“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”….George Bernard Shaw
If global warming continues and I fervently believe it will, we may have to rely more on the sea to produce our food. The above photograph was taken looking into a shallow rock pool at the plant life below. It would be good to know whether this plant life, which could be a renewable resource, is edible. No! I didn’t try it, I leave that sort of thing to the scientists or the guinea pigs.
As I was walking along the foreshore one day, the tide was coming in and there were a small number of fingerlings swimming. I photographed them and the above photo was the result. The fingerlings were opaque and not being a professional photographer as such, I have no idea how they represent in this photograph as a shade of purple and white.
The above photograph was taken of sea water rushing in and over a shallow crater in the rock I was standing on and I thought at the time that it made an interesting pattern.I should imagine that this pattern, as mixed as it is, would be extremely difficult to replicate in a painting. If nothing else, it makes a good talking point.
I’ve always been fascinated to see the result of light hitting water and the resultant picture it creates and if I was to come back in an hour’s time, the above picture would have changed dramatically, particularly if the weather changes. Perhaps that is why it is called a moment in time.
There is something very peaceful in sitting and watching the tide flow into the shoreline. Watching the play of colours on the surface and listening to the rippling of the water as it flows gently over the rocks.
This photograph is a good example of how you can turn something very simple into an abstract or decorative art piece simply by manipulating the colour. It is not necessary to capture a panorama to make a visual statement. Sometimes, simplicity speaks the loudest.
“But as they say about sharks, it’s not the ones you see that you have to worry about, it’s the ones you don’t see….
One morning recently, I received a phone call from my friend who said “Jimmy, grab your camera and come over here, I have a school of sharks feeding on bait fish just out the front.
Wow! what a sight, I used to kayak in these waters and never sighted a shark, I sometimes felt a bump on the bottom of my kayak, especially in the canals but nothing more. These were Bull sharks and they were swimming and hunting bait fish in knee high water. I was intrigued to watch how the pups (younger sharks) stayed up one end whilst the larger sharks acted like sheep/cattle dogs and herded the school of bait fish and drove them to the waiting hungry pups. They would then fan out and collect the bait fish that had escaped bringing them back together in a tight school before herding them back in the opposite direction to the waiting pups. This went on for more than an hour.
The Bull shark is not indigenous to Australia as a similar species can be found in Zambia and is known as “The Zambi”, also in Lake Nicaragua where it is known as the “Lake Nicaragua shark” and probably a lot of other places. It is quite unusual in that it has the ability to survive in brackish water and therefore can be found quite away upstream in rivers, e.g. in the United States, they have been known to have travelled up the Mississippi River some 1100 km from the ocean.
This shark is stocky in build and grows to a length of 3.4 m in coastal open water but considerably smaller in rivers and estuaries where they are recorded as growing to 2.25 m depending on sex. They have a bluntly rounded snout and small yellow eyes. Their colour ranges from pale to very dark grey with white underbelly.
The big question is…..Are they man-eaters? Well!….. they are extremely aggressive and can justifiably claim to be the world’s most dangerous shark and probably responsible for more deaths than they are credited for, particularly in shallow warm coastal waters, estuaries and rivers. As you can see in the above photographs, these shark are very close to the shore and in knee high water. The larger sharks would have been at least 2 m long. There appears to be a myth out there that sharks only feed at dawn and dusk. I can tell you that these sharks were filling their bellies around 11.30 in the morning, so I for one wouldn’t like to test that theory. On the positive side, there is a lot of water between sharks, so the chances of being attacked is quite minimal.
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“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
A walk on the north side of town, from the Spit Bridge to Manly, Sydney, Australia
Every walk starts with just one tiny footprint. It’s where that footprint takes you that matters.
When I started this walk I wondered who had walked this area before. I don’t mean the manufactured walking trail but the entire area between the Spit Bridge and Manly. Bush walkers perhaps, convicts, early explorers? Actually, I was thinking of the Indigenous people of this land who hunted and gathered food here for thousands of years and we know that they were here and there were many of them. I wonder what they thought as they saw the first sailing vessels coming through the heads. The surprise and wonderment at the garments and uniforms of the first officers and sailors on landing.
Some of the harbour side beaches throw the most spectacular patterns in the water and you can see just how clean and clear the water is which brings me back to thinking about the aboriginal people who lived on these shores and what a life style they must have enjoyed with plentiful fresh water, native animals, birds and an abundance of fish and crustaceons to feast on, a temperate climate with lots of sunshine, life must have been very good.
The above view was our introduction to our walk and we couldn’t have wished for better weather and couldn’t wait to see what we had in front of us.
Our next location was Clortarf where we were greeted by this natural sculpture in sandstone.
Is the above view for real? Is it some mystical bottom dwelling sea creature from the bottom of Sydney Harbour that I have accidentally photographed? or is it an illusion produced by the water passing over a rather large submerged rock? You be the judge!
This is a view across Sydney Harbour looking from Clontarf to South Head at the entrance to Sydney harbour. If you read my post on the walk from Watsons Bay to Bondi Beach, the land depicted in the above photograph is the subject of the article. I may be biased but I think it is quite spectacular. The ferry you can see in the photo, is heading to Manly from Circular Quay and it would be this ferry that you would catch to start the walk from Manly to The Spit.
As we passed through Balgowla Heights I was attracted to the beautiful native flora which goes to show you that there is more to this walk than awesome harbour views.
At the top of this photograph is North Head at the entrance to Sydney harbour. This headland used to be an army installation and out of bounds to the general public, but in recent times it has been turned into Sydney Harbour National Park and can be walked as an extension to the Spit to Manly walk.
When we reached this spot, I knew that we were nearing the end of our walk. Our destination, Manly, is a little to the right of centre in the above photo. It was an enjoyable walk, not too difficult with ample interesting coves and beaches at which to stop and admire the panoramic views of Sydney Harbour. We continued our walk to the ocean side through the pedestrian only Corso ( 5 mins,) where we had an ice cream before catching a ferry back to Circular Quay and a bus to Bondi Beach. All in all an awesome day out.
Distance: 10 km – one way
Walk time: 3-5 hrs. depending on fitness and how many stops you make on the way.
If you are planning on staying in Sydney and intend playing the tourist, I would suggest buying an Opal Card which will cover all public transp
“My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature…..Claude Monet.”
“Adapt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m still trying to make up my mind as to whether the Tawnys’ are ugly or exotically beautiful but whatever, they are certainly unusual.
These nocturnal birds which are native to mainland Australia and Tasmania are often mistaken for an owl but are in fact more closely related to the Nightjar. They are stocky and compact with rounded wings and short legs and generally weigh between 157 – 555 grams and measure 34 -53 cm. Their bills are hooked at the tip and topped with distinctive tufts. They have large yellow eyes similar to owls.
Are they dangerous? I have on occasions approached to within 50 cm or so without them showing any concern or aggression whatsoever, relying instead on their extremely good camouflage. I have come across them in parks and private gardens.
The birds mate for life and it is not unusual to see them roosting in pairs on low lying branches or in the fork of a tree.
If you happen to be in Australia, settling in for the night and hear this strange Oom -Oom – Oom grunting, it’s a safe bet that you have a Tawny Frogmouth or two in close proximity.
The above photograph so represents what Singapore is, or should I say used to be. The fishing villages, the boats, the canals, the humidity, colonial buildings mixed in with shop houses and an eclectic mish mash of nationalities going about their daily business.
I spent a lot of time in Singapore in the late 60’s and early 70’s when it went from a post war colonial outpost to a vibrant city. It was fascinating, alive with the remnants of all of Asia cocooned together on this tiny island. I loved every moment I had there, the Chinese Puppet Opera, Change alley, the smell of durians in season and Bugis Street. Water skiing from Mosquito Island off Pongal Point followed by a feast of cracked crab with chilli sauce and eased down with an icy cold Tiger beer. There are so many memories here and all of them good.
There was this story floating around the traps about the famous comedian Bob Hope who was passing through Singapore. As the flight steward opened the door of the aircraft, a waft of sickly sweet humid air entered the cabin. Bob Hope was heard to exclaim to his aide, “My God, what is that smell?”, the aide replied “I don’t know Bob, but it smells like shit!” to which Bob countered ” You’re right, but what have they done to it!” In those days they didn’t have the luxury of an air-conditioned air-bridge joining the fuselage of the aircraft to the terminal, passengers had to descend a set of steps wheeled up to the aircraft and then walk across the tarmac to the terminal and their first taste of Singapore was commonly called the smell of the Orient.
Back in 1967, when I was in my early 20’s, I used to stay at the old colonial Cathay Hotel. Whilst consuming a cold beer in the bar as a new chum to Singapore, it felt as though I was living out a scene from a Somerset Maugham or Ernest Hemingway novel. As I said before, it was the 1960’s and the room was full of business people, military and naval personnel, civilian aircrew, tourists, expats. and locals, people from all walks of life really and this was what made it so fascinating. Unfortunately, All that is left of this grand old dame now is the facade fronting another shopping mall.
Living in this modern metropolis of Singapore is probably great for the locals and I don’t begrudge them one little bit, but for me, I’d rather have the colourful, post war ‘Singas’ with all of it’s smells and sounds any day, and I am happy that I had the fortune of spending some time there and still have the memories of what it was like.
Well, that was then and this is now.
And, as we herald in the modern era, the new city of Singapore is brightly lit at night with a mix of colonial and modern architecture and chock full of honey, just for the taking. As busy as a hive of bees.
It is a modern city and therefore you would expect to see good modern architecture and you have it, lots of it, mixed in with the old British colonial and Asian shop-houses. It has an air of urgency about it and at the same time, the locals look perfectly relaxed.
Ten minutes drive outside the CBD and it is as if you are in a different world, one with vertical living next to an array of restaurants and bars, with a similarity to the old Singapore.
This is getting out of control as I could go on and on but I won’t, ending this post here.