It is hard to believe that the first Portuguese shipwreck off South Africa’s east coast occurred almost half a millennium ago. This was the sinking of the large and richly laden Portuguese ship, the Sao Joao, off Port Edward in 1552. Barely two years later a second shipwreck took place, that of the Sao Bento at the Msikaba River mouth, about mid-way between Port St Johns and Port Edward.

In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie reveals the discovery of a wonderful piece of maritime heritage in the Eastern Cape. The article was first published on the Brand South Africa website on 10 July 2013. Click here to view more of Davie's writing.

It’s not often that a historically valuable item washes ashore at Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. But on a lazy Sunday in mid-February this year, an octant appeared on the beach.

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