I photographed these petrels in the Indian Ocean while sailing from South Africa to India on Lord Nelson in 2013. After leaving Durban, we swung south (way, way south) and east, giving a wide berth to Madagascar and any lurking pirates, before eventually heading northeast, back on track. The weather at 35deg South was not what we expected from the Indian Ocean — grey, chilly, spitting with rain. The bonus was the company of petrels and even albatrosses, following the ship. They never seemed to flap those long wings: a feather lifted here, a wing tilted there. Such effortless flyers. I watched them for hours (frankly, there was little else to do!).
The pelicans were photographed in Cairns, not quite as exotic a destination as the southern Indian Ocean.
Birds with Long Wingspans is the Bird Weekly theme.
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!
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.
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!
I had hoped for a more dramatic sunset, but the peacefulness of my last shot almost makes up for the lack of drama.
Daily Post’s photo challenge this week is Depth — in my case, it’s the watery kind.
“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’
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.)
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!