Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Floating Buddha

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
From "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji"; 1823-29 (140 Kb); Color woodcut, 10 x 15 in; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Hokusai's most famous picture and easily Japan's most famous image is a seascape with Mt. Fuji. The waves form a frame through which we see Mt. Fuji in the distance. Hokusai loved to depict water in motion: the foam of the wave is breaking into claws which grasp for the fishermen. The large wave forms a massive yin to the yang of empty space under it. The impending crash of the wave brings tension into the painting. In the foreground, a small peaked wave forms a miniature Mt. Fuji, which is repeated hundreds of miles away in the enormous Mt. Fuji which shrinks through perspective; the wavelet is larger than the mountain. Instead of shoguns and nobility, we see tiny fishermen huddled into their sleek crafts as they slide down a wave and dive straight into the next wave to get to the other side. The yin violence of Nature is counterbalanced by the yang relaxed confidence of expert fishermen. Although it's a sea storm, the sun is shining.” (<>)

Getting Coastal off Cape Ann and the Blackburn Challenge
Pitching waves Photo. Jay Albert 2010

The Blackburn Challenge is a premier ocean race; 20-mile open water circumnavigation of the rugged and scenic coastal shoreline of Cap Ann Massachusetts.

I often tell my non-paddling friends that the Blackburn is like the Boston Marathon of paddling here on the East Coast; you must do the Blackburn at least once.” Blackburn Challenge Race Summaries - 2010Contribution by Wesley Echols and Eric McNettSaturday, July 17th, 2010, Gloucester, MA Hard Work at The Blackburn: By Wesley Echols

As a 1st time paddler to Blackburn my primary focus was one of personal achievement in overcoming the challenge of the distance and the sea rather then the competition. The course can be broken down into stretches of paddling environments: the tranquil Annisquam River that carves its way along the western side of Cape Ann forming the unique island with Gloucester Americas oldest seaport and historic Rockport at the center, round the scenic and exposed northern end at Halibut Point, wind and ocean swells near Thacher Island, a long mesmerizing stretch down Gloucester’s eastern shore, and finally the grand ending in historic Gloucester Harbor.

Groucho Marx was once asked by an enthusiastic friend for his opinion of the latter's new waterfront property. "Don't think much of it," Groucho replied. "Take away the ocean and what have you got?"

Cruising in my cramped 17 foot mobile ocean-front villa I linger at the back of the pack like a floating Buddha happy and serene. I paddled past sand bars, over rock gardens, around lobster boats and out into the cold blue swell of the Atlantic Ocean. In the open water the waves pitch under my kayak and roll on to the rocky shoreline of Cape Ann. For a little under 5 hours I’ve been in a constant rhythm with the living sea; in restless motion, in some places tranquil, in others with great speed and turmoil – longing for the end but at the same time not wanting this to end “only the ocean and me”.
The Blackburn Challenge rocked me back to my coastal New England roots and left me thriving for more open water adventures Kayaking Areas with Charts and Photographs

“To The Sea"