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Posts Tagged ‘sea’

Beyond Nova Scotia’s ocean shore lies the world of inner space.  This marvelous world is seen by few except divers, who brave our cold waters for just a glimpse of its wildlife inhabitants.  The rest of us only see evidence of undersea life when it is washed ashore or edible forms appear on our dinnerplate.  Yet, how far these experiences remove us from the pulse of life beneath the surface of the waves.

The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish.

~ Jacques Cousteau

The spiny sculpin, shown at top, is an odd-looking fish that can survive out of water for hours at a time as long as it stays wet.  Another bottom dweller is the flounder shown below.  Amazingly, one of the flounder’s eyes gradually drifts from one side of its body to the other.  The body of the fish eventually turns on its side, where both of its eyes come to rest on ‘top.’ 

 

Crustaceans, such as this spider crab, are also found on the sea floor, scavenging for food.

Hermit crabs search the sea floor for empty shells that they may use to protect their vulnerable bodies from predators.  They don’t possess the hard exoskeleton common to most true crabs.

The seafood section in Nova Scotia’s grocery stores often hold live lobsters in a tank.  The trapped  lobster, shown above, seems destined for such a place.  Like many crustaceans, it possesses the magical ability to regrow its asymmetrical claws.

Among the most attractive creatures to be found off our coasts are the carnivorous sea anemones, which look deceptively like plants.  

 

Many thanks to Wayne Joy and my son Simon Bell for granting permission to share these beautiful photos taken on a recent dive.  Both Wayne and Simon are members of the Shearwater Scuba Club.

Images copyright Wayne T. Joy / Simon Bell.

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The sun is rising.  Quick!  Come down to the sea to witness the dawn of day.  Birds are already calling out to one another and singing their wake-up songs.

A male pheasant crows from beyond the alder bushes.  Sparrows are already in flight across the path to the shore.

The view of the sky and ocean open up just beyond the spruce trees.  It’s not far now to the rocks and stones below.

From the shore, the view is clear across the water.  The sun is being coy and staying out of sight behind the clouds.  The tide is neither high nor low, half revealing the wave smoothed rock where mermaids arrange their hair in warmer weather.

Waves pound the beach as the sky begins to darken.  Rain is on its way.  The sunrise show is coming to an end.

There’s time for just one last glance at the dawn from behind the mermaid rock.  The mermaids will soon be migrating back to our northern waters for the summer months.  Perhaps we’ll spot one this year as she sits on the rock, looking out to sea at dawn.  You never know what you’ll find along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic shore.

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Whether experienced outdoors or seen through a window, fog’s softening effect brings a sense of cosiness to Nova Scotia in springtime.  Fog may be dense, accompanied by drizzle or thinning to a mist.  It may arrive in the morning and dissipate by noon, or still be seen rolling down the street in wafts of whiteness at midday.  

Foggy days with reduced visibility force us to look inward.  When the path that  lies ahead and the one that lies behind us are both blurred, it makes sense to rely on our intuition for direction.  

It also helps to listen carefully.  Fog consists of tiny water droplets, which allow sound to travel more quickly.  If we would slow down and listen to what is being whispered to us in the fog, we’d gain better insight into the path before us.

The fog is rolling over the hill
Winding twining rock and rill.
Softer and kinder than the light
Takes what’s sharp and wraps it white.

I will walk down by the foggy sea
Where the rocks are weeping silently.
That love that was once so bright and bold
Has turned itself to cold.

And so I love a foggy night
I walk and walk to my heart’s delight.
The fog’s cool kiss upon my face
All sorrow will erase.

The fog is rolling over the bay
It drifts my heart so far away.
Softer and kinder than the light
Takes what’s sharp and wraps it white.

~ Rose Vaughan, Song of the Fog

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Seeing the sea from so many vantage points is one of the perks of living in Nova Scotia, especially around the Halifax region.  While driving or walking, seeing the ocean out of the corner of your eye always boosts the spirit.   Like the sky, the Atlantic is always changing and offering something new to see every day.

Sunrises reflected over salt water are especially beautiful.  After decades of looking out towards the sea, it’s still a wonder to me that this water and the water seen from Africa’s western shores are one and the same.  Supposedly, prior to Continental Drift, the land around Cow Bay was once connected to Africa.  Somehow, the idea that Cow Bay’s sandy shores may share a common history with Namibian sands makes this place seem even more special.  

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had to rush past awe-inspiring sunrises over the ocean while on my way to work in the early mornings.   Nevertheless, even a glimpse of such an ocean sunrise is sure to give you some immunity to whatever the rest of the day may throw at you.  Could it be the reflection of sunrise colours in the water that persists in our memory throughout the day?  Or is it the sense of having been alone with God for just that moment at the break of  dawn?

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea. 
~Isak Dinesen

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You’re alone, walking along the shoreline and enjoying the sunshine and the warm sand between your toes, when suddenly you see it:  a bottle with a piece of paper in it, lying on the sparkling beach.  You open the cork and read the contents and there it is… a message for the ages… words of wisdom that promise to give your mundane world new meaning and passion…  or perhaps a connection to another kindred soul on the planet.  Ah… if only it would happen like this. 

If such life-changing messages are to be found, they’re not lying there on a sunny shore, waiting to be chanced upon.  There’s a price to be paid for their discovery.  More likely, they’re to be found on a rainy day among plastic bottles and broken lobster traps in a heap of storm debris.

They may be enmeshed in a mass of wet seaweed, recently thrown up on the shore by crashing waves.  It may be winter when the sky is grey and oppressive, and you’d much rather be indoors than outside with the cold wind biting at your face and fingers.

If the message carried within the bottle is truly magnificent, you can bet the glass vessel is  lying close to the edge of the water, destined to be pulled out to sea again if you don’t act quickly enough to pick it up.

Anyone who has ever valued wisdom or soulful connections with others knows that these are treasures you have to find for yourself.  Neither can be passed from one person to the next.  Likewise, the person who finds the bottle on the shore is the one destined to acquire its contents. 

‘I always believed the sea could bring surprises and joy.’  So said Hsiao Wei-chen of Taiwan, who recently found a message in a bottle thrown into the sea 3,000 nautical miles away by container ship seaman Oliver Hickman.  His note wished the finder health and happiness and also said the world is full of fun, love and beauty.  Apparently, Hickman makes it a regular practice to throw bottled messages into the sea.  For more on the story, see Times Live.

The world is indeed full of fun, love and beauty.  It’s also full of wonder.  You just have to get out there and discover it for yourself.

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They come in a series of seven.
And the seventh wave is big enough…
…to take us both out
beyond the point of return.
~ Papillon   (Henri Charrière)

Walking along the seashore, it’s obvious that not all waves possess the same strength.  Some trickle onto the shore while others crash and extend a farther reach onto the sand.  Many have wondered if there’s some kind of pattern to the frequency of the stronger waves.  

Wave height and strength are determined by a number of factors:

  • the force of the wind (the stronger the wind, the larger the wave)
  • the distance over which the water is affected by the wind (the longer the distance, the larger the wave)
  • tidal action (incoming high tides into a small inlet from a larger expanse of water can cause especially large waves)
  • seismic activity beneath the ocean floor (these can sometimes cause huge waves to occur)
  • the depth of the water (waves cannot sustain their height once they reach shallow water)

The magic of the seventh wave continues to elude shoreline visitors across cultures.  Surfers are especially keen wave watchers, always on the look-out for the perfect wave to catch.  Some may have been able to find small patterns in the course of a single day on a specific beach but this usually involves a series of fewer or more than seven waves.  Though experts say there’s no way to predict the frequency of stronger waves, the French story of an island prisoner in Papillon details a swim to freedom enabled by the seventh wave.  

The waves have pounded the earth’s shorelines for millennia and will continue to do so long after we’re gone.  Wave patterns are altered from hour to hour, day to day and year to year.  Despite ongoing changes, the mystery and power of the seventh wave will likely endure.

Every ripple on the ocean
Every leaf on every tree
Every sand dune in the desert
Every power we never see
There is a deeper wave than this
                      . . .
I say love is the seventh wave.
~ Sting

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