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Archived Articles

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Title Date Author/Source
Cape Point And The Waters Of False Bay... Dec 2001 The Webmaster
The Five Names Of The Road Through Simon's Town Jan 2002 The Webmaster
Don't Zap 'Em... Jan 2002 Colin Musson
Memories Of Simon's Town Feb 2002 Diana Brown
What Lies Beneath... Mar 2002 The Webmaster
Freedom Of Entry Into Simon's Town Mar 2002 The Webmaster
Just Nuisance Remembered... Mar 2002 Mr. Oliver Trier
The Spirit Of Just Nuisance Apr 2002 The Webmaster

Cape Point And The Waters Of False Bay...

False Bay stretches from Cape Point in the west to Cape Hangklip in the east. It's name came about because early navigators often mistook Hangklip for Cape Point, resulting in various shipwrecks along this hazardous shoreline. The cliffs at Cape Point are among the highest coastal cliffs in the world.

In 1488, Bartholomew Dias named the Peninsula "Cabo Tormenentoso" or the "Cape of Storms". Portugal's King John II later gave it the name "Cabo da Boa Esperanca", the Cape of Good Hope. In 1580, Sir Frances Drake described the it as : "The most stately thing and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth."

With its diverse habitats, ranging from rocky mountain tops to beaches and open sea, the Cape of Good Hope is home to at least 250 species of bird while the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, the smallest but richest of the world's six floral kingdoms, comprises a treasure trove of 1 100 species of indigenous plants ("fynbos"; literally 'fine bush'), of which a number are endemic (occur naturally nowhere else on earth).

A popular misconception is that the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet off Cape Point, implying that the Indian Ocean washes the shores of False Bay while the Atlantic Ocean is found on the western seaboard of the Peninsula. This is not true.

The warm Mocambique Current of the Indian Ocean travels down the eastern coast of South Africa from the equatorial regions and meets with the cold waters of the Atlantic's Benguela Current off Cape Agulhas (the most southerly point of the African continent) - the main reason why fog is a common occurrence out to sea at this point of the coastline.

Therefore, the Cape Peninsula, a narrow finger of land with its many beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is bound by the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean on all sides. Due to False Bay's geography and oceanography, the water temperature is higher in the Bay than it is along the open western coastline.

The Five Names Of The Road Through Simon's Town

The main road running down the length of the Peninsula from Cape Town to Cape Point passes through many suburbs, taking on various names as it winds through certain areas. Most South Peninsula locals just refer to it as Main Road, no matter where they are. On its journey through Simon's Town, the road takes on no less five names - Main Road, Station Road, St. George's Street, Queen's Road, MacFarlane Avenue and then back to Main Road!!

The various named sections would appear to be as follows :
  • Main Road
    - Glencairn to Simon's Town Station.
  • Station Road
    - from the station to Jubilee Street (Protea Milk Bar corner).
  • St. George's Street
    - from Jubilee Street to the East Dockyard Gates - opposite Topsail House.
  • Queen's Road
    - from the Dockyard Gate to Miller Road - just past Simon's Town High School, on the sea-side.
  • MacFarlane Avenue
    - from Miller Road to Bellevue Road - at the Golf Course.
  • Main Road
    - from Bellevue Road onwards towards Miller's Point.
So now we all know. For those of you living along the "Main Road" in Simon's Town, you now know what your section is called. Thanks to Cathy and Nigel for the information.

Don't Zap 'Em...

Article Submitted By Colin Musson, Torquay - Devon

Entomology. The study of bugs. What I know about the subject you could write on a beetle's back, and I have this unfortunate habit of swatting rather than studying them. The world's flora is divided into six "floral kingdoms". The Cape floral kingdom is both the smallest and the richest in variety, with nearly 8000 species of fynbos. My own philistine attitude apart, Simon's Town could prove to be an entomologist's capital, being ideally situated between Silvermine and the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

It takes aeons for plants to evolve. In the Cape, some are so localised adn rare that they are only found in a small area. But plants are relatively easy to find.

Insects have similarly evolved to take advantage of changes in the plant life around them, and many are small, rare and completely unknown to science. There are scientific estimates that so far, only around 20% of such creepy crawlies have been located on a world-wide basis. Almost certainly, with the vast range of plants around the Cape - far more than in a similar sized area in the Amazon jungle, for instance - there are creatures on your doorstep waiting to be discovered and classified.

Am I going to take up entomolgy? Not a chance! But I am interested in seeing the "little five". Everybody goes to the Kruger and tries to spot the "BIG five" - but finding the lion ant, rhinoceros beetle, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise and buffalo weaver is more challenging. Can anybody advise where I can see them?

And Who Is Colin Musson...?

I am not that much of a stranger to Africa. As a bored teenager in England, I signed up as cannon fodder to with the BSAP (British South Africa Police) for three years policing in the Zim (then Rhosdesian) bundu. It was my first taste of Africa. But life in the bush can pall for a young man, so I moved to Jo'burg looking for the bright lights and the ladies - living in Hillbrow, at the time, the only place south of the Sahara with a night life! For living expenses, I joined the management trainee programme of the O.K. Bazaars and, once qualified, was dispatched to.... Bloemfontein!

Big companies have a knack of putting square pegs into round holes. Eventually I became a manager of one of the company's stores in Kimberley, but spending my life in and around the (then) Orange Free State wasn't my idea of fun. So it was back to Blighty.

Twenty plus years elapsed while I slogged in a partnership of an insurance brokerage, building the business. Then I came to realise something... We had two types of clients. Those that worked and those that invested. The latter not only had money but also that most precious of commodities - time. Having reached the downhill side of 50, I decided to join the investors, sold out to my partner and.... now will look forward to meeting you all!

Memories Of Simon's Town

My name is Diana Brown (nee Holman); in 1952 my father - Lieutenant Commander Claud Holman - was posted to Simon's Town as executive officer onboard HMS Bermuda. My mother and I accompanied him on board MS Arundel Castle in August 1952 and on our arrival stayed at the Lord Nelson Hotel, while my father joined his ship and sailed off to Durban. It was all very new and exciting for my mother and I and we set out on trips to the various beaches. On the second of these, to Seaforth Beach, my mother was rather foolishly jumping from flat rock to flat rock and broke her leg. She was taken directly to the naval hospital at Wynberg, leaving me, her 7 year old daughter, all alone in the Lord Nelson. I received much attention from all the staff and guests and was never left alone. I can still remember feeling very grown-up when I was brought a cup of tea in bed in the morning!!

I went to St. Joseph's Convent School, where I received my first experience of a foreign language - no, not Afrikaans, but French! I can remember Sister Benvenuto and Mother Peters quite clearly, and the novel experience of having lessons outside under the trees, with the doves cooing overhead.

Simon's Town was firmly imprinted on my memory and the happy times and lovely people we met there. We lived for 6 months at the following address - Fernwood, Winford Estate - which was close to Froggy Pond. I wonder if anyone can give me any information about this area - do the bungalows and houses which made up Winford Estate still exist?

I recently watched a television programme on the penguins at Boulders Beach, but they didn't give a very distant view of the beach so I was rather frustrated in my recognition of the area. Boulders was the beach we were closest to, and I can remember having to cross a golf course as a short cut and walking along a path lined with aloes. Spending Christmas on the beach was one of the strangest experiences a northern hemisphere child could experience. We had candles along the stoep and watched the fleet come in while we sang Good King Wenceslas.

Are there still sea anemone skeletons on the beaches? - the round green ones with holes in the middle! My e-mail address is dianabrown193@btinternet.com and I would be delighted to hear from anyone who contacts me. I have a lot more memories of this time and will supply more if it would be appreciated.

WHAT LIES BENEATH... On Friday 8 March 2002, I happened to be waiting for the return of the SAS Outeniqua to Simon's Town when I saw some seals frolicking at the entrance to the naval harbour. With a bit of time to kill, I decided to zoom in on them and try to get a photo or two. Well... just as I got lined up, a shark attacked and hit one of the seals from below and by the look of it (note the distance from the tail to the dorsal fin just disappearing into the water), it certainly wasn't a small shark either! Talk about being at the right place at the right time...
Thanks to Ben Burger who took it upon himself to discover more about the shark in the picture by contacting the Natal Sharks Board. Here is the prognosis from Geremy Cliff : "It is definitely a shark. There are two very distinctive features about this shark. It has lateral keels at the base of the tail and the tail appears to be symmetrical. There are very few sharks that have these features. Two are the Great White and the Mako. Given the locality, I would say quite confidently that the shark is a Great White."

Freedom Of Entry Into Simon's Town

The South African Navy exercised its right of freedom of entry into Simon's Town as part of the opening of the annual Navy Festival on Friday 22 March 2002. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor Of Cape Town, Alderman Gerald Morkel, who declared the festival open and the Chief Of The Navy, Vice Admiral Retief, amongst other dignatories. The parade was led by the South African Navy Band and contingents from the SAN, as well as the visiting navies of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

Chief Of The South African Navy,
Vice Admiral Retief together with
Rear Admiral Louw, Flag Officer
Commanding - Naval Base
Simon's Town.

The Mayor Of Cape Town,
Alderman Gerald Morkel,
inspecting the Guard Of Honour
of the South African Navy.

The Mayor Of Cape Town declares the annual South African Navy Festival in Simon's Town open while Vice Admiral Retief looks on.

The colours of the South African Navy
are paraded in the main road of Simon's Town
as part of the right of entry.

The South African Navy Band leads the parade past the podium
where the Mayor Of Cape Town took the salute.

The guard of honour of
the South African Navy.

The contingent from
the Brazillian Navy.

The Uruguayan Navy march past.

The platoon of the Argentinian Navy.

Please Note : Due to an earlier undertaking given to Defence authorities in Pretoria in response to a directive from them, it is with great regret and despair that this website may not carry any material with regard to unclassified defence related communications and information or specific S.A. Navy matters. This issue has subsequently been taken up at many levels but without success or response to date. Attempts are currently being made to address the matter with the Office Of The State President as all interested parties locally are in favour of exposure and publicity of this mutually reliant relationship between the South African Navy and the community of Simon's Town and its official web site. Apologies to all those who wrote looking for information and thanks to all those writing to express their concern and disdain at the status quo. Let's hope sanity prevails in the long run...

Just Nuisance Remembered...
My daughter visited Simonstown in August 2000. I had asked her to see if anyone remembered the Great Dane that used too live there during the war. She told me about the statue and memorial plaque to Just Nuisance which I was delighted to hear about. She said that the lady at the Tourist Office had suggested I write my memories of the dog, so here they are...

Mr. Oliver Trier, Milford on Sea - Hampshire
c/o odile.trier@btinternet.com

I arrived aboard HMS Canton in Simon's Town late in 1940. I'm not sure when exactly, but we had left Greenock in Scotland on 13 October 1940. Our first stop was Freetown in West Africa. I believe we had been sent out to replace the armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Jervis Bay, that had been sunk by a German pocket battleship just previously. We must have arrived about Christmas time.

When berthed at Simon's Town, I remember getting leave to go ashore with the intention of visiting Cape Town for the day. I noticed this gigantic Great Dane getting aboard the train completely unattended. I also noticed that he always got aboard the first class carriages! Furthermore, if all the seats were occupied, it selected a seat, and with its head, pushed all the occupants off the seat on to the floor and then calmly climbed on and stretched out full length. None of the sailors were in the least upset - in fact it used to be a big laugh!

When the dog got off at Cape Town, it used to go around all the pubs (prior to the last train leaving) and bark at the sailors until they headed for the station in order to catch the 11pm train. I always wondered if you traced the owner? Also, where did he live and who fed him? (The dog, not the owner). I often saw the dog wandering about on the quayside too.

I remember staying at the home of Commander Wilson and his wife at their fruit farm at Paarl, he was in charge of routing the shipping from Simonstown. I wonder what happened to him?

"The Spirit Of Just Nuisance"
Monday 1 April 2002

One Of The Great Dane's Awaiting
Registration For The Parade
The annual Just Nuisance parade recently took place through the main street of Simon's Town in fine sunny weather with large crowds gathered at the Museum, Jubilee Square and along the route. Traffic was halted for the parade and many bemused motorists who were just 'passing through', got out of their vehicles to admire the Great Danes and take pictures.
The competitors arrived at the Museum from early afternoon and awaited judging in the Courtyard. The panel, Mrs. Audrey Read of the Simon's Town Historical Society, Mr. Malenza of Montego Dog Foods (a sponsor) and Mr. Dave Hurwitz of South Peninsula Tourism, deliberated long and hard, looking for winners in the "Just Nuisance Look-Alike", "Miss. Just Nuisance" and "Least-Like Just Nuisance (Male & Female)" categories.

"Ere, Listen Up Mate - What Ya Been Doin'
Since Last Year's Parade Then...?"

Some Of The Fine Great Dane's At
The Annual Just Nuisance Parade.

With the judging over, the parade formed up behind the South African Navy Band and 'marched' down to Jubilee Square led by a Great Dane and handler dressed in traditional Royal Naval rig from the period. At the square, the Master Of Ceremonies, Mr. Andrew Blake, gave the gathering a brief history of Able Seaman Just Nuisance (RN) before a wreath was laid at his stature by Mrs. Audrey Read of the Historical Society.

The Judges Hard At Work -
Decisions, Decisions...

The South African Navy Band Leads The Just Nuisance Parade Down
Simon's Town's Main Road En-Route To Jubilee Square.
The Beautiful Wreath Laid At The Statue Of
Able Seaman Just Nuisance (RN) In Jubilee Square.
Gratitude was expressed to the South African membership of the Ganges Association who were responsible for the restoration of Just Nuisance's grave at Klawer and its continued maintenance. The prize winners were then announced and proceedings ended with the Navy Band playing "All Things Bright And Beautiful". Some participants subsequently took up an offer of a free ride on the local Simon's Town Harbour Touring ferry "Spirit Of Just Nuisance". Thanks to the Simon's Town Museum who organised this annual event and to all of those who attended.

The Standard Bearer From The Ganges Association At The Statue Of Just Nuisance.

The winner of the "Least-Like Just Nuisance" Competition - Not Too Difficult To See Why....

The First Competitor Boards The "Spirit Of Just Nuisance" For His Trip Around Historical Simon's Town And The Naval Harbour.

Relaxing At The End Of A Long Afternoon - For A Dog Anyway...


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