Monday, July 20, 2009

Tillikum: Intimacy at low tide.

‘A grey mist on the sea`s face and a grey dawn breaking...`Sea Fever’ by John Masefield.

It is an overcast, drizzly summer morning and grey clouds trail ragged fringes along the hillsides that enclose Fulford Harbour. I row ‘Tillikum’, my 16 foot sailing canoe along the northern shore. The tide is far out now, exposing reefs and rocky shores clothed in mussels and bladderwrack seaweed. Secluded shell beaches stretch their white legs way down to the sea and wriggle their toes in the gentle pulse of the waves. Kelp stems, no longer straining upwards to the high tide sea surface, relax as they move their sleek upper bodies in the current. ‘Tillikum’ glides smoothly amongst them.

It was a long process, bringing a throw-away, decrepit, fiberglass canoe into this new incarnation, but now all that work is paying off as it carries me so effortlessly up-close and personal with the intertidal zone. The even grey filtered light and blurred distant islands draw a curtain around us and it seems almost intrusive to pull my camera out of its waterproof case and take photographs. This is a privileged position I`m in, so intimately close to this delicate, exposed world, usually veiled under many feet of salt water.

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