The Benguela Current flows up the West Coast from the Southern Ocean. It is icy cold. The Cape Peninsula directs most of the flow away from False Bay. Water circulating in the bay is bracing, but much warmer than the West Coast
and the Southern Coast. The Bay was named ‘False’ because it was a trap. When ships sailed around the Southern tip of Africa with cargo from the West Indies to Europe they knew they had to round Cape Point before turning North. Otherwise they ran the risk of being confined to False Bay by the prevailing winds, till the beginning of Winter, when winds moved from South East to North West. This would take them around Cape Point. But then they would face headwinds all the way up the West Coast. This was clearly not good.

Geography, geology, fauna, flora and people (there are some real characters) together make False Bay a treasure.

False Bay was so named because it looks so good in calm weather but is battered by South Easter winds in Summer. This prevented sailing ships from making their way around Cape Point and up the West Coast of Afrique. And it is a real bay. There is something good about sitting on a beach and seeing a range of mountains on the horizon.

False Bay is my watercolour project for 2023. From the Light at Cape Hangklip to Cape Point.

And again this year I have included the work in a calendar which is currently on sale.

The Calendar

I have created a calendar again this year – for 2024

The Calendars are ready for distribution.  Drop me a comment or an email if you would you like to order a calendar.

A3 calendar – R300.
A4 calendar – R250

The Watercolours

watercolour of a rocky coast

Puddle Rock

Here is my latest view of Puddle Rock.  The watercolour is 880 x 1110 mm.  I think this will be a good cover for a 2024 calendar

watercolour of a beach

Hangklip from Moonlight Bay

Hangklip from Moonlight Bay with a storm brewing

Hangklip is the outcrop of Table Mountain Sandstone standing as sentinel on the eastern entrance to False Bay.

The dunes on Moonlight Bay, between Hangklip and the Hangklip lighthouse just behind where this view is taken) are covered in metalasia muricata and other fynbos plants.

watercolour of a stormy day

Looking from Pringle Bay to Rooiels

Looking across Pringle Bay, towards Rooiels, the rounded peak in the middle distance.

There are regions of intense folding in the Table Mountain Sandstone seen in the area. The contorted quartzites in the foreground are a great example of this.

Apparently the tip of the continent was depressed at some point fracturing in long East-West faults. The layers of sediment slid down between the faults, folding against to opposite wall. Then the tip of the continent was elevated, reversing the faults to expose the folds.

Something like that

Watercolour of a rocky beach

Evening at Caves Beach – Kogel Bay

Caves Beach at Kogelbaai in the Winter

This section of coast in False Bay is pounded by swells in the Winter storms. It is quite dramatic. It seems the swells come up unhindered from the Southern Ocean to smash into the stretch of coast.

The waves strip the beach of sand. And the massive boulders in the foreground are rolled around.

When Summer returns, currents in False Bay return the beach sand, scrubbed clean for another beach season.

watercolour of a beach

Bikini Beach

Bikini Beach in Gordons Bay

Looking from the Harbour Breakwater towards Nuns Pool. Cape Point is just out of sight behind the headland.  This is a popular swimming spot.  And sometimes, when the swell is right, there is a world-class wave curling in from that headland in the middle distance.

This beach was pounded by massive waves this Spring.  Cars in the parking bays – off-screen to the left – were washed around by the waves.

Watercolour of a Beach

Boardwalk at The Pipe

The boardwalk at The Pipe

The Pipe, our local surf break is named after the remains of effluent pipe from the Gants canning factory – which of course is gross. But this is the way people did things in those days.

The boardwalk is now well-covered by the shifting dunes. A few years back I watched them dig a channel through the dune to build the boardwalk – wondering all the time at the lack of geomorphic understanding in the halls of decision-making.

I have sat to paint about 50 versions of this view, in all weathers and at all times of the day over the last 20 years. You can see some of these in the posting below:

False Bay Watercolour

Cape Point from Old Stellenbosch Road

The house on Old Stellenbosch Road with a view of False Bay.

In our basin we catch glimpses of the bay from many different places. I grew up inland and still recall the thrill of the first sight of the ocean when we travelled to the coast.

This orange roofed house looks out over False Bay, a delightful contrast of secondary and primary colours.

I have painted this view quite often and it has been a pleasure to meet the people living in this house right now.

Watercolour of a Vineyard

False Bay from Steynsrust Vineyards

Another view of False Bay from our town.

We have a vineyard above the town where people are allowed to walk their dogs. And there is another view of the bay.

That is Hangklip and Rooiels in the far distance.

watercolour of a surfer on muizenberg beach

Surfer on Muizenberg Beach

A surfer standing on Muizenberg beach.

On good days this corner of the bay producers lovely, long-running long-board swells.

Sometimes there are Great Whites around and there have been shark-attacks. The shark spotters up on hillside are pretty sharp when the water is clear enough.

Watercolour on 300gm Arches Cold Pressed
610 x 460 mm

watercolour of a fishing boat

Fishing Boat in Kalk Bay

The fishing boat K coming in to Kalk Bay to offload their catch.

Fishing boats leave Kalk Bay harbour soon after midnight to be in the fishing grounds before dawn. They
return at about midday to offload their catch. When I posted this painting on the Kalk Bay Community site it elicited a healthy interaction about who the people on the boat were.

Watercolour on 300gm Arches Cold Pressed
610 x 460 mm

Watercolour of Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach

This is a view from the walk-way above Boulders Beach – looking towards Elsies Peak in Fish Hoek.

Boulders Beach was a favourite place to enjoy the bay till about the turn of the century.  However the dress code went up when jackass penguins began nesting amongst the granite boulders (This is a joke – referring to the formal-looking attire of penguins).

The penguins are threatened as they have to travel further and further afield to feed which impacts on their capacity to breed.

watercolour of ocean

Hangklip from Millers Point

Millers Point looking across to Hangklip on the other side of the bay. Although the seabed drops away quite sharply on this side of the bay these granite outcrops stand out and create lovely undersea structures for diving.

For watercolours there are bands of colour variation on the coast. The sea, the dark rocks in the surf, the bleached dry boulders and the grey, lichen covered rocks further inland.

Watercolour of a boat on a beach

Trek-Netters at Smitswinkels Bay

Smitswinkelsbaai is a community down a long, winding path below the road to Cape Point.

It is a fresh beach sometimes plagued by the local troupe of baboons.

Large shoals of yellowtail move down the coast and are plundered by the Trek-Netters who are waiting in this watercolour.