The ocean

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I never thought I would say that I feel at home on the ocean, but after a few sailing trips – Boston Malaga on clipper Stad Amsterdam in 2014 being the culmination – anytime I meet that vast body of water, I’m Okay.

Never mind the roaring terror of force ten at night. Or huge ocean waves picking up a thousand tons of steel and sails like it is a simple yacht.

It is the vastness, the magnitude that caught my heart and sometimes my breath.

Whenever I meet the ocean, I am happy. The beauty of the light, the colours, the movement. Superb. And best of all is that sudden glimpse of a tint somewhere between green and blue. When the light shines through the crest of a breaking wave like sunshine through a glass of wine when bringing it to your mouth. More alive than anything, uncatchable.

And there is another thing. I am aware – like a physical presence – where I am in relation to the edges of that ocean. The magic of touching the waterline and knowing that the next stop is Antarctica. Or seeing the Pacific for the first time and being aware that I am touching on the other half of the world, the never before seen part of it.

I am also aware that both my father and my grandfather had a relationship with the ocean. One as a sailor, the other as a very inquisitive artist. I have a bit of both.

So when I look at the ocean, I’m Okay.

Old school

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I am getting so used to flying jets, like the 737 or the A380, that flying a turbo prop feels like an adventure. And it rather is.

Just think: ony half a century ago, propellors were the normal thing and jets were … special. Flying a Pan Am 707 to New York was like being invited to dinner by Peter Stuyvesant … (no, not the cigarettes). Nowadays, nobody even thinks about airplanes. You just get in one and that’s it.

So I flew to Burnie in (or is it “on”?) Tasmania. A one hour flight with a Saab 340. Nothing wrong with that. Until I started realising that the last time I saw a Saab 340 was waving Christine good bye on some holiday trip to England. Some thirty odd years ago.

So it’s not only the music and the movies that go back decades the moment you leave the bigger cities of Australia. 

Old school flying. Nothing digitilised. Although I guess (and hope) they brought a Garmin GPS to point the way. Like the one you put on your bike. Stick and rudder. Like that Cessna I used to fly.

It is rather comforting to realise that the airplane I was flying in somehow survived all that modern crap and is still doing what it was made for. Bringing me safely from A to B.

B being Burnie, Tasmania. Which couldn’t handle any jet, as the runway is only 550 meters long.

Small adventures. Life is good.