Thursday, January 7, 2016

Should old acquaintance be forgot?

 I found a video hidden away in a box yesterday that I had never viewed before and I watched it with rising tension. In 1999 ( how old that seems already) we were scarcely launched on our sailing adventure in our wooden schooner 'Shiriri' when off the coast of Cape Mendocino, California, we were caught in hurricane force winds and immense, closely packed waves. To cut that story short, we lost our steering and were eventually hauled in by the US Coast Guard ( bless 'em). They took a video of their rescue and we received a copy. After a couple of week in Eureka repairing our ship we continued on our way. From then on we knew that our boat was very strong and that any weak links were due to our own frailty. Sometimes, experience is hard won.

This evening I experimented with re-photographing off the TV screen as the DVD played. Stopping at 'pause' gave sharper but coarser images while softer ones resulted when I just snapped while it played. Those softer ones caught my interest. I thought of the British artist Turner with his powerful swirls of colour and ill defined forms. Somehow these caught the feeling of those moments: exhaustion, focus on the job at hand, the immense power of wind and waves, and combined with all this a heightened awareness of the beauty of the ocean.

Looking back, we were privileged to have experienced these moments. Being on the edge of the precipice, struggling with our family to make it through, has sharpened our appreciation of the world. A part of the ocean in those moments remains in everything to this day. Hard won, but gold.

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