Of Diamonds and Pearls
Caching in Paarl is not complete without a visit to the top of this famous rock. The name of the town Paarl and a farm on the south side (Pêrel Diamant) describe these rocks when they are glistening with the winter rains.
Historywebs documents the origin of the name Paarl as follows: In October 1657 a group of Dutch officials, soldiers, servants and trackers left Table Bay to barter stock from the Khoikhoi. In his journal Pieter Potter refers to Paarl Mountain as "den Diamandt ende Peerlbergh". This was the first documented reference to the name Paarl, meaning pearl.
According to Mrs Pooks it is Paarl Rock that is the "diamond" that shines due to surface water in winter. Gordon and Bretagne are the pearls in the equation.
This cache is placed on what we call the “ketting rots” (chain rock) as there is a chain to assist visitors to get to the top. This rock is officially called Bretagne. The large one on North side is Gordon rock. According to my brother one can walk to the top of Gordon rock as well, so I will investigate and might place a cache there sometime in the future. When you stand at the parking area and look towards Paarl you can see Paarl rock - it has a white post/beacon on it.
The walk to the top of the rock is not difficult at all and can be achieved by young and old alike. The view from the top is stunning. The cache is not in a dangerous spot at all - no need to go abseiling or anything.
I don’t think the hide will be too tricky, but then again I don’t want you to end up going all the way there and not finding it, so I will provide some hints. In order that you cannot just do the lazy thing and hit the decrypt button, the hints are provided here. You will have to decrypt them manually. Let me know how many hints you used to find the cache.
1. va pyrsg nobhg guvegl z orlbaq ornpba
2. pnpur pbagnvare vf dhvgr urnil
3. va obhyqre nobhg sbegl ol guvegl pz
Thanks Tom&sons for help with placing the cache. In the front page of the logbook you will find the rest of this URL http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/lombardm/ for pictures of the project.
These formations were formed by molten rock intrusion into the earth's mantle. This occured far below the surface. The molten material cooled down slowly which allowed the individual minerals (feldspar, quartz and mica) to crystallise. Compare this to volcanic rock which is normally glassy in appearance due to rapid cooling and little crystallization. Thousands of metres of earth has been eroded away to expose these rocks.
Mrs Pook's family have been in the granite business for more than a century. Her great grandfather left Cornwall for South Africa towards the end of the 19th century and first worked at the Higgo quarry in Cape Town (where Higgo's Hole cache is placed), before starting his own business in Paarl in 1906. Paarl had a vibrant granite industry at the time, supplying stone for buildings and roadworks in Cape Town. Some examples are Standard Bank, the Natural Mutual Life building in Church Square (currently the Cultural History museum) and many of the building in St Georges Mall. His first big contract was the supply of granite for the Rhode's Memorial (where Asthma, Diamonds and Politics cache is placed). They still operate a quarry on the family farm which you pass on the way to the Paarl mountain reserve.
PS: We were too preoccupied when placing the cache to take pictures, so it is up to future finders to add.
20090122: It's seems as if folks are put off from visiting this cache by the difficulty and terrain rating. Do not fear! The walk up the rock is a popular and famous feature that we have done since we were small children. It is not steep at all, takes about 15 minutes to get to the top. I would rate it a 1.5 star terrain. The cache itself is not tricky to get to - if you face south from the beacon, go around the left of the crack in front of you. Even if you don't do the cache, this is still a worthwhile scenic point.
20090126: There is an entry fee payable to enter the reserve (I think R20 per car and R6 per person - I will confirm the details). I never really noticed as I either came here by bike or in the week, when the gate is not always manned. (Thanks capedoc for the reminder)
20090304: Upped the D/T a smidgen
20100411: Inserted photos in listing