Yanty, a friend from Indonesia, asked me today if the legend of the Flying Dutchman was an integral part of our history?

This was after having read the article on Cape Point, the funicular being called the Flying Dutchman.


Yes, an integral part of our history as the first mention of the Flying Dutchman appears to be specifically about a ship that sank off the Cape of Good Hope:


For those who perished on that ship the Cape Of Good Hope is anything but that!

Bartolomeau Dias was not too enamoured about this cape either!

Cabo das Tormentas he called it, or “Cape of Storms”.

John II of Portugal thought it best to give it a more positive spin so he called it Cabo da Boa Esperanca, “Cape of Good Hope”.

More chance of sailors manning his ships to open up the trade and spice route if it sounded full of promise!

Doing some research for this article I rediscovered the great triviality that Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are not the same rocks!

I forget now the actual separation of the rocky points but when you sip the chilled white wine at the Two Oceans restaurant at Cape Point I am sure someone will have enthusiastically pointed out the difference.

Somewhere deep in the dark abysses of my lost memory is the fragment of a real life image that makes these rocks fairly close to each other.

I think it is a few hundred metres … ?

It is not fair, my father who is ninety-three can still recite obscure poetry that he learnt in primary school!

So how did I forget something as fundamental as the two separate capes?

At which one is that rock where one can have a foot in the warm Indian Ocean and the other in the cold Atlantic Ocean?

Worse still, my wife says that I forget everything, which is mostly true.

When she sends me to the shop I have to go with a list. It does not always work of course as sometimes I forget to take the list.

An even greater irony is that I helped her with her geography in high school, so now how can I be forgetting geography!?

When I go off on a business trip to Mossel Bay, on the eastern end of the South Coast of South Africa, she thinks I am in Saldanha Bay, up the west coast of South Africa!

And vice-a-versa!

We have lots of squirrels here in Cape Town and oak trees.

One day she sent me to pick up a parcel, somewhere in Newlands.

You go here and there and up and around and so on, and when you get to the green gate with the oak tree and the squirrel running on the top of the gate you will be at the right place!

The problem was that I could not remember if she had said green or blue … I did find a blue gate, and there was something like an oak tree by it, well maybe; however – the squirrel was missing …

Coming back to the Cape Of Good Hope, when you are sipping your chilled white wine at the Two Oceans restaurant you need to look over to the south west … at most a few hundred metres down and across … well, perhaps a few  more still … and the furthest rocks that reach into the ocean there are the Cape Of Good Hope.

Down below you to the left is Cape Point.

So where do the oceans split in two?

Which ever fantasy you prefer will be well worth it, down and across to your right, the south west or down below to your left, the south east, either one will be closer to reality than a squirrel on a blue, no green, cannot remember which colour gate …

Copyright © 2015 G. Rigotti



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