A level 9 storm!

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A level 9 storm was forecast.

We knew it was coming.

Yet, we still hoped it would somehow miss us.

You never know with these cut-off low systems. They are unpredictable. I asked ChatGPT for a layman’s description of a cut-off low weather system – see below.

I was at a horse show with my family. Sunday morning started out with dramatic skies and beautiful light. 

The clouds grew darker. First a few drops of passing rain, some lightning and thunder in the distance hills. 


Then it pelted down and did not stop. It didn’t stop until Monday night. 

Some classes of the show were cancelled. Prize giving was postponed.

Bedraggled riders, horses and parents packed up and headed home. 

Meanwhile, I was seeing reports of the Kalk Bay harbour wall taking a pounding from huge waves.

The rain continued throughout the night causing loss of life and widespread destruction across the Western Cape.

It was the end of a long weekend. Travellers were stranded with bridges washed away and homes flooded.

I was grateful we were back home safely.

Early Monday morning I headed out in the pouring rain.

Arriving in Kalk Bay I saw some massive waves engulfing the harbour wall.

With the rain still coming down I opted to wait it out. I had a particular location in mind to use to shoot these waves. 

I watched while enjoying some coffee at Salt overlooking the harbour.

Then the rain eased and I headed out.

Unbeknown to me, a fellow photographer was also capturing the action from a different vantage point. 

Mike Wrankmore photographed this wave soon after I reached my vantage point.

Can you see me in the photo? That’s me sheltering against the inside lighthouse shooting the wave from up close.

My photograph is below taken at almost the exact same time. I entered this image into an online photo competition and it won gold! Whoopwhoop. I love that the ocean offers so much. 

I’ve received comments on social media questioning if I was safe at the time. Or questioning my sanity. 🙂

I assure you I was safe.

I have the deepest respect for the ocean. I grew up in Kalk Bay. I know the harbour well. I checked the conditions and I was comfortable it was safe for me to be where I was.

I had my camera wrapped in a towel for protection. Very important. 🙂

I love the energy of wild seas. 

A gallery of a few more moody images from that morning.

Till next time.



P.S. This is what ChatGPT says about a cut-off low-pressure system:

“A cut-off low is like a “weather island.” Imagine a low-pressure system (like a storm) that gets stuck, isolated from the usual flow of air. It just sits there, spinning and bringing unpredictable weather. It’s like an island because it’s cut off from the weather “mainland,” causing uncertain and sometimes unusual conditions in one area for an extended period.”

Further to this, Cape Town’s rain in winter comes mainly from low-pressure systems moving from the west to the east.

These systems move fairly quickly across the Cape and then into the Indian Ocean.

A cut-off low is similar in that it brings rain and wind. Except it doesn’t move fast and tends to hover in the same place for a long period.

All the time it is dumping rain and generating wild winds.