Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Water scheme memorial

Very few locals would know that the Prince Alfred Guard Memorial forms the certral ornamental feature of Port Elizabeth's second oldest water reservoir.
In the early 1900's it was decided to supply water to Port Elizabeth from the Bulk and Sand Rivers and the St. George's Reservoir was constructed as a part of this scheme.  Excavation for the reservoir was commenced at the end of August 1906 and on 6 November 1907 the Treasurer-General, the Honourable Edgar H. Walton, turned the water into the new Service Reservoir on.  The two rnillion gallon reservoir is circular, 200 feet in diameter and the depth of the water is 10 feet 6 inches. 
This plague can be found at the back steps of the PAG Memorial.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Arc of the 30th Meridian

Someone once sent me an email asking if I've ever been to the trig beacon on Lovemore Heights along with all the information about the beacon.  I'd never even heard of it and decided to drive up there, coming up against a closed gate and filing it away for future exploration.  After I took up Geocaching I noticed that there was a cache hidden close to the trig beacon and grabbed the opportunity to try and find it again, this time with directions from one of the previous cache finders.  The trig beacon is just that, a trig beacon, so there isn't really something very interesting to see.  The story behind it is of a lot more interest though, but I can now finally tick this spot as visited.  

Map of AfricaThe beacon is one in a series of 26, which are the first set of historic astronomical stations measured in order to establish the groundwork of the Arc of the 30th Meridian. The Arc of the 30th Meridian is a set of triangulation measurements effectively creating an arc from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt through the entire African continent.  The purpose of the measurement was to determine the size and shape of the Earth.
This beacon represents the Southern most point of a chain of triangles Measured along the 30th meridian through Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and ending near Cairo in Egypt.
Prior to 1999 the beacon was also the origin of the geodetic survey of South Africa.
The project was initiated by Sir David Gill, the Astronomer Royal at the Cape in 1879 and the final measurements were completed in the Sudan 1954.
The arc, known as the Arc of the 30th Meridian, can be connected across the Mediterranean Sea through Crete and Belarus to a similar arc measured through Europe terminating at North Cape in Norway. The European arc is known as the Struve Arc and together these two arcs cover nearly 105ยบ in latitude which is over 11650 Km in length.

This plaque on the trig beacon was unveiled by the President of the Institute of Professional Land Surveyors of the Eastern Cape, Mr C J Bollaert-Davies, on 8 June 2004, 125 years after the initiation of the project and 50 years after the completion of measurements.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The PAG soldier

On the top of the central pedestal of the Prince Alfred Guard Memorial in St Georges Park is a life-size figure of a sergeant-major of Prince Alfred's Guard.  He is dressed in full uniform and is always standing at the ready to "charge".

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Celebrating 2000 posts

Today sees the 2000th post of Port Elizabeth Daily Photo.  PEDP first saw the light on 9 November 2007 under the penmanship of Sue and Max Hoppe, collectively known on here as SAM.  I discovered PEDP fairly early on and became a regular follower, trying to comment whenever I had a chance.  Sue and Max inspired me so much that I decided to even try my own hand at blogging.  The Firefly Photo Files was born.  In many ways that became a life changing moment for me. I was very surprised when I got an e-mail from Sue one day asking if I would be interested in taking over PEDP.  They were nearing 500 posts and felt that they needed a break.  I savoured the challenge, took over on 15 March 2009 and here I am, another 1500 posts later. 
Its been a roller coaster ride so far, mostly ups but every now and then I run out of inspiration, photos or time.  But that's never stopped me. What's a journey without a couple of bumps in the road anyway?  PEDP has become part of my life.  It has forced me to explore Port Elizabeth and its immediate surrounds even more than what I would have.  In doing so it also led me to many new places and back to ones I haven't been to in many years.
I often wish the blog would receive more comments and I wonder if its not just a waste of time.  Then I get an e-mail, a Facebook message or even a comment in person telling me how much somebody enjoys the blog, how certain pictures brought back memories or that they've seen something they never knew of and went to see or visit it.  That is what makes doing PEDP every day worth it.  
I have an absolute passion for Port Elizabeth and PEDP has become a record of places, things and memories to be found in and around Port Elizabeth.  Its one of the ways I can live out and share my passion.  A passion I hope would continue for another 2000 posts and beyond.       

Friday, April 26, 2013

Kings Beach silhouettes

Winter may be coming but for the past four days summer's been gracing us with her presence.  From the look of it she's also planning to hang around for the weekend.  Hey, I'm not complaining.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Penguin watching

Today is International Penguin Day and in celebration thereof I'm posting a pic of Drama Princess interacting with one of the African Penguin at SAMREC in Cape Recife.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Penguin pool

On Saturday I took Chaos Boy and 15, yes 15 of his friends to SAMREC for his 11th birthday party.  Eddie from SAMREC showed them around the centre and told them all about penguins, the ocean and why conservation is so important.  Here they're learning more about the birds in the penguin pool.  Thank goodness we got through the tour with nothing broken cause with this lot anything was possible.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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 the first time the other day while searching for a geocache in the area.  Its situated in a marshy section of the coastline and is fairly overgrown, but I'm glad I finally got to visit it as its been on my "to do" list for quite some time now.

The Oceanos set out from East London on her way to Durban on 3 August 1991.  She headed into 40-knot winds and 9 m (30 ft) swells.  At about 21:30 while off the Wild Coast, a muffled explosion was heard and the Oceanos lost her power following a leak in the engine room.  The ship's Chief Engineer reported to Captain Yiannis Avranas that water was entering the hull and flooding the generator room.  The generators were shut down because the rising water would have short circuited them. The ship was left adrift.  Realising the fate of the ship, the crew fled in panic.  No alarm was raised and passengers remained ignorant of the events taking place until they witnessed the first signs of flooding in the lower decks.  At this stage, eyewitness accounts reveal that many of the crew, including Captain Avranas, were already packed and ready to depart, seemingly unconcerned with the safety of the passengers.

Nearby vessels responded to the ship's SOS and were the first to provide assistance. The South African Navy along with the South African Air Force launched a seven-hour mission in which 16 helicopters were used to airlift the passengers and crew to nearby settlements.  All 571 people on board were saved with a group of entertainment staff, under the leadership of Moss Hills, organizing the orderly evacuation of passengers by the helicopters.  The shipwreck is possibly the most recent instance where women and children were given priority when loading the lifeboats.  The entertainers were the last of the passengers lifted off the ship. The information is courtesy of Wikipedia

Monday, April 22, 2013

Courtyard pump

The well in the courtyard at No 7 Castle Hill must truly be one of the highlights to kids visiting the museum.  Not because of the hole in the ground, but for the pump that gets the water out the hole. The date on the pump is 1849 which means its been in place for over 150 years already.  Rain water collects in the well from the roof and kids are encouraged to try it out.  According to Grizel Hart, the curator of the museum, when the water was switched off in the area a few years ago, it was the only water they had to fill the loo cistern with. That's what I call practical history.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunnyside Station

Geocaching is taking me to all kinds of places I haven't been to before.  And here I was thinking I've been everywhere. This specific Grannynasty cache took me a bit off the beaten track along a dirt road just west of the Van Stadens Bridge to the old Sunnyside Station, 29 1/2 miles from Port Elizabeth.  The station is on the narrow gauge railway line that runs from Port Elizabeth all the way to Avontuur in the Langkloof.  The line which used to be utilised by the Apple Express as well as freight and goods trains from the Langkloof and Gamtoos Valley isn't currently being used and is deteriorating due to floods and other natural elements as well as vandalism.  Very sad really.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Roadhouse Garage

The VW AutoPavilion is an absolute heaven for any car fanatic with some great Volkswagen related exhibits covering the whole history of VW.  Outside the front entrance of the museum is a roadhouse and garage that may take some people back in time a little bit.  But so will most of the exhibits inside the museum as well.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sell out crowd

The Southern Kings are back in town after their four match New Zealand and Australia Super Rugby away leg and on Saturday (20 April) evening takes on the three time champions Bulls in front of a sell out Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.  The picture was taken at their second home game against the Sharks which was also in front a sell out crowd. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Television crew at Cape Recife

I'm usually behind the camera taking pictures for my blogs or occasionally assisting visiting television crews with info about the city, but on Pasella's last visit I actually got to be in front of the camera as well.  Here the crew is filming the presenter asking questions at the Cape Recife Lighthouse before I got my turn to tell them more about the history of the lighthouse and surrounding area.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pasella shoot at SAMREC

Late last year the crew from SABC 2 magazine programme Pasella was in town to shoot a couple of inserts.  The one day was spent in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve where I was one of two guides taking them around showing off the coastline, history and plants in the reserve.  One of the stops was at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) where they were told more about the work the centre does with African Penguins.  Unfortunately the SABC has informed Pasella that the current, what used to be an open ended, series is coming to an end in May or June some time and it will only be back on air in November.  Due to this the Cape Recife programme didn't make it on air.  Well not yet as it may still get shown when the programme resumes again.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ironkids lifeguards

Except for yesterdays picture of the Ironman cyclists, I decided not to go into a long winded series of Ironman posts this year.  Not because I don't want to, but because I didn't do the media thing for Ironman this year and rather had family time.  Most of Saturday was spent at Ironkids with both of the KidZ taking part.  But that isn't what this post is about.  Rather, this post is dedicated to the lifeguards who assisted the kids so tirelessly throughout the afternoon.  

The kids started in waves of 20 with at least 10 lifeguards in the water with them at all times.  Ironkids isn't a competition for first place which means that a lot of the kids aren't necessarily good swimmers and do it for the experience.  With each wave you have 6 or 7 kids who are swim well and covers the distance comfortably while the others stick with the lifeguards who drag them along on their floating devices.  These lifeguards did an absolutely amazing job and didn't stop going for one second.  I take my hat off to them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ironman cycle leg

Durban has Comrades Marathon and Cape Town has the Two Oceans Marathon and the Argus Cycle Tour. Port Elizabeth has Ironman South Africa.  Sunday morning at sunrise about 1800 super athletes, over 500 of them internationals, lined up at Hobie Beach for the start of a grueling day of swimming, cycling and running.  The event starts with a 3,8km swim followed by a 180 cycle leg and topped off with a full 42,2km marathon.  Competitors have till 12 midnight, meaning 17 hours, to complete Ironman and the residents of the city comes out in force to support and assist them to try and do so.  This year I decided to avoid the traffic chaos to get to Hobie Beach for the swim and run, but rather parked myself next to Buffelsfontein Road for a couple of hours for the cycle leg.  The 180km consist of three 60km loops which means that I could sit and watch them pass me a couple of times.  Ironman is a huge event for the city and I hope it grows from strength to strength in future. Long live Ironman South Africa. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Forest road

Do you think this picture was taken somewhere in a forest in the Tsitsikamma or Hogsback? Nope, it was taken at the end of St Clair's Way on Lovemore Heights at Humble Ways Retreat.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

King proteas at Humble Ways

Strolling around Humble Ways on Lovemore Heights I noticed this bush of King Proteas.  The King Protea is South Africa's national flower and although the flowers on the bush are past their prime, they were still stunning. I kinda wish I had a bush like this in my garden.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Inside the bus

Towards the end of 2012 the city's Integrated Public Transport Service was finally ready to go operational and started running on the first routes to be implemented.  I got to go on one of Port Elizabeth's ITPS buses for the first time this week and just couldn't help snapping a pic of the inside of the bus. Wouldn't have tried it during peak hour with a full bus though.  Now if only the area I live in would be included on a route and I will use them every day.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Humble Ways south view

A Geocaching outing took me to yet another new spot in Port Elizabeth the other day.  Humble Ways Retreat is situated at the end of St Clair's Way on Lovemore Heights and owned by the Stucken family.  There were three caches hidden on the property so I took Chaos Boy on a nice leisurely stroll enjoying the views of the natural surrounds.  Although it was cloudy the views are still stunning, the one in the picture looking south across Lovemore Park towards the Indian Ocean.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

artEC shop

The artEC (EPSAC) Gallery in Central recently opened an art shop selling local art and craft.  Over the last couple of years the gallery has really seen a turnaround with new exhibitions happening just about every few weeks as well as workshops and other activities geared towards the local art community.  The new art shop just adds to their offering and I'm sure I heard a little birdie tell me that there could be a coffee shop opening there at some stage as well.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Queen Mary 2 visiting Port Elizabeth

Yesterday (Monday 8 April 2013) was a big day in the history of the Port Elizabeth Harbour.  Big being the operative word.  It was the day the the largest ocean liner ever built visited the city.  And one big ass ship she is.  The Queen Mary 2 entered the harbour at just after 7am for the day with passengers going on excursions around the city and out to Addo Elephant National Park and other nearby game reserves.  I was fortunate that working in the tourism industry meant that I had business with ship passengers and I could get quay side to get a close up outside view. 

The RMS Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner.  She was named in 2004 and was the first major ocean liner built since Queen Elizabeth 2  (1969), the vessel she succeeded as flagship of the Cunard Line.  With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 from active duty in 2008, the Queen Mary 2 became the only transatlantic ocean liner in line service between Southampton and New York.  The ship is also used for cruising, including an annual world cruise which she is on now.

At the time of her construction in 2003, Queen Mary 2 was the longest, widest, and tallest passenger ship ever built, and with her gross tonnage of 148,528 also the largest.  Although later cruise ships are larger, Queen Mary 2 remains the largest ocean liner (as opposed to cruise ship) ever built.
I got the info for this post from Wikipedia.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ready, aim, pretend to fire

The South African Airforce Museum truly is one of Port Elizabeth's most under rated museums. Its so much more than just another museum. In addition to their fantastic collection of planes and other memorabilia, they have also started to introduce more interactive components to their displays. One is a gun torrent which kids just love to try out.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

John Shelton Park

In the suburb or Humewood is a park called John Shelton Park with a stone pillar with marble plaque on it and everything.  Problem is that the plaque only says "John Shelton Park" and doesn't say who John Shelton was. I'm curious but haven't found anything on the internet yet.  The search continues.

Edited on 08/04/2013 - And Grant Slater comes to the rescue - "John Shelton, Director of Parks for Port Elizabeth, who had earlier helped with the planning and construction of Maynardville, to design and build the Mannville Open Air Theatre in St. George's Park." - Shakespeare in Southern Africa: Journal of the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa, Volume 13

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Bird Rock and Lovers Lane

Bird Rock is a well known landmark between Hobie Beach and Pollok Beach, named so because there are always gulls and cormorants sitting on it.  The paved road and parking area is called lovers lane.  No need to explain that really.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Jellyfish at Fence

The surf spot at Kings Beach next to the harbour wall is called fence.  Apparently years ago when there wasn't as much sand against the wall the place used to cook as a surf spot.  Today its but a shadow of its former self.  So where does the name come from?  There was a big fence that ran along the harbour wall to stop the fishermen getting up onto the wall from the beach to go fishing.  The fence was about 200 meters from the wall but it didn't stop the surfers from catching the big waves closer to the wall.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Kings Beach lake

The new development at Kings Beach has made a big difference to the area and when the work that is still ongoing is done it will really be a place to be proud of.  Not that it isn't already. The centre piece of the development is the new lake and I would love to see people bring model boats to sail here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beachfront boardwalk

The walkway along the beachfront from Pollok Beach towards Pine Lodge is known as the Humpback Dolphin Trail.  The walkway is made of recycled plastic and takes in the stunning coastal views of the Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay coastline.  The beacon in the picture is one of two that was used by ships in the early days as navigation beacons when entering Algoa Bay.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kings Beach Panorama

I've been looking at old posts and dates and realised its been just over four years since I took over Port Elizabeth Daily Photo from Sue and Max. WOW, I can't believe that I've been at it for four years already.  I also noticed that in a couple of weeks PEDP is coming up to 2000 posts of which by then I would have done 1500.  But I'll wait for the actual occasion to get all soppy and emotional.  Not just quite yet.
A week ago I posted a picture of Kings Beach from the harbour wall and even though it only got two comments the actual picture got shared around Facebook by quite a few people.  Now if only that many people would see the post on the blog and then comment on it. Today's picture is a panorama of Kings Beach and was also taken from the Port Elizabeth Harbour wall side looking south.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spider lily

A couple of years ago I posted on The Firefly Photo Files about the Spider Lilies I have in a pot at home (here and here).  I was very surprised to find a lot of Spider Lilies in flower next to the big fish pond in St Georges Park when I walked through there the other day.  Was quite impressed to see them in flower seeing that mine flowered about a month or so ago already.