Cape Town Storm Photos 30 – 31 August 2008 : Kalk Bay Pictures

All these pics link to large versions

So on Saturday talk began to circulate that we were in for a big bout of stormage. Around 2pm some big winds kicked up and a couple of whales parked themselves in front of the harbour and began energetically waving their tales in the air whilst behind them the palm trees on the main road waved back.

From then on it was gale force northwesters and intermittent downpours until Sunday Morning. As usual with big swells, the waves only arrived from the Atlantic 24 hours later – Monday morning, which is when things really kicked off on the shoreline.

The Harbour wall seen from my house in Gatesville Road

Two of the restaurants down at the harbour were damaged in the early hours of Monday – Polana had its seafacing windows smashed out and frames buckled by relentless waves, and the Harbour House upstairs had part of its roof (about five metres above the rocks) give way to the explosive uppercuts.

Around low tide

I went down to Kalk Bay reef around low tide at 10am to see if anyone was crazy enough to try and surf it, but there was no one out, and you couldn’t actually see where the reef was. Massive lines of eight foot swells were closing out from the Brass Bell down to Dalebrook Pool. Down towards St James the waves seemed to be breaking about a kilometre out to sea, and arcing round to form the Muizenberg back line which must have been even further out than that. Quite a spectacular sight.

Polana and Harbour House damage

At the harbour Polana was mopping up, although the owner conceded that it was probably a wasted effort, with high tide at 4 and bigger swells yet forecasted.

The harbour wall from behind Polana

At this stage it was around mid-day and massive walls of water were already smashing into the harbour wall creating explosive displays that cleared all traffic from the jetty. A few fisherman exchanged tense words and secured their boat moorings in anticipation of worse to come in the afternoon.

The harbour wall from behind Polana

Around 3.30 I went back to the rocks outside the harbour restaurants to find a large crowd of photographers.

The harbour wall from behind Polana

Huge cauldrons of white water were engulfing the building with every set. The Polana windows were still out and hundreds of litres of sea water were being pushed into the restaurant with every swell.

The harbour wall from behind Polana

The harbour wall from behind Polana

Upstairs, Harbour House had managed to clean up enough to open the restaurant and even had a few tables of diners (not at window seats) sitting down to meals in the midst of this display.

The harbour wall from behind Polana

I rode the bike over Boyes Drive with my friend Justin to Muizenberg. Rush hour commuters lined the road waiting for buses as the train service had been suspended along the False Bay coastline. At St James you could see why – huge swells dousing the lines and splashing all the way up to the electric lines. Back at Kalk Bay about 10 surfers and bodyboarders had made it out, some of them using the giant backwash waves to accelerate their paddle out.

The Bell gets a soaking

The Brass Bell was being periodically engulfed by white water. Back over at the harbour we could see a few nutters on sea kayaks riding the 10-12 foot break off the harbour wall that was still launching devastating attacks on the restaurants.

Kids playing on the peer

As I made my way home squadrons of private emergency vehicles swarmed towards Cape to Cuba and the harbour, although the guys on the Kayaks looked like they were in good shape and it wasn’t clear who was being being rescued or whether anybody actually needed to be.

Kids playing on the peer

This morning the railway line remained conspicuously silent. The sea looks much calmer but there’s still a decent sized wave off the harbour.

22 Responses to “Cape Town Storm Photos 30 – 31 August 2008 : Kalk Bay Pictures”

  1. What incredible photos!

  2. Great pics… KB harbour gets whacked quite often but I have not seen the shops / restaurants getting it before.

  3. nice release…release

    I was in sea point on weekend watchin’ traffic try its luck at riding through exploding waves and splattering foam – just like those kids behind the lighthouse in your pics – you wonder “are they brave are just plain stupid.”

    question – the second image from the top – how many photos stitched together?
    and are you on CS3 now ?

  4. @ninjabot

    thanks dude, actually its a crop not a stitch, i took it from my desk looking out my orifice window :) and yes I have CS3.. why, is Joanne not forthcoming with the software upgrades there? do you have a enough mice to go round these days or is the sysadmin still organising cake sales?

  5. Your orifice has an excellent view.

    Awesome, especially that second pic.

  6. Check out for pics from inside the restaurant

  7. What magnificent pictures!
    Is’nt today’s technology just amazing. I’m looking at these pictures all the way here in the Unites States. Here we are, watching the US coast lines for Gustav & Ivan to hit and nobody pays any attention to the African coast lines.

    I was born and raised in Cape Town and I know all about the Cape of Storms, but this was one BIG!! one.

    Thanks for keeping us up to date.
    Good job guys.

  8. Thanks to the baglett blogspot we were able to see our son in one of the pics. We are in Australia.

  9. Wow

    great pictures

    I have my offices in Saint James, 10 minutes away from Polana and Harbour House, and hang out there a lot of the time.

    These pictures are a great reminder of how powerful nature can be, congrats on being there at the right time.

  10. Thanks for the incredible pics! and fond memories of my old hunting ground!

  11. wow tanx this is awsum stuff for my geog project

  12. hey there…Im lookin for pics showing the destruction of the Kalk Bay jetty / harbour wall in 2005 – 2007 ?

  13. Sorry, I didn’t photograph those Kalk Bay Storms. Looks like we might have some nice new ones headed our way in the new future though.

  14. I became astonished my phone was able to see this specific post, stunning work.

  15. was involved in the rescue of the 2 guys that got washed off by the light house.they had a great photo in the sunday times (think it was sunday times)and cant seem to get a coppy of it.any clue how i could or any im i uk and would love to show my folks…

  16. Hi Julian, not sure.. contact Sunday Times maybe? I can send you a large one of these if you like.

  17. Incredible sea storm pictures. Incredible storm.

  18. Hi Julian. I find your post quite interesting. From 1995-1997 we lived in Kalk Bay opposite the harbour. One Sunday evening two guys and a girl were knocked off the harbour wall – she swam out and reached the Brass Bell Restaurant area (Opposite the station) while her boyfriend (who also made it out) returned to save a friend. Sadly both males perished and due to the violence of the storm were only recovered three weeks later miles away from the harbour. It was published in the Sunday Times (front page with colour picture) and that article I do have. Obviously a much earlier incident than what you refer to here.

  19. Oh yes- meant say… great piccies. I also have a number from our time there (we still had analogue camera’s with 35mm film back then)and thus not as clear as those posted here. Very well done!

  20. […] mentioned the "Brass Bell Restaurant -Kalk Bay" and research revealed that these were taken in August 2008. For more on this also view Cape Town Storm […]

  21. Can’t believe I stumbled onto these pics! I know one of those “kids” that got washed off the pier. Stupid or Brave??? Good question. I know he would not consider doing it again! Thank God for kayaks.

  22. […] Point- More photos of the Sea Point area, after the storm had struck (thanks to Stormy seas and giant waves at Kalk Bay- Zoopy video of wave damage at Kalk Bay's Polana and Harbour House […]

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