground in a storm on this coastline in 1647 with 72 survivors making it to…

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The remains of the Oceanos lifeboat at Schoenmakerskop

It's been a few years since I've been down to the remains of the Oceanos lifeboat at Schoenies, so last Sunday I decided to head on over and take a walk down for a change again.  4 August 1991 was a dramatic and fateful day on the Eastern Cape coastline with the sinking of the MTS Oceanos on the Wild Coast close to Coffee Bay, east of East London.  After all 571 passengers on board were rescued, some of the…

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Cape Recife beacon

The beacon out at Cape Recife is one of two beacons that was used for shipping purposes before the invention of modern navigation technology.  The second beacon is the one on Marine Drive where Admiralty Road and Marine Drive comes together.  Ships sailing along the coast from the west had to line up the two beacons before they could turn into Algoa Bay.  This ensured that they were well clear of Thunderbolt Reef at the point as well as the…

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Meet the Amsterdam

The Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld has an excellent exhibit of artifacts and pieces from the Dutch ship Amsterdam that ran aground close to the mouth of the Swartkops River in 1817.  The ship, captained by Hermanus Hofmeijer, hit a fierce storm in 1817 with the wind ripping apart the sails and snapping the masts.  After eleven hours of fighting to keep her afloat the battle was lost and the captain decided to run her aground between the Zwartkops and Coega…

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Sacramento cannon at Bayworld

The Shipwreck Hall in the Port Elizabeth Museum at Bayworld has some excellent information on shipwrecks around Port Elizabeth.  The displays contain a lot of artifacts salvaged from wrecks like the Sacramento, Amsterdam and Doddington.  One of the items that form the centerpiece display is a cannon salvaged from the wreck site of the Portuguese galleon Sacramento near Schoenmakerskop in the 1970's.  The Sacramento ran aground in a storm on this coastline in 1647 with 72 survivors making it to land…

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Bayworld exhibit of the wreck of the Amsterdam

One of the best know shipwrecks around Port Elizabeth is that of the Dutch Sailing Amsterdam that ran around close to the mouth of the Swartkops River in 1817.  People may not necessarily know much of the wreck, but the fact that Amsterdam Hoek along the banks of the Swartkops is named after the ship helps.The ship, captained by Hermanus Hofmeijer, hit a fierce storm in 1817 with the wind ripping apart the sails and snapping the masts.  After eleven hours of fighting…

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Remains of a lifeboat

At the eastern end of Schoenmakerskop you will find one of the lifeboats from the Oceanos that sank on the Wild Coast in 1991.  Personally I think its quite a significant "wreck" on our coastline.  Going the other way, about halfway along the Sacramento Trail west of Schoenies, there is what also looks like the remains of a lifeboat.  Some of the knowledgable locals may know where its from, but I just thought it made for an interesting object to include…

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Oceanos Lifeboat

4 August 1991 was a dramatic and fateful day on the Eastern Cape coastline with the sinking of the MTS Oceanos on the Wild Coast close to Coffee Bay, east of East London.  What does this have to do with Port Elizabeth, you ask?  After all 571 passengers on board was rescued, some of the lifeboats floated south-west along the ocean currents with one of them washing up on the coastline at Schoenmakerskop.  I got to visit the lifeboat for…

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