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Hout Bay to Sandy Bay Nek

Leader: Stephen Tooke 9 May 2016 Hout Bay to Sandy Bay Nek

Neither forward nor back seemed possible, all due to the meet leader’s lack of foresight. A helicopter rescue seemed inevitable. And where were we? Back at the start of our hike, where the empty carpark of the early morning was now a throng, and where our cars were so parked in that it appeared that only an airlift would extract them.

The rest of this meet went more or less to plan. Six of us set off round the front of the Sentinel on Sunday 8 May. Scrambling, boulder-hopping and exposure had been promised and were almost immediately encountered. But in less than an hour we were at Duiker Island, where the MV Calypso had already arrived with a ferry-load of seal-watchers. We too watched the seals for a little while – and noticed also how years of poaching have strewn the rocks here with shucked perlemoen shells.

The Calypso turned back towards Hout Bay and we set off again, towards the Brako (meaning of this name, anyone?). This, the most remote and attractive section of the traverse, is also the most demanding, with deeply incised gully-crossings, alarming descents and climbs. At one point the aid of a fixed length of doubtful rope is offered. Would-be climbers here were invited first to sign the indemnity form again; somehow this led to all choosing the walk-around. Soon the difficulties were at an end and there was no longer any danger of us being cut off by the tide. We could relax, and tea on a shelf of granite allowed us to enjoy the views down the peninsula. Another half-hour took us round the headland to the stranded BOS400. The path from here has received recent attention and the walking eased considerably. We stopped briefly in a little patch of forest before climbing up to the rocket house and the track home. Advertised at 7-8 hours, we completed this hike in six. Fit bunch.

Oh yes, our cars. With a little patience and the help of a parking attendant we got them out.

Stephen Tooke


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