Enjoy Langebaan with me for the next few weeks, the tiny town on the banks of the large Langebaan Lagoon, a calm spell of water 17 km long, ± 4 km wide. Langebaan in the early 20th century was mainly a whaling station, until, of course, man belatedly changed his ways. Slowly, but ever so slowly, the whales, now protected and appreciated, are returning and we have spotted a few along the West Coast for the last couple of years, and a great thrill it was!
Langebaan Lagoon is part of the protected area of the West Coast National Park and offers excellent sailing conditions as it is protected from the deep sea!! If you approach it from the reserve side by a roundabout road, you will see small boats, some with a very lived-on look, just hanging there on anchor, quietly absorbing the gentle movement of the water. Hey, who said that there was nowhere to hide? Occasionaly, one of these small boats may rig a sail and glide around for a bit to join the large luxury yachts on the bay, or even go out and brave the wild old ocean.......
That brings us right up to the very popular sporty side of Langebaan! An energetic crowd of wind-surfers and kite-surfers form a beehive of activity on the beach. They unload their magnificent, very expensive and colourful equipment, shining with logos and brand names. Dressed in head-to-toe diving gear, they take confident strides into those perfect waves, and just go! I have stood here quite a few times to admire the sunset, and can assure you, some of these people will be on their boards until the very last bit of light has disappeared. By then they are possibly ravishingly hungry and ready for the many pleasant informal eateries!
Watching those fearsome waves on a normal day, I can easily imagine what they must have been like during the recent ‘Mother of All Storms’! There lies a lot of seaweed on the beach, having been thrown right up to the line of the first row of houses. Nestling on the pieces of kelp, there are a few forlorn-looking boats, heaved there by the waves, heavy anchors and all. I painted this little guy, undamaged but far from where it should be, patiently waiting for an owner to reclaim it. In this picture the fishing harbour and the lagoon are situated south, to the left , and the open sea is north, to the right.