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Shark Rock Pier Virtual Cache

Hidden : 08/24/2017
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:

The Shark Rock Pier is An iconic feature of the Port Elizabeth beachfront. Any visitor to our beautiful city finds themselves compelled to take a walk to the end of this pier.

In order to log this cache, you will need to take 2 pictures.

1, at the GZ of your caching name written on your finger, or a piece of paper, Or a newspaper showing the date, or your GPS showing the date, or movie, or plane ticket showing the date, with the beachfront in the background.

2, Your caching name written in the sand on the beach next to the pier. (letters need to be at least one meter high. The bigger the better) Then take a picture of your caching name with the pier in the background.

Including yourself in the pics is desirable, but optional.

The most prominent feature on Port Elizabeth's shoreline besides the harbours, Shark Rock Pier is the only pier in the city.

Located between Hobie Beach and the Red Windmill the pier is at the very centre of the Port Elizabeth beachfront and is a major landmark and drawcard.

The building of the pier was actually responsible for the creation of Hobie Beach as it is to-day by impeding the tidal drift of sand northwards and causing it to build up. A double benefit to the city.

The pier gives a sweeping view of the Humewood in the west, and Summerstrand to the east.

There is no admission fee for entering the pier but fishing from the pier is not permitted. For swimmers there are freshwater showers at the pier entrance for cleaning off sand.

The pier is popular with Scuba divers and in particular with newcomers to the sport. With an average depth of 4 metres around structure it makes for safe diving for those who have had professional training.

A short history of the Shark Rock Pier:

In the mid 1980’s the City of Port Elizabeth commissioned engineers to conduct an investigation into beach erosion of the Southern Beaches. This led to the subsequent design of the proposed Shark Rock Pier and submerged groyne to contain the natural beaches sand loss and consequent exposure of underlying cobbles and bedrock at times.

The sand erosion problem was most noticeable in the summer months with the strong South Easterly winds causing all the sand to be washed off the beaches.

It can be clearly seen from this view how the sand has built up along the eastern side of the pier creating the lovely beach we enjoy today.

The 136 metre long pier, which was designed for construction by incremental launching, facilitated construction access, and provides access for barrier elevation adjustment and as a public promenade. The groyne comprises precast concrete panels between the column bases of the pier. The height of this barrier can be adjusted by adding or removing units from the barrier through slots in the deck. This permitted control of the rate of beach build-up during construction and minimisation of impact on the down-drift coastline. In this way the final design beach profile could be trimmed to obtain an optimum balance between sufficient sand build-up on the beach and control of wind-blown sand on the dry back beach.

Construction started in 1988, took 17 months and was completed in 1990. The groyne has functioned well, and largely accreted as predicted.

The idea behind building Shark Rock Pier was to promote tourism by creating a pier for the public to walk along which would give a scenic view of the city. At night time the view of the city and the sea is spectacular .

Snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts now explore the many small reefs scattered just a short swim from the pier which makes for an enjoyable shore entry. Yellow-bellied rock cod, rays, sandsharks and catfish have been spotted amongst the large sea fans and corals on these pockets of reef.

Shark Rock Pier is on the Northern limits of Hobie Beach – as it is popularly know. The official name of this beach is Shark Rock Beach and only picked up the name Hobie Beach in the 1970’s when Hobie Cat sailing became very popular and this was the beach that they launched from.

Interesting bit of info on the name Shark Rock. It's actually a total misnomer. The rocky outcrop known as Shark Rock upon which the pier was built was so named after the Shark River that empties into the sea at Humewood Beach. However - it isn't actually the Shark river at all. It was the Sark river, so named by the Dutch. The English then somehow bastardised it into Shark instead of Sark...and Shark it stayed.

Development along this stretch of beach started in 1976, with the construction of Katie's Walk - which is the pathway built along the shore in this area, and still stands today as the walkway running in front of Barneys all along the beachfront up to Pipe. Part of building the walkway was the construction of the wall along the shoreline. This had the effect of destroying the small sand dunes that used to replenish the adjacent beaches.

Hobie beach as it was in 1940, these bathers are sitting at the base of what is now the pier.

The plan for the pier was to capture sand on the beach to cover what had become a really rocky stretch as seen in this pic before the pier construction.

This is a pic taken just before the pier was built

The pier is famous for really spectacular firework displays. There is usually a firework display during the easter weekend, and again on the 16thDecember to celebrate the opening of the festive season.

The pier is the best vantage point from where to View the start of the annual Iromman event which takes place every year in April

Enjoy the views of this stylish pier from various points along the shore and the views of the city and the bay from the pier itself.

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Picture credits:-

  1. Nelson Mandela Tourism
  2. Peter Schwartz
  3. Dean Cothill
  4. Raggy Charters
  5. Graham Chrich

Historical refrences:-

  1. Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism
  5. MYPE News
  7. Wikivillage

Virtual Reward - 2017/2018

This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.

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