“The sight of Table Mountain pulls you to nature, you want to be a part of it.”
As the crew of Hōkūleʻa prepares for departure from Cape Town, the Leg 16 crew retraced the route of many (including our own Leg 15 crew, Hawaiʻi Cape Town Delegation, and the Dry Dock crew) in visiting Table Mountain, the most recognized landmark in the Cape Town area.
Truly one of the natural wonders of the world, the name given to the mountain by the Khoi, the ancestral people of the region, “Hoerikwaggo” means “Mountain of the Sea.” A centurion of the seas, Table Mountain towers over the mixing currents of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Just off the coast at the Cape of Good Hope, the cold Benguela current from the Atlantic Ocean converges with the warm tropical Agulhas current creating an unparalleled, rich marine ecosystem. Table Mountain is also home to an incredible diversity of endemic species including the Cape Floral Kingdom. The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of the worldʻs six plant kingdoms, but it is the richest for it size with over 8500 distinct species, many of which grow nowhere else (just like our home Hawaiʻi, which is also known for its unique species and biodiversity). The top of the mountain is glazed with beautiful rocks and plant life. This granite and sandstone plateau, was formed and shaped by the greatest powers on earth – volcanic and glacial action – 520 million years ago. It is six times older than the Himalayas and one of the world’s oldest mountains; in comparison, our majestic Mauna Kea is the youngest of the world’s mountains.
This Mountain of the Sea also looked over Nelson Mandela as the freedom fighter was imprisoned on Robben Island, a powerful reminder to him that freedom stands strong. Similarly, as Hōkūleʻa and her crew prepare to continue our sail around the world to care for, protect and celebrate the inspiration of our Island Earth, we float under the protective watch of Hoerikwaggo, comforted by its strength and resilience.