Another photographic triumph

Back out to the lagoon in search of a repeat performance from yesterday’s whales.

Sadly, they didn’t show up today. However, we did spot a Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), which was a first for me. Small wins.

This guy isn’t a Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus). He’s a White-Breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus). Fairly common on the coast here.
But it takes a special sort of talent to catch him like this:

Perfect timing. Just lovely.
I thank you.

No egrets

Quick walk on the beach this afternoon, which yielded some shots of humpback whales playing off the back of the point here in Cape Agulhas. Wow.
Maybe more of that tomorrow: I’ll certainly be out there looking again. But in the meantime, here’s a pic from the way back to the cottage:

And I’m fine with sharing this instead of a whale shot.

I egret nothing.

Local art

Yay. We’re heading down to Agulhas this week for the first time in a while. Looking forward to a bit of a break and some sea air. More from there when it happens. But also, I was reminded this morning of a local shop there which caters to the more… mmm… Afrikaans end of the tourist market.
What do I mean by that? I mean lots of Bible verses, lots of crosses, lots of every sort of item made from MDF and with an Afrikaans saying on them.

It’s like Live, Laugh, Love on steroids.

As jy weet, jy weet.

Amongst that is a selection of art, possibly done by the owner of the shop, we think? Now, I’m really not one to poke fun at other people’s creativity, so I’m going to just give three quick T&Cs for the rest of this blog post.
Firstly, you might not agree with my opinions on this. It’s not microbiology, after all. And indeed, this might be art that you like. And that’s fine.
Secondly, you put your stuff out there, you open it up for people to look at, judge and critique. Which I am doing.
And thirdly, it’s very difficult to not look at some of the stuff on offer and not giggle a bit. Because, well…

OK. I’m just going to limit it to two photos. Let’s be fair. Here’s the first:

That one is going for R850 and it’s entitled “You Gave Me Back My Joy”.

Presumably, this title is directed to the plastic surgery team. And guessing that we’re looking at the lady in question post surgical intervention, one can only imagine that it must have been a really bad accident and a tough job if this final outcome brings her joy. I’m guessing that the initial impact came from her right, and comprehensively stoved that side of her head in (as they say up in Newcastle).

Still, it’s great that she’s happy again, despite having to have a skin-coloured strut holding that side of the back of her head on for the rest of her life.

But of course, reconstructive surgery isn’t the only way of bringing joy.

Should you find yourself looking like a crossdressing Mick Jagger whilst in a strange, grey wasteland, then leapfrogging a young child whose head seems to be amongst some really, really tiny chickens, is clearly good for gettin’ you satisfaction.

And, in the unlikely event that you don’t have a surgical team or a young child nearby, you could always twiddle your nipple with your left hand, while giving a Nazi salute with your right… er… claw.

This last one is niche. Very niche. But it’s been depicted so perfectly clearly here that I really can’t imagine that the artist was trying to show us anything else. And presumably, someone will wander into the shop, spot this painting and think:

“It’s so me. I simply HAVE to have it.”

(But in Afrikaans.)

These images were taken a few months ago. But I’m very tempted to (carefully, now I’ve written this), pop back in and see if these have been sold (but if so, to whom?!?), and also see what other delights have been created in the intervening period.

Please watch out for my report over the coming days.

More research needed

Here’s an interesting article about the recent (last 10 years) chaotic weather that has hit Cape Town.

Its writing was precipitated (no pun intended) (or was it?!?) ostensibly by the storms that hit in April, after the storms that hit in September, after the drought that hit a few years back.

And since it was published, we’ve had more extreme weather. 200mm of rain falling onto Cape Agulhas last week, rendering that road – and many more – undrivable again.

Look, this is the Cape of Storms, as referenced in the article. But climate change should be making Cape Town drier, but these extreme events aren’t related to the cold fronts that bring the winter rain to our region. These are the cut-off lows (see 6000 miles… passim) which can occur at any time of year – and they appear to have been occurring quite a lot recently.

They’re nothing new. The Laingsberg Flood of January 1981 was due to a cut-off low.

But are there more cut-off lows than previously, or are we just more aware of them? Are these handful of floods just an unfortunate series of severe weather events, or is this what we must be planning for in the future?

Sadly, n just doesn’t equal enough to give us a definitive answer.

As it says, we now need some more information, but given the toll of these floods: whether it being people cut off, having property damaged, livestock drowning or whatever, we need it soon, please.

First lit 175 years ago

Happy 175th Birthday to this old place:

A sandstone tower 27 metres high, it was first lit on the 1st of March 1849, it’s been lighting the way around the dangerous Cape Agulhas rocks ever since (well, it took a bit of time out between 1968 and 1988, but we don’t mention that). From burning sheep tail fat (1849 -1905) to an oil lantern (1905 – 1929) to a petroleum vapour burner (1929 – 1936) to an electric light bulb (1936 – [1968 & 1988 – shhhh!] to the present day), it’s a National Monument, a Western Cape Heritage Site and an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.


And as the sun sets in Agulhas this evening, it’ll be on duty again: its lamp and first order Fresnel lens generating 7,500,000 candela, flashing white every five seconds, piercing the darkness for 30 nautical miles (56 km, 35 miles).

Happy Birthday, old chap.