Seas have always been a wonderful spectacle, an infinite source of inspiration, so diverse are the colors and shorelines, whatever they are friendly or hostile. But they are also a formidable master to teach us humility and our powerlessness as soon as we have to deal with their waves of anger.
Low Tide at Cancale
Cancale, it is not only well known for the oyster farming but also the colors so typical of Brittany with the shape of Mont-Saint-Michel fading away on the horizon when bad weather threatens.
Chrysaora Pacifica. Behind this beautiful name hides a jellyfish living nearly in the endemic state in the waters of the Japanese archipelago. It is also called, "sea nettle." If the sting does not present in principle any risk for humans, it has strong itching.
Here is a famous place for sailors whether they are yachtsmen or professionals. Ptolemy already evoked its existence in his manual of geography. Cap Blanc-Nez is the gateway to all major European ports: Bremen, Hamburg, Antwerp, Rotterdam... With the Malacca Strait, it records the most important maritime traffic in the world and incidents, either on engine failure, ignorance, or even neglect of specific regulations, are not so uncommon. But that windy place is also a kite surfer's paradise as shown in the picture above.
Between Sky and Shore
Between sky and shore, there is the sea and the Ambleteuse Fort (Pas-de-Calais / France) hanging on to a rocky spur beaten by the waves bursting on its walls. The first stones were laid in the 17th century by order of Louis XIV. Initially, the construction was designed to protect the harbor at the mouth of the Slack River. But if the place had an indisputable strategic advantage, it was quite quickly abandoned. The weather conditions and the constant silting up of the estuary made perilous access to the vessels. Ambleteuse fell into the oblivion of History before rising from the ashes, a century later, thanks to the "little Corporal,” the nickname of a certain Napoleon Bonaparte ... Fort Ambleteuse, sometimes mistakenly called "Fort Mahon,” has been classified as a historic monument since 1965.
The Estuary of Gironde -1
Along the estuary of the Gironde River, these fishermen's shelters are inseparable from the Gironde's legacy. Fishing with square dipping nets dates back more than six centuries or so. Writing mention from the 14th century a fishing technique called "carrelet,” as a matter of fact, the name of a fish (plaice). A square net with two poles tied down on a carnation rose or descended into the water thanks to another bigger pole. If the technique is not so different today in France, it was not until the 20th century the first wooden cabins came up on the Charente Coast, the Gironde, the Loire, and even the Dordogne. They allowed the owners to fish sheltered from the weather.
The Estuary of Gironde -2
More than 600 shelters (called in French "carrelet") were destroyed during a 1999 storm. Just over 400 were repaired a few months later. But in February 2010, the subtropical depression Xynthia swept through Western Europe. Although the gusts of wind did not exceed 150 km/h (about 80Knts), the depression caused considerable damage both material and human.
Despite the rudimentary aspect of these shelters, to be owner became over the years a really administrative ordeal. First, for environmental reasons, a permit to build a shelter on a new site will generally be denied. The future buyer will have to look for an owner who wants to sell his valued property. At this point, the purchaser must obtain two authorizations. Then, only he can roll up his sleeves and begin the refurbishment or a new construction while making sure to integrate the shelter into its environment. The dream always has its price...
Fishing Nets in the Mist
Ilha dos Marineheiros - Brazil -
Lagoon Before the Storm
An absolute silence, hardly disturbed by the plaintive barking of a dog, falls like a lid on the lagoon. The shrimp nets ripple like waves under the caress of a slight breeze before stopping their movements for what seems an eternity. The sky rumbles, the smell of moisture engulf the nostrils while the clouds stumble on the horizon to forecast the storm.
Do not be fooled by appearances. Rio Grande is not only a fishing port lost in the depths of southern Brazil. It is one of the most important in South America. Unlike other ports, such as Buenos Aires, Porto Alegre, and Montevideo, its infrastructure are opened to the sea two miles distant only from the harbor facilities so that the largest container ships currently in service in the world get easy access inside.
Port of Shadows
I took this image at La Paloma, a small port located at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata in Uruguay early in the morning and before heading the same day for Namibia... that I've never reached due to major damages on board of my sailing ship.