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It sometimes seems to me that we in Betty’s Bay sit in the middle of a square with one of the ancient elements, Fire, Water, Air and Earth poised at each corner, ready to pounce on us unexpectedly!

Fire is an omnipresent hazard which affects us all and of course we all fear its devastation and take whatever precautions we can to minimise the initial ignition of fires, and fight fires when lit. Gale-driven fires are not only terrifying, spreading rapidly (dare I say it, like wildfire?), but are seriously life-threatening to BB residents in its path. Thank goodness for our determined and highly professional firefighters who hit fires fast and low.

Water, ah yes, the recent flooding of the Harold Porter Gardens region and the associated washing away of roads shows yet again the raw, naked power of rapidly flowing water. During summer, we have too little of it and at other times far too much. Our mountain water is very pure at source although those unused to it may find its tea colour off-putting at first. Have you noticed how quickly the brown colour disappears when the streams mix with seawater? Salt decolourises the organic chemical compounds responsible for the tint and no, the colour is not from “iron”!

The passing on of Mr Nelson Mandela has coincided with an astronomical event in the southern hemisphere skies. On the 2 Dec 2013 John Seach from Australia discovered a nova close to ß Centauri (one of the bright pointer stars near the Southern Cross)

Excitement mounted as the nova brightened to being the brightest nova of the millennium thus far. On 4 Dec a post appeared on Facebook alerting us here in South Africa. Fellow amateur astronomers started reporting observations of the nova as a naked eye object.

Every evening I gazed up at the sky deciding whether I should set my alarm for 03:00 when the Southern Cross and pointers would be high in the sky. I must admit I gave a "little" sigh of relief when clouds rolled over or the wind was howling and I could go to bed and rather get up at break of day like a normal person.

If I had set my alarm for 0:300 on the morning of 6 December, I would have heard the news earlier. Madiba had passed away the previous evening.

Eclipses in September 2015

Photographs © Dawikeho

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Kleinmond lagoon breach 2015

Photographs © Dan Fick

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Winter weather 2015

Photographs © Hilda van der Merwe

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Fynbos Recovery after the March 2015 fire.

Photographs © Hilda van der Merwe

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Fire in Davidskraal - Feb/March 2015

Photographs © Dan Fick 2015

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Just a couple of images of Betty's Bay and surrounds

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Storm Damage 6 Nov 2013

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Flooding of Roads Jun 2013

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Baboon Trouble Troupe

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Betty's Bay Sea Tragedy (also see article with same topic)

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