Beat the Blues in Bermuda: Photo Gallery

Apparently, right now is the most depressing time of the year.  The combination of dark mornings, dreich weather, and the return to normal duties after the excitement of New Year.  The arrival of credit card bills, the failure of resolutions for better health and fitness, and well, just …January.  All these factors combine into what the media had dubbed Blue Monday, the flattest and most listless day of the year.

But, so-called Blue Monday got me thinking about the blues, and the dazzling array of blues that coloured my stay in Bermuda last winter.  The sea wasn’t just azure, it was turquoise, cobalt, indigo, and ultramarine.  Sugar-cube cottages, hibiscus flowers and and whispy-white clouds contrasted skies that were cerulean and sapphire.

The first settlers on Bermuda found their way ashore in 1609, when the Sea Venture was wrecked on the reef, inspiring Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.  And the famous pink-sand beaches, tinted by the crushed shells of tiny crustaceans, are every bit a castaway fantasy.  Although locals might pass on swimming in the sea during the winter, low water temperatures are similar to what would be a great summer day at the beach back in the UK, so there’s no competition for a spot on the beach.  And there’s more than 30 beaches to choose from.

Located at the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean, the islands were visited by ships sailing between Britain, the Caribbean, and North America, leaving a rich maritime history.  Perfect for a winter get-away, and a great way to beat the blues.

 

Travel Theme: Sky

This week’s travel theme from “Where’s my backpack?” is sky.  So what better way to show off the sky than a sunset from the end of the world?  Or it might be the sunrise, as both happened within 10 minutes of each other.

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Views from Gjesvær, Nordkapp

Just a few days later and neither would happen again for another 2 and a half months, as the midnight sun doesn’t drop below the horizon north of the Arctic Circle.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blackfish.

There’s a documentary film I’m going to watch on TV tonight.  It’s called Blackfish, and it discusses the story surrounding an orca kept in a SeaWorld theme park that gained notoriety from his involvement in the deaths of three individuals.  It’s showing tonight at 9pm (GMT) on BBC4 in the UK, or you can watch the trailer here and download the rest of the film from various sources.

blackfish As dolphin encounters are an item that often features highly on “bucket lists” and “things to do before you…” lists, I think its quite important for participants to be fully informed and aware of the wider impacts of their choices.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about the film and the issues it raises, or whether you’ve visited a SeaWorld theme park or had an encounter with cetaceans in a captive environment.  Don’t miss it!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

The theme for this week’s Photo Challenge is layers, which made me think of the shore at Hellnar, near the tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula in Iceland.  The black basalt rocks are washed by the surf rolling in from the North Atlantic, exposing the layers created by many subsequent flows of lava from the Snaefell volcano.  Constant pounding by the sea smooths the sharp edges, leaving ribbony waves of rock.

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Layers of basalt on Valasnös natural arch, Hellnar

The cliffs and natural arch of Valasnös, at the eastern end of the bay, look particularly gnarled and twisted, with sharp shards and layers that catch the light and reflections from the water.  Higher up, mosses and sea pinks take hold in tiny nooks and kittiwakes nest on narrow ledges.  Out in the green water of the bay, sleek seals watch you watching them with their deep dark eyes.

The Weekly Photo Challenge can be found here.

How to Train your Dragon, Part 3.

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Foul weather sailing.  Photo by Peder Jacobsson.

Making a tack or a gybe in Drakan is hard work for the crew involved, especially when we’re beating our way up a narrow fjord and changing direction every 10 minutes or so. The ship can’t run as close to the wind as a modern sailing ship, so we have to make tighter zigzags, taking much longer to cover the forward distance. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

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Looking south from Rackwick, Orkney

The line where the sea appears to touch the sky.  To an observer of my height, standing at on the shore, the horizon lies just less than 5km away.  But sitting back on the pink sandstone cobblestones of Rackwick bay the distance drops, and the cliffs of Caithness disappear below the horizon.

The Weekly Photo Challenge can be found here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

The theme of this week’s challenge was “The Hue of You“, which I think has been the most demanding challenge I’ve participated in to date.  The aim is to share a photograph in which the predominant colour or colours reveals something about yourself, which prompted me to research a little about the perceptions associated with my favourite colour: blue. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated

The theme of this week’s challenge is Saturated.

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Stormy Skies on the Hardangerfjord

Clouds form when the air is saturated with water vapour, which can happen in two ways.  Either the amount of water in the air is increased, such as through evaporation, and the air cannot hold anymore water, or the air is cooled to the dew point and water vapour begins to condense.

How to Train your Dragon, Part 2.

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Sailing in the small boats.

So previously I described the work involved in raising the sail and letting it fly. But unless you’re running completely downwind, much greater control of the sail is needed, by securing the bottom corner of the sail closest to the wind, the hals, and trimming its shape with a variety of ropes. It’s much easier to see how the process works in the smaller square-sailed boats. Continue reading