Marine Drive along the Port Elizabeth beachfront and the Wildside all the way out to Schoenmakerskop probably has some of the best scenery in PE. Sea views, a rugged coastline, gullies to enjoy with kids, fishing spots, coastal fynbos, shipwrecks, whales and dolphins, hiking trails, nature reserves, picnic spots, camp sites, tons of photo opportunities and so much more.
Fishing off the rocks on the Wild Side near Willows
A patch of yellow flowers along the Sacramento Trail at Schoenmakerskop
Last night I got to go to a function at the Noordhoek Skiboat Club for the first time. It’s hidden away on the coastline just below Marine Drive on the Wildside and consist of a nice big bar / restaurant space and an outside undercover braai area, all overlooking the coastline. Actually a very nice spot for a party with a stunning view of the ocean up to the Cape Recife lighthouse in the distance.
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 lifeboats floated south-west along the ocean currents with one of them washing up on the coastline at Schoenmakerskop. It landed up on the rocks in a marshy area on the eastern side of the village and has become fairly overgrown over the years.
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
One of the things that Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Bay is very proud of and which gets promoted by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism often is that the metro has 40 kilometers of beautiful white sandy beaches ideal for swimming, long walks and building sand castles. But what is in between because the metro has about an eighty kilometer stretch of coastline from Van Stadens River mouth to Sundays River Mouth when you exclude the area covered in dolosse between the harbour and just short of Swartkops? A rugged coastline roughly from Cape Recife to Maitland (with the exception of the Sardinia Bay area) via Willows and Schoenies known as the Wildside. The Wildside is ideal for hiking, fishing, exploring between the rocks with the kids, swimming in rock pools, snorkeling in gullies, picnics between the boulders, sunbathing away from the beach crowds and so much more. A stunning coastline to enjoy and be proud of.