a-z challenge: o

Again with the shoulda tagged my entry (ooh-er missus) adult content. Oh oh oh oh oh OH OH OHHHHHH!!! Does anyone actually make those noises, or is it just a When Harry Met Sally thing? Sopranos too, I guess.

Anyroad up…. is for oceans. After yesterday’s linkdump I am fed up with research again, so this post will be a thumbsuck and off the top of my head sort of thing. And then I will go and find songs to inflict upon you.

And with the magic of time travel, aka scrolling up, here’s the o is for ocean playlist, which I cobbled together by raiding my brain, my ipod and then google. The selection process when I didn’t already know the song went as follows: I had to have heard of the band and I had to actually like the song. Not an exact science and certainly not a cogent, cohesive or indeed comprehensible playlist.



My mother ticked them off the way she did with islands and birds, the way she said sea haar (fog), with enormous relish and satisfaction. Her favourite seas were warm and turquoise and her favourite thing ever, was floating in them. Words and the sea and the sky sing to some people and if they call you, that’s that. You can relocate, but you’ll wither.

(Dalai Lama means ocean of wisdom.)

I live on the edge of the Indian Ocean now, I’ve also lived by the Atlantic (on two different continents), the North Sea and on a strait that used to be a river until … blah blah blah geology and stuff. I love the sea. I ought to be using the words sea and ocean more accurately, but I’m not, because common usage, laziness and the fact that I like the sound and the shape of the word sea better. (Seas are smaller and usually hang out between an ocean and dry land, bitching about sizeism.) I don’t need to ramble on about what oceans are though, you guys have all met them before.

(Local crappy radio station plays OMD’s Seven Seas every fecking day – well, every day that I put the radio on, which is occasionally on the way to town. I’ve never liked that song.)

il_570xN.461659544_569kThe sea (ocean!) here isn’t great for swimming, it gets deep very close to shore, the currents change according to whether the sea is constructing a sandbar, or there’s one already there; it’s not good for diving, because the water is murky. I think it’s cold, because I grew up further north where the sea is warm, but the people futher south would mock me and point to their own frigid oceans (they have two). It is, judging by the amount of people doing it and the harvest they get, a good place for rock/surf angling. There are mussels on the reefs, and rock formations that look as though lava and its bubbles solidified fast there. There’s a natural tidal pool, some flat sand and sand dunes; I saw bushbuck tracks all the way to the pool once. There are dolphins in it all year round, and whales for a season. I have seen humpbacks, southern rights and orca. The best thing is that it’s quiet. Really, really quiet. It’s a nause when the foul weather buggers up the wifi mast on a sand dune (with plants on it) and the salt on cars and the rust and things growing mould and fresh produce not lasting very long and the west wind howling  … and all of that gets filed under trivial or downright cool when contrasted with the many benefits.

nwbd-23-5-13Sometimes a team of tag and release guys come from an institution, and fish for sharks. They don’t come every day and they don’t land a shark every time, but it feels like xmas when it happens. They seem to catch over on that side, where all the rocks are, and then they bring it in, which can take a few hours, walking with rod and a looong line, off the rocks, up the beach, cross the dirt road, along the grass car park, on to the other beach, frequently standing way up the sand dunes, a good way from the sea. By that stage, as you can imagine, anyone anywhere on the beach has moved to where the fishermen are, and we message our mates who aren’t there, so that they can come and look too. When the shark reaches the shallows, the two dudes wade out to pull it in carefully (for the sake of the shark and of them too). The shark plays dead, we all crowd around, the shark gets weighed and measured (but never found wanting) and the guys show and tell us stuff and make sure we don’t get too close. Last time I saw a shark caught, I got asked to hold the rod (there is no clean way of saying that), and I immediately squeaked quiiiick take a photo of me as though I caught it. That was a big Zambezi – what you might know as a bull shark. I cannot resist the urge to research any more.

The bull shark, also known as the Zambezi shark or, unofficially, as Zambi in Africa and Nicaragua shark in Nicaragua, is a requiem shark commonly found worldwide in warm, shallow waters along coasts and in rivers. Wikipedia

Okay how freaking cool is the term requiem shark? *adds it to vocabulary before
fainting with joy* That’s the first time I’ve ever thought of a wiki as poetic (a migratory, live-bearing shark of warm seas, sometimes also found in brackish or fresh water, mid 17th century: from obsolete French requiem, variant of requin ‘shark’, influenced by requiem).

They’re aggressive bastards and they can shark around in very, very shallow water. We call the, Zambezi sharks after the Zambezi River, because tootling up rivers is another one of their terrifying skills. They have rows of scary teeth and the most recent news item I found is Bull shark swims into Florida family’s back garden. Personally, I’d move inland damn fast. They can eat other sharks and they barf up their food to distract predators. You wouldn’t want your daughter to marry one. Why the fuck I’m telling you all about the nastiest shark in the oceans, imstead of prettier beasts, I do not know.

ocean text typography icebergs artwork 2560x1440 wallpaper_www.artwallpaperhi.com_16Afterthought – we have whales, dolphins, birds, otters and fish too. Apparently it’s also got a sick break or a something or other wave erm cough idk, surfer stuff … the fish is great, the nearest restaurant is shite, where I live boasts one shop (in Britain it’d be a corner shop, idk what to compare it to anywhere else) and a sort of a hall, which is magic, because on different days of the week, it becomes a library, a social venue, a clinic. When I first moved here, it took ages for me to stop bitching about the nearest town (too far), the surrounding foliage (too dull a green), the service (abysmal), the people (short as hobbits and often racists and godbotherers, which are highly irksome when combined) … in short (as short as the population), I bitched a lot. Since then I got over my assholish self, enjoyed living away from sound and fury, began to love the brave and stunted trees, the tough aloes, euphorbia – everything that manages to survive in shit soil on crappy water and in nasty winds, the service stopped mattering at all, I met lovely people and I learned to tell the racist godbotherers from the nice ones.

Ocean-and-Sea_Daydream-62_Blue-480x416I live a fairly reclusive life, that mostly suits me. I see many sunrises over the sea and many sunsets while sitting on my front steps. I can hear the sea at night and not much else; a few hours away, is one of the best places to see elephants. Even when bipolar is kicking my ass, I know and thoroughly appreciate how fortunate I am. Got fuckall money, but a ridiculously lovely lifestyle.

Ode to the Sea
(Pablo Neruda)

(Read by Ralph Fiennes)

Surrounding the island
There’s sea.
But what sea?
It’s always overflowing.
Says yes,
Then no,
Then no again,
And no,
Says yes
In blue
In sea spray
Says no
And no again.
It can’t be still.
It stammers
My name is sea.

It slaps the rocks
And when they aren’t convinced,
Strokes them
And soaks them
And smothers them with kisses.
With seven green tongues
Of seven green dogs
Or seven green tigers
Or seven green seas,
Beating its chest,
Stammering its name,

Oh Sea,
This is your name.
Oh comrade ocean,
Don’t waste time
Or water
Getting so upset
Help us instead.
We are meagre fishermen,
Men from the shore
Who are hungry and cold
And you’re our foe.
Don’t beat so hard,
Don’t shout so loud,
Open your green coffers,
Place gifts of silver in our hands.
Give us this day
our daily fish


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