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Number 6 : June 2004


1. Rare sea creature found

Photographs by Annatjie Krügel

Many people have one of the fragile shells of the paper nautilus in their possession. But finding a live female in her shell is a rare occurrence, even for scientists. Then, in May, this perfect specimen was found in a rock pool at Kleinbaai near Gansbaai.

The paper nautilus is in fact the species Argonauta argo, the largest and most common member of the family Argonautidae. It is closely related to octopuses and squids, but only very distantly to the pearly nautilus ...


Birding Route for Overberg

The Overberg, home to an amazing variety of bird species, is to get its own Birding Route to encourage avi-tourism in the area. This exciting project by Birdlife Overberg will include the training of members of local previously disadvantaged communities as bird guides.


2. Greyton celebrates 150

In the late 1960’s, Greyton with all its natural surrounding beauty, seemed to be dying. The years, like wrinkles on a face, were written all over its charming cottages and commerce. But, Greyton was only hibernating before awakening with new life. ...


3. One hack of a party

Friday evening, 7 May, a group of 17 people, armed with axes, bow-saws and indigenous trees, arrived on the farm Sandberg near Elim. Not criminals or skivvies, but learned people from all over the world, responding to an invitation from Gerhard van Deventer, Manager of Sandberg Fynbos Reserve Trust and his partner Dr William Stafford to join them in a weekend alien hacking party. ...


4. Geese called in the bay

The geese of “Goose Bay” still came down to the harbour area long after their original goose pond was filled in. But apparently they haven’t been seen there for the past five or so years.

The very first years of Gansbaai’s history are shrouded in a mist.


5. Of Strandveld ghosts & legends

Is it coincidence that the farm Helderfontein changed hands eight times in 20 years? Or that the once prosperous settlement has since disappeared from the landscape? Could there be a Strandveld ghost involved?


7. Messages came with a flash and a boom!

One after the other fire beacons are lit and the flashing lights are accompanied by a thunderous noise. Soldiers are called up to defend the West... this could describe a scene out of “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”, but it actually happened in the Overberg in 1795 and again in 1806!

The Dutch call-up gun system could be viewed as South Africa’s first telecommunications network. With a network of cannon and fire beacons...


11. Our vexing Chacma neighbours

Chacma baboons have been living in the Western Cape for about a million years. European settlers arrived only 350 years ago. The first conflict between the two parties was recorded soon afterwards, and conflict remains wherever the two live next to each other...


And much more:

A simple cure for many ailments

The volcano at Napier that never erupted

How to make your garden flourish

Why are people prepared to pay more for wine than for beer?

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Female Paper Nautilus, Argonauta argo. © Annatjie Krügel

The female Paper Nautilus, Argonauta argo. A living specimen is seldom found

Old thatched house, Gansbaai

The first people who settled at the present Gansbaai just over a century ago were fishermen who built their simple homes close to the sea – page 4

Aerial photo of old Gansbaai

For the record: After publication of the article on Gansbaai, Mr Koos Groenewald identified the locations of landmarks on the old aerial photograph as shown above

Historic signal canon, Riviersonderend

The muzzle-loading experts at the restored signal canon at Riviersonderend

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