Situated at the junction of two of earth's most contrasting water masses - the cold Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast , the Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Geographically, however, the Indian Ocean joins the Atlantic Ocean at Cape Agulhas.
The discovery of Cape of Good Hope — a geographic location with one of the most romantic names in the world — is due to Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias. At the end of the 15th century Portugal was literally obsessed with discovering the seaway to India sending one expedition after another. In 1487 this task was entrusted to Dias.
His voyage, as well as his predecessors', was filled with adventures, shooting incidents with local tribes, and threats of mutiny from his crew. Dias ended up sailing only around Africa thinking that if one continues to sail forward, he would arrive to India sooner or later. After coming to this logical conclusion he turned around, and on his way home in May of 1488 he landed at what he thought was the southernmost point of Africa.
The debarkation was not easy — the storm almost wrecked their ship on the cliffs. As a result, Dias named this place "Cape of Storms" and returned to Portugal with peace of mind. But the King Juan the Second thought that the name was too shortsighted: who would want to discover India through such obstacles? So he changed the name to the Cape of Good Hope envisioning that the sea route to India would be well travelled one day. The expedition, led by famous Vasco da Gama, became a success. By the way, he owes his fame to this voyage as it made him the first European who sailed to India. On July 8th, year 1497 the expedition made a grand exit out of the Port of Lisbon and by November of the same year sailed around the Cape of Storms, or to be precise, the Cape of Good Hope. Needless to say that the storms continuing for days and days made it very difficult and caused a damage beyond repair to one of the vessels...
However, the heroic deeds of the explorers were not in vain, as now humanity possesses not only the sea route from Europe to India but also an outstanding tourist "attraction".