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Monday, August 3, 2009

Storm at Langebaan

I have been asked about the storm that I have mentioned in the previous posting. We have a great storm or two on the West Coast virtually every year, and they often make the national news. They are so much worse because they happen in winter. Bartholomeu Diaz named this coast Cabo des Tormentos in 1488 and the name Cape of Storms has remained. Many ships on their way to the east have been wrecked along this coast and you will find books and a lot on the Internet about these wrecks.

Shortly after we have built our own home next to the sea (and incidentally close to where the British Peer was wrecked in 1896,) there were heavy threatening clouds early one evening and I could see enormous waves that seemed very close. Then it broke loose with thunder and extreme wind. My husband had no visibility to drive home and had to sit out the storm elsewhere. Then there was a power failure too and it was darker than dark while the heavens just opened and heavy rains pelted down. The water started streaming in underneath previously untested doors, as I suddenly realised that my husband would not know his way through a dark new house. This is how he found me hours later: with doberman Kyla on top of the highest sofa , the floor full of little tea candles to warn against the large dams of water everywhere inside.

Last month the waves were as big as 9 meters high. The storm which battered the coast was caused by spring tide backed by strong winds with the speed of 100kph. Properties in Langebaan took quite a beating and water was seen two streets up from the beach, while roofs were plucked off and barges wrecked. These small boats seem only to have lost their anchors but they are quite a distance from where they should be. Of course, just look at the calm, calm waters, who would say a storm like that can even happen here?


  1. A Lovely painting mixed with history and a climps into what life is like living on the tip of South Africa. Althought the storm must have been very scary - the little tea lights all over the floor sounded very romantic! : )

  2. This painting is lovely Marie. Did you do it plein air? And how innovative about the tea lights!

  3. More of a surprise was myself and doberman on top of a riempiesbank in the dark with these tiny lights. To imagine the scene you must also realise that I have only absentee neighbours! There I was in a strange spot in the middle of nowhere, a dog more scared than myself, nature at it's most ferocious and no other candles burning in the street! To answer Maree's question: I sketch, make notes, take photos and then compose and finish the painting in my studio. Thank you for these comments.

  4. Wonderful warm, saturated colors in this one Marie! Nice job!


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