Like many old artefacts there is a story behind the story and so does the Sacramento canon also have a back story.
This canon was on the deck of the Portuguese galleon Sacramento when it ran aground on 30 June 1647 off the coast of Port Elizabeth – for those of you who do not know Jan van Riebeeck only arrived in 1652 in the Cape of Good Hope so five years prior to old Jan setting foot ashore at the Cape of Good Hope.
What caused the disaster and how many people were aboard the Sacramento is unknown, but 72 made it to shore. After 10 days the group decided to walk from Port Elizabeth to Maputo – which is about 1 300 km away by the way – from where they planned to get a ship to Europe. It must have been hostile and wild country back then so an easy walk it was not! A mere 9 persons survived to reach Maputo (then Lourenco Marques) on 5 January 1648. Now I am wondering did they really know how far Maputo was or were they just sort of taking a guess or maybe started walking and just hoped for the best outcome possible?
The canon weighing in at 2 500 kg was manufactured in Macao, China and cast by the Bacarro family foundry. The bronze canon was only salvaged 330 years later in 1977 and the detail is still in pristine condition.
How do you get such a heavy canon salvaged from tons of sand in the ocean floor? If anyone knows the story to this, please share it in the comments section. I would really like to know.
The canon overlooks a few rock pools and the sea and a bench provide a space to sit and contemplate or watch the dolphins frolic just behind the white of the waves.
If you are planning to do the nearby hike, make sure you take enough water and some sun protection for the round trip of 8 kilometers. You can read more on sun wise tips at The African sun is not for sissies