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Turn the glass and strike the bell

Compass and bell, SV Tenacious

Compass and bell, SV Tenacious

Before the advent of accurate time pieces, time on a ship was regulated by the bell and a system of watches lasting either four or two hours. When the sand had run through a 30-minute “hour glass”, the glass was turned to start again and the bell was struck. In a four-hour watch, the bell would be struck from one to eight times, an increase of one strike every 30 minutes and performed in sets of two. So, for example, if you heard two sets of quick strikes followed by a single strike, you would know it was “five bells” in whatever the watch was (forenoon, morning, etc). Of course, this entire timekeeping process depended on an accurate glass and attention to detail!

The bell in this photo is from SV Tenacious, on which I’ve sailed many times. You can see the intricate rope pull hanging from the bell. The original captain liked to have the bell rung and it was the watch leader’s responsibility to see that it was done. I would start checking my watch every 15 seconds or so from five minutes before the time, mentally going over the number of strikes required. Once I forgot, and gradually was aware that the captain was quietly standing at the corner of the chart house, just gazing at me. Oh dear!

December Squares #timesquare

Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean, sunrise
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Early mornings around the world

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

For someone who insists she is not an early bird, I have a remarkable number of photographs taken very early in the morning! I haven’t inflicted them all on you, but there are quite a few, from various travels. They are in no particular order other than alphabetical by place name.

A man on the beach, Durban.

A man on the beach, Durban.

The pier, Eastbourne.

The pier, Eastbourne.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, 'Lord Nelson', Indian Ocean.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, ‘Lord Nelson’, Indian Ocean.

'Sudarshini' and 'Tarangini' of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

‘Sudarshini’ and ‘Tarangini’ of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

sailing-badge

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Bench with a view: Coogee and Clovelly

Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

You know the saying: every dark cloud has a silver lining. My particular dark cloud for the past two days has been having to endure a “corporate team-building event”, a peculiar mix of stultifying boredom and the stress brought on by the need to hide such boredom. My silver lining was that the event was held at a hotel in Coogee, which is a beach suburb just a few kilometres south of where I live. Free (at last!!) at 4:45pm today, I headed home along the coast path, savouring the treat of a weekday walk as the sun set.

I knew there were a number of benches en route, but not until I started to photograph them did I notice that they were not all the same. Wooden benches, metal benches, art benches — all with a view. Just the thing for another post for HeyJude’s Benches with a View!

A bench with very long legs! Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

A bench with very long legs! Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

This couple was more interested in each other than the view from their bench.

This couple was more interested in each other than in the view from their bench.

This bench looks down on Gordons Bay, a popular swimming, snorkelling and diving spot.

This bench looks down on Gordons Bay, a popular swimming, snorkelling and diving spot.

A row of sinuous metal benches at Clovelly.

A row of sinuous metal benches at Clovelly.

Near the lifeguard station, Clovelly.

Near the lifeguard station, Clovelly.

I had hoped for a more dramatic sunset, but the peacefulness of my last shot almost makes up for the lack of drama.

Watching the sun set, Clovelly.

Watching the sun set, Clovelly.

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sydney-strolls-badge

Into the depths of the ocean

Daily Post’s photo challenge this week is Depth — in my case, it’s the watery kind.

Serenity at sea

“And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity.
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.”
– Christoper Cross, ‘Sailing’

Lord Nelson Indian Ocean

Just before dawn, Indian Ocean ‘Lord Nelson’

Sunrise, Indian Ocean  'Lord Nelson'

Sunrise, Indian Ocean ‘Lord Nelson’

The most serene time on a tall ship is just before dawn. The ship’s crew are all asleep, except for the duty watch and the officer of the watch. As the stars give way to the sunrise, you feel as if you are the only people in the world.

(I couldn’t decide which of these photos to use, so went with both.)

sailing-badge

man surf bodysurf Bronte beach
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Suspended – between earth and sky

Just for a moment, these people hang between earth and sky, touching nothing. Gravity being what it is, though, you know they’ll come crashing down!

(I thought it was time for more colour and fun, after my last two rather sombre black-and-white posts.)


Here is another photo of the acrobats – she is standing on one foot on his hands!

Sydney Summer Sunrise

Early morning was idyllic. It was the perfect summer day in Sydney: empty blue skies, low humidity, gentle ocean breezes, and birds thronging in the trees. It’s the time of year when the sun rises from the ocean directly in front of my apartment building, rather than behind the building to the right (high summer) or behind the houses and trees to the left (deep winter).
It was the kind of morning that heralds a day filled with possibility. A day that draws you to the beach, or a bushwalk in one of many national parks that fringe our stunning harbour. Perhaps a long, lazy lunch with friends at a favourite eatery.
Or, in my case, eight hours in a shiny-sided office tower in the Central Business District. 😦
Here is a shot of this morning’s sunrise. The first photo is the original, and the others are the same photo but with various Photoshop wizardry applied. Do you have a favourite?

The original, which the camera on Intelligent Auto rendered as a silhouette.

The original, which the camera on Intelligent Auto rendered as a silhouette.

With a warming filter applied and the light bumped up.

With a warming filter applied and the light bumped up.

With an HDR (high dynamic range) filter applied. I learned about this just yesterday. Not something I'd do a lot of, but it's an interesting effect!

With an HDR (high dynamic range) filter applied. I learned about this just yesterday. Not something I’d do a lot of, but it’s an interesting effect!

Black and white, with some light added to the shadows.

Black and white, with some light added to the shadows.

Three by Three

The current theme for Weekly Photo Challenge is Threes, i.e., telling a story in three photos. I couldn’t decide which set of threes to go for, so have opted for three threes. Too much of a good thing?

(click any image to expand a gallery)

Fun in the sun at Bondi Beach

Elephants in Sri Lanka
(this trio was prompted by a recent exchange of comments about endangered animals with HeyJude on my post Urban Safari)

Blogging is thirsty work!

(The photo of the final drink was used on the cover of my short story ‘The Perfect Chocolate Martini‘.)