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Posts Tagged ‘whales’

At the beginning of March, I was contacted by Peter Rowland who’d stumbled on this site while looking up my uncle, Lyall Watson.

Peter lived in Camps Bay, in the same complex that Lyall lived in for a number of years.

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Lyall invited Peter to drop in for a drink one evening. It was winter but a pleasant evening and they sat on Lyall’s stoep and looked out across the bay. The following is Peter’s account of their conversation.

‘Lyall asked if I had ever heard of the green flash in the sky. I hadn’t and he then told me about Jules Verne and the green flash [this is a reference to Jules Verne’s book ‘The Green Ray, about two people searching for the elusive green flash at sunset]. There was a point at his house, that if you climbed onto his garden wall, you could get onto the roof. So, drinks in hand we climbed up. We sat on the ridge, looking west. The sun was still above the horizon, but as we sat there, he said he could see whale spouts from the whales in the bay. I said rubbish, or a word to that effect! But he knew what he was talking about and after a while, there they were.

‘He told me that there were two types of whales and if I watched carefully, I could see the different sprays coming from the blowholes. Then, as the sun was going down to the horizon, he told me to watch. Lo and behold, as it slipped below the horizon, just as it went and disappeared, there was the green flash! He told me that it only occurs over the sea. I have NEVER been able to see a sunset without watching for the “flash” and thinking of him. We did that a number of times.’

Thank you for sharing this memory with me, Peter. It’s given me great joy to imagine the two of you sitting on his roof, drinks in hand, looking out at the whales and watching for the green flash.

The Green Flash explained

Green flashes or rays occur at sunset or sunrise when a green spot appears for a couple of seconds above the sun or is visible as a ray shooting up from the sunset point. It usually only lasts a second or two and is caused by atmospheric refraction. Apparently it is best seen with a clear view to the horizon and in an area without pollution.

Find out more.

 

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