Shipwrecks and Lighthouses

13th March 2010


Not a lot of people realise that the famous movie Pirates of the Caribbean is actually based on our very own South African legend of The Flying Dutchman.

It all started way back in 1641, when captain Hendrik van der Decken, in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, left Batavia for Amsterdam on Good Friday. This was his first fatal mistake, as departing on a journey on this holy day was an absolute no-no on the list of seafarer’s superstitions...

A fierce southeaster started to blow as he tried to round the Cape of Good Hope, and his ship could not get round the peninsula that had already claimed so many lives. He tried and tried, but to no avail...

But Van der Decken was a fiery and stubborn man, so he strapped himself to the helm of his ship and made another big mistake: he vowed that he would sail around the Cape even if it took until doomsday.  According to the legend, an Angel descended from the skies, proclaimed that for this blasphemy the captain would never know calm seas again. He was condemned to sail the oceans for all eternity, with a ghostly crew of dead men, ‘bringing death to all who sight your spectral ship, and never to make port or know a moment’s peace’.   
Over the centuries the Cape of Storms have claimed about 2000 ships to a watery grave, with only about 800 of them named and recorded.

Join me on my famous “Shipwreck and Lighthouse” photographic tour and workshop around Cape Point, as we revisit some of these shipwrecks of old on a funtastic limited offer. You know what i always say:” If you want to take more interesting photographs, get your camera to more interesting places”


Normal Price R1200 Promotion Price ONLY R750 per person

Wednesday 17 March 2010 and Sunday 21 March 2010
Wednesday 7 April 2010 and Sunday 25 April 2010

Meet for coffee and snacks at our premises in Capri Village, Noordhoek, where after we depart for the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, where you will find out why Cape Point has two lighthouses and photograph the wreck of the Thomas T Tucker.

Wreck of the Thomas T Tucker, taken on a shutter speed of 1/160 and aperture f6.3 on a 100 ISO

After a picnic lunch at Cape Point, and learning more about composition and depth of field at Slangkop lighthouse in Kommetjie, we visit the wreck of the Kakapo.

This photograph of Slangkop lighthouse in Kommetjie demonstrates foreground interest, as well as rules of third. The photograph was taken using selective focusing to insure the foreground is in focus with an aperture of f20 for maximum depth of field; and a polarizer filter was attached to the lens to saturate the blue sky.

The Kakapo ran aground in 1900 after the captain mistook Chapman’s Peak for Cape Point and ordered the ship full steam ahead. He hit the beach at full steam and the crew could get off without getting their feet wet!

Kakapo wrecked in May 1900

Kakapo today (a feast for us photographers)
 The photograph was taken demonstrating ‘worms view’ photography with an aperture of f10 and a shutter speed of1/400 and a 100 ISO


Friday 19 March 2010: “Motion of the Ocean Workshop” in Simon’s Town R180 per person
Saturday 20 March 2010: “Buildings and Architecture” in Kalk Bay R250 per person
Sunday 21 March 2010: “Shipwreck & Lighthouse” in Cape Point R750 per person
Monday 22 March 2010: “Portrait & People” Township Tour R850 per person   

For more information visit my website on


Movie Nights is a wonderful evening out, to meet new friends, and view a movie about something you are passionate about, yes, you guessed it- PHOTOGRAPHY
The movie we will be screening is the National Geographic DVD: The Photographers.

This video takes you around the world to meet some of the best photographers as they reflect on their jobs and their art. You’ll hear the secrets of these remarkable men and woman- how they get those breathtaking shots, the dangers they face, and the lives they lead for the love of their craft. So see the world as you never have before, through the eyes of THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

When and Where

24 March 2010 at 19h00
14 Jamaica Drive, Capri Village, Noordhoek
R20 per person and please bring a plate of snacks to share.

Phone 082 853 9939 to book a spot for yourself.

The way I see it...

There is this story of a radio conversation that happened between a US Naval ship and the Canadian authorities. On a foggy evening a US Navy ship spotted a light in the gloom, and worked out that a collision was likely unless the other vessel changed its course. So they send a radio message.

US ship: Please divert your course 0.5 degrees south to avoid a collision.
Reply: Recommended you divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

US ship: This is the captain of a US Navy Ship. I say again, you divert your course.
Reply: Negative. I say again, you divert YOUR course!

Reply: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

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Keep those cameras snapping, till next time.

Peter Haarhoff       

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