Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I saw at this sea stretch!

 This piece was written a little over a week ago, before we got connected to the internet again, today I have a full day off and I have an internet stick with many hours on it so.... I have time and energy to share thoughts .... and experiences of 'times gone by' - it is really funny, for it seems so long ago and far away already. And far away it is, but long ago??? not really.

We have now been underway from Agadir for quite a few days, tomorrow we arrive in Dakar, Senegal, just after breakfast if all goes well.
On this trip from Agadir along the coast down south towards Senegal I have been able to cross out many items on my wish list for magnificent experiences in life.
I have seen gannet, lots of gannets close to and far from the ship. I have seen young ones and mature ones. I saw one young one way too upclose for comfort. I felt its warm body as it had just been caught on a fishing hook on a line we tow after the ship every now and again to catch a fish or two for a special treat.
This was a young and inexperienced gannet and alas he/she paid with his/her life for the curiosity which drives every youngster to try out new and interesting things, especially if it looks like it might taste good.
The young bird was sent back into the sea and although it was a good learning experience for the young people hauling the bird in I must admit that I felt rather sad at the whole situation.
There were also jaegers and skuars, skimming along the surface of the water. By the large amounts of birds in the area there must have been a whole lot of delicious sardines around, wonder if they were au natural or in tomato sauce???
There were also schools of blue finned tuna racing along the ship playing in the pressure wave the ship pushes in front of her as we move forward be it by sail or motoring along when the wind is down.
Yesterday I saw 4 flying fish skimming along. They looked exactly like birds with very rapid wing beats. It was hard to believe how far they could actually fly before they disappeared back into the waves. The wing/fin beats so fast they were like the blurry wings of a passing hummingbird.
This unfortunate flying fish should have taken better notes in navigation class, first it landed on our deck and then..... after a photo session with Soren it landed in the freezer, perhaps we will eat it one day, perhaps just look closer at it.
Today the bluefinned Tuna was back, then there was a sun fish basking in the surface of the sunshine filled ocean not too far from the boat, perhaps there were too, all I noticed was the fins sticking up and disappearing at lazy intervals.
At one point a call went out on the ship that a leather turtle was swimming by and I missed it so I wasnot a happy camper.
Later though my mood improved considerably when I spent a little while at the bow of the ship watching a very active flock of dolphins play around us. Such beauty, speed and sleekness. I hope to find time to enjoy this many more times to come on this trip.
A student told me that the dolphins we were enjoying were either Spotted Dolphins or Spinners, he wasn't sure which. I did of course not have my camera with me during these breathtaking moments, that is until this afternoon when the dolphins did me the honour of staying around even while I raced into my cabin to get my camera.
Then I did take lots of photos which were not all in focus and even tried out the filming button. I don't think I will be known as the next Jacques Cousteau though however much I wanted to experience life in and on the sea as a kid as I watched his tv programmes faithfully every week back in Denmark. A very tasty tid bit of a minute part of it is for me to take part in these days though.
Oh, I forgot to mention the humpback whale which breached far out and whose breaths we could see often again and again as we were each moving along our own paths.
All photos involving anything flying in this blog are by Soren .

Men Only Fishing Village, final stop of the day.

Sometimes you come to especially beautiful and interesting places. Our last stop of the day was exactly that. Bathed in evening sun it was ......... beautiful......... peaceful ............. a very thankful way of ending a fabulous day.

Our guide took us to a small fishing village, inhabited only by men, fisher men, who many of them (according to our guide) were having a hard time fitting into normal society.

Some of them might have a second home away from this village but this is where they prefer to go and work, fish and do a lot of their lives and then when they can go home weekly or monthly and share their earnings with their families.
 The boats they take out on the water to catch their fish, small wall nut shell like vessels which I for one would not feel especially comfortable in should any kind of weather change occur, and I am quite confident they don't only go out when the water is calm as a mirror.
Baby camel tracks in the sand, saw no sign of the actual animal, but tracks, yes we saw tracks.
Shells turning into sand, slowly but surely over time, looking down and seeing the shapes and nuances of colour was delightfully beautiful.
Perhaps a mother camel track, at least it was two or three times as big as the little ones. Philosophically I suppose it could have been a dad or an aunt or uncle, but...... what came to mind first was: mother and child!
There is a man out there on the rocks, helping the eye measure how tall these jumping waves really were.
And then as we headed back for the car the sun was going down. The guide trotted away in front of us and asked us to enjoy the view and give him a few minutes so he could do his sun down prayer. And we obliged, feeling the peace and beauty penetrate our skin and thoughts, it was an indescribably awesome day.

Friday, Day of Prayer, time to rest

And on we drove, just in time to catch the 1 o'clock prayer session in a little village not to far away.
 Our guide went to pray, apologizing for the inconvenience, which we of course assured him it wasn't.
How can one person deny another person's right to pray and meditate?
We got to sit outside a little cafe across the street from the mosque and enjoy water and Cappuchino, the kids under the trees and the birds in the trees.
 Soren downed two of these most delicious coffees and I did have a taste, it was full bodied and yummy.

A universal beauty on a nearby ledge.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

At the Look-out above the water reservoir

The transportation of the man whose family has guarded the water reservoir for 30 years. The military has a post at the bottom of the hill by the actual dam but since the locals don't exactly trust the military to always do the right thing when it comes to protecting their water, this man's family, ie. his father for the last 30 years has been looking out for this beautiful spot and its invaluable resource. 
We had the magnificent opportunity to try on scarfs, blue for men and white for women, not at all as bad as I had imagined, it actually felt good and kind of protective to be screened from the curious eyes of strangers.
this day just kept on going and going it was amazing.

No words but lots of textures on the way to the water reservoir.

Getting Closer!

An irrigation channel running through the landscape, providing people, animals and plants w ith much needed moisture.

Another little village complete with a mosque.

And the redness of the sand and rocks in this area, filling my eyes with lovely ideas around textures and vibrancy.

An old no longer inhabited house in the rock, when looking carefully one can see the walls of the terrace at the top of what seems like only a rocky protrusion. Behind is the new house made of cement.

Towards the Waterreservoir

After the venture into the ceramics factory we continued south for a while and then turned left off the main road. This road was not quite as smooth or wide as where we had just travelled but it was paved adn there were houses along the way.
A traditional house, not too many of these are being built anymore
And then there were argan trees, and shrubbery and cacti, growing out of very fertile and very arid soil. The sun was hot and I was thankful to have both my hat and the luxury of traveling in a car  where I could roll down the window at my leisure.
Keeping my window rolled down not only gave me wind in my hair but also the opportunity to click my camera every time an interesting scene rolled by. This is a nomad's home, they travel around with their animals, sheep, goats, and their wealth is in their flock.
 We didn't stop to talk to them and take photos up close, our driver mentioned that they were not liking to have their privacy intruded upon. This was fine with us, neither do we =-) We just enjoyed spotting a lonesome shepherd, and sometimes seeing their land rovers come driving across the land providing aformentioned shepherd with food and water in the hot sun.
More houses, another little village which we drove past, only a dirt track leading to the houses. The magnificent Atlas Mountains in the back ground, this is where we were headed, one of the smaller bumps at the front of the mountain range in front of us that is.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ceramics II

In the workshop when the pieces have dried for a few days they get straightened and cleaned up and made ready for the first firing.

And here is a whole whack of little tajins, a traditional cooking vessel. These are of course for tourists, intended for salt and pepper vessels, not for cooking big meals for large families.

Finished pots outside the 'factory', I love the shape and colour of these pieces.

And inside gigantic decorative vases/pots, reaching to m chest. Very impressive, but one sure needs a very large house (possibly with no looms) to have room for these pieces.

ceramics I

Next stop was a ceramics place where we could see some of the producion. In the yard behind the store they produced the clay. That is, they brought in a very dry clay from the Atlas Mountains near by and this man mixes it with water until it has the exact right consistency.

Square platters drying in the sun. Many square platters indeed, they were probably 6x6 inches is size.

Her is the kiln, which will hold about  800 pieces when full. since it was empty we got to go inside.

Looking down on my toes I can see the space underneath the firing room where the fire is lit which heats up the ceramics to the desired temperature.

It takes about a day to get there, a day of firing and then a day for cooling.

Chimney holes in the ceiling, looking up.
This is quite a large production spot, the first one of its kind near to Agadir.