Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD
Photo: Owen James Burke.
It’s a long dirt and gravel road full of hairpin switchbacks to the outer Marlborough Sounds, but the view alone is well worth the journey, even in a tired old truck such as Raw Paua.
Photo: Owen James Burke.
These are the old whaling grounds of the European settlers, who built lookout stations on the tops of these hills in order to spot the abundance of sperm and humpback whales passing through the Cook Strait. Whaling in New Zealand came to an end in 1964, but some of the stations still stand today. They’re a long hike out, but recommended. Leave the spear at home.
The focus of the Aquatilis expedition is to learn more about gelatinous plankton. Image from the Aquatilis Web site.
A team of Russian marine biologists just returned from five months at sea, where they traveled over 30,000 miles and through three oceans to learn more about Gelata, a subcategory of zooplankton (microscopic animals). Gelata are soft-bodied and gelatinous zooplankton that have a unifying characteristic of soft and extremely fragile jelly-like bodies, like jellyfish.
The route of the Aquatilis. Image from the Aquatilis Web site.
A box of ballpoints, patience and talent is all you need to create delicate masterpieces like this. Image from Ray Cicin.
Multi-media artist Ray Cicin uses ballpoint pen as his medium for this octopus drawing as part of his Deep Blue series. This drawing took close to a year to finish. Many artists have used pens over the years, including Andy Warhol and Alberto Giacometti, and the simple pen, bless its little soul, continues to work its wonders in contemporary drawings of all types and sizes.
Cicin interpretation of an Ernst Von Haeckel octopus lithograph. Image from Ray Cicin.
. . . and that’s on their way down. Screenshot from @the.surf.journal’s video below.
How this poor waverider isn’t severed symmetrically is beyond me, though I don’t think the same could be said for his surfboard.
Above, a mahi mahi (aka dorado or dolphinfish) gives a flying fish the fright of its life. Screenshot from the BBC video below.
Flying fish (family Exocoetidae) can glide for hundreds of yards to dodge predatory fish like mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) from below, but when the frigate birds arrive, they’re merely out of the frying pan and into the fire.
The Sea Organ. Photo by The Real Croatia.
Located on the shores of Zadar, Croatia, a monotonous sea wall erected after World War II was transformed into the world’s first pipe organ that plays music using wind and waves. Designed by Nikola Bašić in 2005, the architectural instrument has a system of polyethylene tubes and a resonating cavity, underneath a set of large marble steps.
The Sea Organ is 230 ft. long and narrow crevices are carved into the steps that lead to organ pipes. When the waves lap against the steps, air is pushed through the pipes to make enchanting, unrehearsed and gentle sounds – similar to a wind chime.
See how reflective and translucent these eyes look? Fish don’t get any fresher. Another way to tell is the sheen on the skin and scales, which lets you know that their protective coats are still intact. I’ll always favor catching my own, but when I absolutely have to buy fish, this is what I look for. Photo: Owen James Burke.
Weaving through the hawker stands of a Taiwanese fish market, you’re thoroughly and consistently astonished by the freshness and diversity within their ice chests, each and every morning. What’s more–I took this photograph nearly 30 miles inland in Zhongli, Taoyuan County. These fish, I was told, are caught at night and delivered each morning before the sun came up so that the hawkers–artists at heart, no doubt–can arrange their sleeted canvases before patrons arrive.