Wild waves of winter

One of the best reasons to live in Kommetjie is the proximity to wild winter seas! There’s nothing like the roar of the Atlantic rollers to lull you to sleep – I find the night-time silence away from the coast to be quite eerie until I remember that it’s the sound of the sea that I am missing. After a few false starts, the high pressure systems seem to have finally moved north so that the ever-present cold fronts in the Southern Ocean can push higher and catch us with their tail ends. A good few days of substantial rain are forecast, and with the first day meeting expectations, I am hopeful that the rest will follow. Not wanting to complain, but grateful that we only get the tail end of these massive anti-cyclones which would thrash us into oblivion if the main body ever reached us. The last time one edged too close was in 1984 and the coastal destruction was awe-inspiring.

Today the reefs around Kommetjie are making themselves known, with gigantic swells peaking and thundering down in a rage of white water. The falling waves are bottle green rather than the pale peppermint of summer and this lends a sense of immense strength to this most powerful force of nature, somehow. Dark grey skies contrast beautifully with the greens and greys of the tossing seas, ineffably superior to the bland, smooth blues of sunny days and seas blown flat by strong southeast winds. The westerlies whip up stormy seas so beloved of seascape artists of old, possibly many of whom painted their scenes of destruction and shipwrecks on the hearsay of survivors, although to be fair the ships of old were mere boats compared to the behemoths that ply the sea lanes today.

As an artist who dares to try and capture the movement of the sea on canvas, gazing from my studio window at the subject of my works serves to remind me that we mere mortals can only hope to capture the essence of such power and, like endeavouring to retain the glow of a sunset, must always submit to Nature’s superiority!

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