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 Post subject: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:20 pm
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Hello;

We are starting the trail on the 1st October 2010 – anyone else on this forum planning on setting off on that date?

I need some advice regarding the Bloukrans crossing:

We will hit the Bloukrans on 3 October, which corresponds to a neap tide (I.e high tide is not that high and low tide is not very low – little difference between high and low). Unfortunately the low tides occur at 6:30am and 7pm (ish). So getting to the river for morning low tide is not an option and hitting the evening low tide will have us crossing in the gloom with night approaching. This means if we want to cross the river (and we do), we can either do it on a rising tide just before lunch and close to high tide, or on a falling tide (around 5pm) approaching low tide.

I realise none of these are ideal, but are they possible, and if so would it be safer to cross with the current coming in or going out (I would have thought coming in).

Any advice welcome – perhaps I am just kidding myself and we should be taking the escape route….

Cheers

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:42 pm 
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Hi Islandseeker and welcome to the forums!!

Did you have a look here? or here? There are many threads that talk about the Otter Trail in the forum where you have posted :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:52 pm 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Best bet might be to aim to hit it as close to 6h30 as possible, and at that time if possible. It might be a major hassle and pain, but less pain than being swept out to sea etc. There have been a few reports of guys leaving exceedingly early in the morning to make early morning low tides.
Best of luck and enjoy!

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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:58 am 
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Thanks for the responses guys;

I have indeed perused all the other posts on the site, unfortunately I didnt see any advice regarding crossing at high tide - all the prevailing wisdom is understandably to do the crossing at low tide. We would need to leave at midnight to get there for the morning low, or cross at dusk to catch a low, neither of which are very practical.

The neap high is not as high as normal high tides and I was hoping someone might have experience at crossing on a high neap tide.

Cheers

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:35 am 
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Hi Mark,
We've done the Otter mid July 2010 - see some of my posts on it, if you wish.

First - just check again about when low tide really is when you cross the Bloukrantz:
1. If you start on 1 October as you say, you'll be crossing the Bloukrantz on 4/10 and not 3/10 - making a difference.
2. Low tide - per my "source" (and they were spot-on when we crossed on 22/7/10) on 4/10/10 will be 07:15 and sunrise @ 06:02. Our low tide (.65 metre level) was 07:55 and sunrise only at 07:28 - we left Oakhurst at 04:00 and got to the river way past 07:55 - due to reasons mentioned in my in my other posts, got there at only 10:15 and the last one of our group of 9, crossed at 11:09 (1.06 metre level) - 3 hours and 14 minutes after low tide - the crossing went great.
So, you gonna be just fine - I'm sure.
Enjoy your hike - magical!!!
Regards
Andrè


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:49 pm 
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We will be crossing a day later, starting the trail on 2 October, so low tide is at about 08h00.
Plan A is to to have a leisurely start and do everything in daylight. If the sea is reasonably calm we plan to swim through at 16h00, with the help of some rope and survival bags.
Plan B kicks in if the sea is rough, in which case we take the escape route at about midday.
Hope all goes well with you and that we don't meet on the route. :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:37 pm 
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Hi Bizan & Andrew,

If it was me, I would not take the change to cross that river at any time other than an hour before to an hour after low tide (+ - 10 min :wink: ). And more, when the tide turns from high to low, there will be extra dangerous currents to the open sea, not worth the trouble. Enjoy the most wonderfull first part of the walk (which a lot of hikers miss because they're in a hurry for the Bloukrans), and then suffer out the steep escape route where an park official can pick you up and drop you near the overnight hut. Do not let the River spoil your day... Best is to talk and arrange it on arrival with one of the kind and helpful officials at the Otter trail center.

Enjoy! I'm doing it again 2nd Jan next year and can't wait!


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:16 pm 
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Well we crossed the Bloukrans at mid-tide. We first tried to get a swimmer across at 2 hours past high tide, but he could not reach point A against the incoming waves. We then waited another hour and waded chest-deep through at the indicated high-tide route. We then had to work our way along the rocks to the point where the route D, marked as "Dangerous", crossed the ridge. It wasn't too difficult to traverse, but by then the sun was setting and the last hiker only reached Andre hut at 21h30.
In my opinion an emergency hut should be erected near the Bloukrans mouth for these situations. Day 4 is just too long for the average 50+ hiker.
One of our party took the escape route and was promptly and efficiently transported by the ranger to the drop-off point near Andre hut.


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:45 am 
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bizan wrote:
One of our party took the escape route and was promptly and efficiently transported by the ranger to the drop-off point near Andre hut.


That should then perhaps be the recommended option, should one find one self in a situation as you did?

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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:33 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Glad all made it safely.

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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm
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Bizan,
Glad you managed the crossing safely and that you're back "in one piece".
I'm sure you enjoyed the rest of the hike as well - what about some more feedback? - always nice to hear other's experiences - apart from the Bloukrantz crossing - there's so much more to the trail.
We are doing it again (DV) from 3 December and already looking forward to it - this time around sunrise is just after 05:00 and low tide at 10:00 - perfect - now we'll be able to do the section to the Bloukrantz in daylight.
Regards
Andrè


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:42 pm
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Andre,
After reading this article:
http://www.dieburger.com/Buite/Nuus/Dra ... 20101011-2
I decided not to write about how tough I found the Otter to be ! :D
Suffice to say that the trail is very dry. At Nqubu hut there was not enough water to flush the toilet for 9 people, and on the whole of day 4 there was no drinkable water along the route. A major problem is developing for that part of the world, with the holiday season approaching, if it does not rain soon.
The road from Natures Valley to Plet is closed due to repairs and traffic is diverted back towards Storms River before joining the N2.
Regards


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 Post subject: Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm
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Bizan,
I read the article - interesting - for athletes that is.
I'm not an athlete either, so I prefer the loooong and dragged out way of doing the Otter - much more pleasant and we enjoy EVERY step of the way - for us, THAT"S what it's about - but each one to his own as the saying goes.
Regards
Andrè


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