Skip to Content

Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
islandseeker
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:20 pm

Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby islandseeker » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:33 pm

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

User avatar
Micetta
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 9549
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:56 pm
Location: CH - Lugano

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby Micetta » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:42 pm

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:

User avatar
Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1904
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:52 pm

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!
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

islandseeker
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:20 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby islandseeker » Sun Sep 19, 2010 6:58 am

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

andre w
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby andre w » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:35 am

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

bizan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:42 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby bizan » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:49 pm

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

Jan J-Bay
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:09 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby Jan J-Bay » Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:37 pm

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!

bizan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:42 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby bizan » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:16 pm

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.

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14488
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby Imberbe » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:45 am

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?
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
Josh of the Bushveld
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1904
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 2:15 pm
Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:33 am

Glad all made it safely.
The 'mite formerly known as joshilewis

FGASA Level 1 Guide

Glen Reenen TR

15-18 June: Berg-en-dal

andre w
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby andre w » Tue Oct 12, 2010 8:50 pm

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

bizan
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:42 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby bizan » Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:00 am

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

andre w
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Crossing the Bloukrans outside of low tide in a neap tide.

Unread postby andre w » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:32 pm

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


Return to “Garden Route Parks”