Posts tagged with “sea”

Posted 2 years ago

Cadaqués, en el fiel del agua y la colina,
eleva escalinatas y oculta caracolas.
Las flautas de madera pacifican el aire.
Un viejo dios silvestre da frutas a los niños.

Sus pescadores duermen, sin ensueño, en la arena.
En alta mar les sirve de brújula una rosa.
El horizonte virgen de pañuelos heridos
junta los grandes vidrios del pez y de la luna.

Una dura corona de blancos bergantines
ciñe frentes amargas y cabellos de arena.
Las sirenas convencen, pero no sugestionan,
y salen si mostramos un vaso de agua dulce.

—Federico Garcia Lorca, “Oda a Salvador Dalì”

[Cadaqués, at the fulcrum of water and hill,
lifts flights of stairs and hides seashells.
Wooden flutes pacify the air.
An ancient woodland god gives the children fruit.

Her fishermen sleep dreamless on the sand.
On the high sea a rose is their compass.
The horizon, virgin of wounded handkerchiefs,
links the great crystals of fish and moon.

A hard diadem of white brigantines
encircles bitter foreheads and hair of sand.
The sirens convince, but they don’t beguile,
and they come if we show a glass of fresh water.]


If I could choose one place to be right now - Cadaqués, Girona, Catalunya.

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 2 years ago

After travelling back to Auckland we flew to Wellington and boarded the ferry to the South Island of New Zealand. The journey is breath-taking: the massive and comfortable ship departs at 8am from the capital and jiggles its way out of Wellington Habour into the waters of the Cook Strait to Picton, a charming village with a small maritime museum and a fabulous breakfast café. From there we hired a car and drove through Marlborough County’s plentiful vineyards, sampling a few characteristic Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs. Then we arrived in Kaikoura, on the east coast.

Kaikoura shows few signs of the Maori civilisation that preceded its European settlements. The last remnants of this particular history are the numerous and clearly recognisable Pa sites - terraced hills where the Maori villages/camps used to stand. The Maori presence is not as strongly felt round here as it is in the Northlands, but the town thrives on legends and myth: the story of the demi-god Maui, who fished the South Island out of the sea - in the struggle to pull it up from the waters stomped his foot onto the land, causing the Southern Alps to pop out of the earth’s crust - is literally inscribed into the landscape with wood and stone carvings. (We learnt in Russell that the traditional Maori carvings should be interpreted as a veritable pictorial language; the Maori language wasn’t written down until the arrival of the European settlers.) 

Polynesian mythology also tells the story of Kahutia-te-rangi, the wronged son of a king, who was rescued from shipwreck by a humpback whale and carried to the shores of the island on his back. Kahutia-te-rangi was thus renamed Paikea (the Maori name for humpbacks) and became the progenitor of the Ngati Porou tribe in the North Island. While this is a legend of the North, it is still relevant here because whales are a crucial chapter in Kaikoura’s history.

Kaikoura flourished in the late nineteenth century, when its waters full of Southern Rights and Spermaceti attracted the international whaling industry to set up shop. A whaler’s cottage remains, and various peaks and viewpoints are named after tools of this cruel trade.   

Different kinds of whalers come to this town today: Kaikoura is NZ’s top site for whale-watching. A few sperm whales live just off the coast, and humpbacks and blue whales are known to pass though these waters during their seasonal migration.

Whale bones still regularly drift ashore, and the locals are allowed to collect them under the strict conditions that the strong and pliable baleen or whalebone be worked and used a jewellery, rather than sold as ivory or rough material. I bought two tiny keepsakes: a humpback whale carved out of totara wood, and a small neck pendant made out of found whalebone.

Despite my well-documented interest in whales, we decided to skip the whale-watching - we had such an amazing experience last year in Cape Cod that any other whale sighting so close in time to that one would feel somewhat disappointing.

So we opted for sea kayaking in the Pacific, and went on a tour of a fur seal colony. The seals were mostly sleeping or lazing about on the rocks after large meals of octopus and fish. Most of the seals seemed untroubled by human presence: they opened one eye, took a good look at us, and went back to sleep. A few put on a little swimming extravaganza, and rolled themselves in the water next to our kayaks to show us how to tumble in pursuit of dinner. 

The name Kai-koura, means “eat crayfish” in Maori, so we couldn’t give the crawling rock lobster a miss: grilled on the beach in a small food truck/caravan, and consumed with garlic butter and lemon on greedy fingers it was just perfect. 

In the afternoon we walked the short spectacular loop track along the peninsula for some breath-taking views. The fog and clouds lifted for a moment to show the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, a sublime backdrop to the dramatic landscape of the rocky tidal plains and rugged coast.

When we left this morning the sun was finally shining again, and the coastlines were revealed in all their glory. After a few turns on the southbound highway 1 we exited a tunnel and were greeted by a huge pod of dolphins doing acrobatics in the open ocean. 

Posted 2 years ago

Yesterday morning we got up before the sun and went to Bondi beach for a sunrise swim. It was amazing: vast and almost empty but for a few brave surfers, runners and yoga enthusiasts. This experience embodied so much of my first impressions of Australia - a country in which the land and fitness are national obsessions.

We then walked to the more secluded and less popular Bronte beach, which was even more beautiful. Children are trained in surf rescue there from a very early age, and there were dozens of dog walkers. Some people even took their dogs down to the wave-free natural pools for a swim.

Posted 2 years ago
Posted 3 years ago


from my Paris studio


mixed medias on paper.2011

This is beautiful. Can I buy it?

Posted 3 years ago


Washed Up, a photo series by Alejandro Durán who has created color-based sculptures by collecting plastic detritus washed ashore from forty-two countries onto the shores of Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the world’s second largest coastal barrier reef.

Posted 3 years ago
Posted 3 years ago

Pilot whales: social creatures in dangerous straits | Philip Hoare |

The behaviour of whales threatening to beach themselves in the Outer Hebrides shows the complexity of cetacean sociability

An informative and customarily intelligent article by Philip Hoare on social interaction amongst pilot whales.

Posted 3 years ago

Bryant Austin - Life-Size Minke Whale Portrait 1294: 48 X 64 inches