Only the shoreline…

roling in

The visible is only the shoreline of the magnificent ocean of the invisible.

The invisible is not empty, but is textured and tense with presences.

These presences cannot be named; they can only be sensed, not seen.

John O’Donohue
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The greatest sweetener…

girls3girlsbiking girls

The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment is a secret which but few discover.

Joseph Addison

 

I met these two lovelies on Cocoa Beach today.

They spotted my camera and asked me to take their picture. Of course, I was happy to oblige. They were so friendly and full of life. They were clearly having a wonderful time riding their bikes on the beach. I asked the if I could take a few shots of my own.

Perhaps they will see the images here. Perhaps they will find out how much their enjoyment of the day and each other flowed over to sweeten my day too.

Back on the boat, Part I…

in the cabin

The propeller that you see on the cabin wall to the upper right is not only an item of decor and conversation, it is our actual back up propeller.

For the last few years, we’ve lived in our sailboat in the winter and spring, starting out in Florida and cruising through the Abacos in the Bahamas. Well, we’re now back on the boat…in our “happy place”…

It’s compact living to be sure, but we love the simple lifestyle and freedom. You can see more pictures of Windsong II, our sailboat, here. It’s a Hunter 356, which is just short of 36 feet long.

As Bob has put it: “Windsong II is so much more than our winter home. She connects us to mother nature. With her we can see, hear and feel the wind, the waves, the tide changing, and wonder at the number of stars so bright from our bed at night.We watch the sunrise and the sunset from her cockpit. On her you can feel very small and full of awe. The wind can move her along so quietly — you can tell she loves it when the engine stops and the sails are full.  She takes care of us in bad weather. She is our mother ship — she allows us to swim in the clearest water, explore and photograph remote beaches, shorelines and settlements in her tender. She is just big enough we can have friends visit to share these experiences with us — what could be better than that? And those are just a few of the reasons we love her…”

Scene from Charles’ last trip to the Bahamas.

The last few years we’ve stayed in marinas as we cruised with one or two salty dogs, our Westies, Angus and Charles — and being on the dock made it much easier to get them off and on the boat many times a day — but sadly, it’s just Bob and me now.  So we have the option of anchoring out or taking mooring balls, which require dinghying to shore.

Right now we are in southeast Florida in a mooring field. We’ve stayed here before and really enjoyed it. It draws a community of friendly cruisers from all over the United States and Canada, even other countries. As part of the modest fee, you have access to showers, tuck shop, lending library, lounge, laundry facilities, wifi, bikes to rent, a shuttle bus and special events. There are also lots of great restaurants in walking distance. And shopping if you have the need.

Leaving the mooring field behind as we dinghy to shore — this particular day it was early morning.

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On board, we have a 70 gallon fresh water tank, which we use for washing dishes and such, and to fill it we need to haul 5 gallon jugs to the boat. Once you’ve hauled a few of these heavy suckers, you find ways to minimize your water use! Last year we installed a solar panel, so this year we have been relying almost 100% on solar for our electricity — fridge, freezer, LED lights, computers etc. On rainy days, we run our diesel generator briefly to provide power. Many other cruisers have wind generators too, but we haven’t gone there at this point. All in all, we have a much lighter ecological footprint than we do on land.

Scenes from the Sunset Bay mooring field…

It’s called Sunset Bay for a reason. One shore faces east and the other west, so we are treated to beautiful sunrises and sunsets almost every day. I don’t have to go far…just a few steps with my camera and there it is. I never tire of this beauty.

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Stay tuned for Part II…

 

 

Above board…

boats black and white

The expression “above board,” meaning honest, originated in the days when pirates would hide most of their crew below decks in order to lure some unsuspecting victim. Those who did the reverse, by displaying all their crew openly on deck, were obviously honest.

Unseen forces…

 

st lucie blvdLRLight precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning.

Teresa Tsalaky

 

archway

We were sent into the world alive with beauty. As soon as we choose Beauty, unseen forces conspire to guide and encourage us towards unexpected forms of compassion, healing and creativity.

John O’Donohue

Boatyard abstracts

With abstract art I can create in the moment. No preconceived ideas. I just put some color on the canvas and keep going.

Peggy Guichu

Hanging around the boatyard last year while we were getting Windsong II ready to launch, I practised “fresh seeing” — or seeing in a new way, as I’ve been striving to do.

I started to look more carefully at what I had ignored before — the peeling, chipping paint and barnacles on the old boat hulls and noticed a wealth of detail that I had overlooked before.

Most people ooh and aah over boats when they are shiny and clean and pristine. But I was captivated by the imperfections — the marks left by time and use and history. The colour and lines and shapes spoke to me as art.

I imagined that an abstract artist had paid a visit to the boatyard and left her mark — the hulls being her canvas.

I made several photographs of pieces of these beautiful hulls, and even framed and mounted one I loved for my dining room.

What is it that draws me to abstracts — both in art and photography? “No preconceived ideas” sums it up nicely. Freedom. There is nothing that I have to think of them based on what they are supposed to represent — I am free to respond and feel whatever comes up. They may or may not remind me of anything familiar — mostly not. I don’t have to rationalize or explain. I just am in the moment with them.

So this year I was eager to return to the same boatyard this year and see what was new. I wasn’t disappointed.

boat hull 1

boat hull 2lr


boat hull 3

Pelicans up close…

Brown Pelicans are the only type that feed by plunging into the water, stunning small fish with the impact of their large bodies and scooping them up in their expandable throat pouches.

pelican 6

A good news story — Brown Pelicans were once severely endangered in the United States. The major cause of their decline was pesticide poisoning. Since DDT was banned, there has been a full recovery on the east coast and other populations are showing steady improvement.

A pelican’s bill does have a larger capacity than its stomach. A pelican’s stomach can hold up to 1 gallon (3.79 liters), while its pouch can hold up to 3 gallons (11.36 liters). That adds up to the equivalent of 8 pounds (3.63 kilograms) in the stomach and about 24 pounds (10.89 kilograms) in the pouch.

The average Brown Pelican weighs 4-7 pounds. Their wingspan is usually 6-7 feet. Fossil records show that pelicans have been around for more than 40 million years, so they must be doing something right!

When it comes to wildlife, you have to photograph what you got…and we got pelicans. Squadrons of them!

Living in a marina on water in a fishing village on the east coast of Florida, you are guaranteed pelicans as your neighbours.

A few days ago we took the opportunity of a sunny, calm day to toot around the Manatee Pocket in our dinghy, just to see what we would see. And we saw pelicans.

I didn’t have my long lens so we had to get pretty close to photograph these guys in the detail I hoped for. I also used a superfast shutter speed and “continuous shoot”. They move awfully fast when they’re flying about, so I’m pleased that  I managed to capture some images that worked.

I don’t think I could have got these reflections if I hadn’t been in a dinghy. I can see why photographers get hooked on wildlife photography. I hope to head out again one of these days to spend more time with our pelican friends.