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SOUTH AFRICA TABLET 11: The Reiger, Dromedaris and Goede Hoop arrive at Table Bay

by TimeTraveler

The weather continued favourable, and the vessels seldom parted company.

On the 20th of January 1652 they were off the Cape Verde islands, and the commander summoned the council again.

The skippers met, and decided that as there was no sickness on board any of the vessels they would continue the voyage without calling.

From this time until the 29th of March nothing of any note occured.

Then, for the third time during the passage, the council assembled on board the Dromedaris.

The probable latitude and longitude they were in was first determined by the very simple method of striking the mean between their different calculations, and they then resolved to use every exertion to reach 34° 20' S., after which they would direct their course eastward to the Cape.

On the 5th of April, aout the fifth glass of the afternoon watch, the chief mate of the Dromedaris caught sight of Table Mountain rising above the eastern horizon, and won the reward of sixteen shillings which had been promised to the first who should discover land.

A gun was at once fired and the flags were hoisted to make the fact known to the crews of the Reiger and Goede Hoop, which vessels were some distance to leeward.

During the night the little fleet drew in close to the land, somewhat to the southward of the entrance to Table Bay.

The 6th opened with calm weather, and as the vessels lay idle on the sea, a boat was sent in advance with the bookkeeper Adam Hulster and the mate Arend van Ieveren, who had orders to peer cautiously round the Lion's rump, and report if any ships were at anchor.

About two hours before dark the boat returned with the welcome intelligence that the bay was empty, and, as a breeze sprang up just then, the Dromedaris and Goede Hoop stood in, and shortly after sunset dropped their anchors in five fathoms of water, off the mouth of the Fresh river.

The Reiger remained outside all night, but early next morning she came running in before a light breeze, and at eight o'clock dropped anchor close to her consorts.

And so, after a passage of one hundred and four days from Texel, on the morning of Sunday the 7th of April 1652 Mr. VAn Riebeek and his party looked upon the site of their future home.

Reference: History and Ethnography of Africa South of the Zambesi by George McCall Theal.


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