Places I’d Rather Be: The Arabian Sea
I have to work hard at pretending that life is great. It’s easy to forget that life is not all drudgery, frustration, worry and disappointment. This time last year I was working on board a ship sailing around the world. It was bloody hard work, and I won’t deny that it had its own frustrations, annoyances and low points, but it was also one of the high points of my life (so far…), one where I felt like I was actually doing something useful with my existence. There’s nothing like waking up in the dark bowels of the ship to the monotonous thunder of the engine and then going up into the fierce golden light of morning to check out what colour the ocean is today.
This time last year then, we were on our way from India to Egypt, passing through the eerily calm waters of the Arabian Sea. I think for three days there was nothing except this weird flat sea which glowed at night…and dolphins…and pirates. I took my camera everywhere, and one morning was rewarded with the early sun creating this peculiar gold-satin appearance on the ocean. I caught the wake of the ship echoing off into the stillness of the empty ocean. It had me reciting lines from Coleridge’s “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner”, though here was a fortunate lack of albatrosses around.
It was around this time also that there was a serious increase in the number of dolphin sightings, and I was getting rather jealous of people running around raving about porpoises and showing off their video footage. So, on the same day as the photo above was taken, I was sitting in the upstairs restuarant overlooking the prow of the ship when a flurry of passengers leapt up, flung themselves at the windows and started shrieking. As the hoards gathered at the windows, I exited in the opposite direction and ran upstairs to the deck above, knowing that the dolphins were likely to fall alongside the ship.
My intuition was right and I had just enough time to swap to my zoom lens before the pod began some impressive acrobatics in the ship’s wake trail, flipping and somersaulting around in the waves exuding a joy that is hard to see from other animals, humans included. This became one of my favourite images from the voyage and I have it hanging opposite my bed so that every morning when I wake up, I still get to see dolphins:
For the next few months then, I’m going to endeavour to reflect a bit more on that journey and use this as an excuse to finally get those Venezuela photos sorted out. Expect more “Places I’d Rather Be” to come.