By now most of you will have heard about the freak storm we had at Djuma earlier this week. It didn’t last long, less than 15 minutes, but that was enough to leave a trail of destruction that also Jurie Moolman said he’d never experienced before in his 30+ years at Djuma.

The storm broke as I was doing some broadcast equipment testing in the workshop, and there was not a dry spot anywhere as the rain was pelting in almost horizontally as Marc and I battled to find a dry spot for the camera and to get all equipment of the floor. By then the power was off, so we had to work by the light of Marc’s cell phone display. Marc then ran the 10 meters to Final Control and back and in those few seconds was drenched with the ice cold rain.

Soon after, it all stopped and we went to our rooms to dry off (and Marc to warm up a bit :-) We thought that was it, but, boy, were we wrong.

A little later I started worrying about the cabling at the camera tree and decided to go see if it was still covered and dry. Driving out there I could not locate the tree, but at first blamed it on the darkness. I drove back and forth a bit until my head lights suddenly shone on some tree roots sticking up in the air… the roots of our intended camera tree. It was totally blown over and had crashed to the ground. Crushing the light that was in it under a branch. Had the camera been up already it would no doubt have vanished as well. Fortunately it was safe in Final Control due to a delay in getting the mounting ready.

At that point we thought we’d gotten away relatively fine and with no real damage other than some extra work and a delay in getting the camera up and running as the new location requires some pieces of equipment we had not planned on. (And possibly digging a 60 meter trench.)

Well, that was until we found out yesterday that the reason our internet links were down was that not that our antenna dish had moved, but that the complete top section of the mast had turned close to 30 degrees in this storm and our dishes were now pointing ‘ins Blaue hinein’ rather than at Mariepskop. This is a very serious issue as fixing that in will require a large crane and some careful planning to make sure it is done in a safe manner. Jurie, Graham and Will are working on getting this planned and organised and as will share progress on this as we move towards restoring our internet connection. –Peter