Bow of Boat

Today I started seeing fish. I don’t know if it was like the Magic Eye pictures where you suddenly “get” how to look at them, with your eyes slightly unfocussed, and as if by magic 3D images emerge from the mass of coloured dots.

Maybe the fish had been there all along, and I just hadn’t “got” how to look for them. But you would have thought, after around 400 days at sea, that I would know how to look for a fish. Or maybe not. I’m always learning new things out here.

Either way, today fish became visible – not as I had seen them occasionally over the last few weeks, flying above the waves, or doing a backflip out of the water, or even lying dead on my deck – but actually in their own element, the water. I saw 5 or 6 fish, fair-sized ones, maybe 3 feet or so in length.

Here’s my theory. Normally I am so close to the water that all I can see is the water’s surface, reflecting the sky. But you can see a lot more when your line of sight is closer to perpendicular to the surface of the water. If you’ve been stand-up paddling, you’ll know how much more you can see from a SUP board than you can when you are swimming, because you can look down into the water, through the reflections and into the water itself.

Today I didn’t miraculously gain six feet of elevation, but the ocean tilted itself enough in the form of waves to bring the surface almost perpendicular to my line of sight, like a wine waiter tilting a bottle to the optimal angle for viewing the label. So I was able to see the fish inside the waves. For the duration of the wave I could see the fish swimming below its surface, but as soon as the wave collapsed it would disappear again.

So who knows? Maybe it was today that I finally made it into fish-inhabited waters. Or maybe they had been there all the time and today’s conditions happened to be perfect for revealing the secrets of the ocean. Or alternatively I just found a new way of looking at the same scene. We will never know.

Other Stuff:

UncaDoug: good to hear about your increasing interest in ecovillages, intentional communities and transition towns. Last year I was doing some research of my own into such communities, staying at an intentional community in New Zealand (at the home of Chris Bone, of and visiting several transition towns in Britain. I agree that this would be an attractive model for the future, and I think it will become a growing trend. Smaller communities seem better able to engender a sense of responsibility towards others and towards the earth, while at the same time empowering the individual to have a real say in the running of the community. My feeling is that this sense of “village” is one of the good things from the past that we have lost in our headlong dash for progress – but it’s not too late to bring it back.

Jonathan – I love that Thoreau/Emerson quote too! Both very wise men, with much to say on the subject of simplicity.

Rosi Hey – thanks for your message. Glad you find the blog inspiring. Do you know of Greg Kolodziejzyk? See He also lives in Calgary. I had a go in his pedalboat last year – very cool. And incidentally, he designed my Savage logo!

Stan, Bruce and Aimee – thank you for your input on the subjects of simplicity, life… and rocks. Aimee, your words reminded me of a random thought I had the other day: What if time isn’t linear? What if we humans only perceive it that way in order to make sense of things, because our brains are wired such that we can’t comprehend non-linear time?

What if time is like a sphere, or a Mobius strip, so it has no beginning, and no end?

Sound crazy? We used to think the Earth was flat, i.e. that it had a west, and an east, and beyond that you dropped off the edge. It would have sounded crazy to suggest that east and west meet up round the back, that I could set off west and reappear from the east. But maybe time is the same, if only we had the ability to comprehend it.

And I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that there may have been several “Big Bangs” – that the universe expands to a certain point, then contracts again into a single lump of matter, which then explodes again and the whole cycle starts over.

So maybe the universe always has been, and always will be. No beginning and no end, just endless cycles. What do you think? It would be pretty mind-blowing, but no more mind-blowing than anything else on the cosmic scale!

Bruce – your comments have been almost painfully thought-provoking, along the lines of “Ishmael”. You may be interested to know that your views have caused me some considerable time spent thinking, and some modifications to my philosophy-in-progress. I thank you.

Karen – thank you! I’ve been trying to remember Jill Bolte Taylor’s last name for a couple of weeks now, and you have finally put me out of my misery. I absolutely love her TED talk , and its description of the oneness of everything. I didn’t realise she has written a book – I have made a note of it and will seek it out when I am back on dry land.

Martha K – I think I have Daniel Pink’s book Drive on one of my iPods. I will look for it. One sentence by which to navigate my life? Wow, there’s a challenge? Have you figured out yours?

Quote for today: Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. (T S Eliot)

Photo: bow of Sedna, showing my logo as designed by Greg K of Calgary

Sponsored Miles: No names to thank today. Quite a number of miles not sponsored.


  • My friend Dave Morss taught me pushing yourself past the edge is the only way to find the edge. When you make a mistake, correct yourself Anne keep going, no need to agonize over it. Grab hold and give life a yank, see what happens. Jump in head first and learn quick. And yell “clear” out the window before starting any vehicle.

  • Roz, I’m sorry I have been so lax in my correspondence/commenting. Nothing particularly notable has been going on here. Deb is obsessively shopping for farm land for us to retire to; I am fretting about how we’ll pay for it and make the transition and how to deal with a potentially much longer commute. There is a bus service out to some of our rural communities, so that’s my first choice, plus potential carpooling partners. Our friend Michelle came for a 12-day visit that went extremely well. She’s the best house guest ever. Our dishes would be magically washed when we got home from work, and she would ask for projects to undertake during the day. Our azaleas got quite a desperately needed grooming. 

    The chickens are doing well. We met a newish neighbor just a block away who also has chickens, and half of her flock is meat birds. We’re giving her a bandsaw that we don’t use, and she’s going to give us a couple oven-ready lovelies in exchange. 

    I’m glad you’re getting to see some of the aquatic life, though I’m guessing the perpendicular waves make the rowing a bit more interesting. 

    All my best,

  • Hey Roz,
    while you were looking at the fish, don´t forget: They were looking back at you!
    greez from
    Hamburg, GE

  • You are welcome on Jill Bolte Taylor’s name – I know that feeling of trying to remember an author name. Drives me crazy! Her TEDtalk is life changing and her book expands on the oneness and how we can access that all the time. She also has a full list of tips for dealing with a stroke patient. Definitely a must read.

    On the point on time not being linear – it is something I have thought about for several years. I am not sure time is linear but I have trouble completing the argument in my mind. It just makes more sense that it is not (which makes no sense)!  I am waiting for a book to come along that will give me a paradigm shift on that the way I had one on souls and life journeys, etc when I read Brian Weiss’s book “Many Lives Many Masters’. I am convinced that there is a book out there on everything I need/want to learn.

    I find your news about seeing fish to be strangely exciting. Perhaps just that it is a sign that there is still life out there and that our actions haven’t extinguished it yet? 

    Hoping for great rowing conditions for you.

  • It is a complete mutuality out there on/in the ocean.  So, that is how those fish got a good glance at you….! I imagine they have been trailing along looking ‘up’ at Sedna and wondering, “what’s that.” Some Large Purple Thing with very funny fins…!  “So guys, for an better view, we should ‘surf the waves’ today, conditions are perfect.  It will be fun…!  Who knows what we will see..?  Whoa…whatever it is it is very cool…never ever have seen anylike this before. Let’s go tell our friends..the whales…!  Hey, I am sure the sharks would really like this.” 

  • “…The ocean
    tilted itself enough in the form of waves to bring the surface almost
    perpendicular to my line of sight,”

    This just scares the hell out of me.  You’re a brave woman, Roz.

  • Good point, Justin! I think we tend to forget just how hazardous Roz’s adventures are; the sea is getting on with its own business quite unconcerned with the little piece of stuff that’s Sedna and Roz. Unlike most adventures, Roz’s environment is constantly changing and largely unpredictably dangerous. It matters not how often she has braved the ocean; it is still as dangerous as ever.

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