The Sound flat as glass
and ospreys criss-cross searching
for fish while I watch.
The Sound flat as glass
and ospreys criss-cross searching
for fish while I watch.
One of the classiest pieces in The Bearpit for a little while appeared just over a week ago and took up the entire length of ont of the north side entrance ramp. This stunning piece is a collaboration between Sled One and Epok. As is often the case with work like this, the photographs really don’t do it justice and I would urge Bristolians to get down to The Bearpit to see it for themselves.
There is a strong message here about the damage being done to our oceans by plastics – don’t get me going on this subject, because it vexes me because the torrent of pastic, large and microscopic, will kill off life in our oceans unless urgent action is taken. We sure know how to goof up our planet.
The artwork in this piece is exquisite and incredibly detailed, just take a look at the pectoral fins of the fish above, to see how much work has gone into the colourse ripples and folds of the fins.
Them whole thing is cleverly constructed, combining some abstract elements with life studies, but the whole effect is one of movement and swirling currents.
It would be great to hear from the artists themselves what inspired them to do this piece. It is possible that it was a commission, but by whom I wonder. Next time I see Sled One, I’ll have to ask him.
All in all a great piece and beautiful gift to the people of Bristol. Now, reduce that plastic waste!
This is another of my infrequent posts which is what Natural Adventures was originally set up for. For those of you unfamiliar with my Falkland Islands journal I will offer a quick recap. In 1988 I landed a job as a fisheries scientist working with the Falkland Islands Government on a contract just shy of a year. This blog is a faithful digitisation of the journal I wrote on that trip. For me, this is a catharsis, for you it may be an insight into the mind of a 24 year old on an exciting and challenging adventure.
The scene is set in the first post ‘An Ill Wind‘, which you might like to read for context.
Suday 26 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
Aah, at last a day off. I slept so terribly, the rough sea rolled me about something rotten. It is a little better now, but would have been terrible if we had tried a set (setting the longline) this morning.
I think my stomach bugs are caused by the sashimi! my body just isn’t used to it. I must confess that the raw tuna is excellent.
Wrote letters to Mum and Ad and to Deb.
I have been considering a reply to Karen’s rather frustrated letter in which she seems to ask ‘what are we doing here?’ or something similar.
I’ve thought of many answers, but some may seem a little brutal, and sinceshe thinks I am a brute anyway I don’t want to upset her again.
Began to write my schedule for other scientists (I refuse to call them observers) who will work on the KM30 while I am on leave, namnely Crag and Phil.
I am still furious about my tax position with PDA – this company seems to be nothing but trouble.
Monday 27 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
A beautiful sunrise – I wonder if I will see such lovely sights again when I return to the UK – for starters I don’t think I will ever be up in time!
I hear Africa calling
Possibly cos I’m listening to African Sanctus at this moment.
Some more pretty corals today – I should be able to build up quite a good collection.
Several albatross were caught up in the lines today – I think they go for the squid bait when the line is deployed and get caught up, dragged down and drown – it is very sad indeed. I also thought it was unlucky to kill an albatross, but maybe that is only if it is intentional.
Not long now ’til home.
Tuesday 28 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
I’m getting sick and tired of saying long, tiring day, but today really was – I hope I get some decent sleep.
Had a good radio chat with Elizabeth today – she’s also due for a break in August. She gets two holidays in the time I’ve only had one! RAW DEAL!
The fishing was ace today – I hope it puts egg on the Fishing Master’s face – the crew were working fairly close to capacity I reckon.
5 tons/day, yeah pull the other one shortie!
Zone IV has been the best covered so far – all this is quite a laugh really.
Wrote a letter to Beth – very sweet of her, Charlie and Carl to write, but thwen I suppose I did write first. Letters are my life-blood.
Watching ‘With love from Oregon ’87’ for the third time – what a terrible drama, but a gorgeous half Indian (red) (OMG – we don’t say that these days – native north American) half Japanese girl of about 16 in the starring role.
I now feel at ease with all but two of the crew – ‘Rolf Harris’ and Iagi – they don’t seem to want to be friendly. I’ve made good friends with the grumpy old man – he’s really quite a good bloke.
Aah – shower and bed – nice.
Wednesday 29 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
A short day – it became too rough to set more than 60 lines (baskets). It was all over by 7.30am. So I decided to sleep, to make up for lost sleep last night – unfortunately this means that I won’t be tired and won’t be able to sleep tonight – vicious circle.
It’s funny but however hard I try I just can’t conjure up any original thoughts – I have none, so my diary becomes a dull, dreary account of my days and not an abstract random selection of my thoughts. I hope the reader (if any) will bear with me. It must be obvious that I’m not very happy at the moment, perhaps this can explain sume of this mundainity (is there such a word?).
As I write I often wonder if any of my children or grandchildren (if I have any) will pick up my diaries and read them. Perhaps they will understand me better for it and see into who I am a little more clearly.
Just a quick recap – This blog ‘Natural Adventures’ was set up so that I could digitise a journal I wrote while working in the Falkland Islands in 1988. The Haiku and street art took over completely, but every now and then I like to get back to my roots. For any readers who have not seen any of this Falkland stuff before, it is worth getting some context from my first post ‘An Ill Wind’.
Wednesday 22 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
I think I have a slight stomach bug – I am not sure of the cause – it causes only a little pain, but it’s there. Today will be a long day again, 450 lines deployed. Wrote letter No 49 to Deb. That isn’t bad, 49 letters and cards in 106 days since I’ve been here. Admittedly, they aren’t as long as they were, but they still keep coming (going).
The Desire (one of the patrol vessels) came – yahoo – and delivered loads of letters and papers – I am glowing. It has been a very good day.
A school of dolphins passed by and I took some snaps, some new fish came up, I got some lovely corals and a hairy winkle (pardon?!).
The fish, the best one, unfortunately ended up as sashimi.
I now smell really fishy!
All my doubts and fears about Deb have cleared away – I’m a happy bunny – Mum and Karen and granny’s letters are all ace. I still want to get home though.
Thursday 23 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
My stomach bug continues, but it is mild. My shit is like liquid ‘caramac’, but not quite so tasty I’m sure.
It has bee an idyllic day – calm and sunny – loads of photos (none very good)
The catch has been good – I would guess at about 2.5 to 3 tonnes of Kingu (Kingclip). I hate this work and I want to go home – all my letters (which I received yesterday) are now haunting me. I don’t think I’m content here – I could not live this way for the rest of my life.
My last duty of the day (changing my camera film and sticking the slide reference number in my journal) before showering and turning in. These days are so long, I don’t have much time for reading or letters – a shame really, but it is good that I am occupied.
Saw some ace penguins hop out of the sea Vertically onto a patch of floating kelp. It was very funny. I thought I was in for a superb sunset, but I was wrong.
Friday 24 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
My bug seems to be over, which is a relief. So many birds today.
What I’m thinking right now is why do I get spots?
Now I know ‘Queen Mab’ properly. Now to set about the whole part of Mercutio. Will I ever achieve it?
Amongst my letters was one from Granny G. She had sent me a tape, but I never received it, which is a terrible shame – it would have had all the family news in it. I still don’t know if Simon and Sue are married yet. Nobody has mentioned it to me. (Reading this paragraph now in 2017 rather breaks my heart. I would love to hear my grandmother’s voice on a tape trapped in that year of 1988.)
29 days and I’ll be home! yahoo. Until then I wait.
My cabin is a tip – I love it like this – my papers and magazines all over the floor, a full bin, folders strewn everywhere. A mixture of work and leisure.
Saturday 25 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
I may as well use up this space (alongside an article I stuck in my journal) it seems such a waste otherwise. A beautiful sun rise but not a beautiful day. It is choppy, the waves are cutting across our path and the ship is rolling like billyo.
So many people have said how vivid my letters are – I can;’t believe them. Frankly I think they are dull, uninteresting and badly written, but there we are.
Yuk! I’ve just disposed of a tin of custard down my gob – in times of hardship one loses all self-pride – It’s so true.
I forgot to mention that I am now an expert in chopstick (hachi) management. Pretty bloody cool.
I first saw this mural at Upfest 2016, but wasn’t sure who it was by or whether it was a festival piece. It turns out that it is by the magnificent Andrew Burns Colwill and it was not his Upfest piece, but a commission.
Colwill is a truly brilliant artist with a very colourful history, who has just completed a magnificent exhibition entitled ’20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat’ at the It’s All 2 Much Gallery in Stokes Croft. The works place some of our most treasured species into future places where all is not as it should be. A global warming/pollution warning to us all.
This piece is altogether more mainstream, and for a marine biologist like me a real treat.
Back to my roots for a moment. This whole blogging experience began in February 2015, when I was taken ill with ‘flu and had to spend several days in bed. For a long time I had wanted to digitise a journal I wrote in 1988 but simply hadn’t had the time. Being Ill afforded me the chance to get started.
Since then I have been increasingly distracted by haiku and street art and feel bad that I have for so long neglected the original purpose of ‘Natural Adventures’.
The full journal can be accesses by clicking on the homepage of Natural Adventures under the heading on the left ‘Falkland Journal, 1988’. For context it is worth reading the first entry ‘An Ill Wind’. Enjoy.
Saturday 18 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
I woke at 06:05 with a start and a half – I couldn’t believe that I had overslept by four hours. Panic! Perhaps it was the double mattress.
But there was no standby bell. There was no fishing today. I don’t understand why because the weather has been good, despite a gentle swell of about 15 feet or so. Possibly just to give the crew a rest
The reason I was given was “the parameter” ?? eh? I thought, then I realised they were saying “barometer”.
I watched Mosquito Coast – a good film, but inclined to depress me.
Now King Kong Lives has just begun. I never knew such a film existed – looks like it could be good.
I quite enjoyed King Kong, the remake, but this film looks slightly laughable.
Today I have spoken no more than fifteen words. This makes me sad.
Sunday 19 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
Another long hard day. This is more like it! I think that this is ten times better than squid fishing. I’m sure my enthusiasm will fade before long, but the fact that there are only twenty or so bottom long-liners in Japan and this is the only Jigger-long-liner makes me feel quite lucky. This is my baby and I am going to do a good job!
Today some grenadiers, and at last some Patagonian Toothfish. I think the Fishing Master was pleased, hence the saki at supper – it is potent stuff – yummie.
Last night I had a very vivid dream about Mr Baker (my housemaster at school) as he was when I first met him twelve years ago. I think he is ill or dying or dead, I don’t know why, but I just get that feeling. He was so friendly (in the dream) and knew who I was – he came over to me and started chatting – I felt close to him, like I did in my final year at school. Odd.
Tomorrow I talk to Fishops via KSJ (the fishing agent) – why is it always like this? Fishops radio, like everything else is so bloody inefficient!
Monday 20 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
Today is colder and the catch is very poor – no doubt the Fishing Master will be in a rather bad mood today.
I am sure that before long, there will be an accident in the factory deck. Already the Ice Master has gaffed his own leg. Next it will be a finger in the circular saw or a hook in the face. It is bound to happen sooner or later.
‘Don’t give up ’cause you have friends
Don’t give up you’re not the only one
Don’t give up no reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up you still have us
Don’t give up now we’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up you know its never been easy
Don’t give up ’cause I believe there’s a place there’s a place where we belong’
This could keep me going for a while.
Everyone has gone to bed sharpish (it is now 7pm). After some 17 hours work I don’t yet know if we work tomorrow. I fear so, because we are steaming now to a new fishing ground.
There is a…what? I’ve forgotten – oh yes, a patrol ship the Falkland Desire on its way to deliver some letters for me. So I am writing a whole bunch of pre-paid airmail letters.
Tuesday 21 June 1988. Koei Maru 30
Oops – I overslept this morning, thinking that after such a tough day yesterday they would have a day off – no such luck.
Luckily the Fishing Master writes down times, temperatures etc. for the set and deployment, so it isn’t so bad missing the start.
Saw some penguins in a school, leaping like dolphins out of the water – and a seal, playing with a dead Salilota (red cod).
I’ve taken some otoliths for myself to try to help explain the work I do.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take some photographs of such things (for my lectures!)
Some funny dreams last night about getting caught sleeping with Emma W by my dad – very odd – try to interpret that. All in all very confusing.
It is now about 5.30pm and I am ready for a good night’s sleep. I’ll continue to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and then I’ll dream of Deb and home.
Where tompot blennies
thrive and encrusted spider
crabs scuttle away.
Inspired by the utterly brilliant blog by Heather Buttivant called Cornish Rockpools: https://cornishrockpools.com/blog/ – go take a look.