The words commonly used to describe classical ballet dancers — agility, speed, lightness, grace — may apply as well to sailboats. Watching the latter glide on the water, their sails resplendent in the sunlight, is like watching a ballet at sea.
The Nile is considered the longest river in the world with its total length of 6,650 kilometres (4,132 miles). Rising south of the Equator, it flows northward through northeastern Africa to drain into the Mediterranean Sea. Its significance, however, goes beyond it physical characteristics or its contribution to the development of ancient Egyptian civilisation.
The shipping world was ecstatic when ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, came into force in August 2013. It was as though a new dawn in seafarers’ rights had come. But did it really? The reality is that the Convention, inclusive of the 2018 amendments, has some serious flaws.
Any sensible person would say that using cadets as unpaid labour — in many cases, for months on end — is wrong. Not so in Manila with its damaged maritime culture. The serve-for-sail practice has become institutionalised.
Since time immemorial, humankind has been fascinated no end by swans. These aquatic birds are not only beautiful and elegant. They have an air of mystery about them.
Seafarers who want to hone their English skills would do well to learn and use more idioms in their daily life. Idioms are useful tools for facilitating communication. They can also give a good impression of the seafarer to senior officers and management.
Is artistic talent genetic and can it be inherited? One is tempted to consider the possibility in the case of Herminie Henriette Gudin, daughter of the 19th-century French marine painter, Theodore Gudin.
In 1795 the famous German poet and author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, wrote a pair of sea poems. Both are short. The first (Meeresstille, or Calm at Sea) consists of only eight lines; the second (Glückliche Fahrt, or The Prosperous Voyage), 10 lines. However, they would inspire Felix Mendelssohn to compose a captivating concert overture which borrowed the titles of Goethe’s poems and was first performed in 1828.
Fearing the paling of my imagination, I challenged myself by looking at an old concrete wall to try to find anything that resembled a seascape. The wall stands just a few feet outside my window. It is made of hollow blocks with no paint, just random coats of cement plaster. I looked and looked, my mind painting small seascapes on the rough canvas. After several days of wall-gazing, I came up with the following black & white photographs.
Humans have an instinctive need to celebrate beginnings — New Year’s Day, the birth of a child, the launching of a newbuilding ship, etc. Such events do not only mark the start of something new. They evoke feelings of hope, which is the one essential quality that separates man from animals.
It is customary in many countries to usher in the new year with fireworks. The Chinese believe that they drive away evil spirits. Others simply love the sound and spectacle of the pyrotechnics. In lieu of all that, I’d like to share some paintings of sunrise at sea to welcome 2023. I hope that each one will give off good vibes to the readers of Marine Café Blog. Happy New Year!
Bridges in Japanese art have a unique charm that stems from the traditional values and ideas held by the Japanese. Amongst them: the adoration of beauty; love for nature and its changing aspects; the transcience of life; social accord; and harmony with the universe. Looking at the following works of art, one feels a certain tranquility, the kind that comes from knowing one’s place in the larger scheme of things.
Bridges are so commonplace that not very many people will pause to appreciate their beauty. Yet, even a simple wooden bridge can hold as much charm as a majestic lighthouse. Whatever their type or size, bridges are a testament to man’s creative instinct and ingenuity.