Reputed to be the shortest river from source to mouth as the crow flies, the Klein River meanders in a great loop around the mountains between Hermanus and Caledon, gathering water from the many valleys in the range as it flows. Its seasonal ebb and flow is a source of great fascination to many of the residents of Stanford and as it floods over the road between Quick and King Streets the breaching of the Hermanus Lagoon into the sea is keenly anticipated. The river flows into the lagoon, officially known as the Klein Rivier Vlei, about a 10 km paddle from Stanford. Today I witnessed the breaching for the first time – mesmerised for several hours by the powerful force of Nature.

10:05 am:When we arrived at Grotto beach in Hermanus the lagoon was several metres from the sea.

Hermanus Lagoon approaching the ocean. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus Lagoon approaching the ocean. 28 July 2015 10:05

By 10:11 it had started trickling towards the ocean at a point 14cm below the next most vulnerable point on the beach.

Hermanus Lagoon approaching the ocean. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus Lagoon approaching the ocean. 10:11am

Nine minutes later the shallow flow was kissing the ocean.

Hermanus Lagoon approaching the ocean. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus Lagoon reaches the ocean at 10:20am.

10:21 am: In the photo below the mountains around which the Klein River runs can be seen stretching into the distance.

Mountains behind and in front of which the Klein River runs. 10:21am

The Klein River Mountains behind and in front of which the Klein River runs. 10:21am

10:27 am. The next spot where the river may have breached. See the photo towards the end of this article taken from almost the same spot a few hours later!

Hermanus Lagoon looking back towards Hermanus - at its height before breaching. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus Lagoon looking back towards Hermanus – at its height before breaching.

12:35 am. A whale provided entertainment lobtailing behind the watchers of the lagoon.

A whale lobtailing in Walker Bay. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

A whale lobtailing in Walker Bay.

By 14:15 the lagoon was beginning to scour a bank into the beach.

Hermanus Lagoon cutting banks as it starts flowing into Walker Bay. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus Lagoon cutting banks as it starts flowing into Walker Bay.

Hermanus lagoon flowing into the sea. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus lagoon flowing into the sea, its banks increasing in size rapidly.

By 15:02 things were beginning to get hectic.

The outflow of the Hermanus Lagoon getting stronger. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

The outflow of the Hermanus Lagoon getting stronger.

15:02. The lagoon is rapidly receding as its waters race into the ocean.

Hermanus lagoon an hour r so after breaching. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus lagoon an hour or so after breaching.

15:02 pm. What was a small trickle five hours earlier has become a raging torrent.

Hermanus lagoon has become a raging torrent. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Hermanus lagoon has become a raging torrent.

The mouth of Hermanus lagoon flooding into the ocean. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

The mouth of Hermanus lagoon flooding into the ocean.

15:02 pm. It was not long before the bodyboarders were out seeking a standing wave to surf. Mal mense!

Intrepid bodyboarders looking for a standing wave at the mouth of the Hermanus lagoon. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Intrepid bodyboarders looking for a standing wave at the mouth of the Hermanus lagoon.

15:38. How swiftly the level of water in the Hermanus lagoon (Klein Rivier Vlei)  dropped once its flow quickened into the sea.

A much subsided Hermanus lagoon after it breached its banks. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

A much subsided Hermanus lagoon after it breached its banks.

16:23 pm. Back home in Stanford the flooded Klein River looks as if it is very slowly beginning to subside back to its normal course, a tranquil scene in comparison to the wild waters at its mouth.

The Klein River in Stanford. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

The Klein River in Stanfordbegins to subside as the Hermanus lagoon breaches its banks.

Text and photos: Viv von der Heyden

Stanford Nestle-In Self-catering Accommodation for two

Ph 084 685 2641

nestle.in.stanford@gmail.com

http://vivvdh.wix.com/stanford-nestle-in

29 July:

The Klein River dropped swiftly overnight and this is the scene that met early morning walkers this morning – a placid river back in its original bed:

Klein River in Stanford after the klein Rivier Vlei breached its banks. Photo: Viv of Stanford Nestle-In

Klein River in Stanford after the Klein Rivier Vlei breached its banks.