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Report - Orient Pier, South Africa March 2016

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by Pest, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    If this report doesn't meet the standards, feel free to take it down.

    Explored with a non-member on a dismal day. There was an abandoned supertube on the same grounds which was our original target, as our contact had explained that there was a weak spot in the perimeter fence. But when we arrived there, the fence had been repaired. :( Not wanting to go home defeated, we switched to our secondary target, the Orient Pier. Access was pretty much easy, despite attempts to try and close off the entrance of the pier. :rolleyes The only thing left on the pier that actually works is the Southern Pier Light, therefore the only people allowed access to the pier are the technicians for the lighthouse. From the pier the old gun battery on Signal Hill is also visible, something I tried but failed to get close to once. :( We were at the far end of the pier when a loud beep distracted us. I thought it was the customs coming for us, until I realised that it was the foghorn on the North Pier going off. :gay

    On with the history.

    The pier was built in the 1800's (Exact date unknown.), but at that time it was just simply known as the Southern Pier. In 1907, the Russian wheat carrying sailboat S.S. Orient ran aground after being battered by East London's notorious coastal weather. Attempts were made to try and free the vessel but they all failed. After the towline parted, the hulk was abandoned, and there it eventually broke up. The jagged wreck can still be during low tide on a calm day, and an orange buoy now marks the wreck site. After the incident, the pier was renamed Orient Pier, as well as the beach that was located next door. The pools on the opposite side are often erroneously referred to as the Orient Pools, while actually the pools are located near site of the wreck of the SS Quanza, a steam powered passenger carrier (A vessel smaller than an ocean liner) that grounded here in 1927, ironically 20 years after the Orient. The beacon on the South Pier was erected in 1903, 4 years before the Orient ran aground. It was replaced in the 1950's with the current structure, and at the same time, the light on the North Pier was also replaced with a similar tower. Until recently, both towers carried fog signals, but the South Tower Horn was removed after vandals ransacked the place. The North Tower didn't carry a fog signal until 1986, when the Lighthouse Board replaced the ear-splitting Chance Brothers Type-F compressed air Diaphone Foghorn at Hood Point Lighthouse with an automatic ELG 500 electric emitter type Foghorn mounted on the North Tower. This fog signal continues to operate and is connected to a fog detector/fog sensor. The pier was a hive of fishermen until the very late 80's, when the port warned the fishermen that if they don't clean up after themselves, they will be banned from the pier. They didn't listen, and the pier was closed. Plans to re-open the pier were shelved after vandalism became a problem. The North Pier was once open too, but they closed it for the very same two reasons they closed the South Pier for. The South Pier was briefly re-opened on April 10 2015, when East London's famous landmark grain elevator was imploded that cloudless morning. At current it remains closed. Talks about demolishing the pier and ripping up the beach to extend the harbour came to nothing after they realized that the pier and the pools next door were a major tourist hub.

    On with the photographs...

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    Quarterway down the pier.
    The buildings on the extreme right are part of the adjacent yacht club and are not part of the pier. The anchor from either the wreck of the Orient or the Quanza is on display in the public garden on the lawn.

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    The interior of the only building on the pier.


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    There is nothing really on the pier itself to see except the pier lighthouse, one ruined building and few busted street lamps; but the views are breath-taking. This is a shot of the No 6 Quay SouthEast Corner Beacon, which is sort of shaped like a pyrotechnic rocket. I might get closer to it when I visit the MV Logos Hope when she arrives in port in May.


    [​IMG]


    Looking towards the West Bank. The Buffalo River South Bank Beacon is slightly visible.

    Also visible is the Mercedes Benz and Daimler Chrysler Plant. This is the beating heart of the city. If this factory closes up shop and moves back to Germany; this city will become a ghost town. And the bad news is, the factory is already making plans to pull out due to the economic crisis in this country caused by corruption.

    Just ignore that phrase. :D

    Also in this photo we were looking towards the site of the old former grain elevator, which was imploded last year in April.

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    Castle Point Range Lights. I managed to snap a shot of the rear light as it blinked on. The front light is fixed. Both lights appear to be a series of 6-8 round bulbs. You can clearly see the site of the old grain elevator annex gantry on the far right of the photograph. If we had
    been caught, we would have been sent to jail for loitering; but unlike the airport; people are allowed to photograph the harbour, as there is no security risks on the docks: no fuel tanks, no weapons stores; just a bunch of old silos and a few small cranes. But still, just being on the pier is a criminal offence. To the left of the front light are the fuel unloading nozzles, which are filtered out and squirt large streams of water out to prevent the pipes from getting hot after each discharge. They were spraying water a few minutes before this picture was taken, as the Singaporean tanker Kowie had just departed. A short while later, another tanker, the British Evony, entered port. That was the vessel the tug was heading out for, as the pilot boat Southern Tern departed to bring in the tanker before we reached the far end of the pier; so we had no worry of being spotted by the pilot boat crew.

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    Speaking of which....

    The M.V. Kowie departing.


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    The granary complex. They say that the actual grain elevator is still standing, and that it is located inside the large concrete tower in the center of the photograph. From the top of that tower, you can see the whole city. Unfortunately, to gain access to the complex; you need to get past a customs checkpoint, as most of the West Bank is surrounded by palisade fencing and thick thorn bushes to keep the whores and the stowaways out of the port. To the left is the old Hammerhead Crane used to move tetrapods around the North Pier, Aka the Breakwater. This diesel powered rail-running crane replaced a much larger steam powered crane of similar design in 1979. This crane has been painted in many colors since its erection: from grey to blue, to orange, to turquoise and to its current white scheme. It has therefore being nicknamed, the Rainbow Crane. :gay

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    My friend spotted a tug coming our way. We were worried that the crew was going to see us. We decided to carry on with the photographs, and only run if the tug crew were to physically warn us to leave the pier.


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    Ignoring the tug's presence, we continued with our photoshoot. This is the South Pier Light, which was recently restored after the last attempt to seal off the pier's entrance.

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    The New Zealand made Vega VRB-25 LED Rotating Beacon mounted at the top, giving a quick flash reflected by the panels of the slow rotating lens unit. I was tempted to climb up the tower, but the external ladder only went halfway up the tower, and I wasn't tall enough to reach the lowest hand iron. My exploring partner suggested giving me a boost; but with that tug close by; I didn't want to risk getting spotted on the top of the tower; as the tug captain would immediately radio the port authorities that there are a couple of vandals on top the South Pier Light; and then every customs officer (Of which my uncle is one of them) would be swarming the pier. My partner then rather absent-mindedly suggested that we jump into the sea if we get spotted. But if we jump off the portside, we might get skewered by the wreck of the Orient, and if we jump off the starboard side, we would practically be inside the harbour itself, and the Water Wing would be there in no time to pick us up. Besides, none of us could swim, so we shelved the idea. I tried to see if the tower door was unlocked, no luck, so we moved on.

    [​IMG]

    A close-up view of the New Zealand-made Vega VRB-25 Rotating Lantern, complete with Bird Spikes to keep the Seagulls, Cormorants, and the Pigeons living inside the Grain Elevator off the rotating unit.


    [​IMG]

    A closer look at the Castle Point Front Range Light, with the Castle Point Rear Range Light slightly out of the photograph frame to the right. Also visible are the Fuel Loading Nozzles on the Quay, and that bit of sand on the far left is all that's left of the once rather large former West Bank Beach; which was mostly ripped up to make way for the Turning Basin, Fuel Unloading Quay, and the Granary, which itself is visible far left. The small section of this once popular beach is only visible from the pier. The only other legal way to see and photograph it is if you are on a boat heading into the harbour. This pier offers some of the best views of the harbour, and many photograph opportunities as well. This photo was taken at the far end of the pier. Then.......


    [​IMG]

    .......That darn tug shows up and spoils the show; and not by photobombing our shot! :rolleyes

    I knew that if that tugboat crew saw us, we will never get to explore again. But, as it is, you're a lot safer as a jailbird than a free man! :D

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    Fortunately, the tug didn't see us. I shot this photo of the North Pier Root Beacon...


    [​IMG]


    Then a beeping noise went off. I thought it was the tug coming back to get us! Thankfully, it was just the foghorn on the North Pier Lighthouse that went off. It did that about three times, but with a lack of mist, something must have set it off.


    [​IMG]


    Worrying that the tug might have seen us, I told my partner that it was time to haul arse out of there! I Snapped this photo of a weird looking hut on the North Pier before retreating back to the beach.


    Some parting shots while running back towards the entrance.

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    The M.V. British Evony preparing to enter the port.

    Some more parting shots.

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    Arriving back at the beach, we decided to get away from the area in case the Customs come looking for us. It was a darn shame we couldn't do the supertube. Maybe next time. :( But the views from the pier were stunning. I just wish that the weather played ball.
     
    mw0sec, Mr Sam, jsp77 and 1 other person like this.

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  2. Lavino

    Lavino 28ÐŁ ƦEGUŁλƦ U$EƦ
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    Good write up @Pest sounds like you had a good time there.
     
  3. stranton

    stranton subterranean explorer
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    looks a nice & well kept harbour,
    liking the lighthouses. :thumb
     
  4. hamtagger

    hamtagger 28DL Regular User
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    Sort of looks like holiday snaps from skegness or something :confused:
     
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  5. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    There used to be a power station here too once, but it was heavily vandalized after closure by all the pikeys and chavs living in the West Bank area. For safety reasons, it was imploded in 1991.
     
  6. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    I enjoyed it mate. If it weren't for that tug, we would have stayed longer.
     
  7. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    I wouldn't try this on a vacation. I wouldn't want to spend my holiday in the 'big house'. ;) I ran back to the beach after spotting that tug coming our way.
     
  8. The Wombat

    The Wombat Mr Wombat
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    And I thought England was dark, grey, cloudy and depressing...

    Good effort mate :thumb
     
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  9. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    Well i can honestly say that"s the best report you"ve ever done on 28 :thumb You"ve really excelled yourself this time, well done. especially with all the efoort & obvious risk involved

    Some of the long standing Members reckon that report standards are dropping on the Forum o_O This is surely proof of how wrong they are . Indeed I can see this being nominated for entry into the "Noteworthy Reports" section
     
    #9 ACID- REFLUX, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
    Pest and hamtagger like this.
  10. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    Thanks mate. :) It's quite a dismal place here where I live. Not just weather-wise; people-wise as well. Pikeys and Chavs are full up around here. I wanted to take my partner's tripod with, but with the danger of it being nabbed by pikeys and that it would be easy to see from passing boats, we left it behind. I'm not quite done with the coastal area yet: plenty of ruins left to find and explore. I just need proper contacts, transportation, and a lot of free time.
     
  11. Pest

    Pest Read comics and sleep all day, = no worries
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    Thanks a plenty mate. :) I've been dying to get out and explore, but with me attending college, the security risks, lack of proper transport, and lack of places to do has kept me back. My next target is the old naval base near the port entrance, as it is on public grounds away from the actual harbour. But, there is a manned guard tower directly opposite it, and that is a risk itself. But its location on public ground, and the number of possible alternate entrances visible from the road make it a good target. The only other issue is if there is anything to see inside. The harbour itself is also full of abandoned WW1 and inter-war structures, mostly old air-raid shelters, but according to my grandfather who worked on the docks in the early 60's, these shelters are not like those you see in England. The only shelter worth looking at is near the second entrance to the harbour, but it is in use as a storage shed. There is also confirmed rumors of a vast underground tunnel network that runs from beneath the State's Warehouse, right underneath the wharves, under the East Bank, and into Signal Hill. The problem here is, the secret entrance is inside the State's Warehouse, off limits to the public even during the harbour open days; and the entrance itself is well camouflaged; although veteran dock workers have a hunch as to where it is. Up the road is an old abandoned hotel, but I'm frightened that there might be pikeys living inside there. There is also the Keffier Flour Mills in town, but despite appearing to have been vacated, the gate is open in the day and the exterior lights appear to work. But once I overcome most of the obstacles in my way, I might get some more explores under my belt. I'm glad that I finally got a report worthy of being posted on here. It was a losing battle for a long time.
     
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