"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

boat

Coping With Complications

unresolved (1 )-3

Picture taken on the bridge from Fort Cochin

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Departures..

“Exi a me, quia homo peccator sum, Domine”
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Picture taken on Lake Galilee


The Jetty

Boats moored at Capernaum, Lake Galilee


Feeling Blue…

Picture of a local fishing-boat taken while crossing one of the many bridges which connect Fort Cochin to the mainland.
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A Shared Journey

Pictures taken from a considerable distance, on the Kerala Backwaters. 
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Reviewing The Fleet

Shipshape

And Bristol fashion.

Pictures of the fishing fleet at Thoppumpady, taken from the “English bridge“.

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*The phrase “shipshape and Bristol fashion” in today’s form has been recorded as early as 1840 (“shipshape” alone being about 200 years older).
The term developed most likely in view of the English port of Bristol which had (before the Floating Harbour was constructed) a very high tidal range of 13 metres (43 ft), the second highest in the world. Ships moored in this area would be aground at low tide and, because of their keels, would fall to one side. If everything was not stowed away tidily, or tied down, the results were chaotic and cargo could be spoiled.

(*From Wiktionary)


An Awareness Of Absence

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 Picture taken in Chellanam, Kerala.


Conflict Resolution

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Pictures taken in Chellanam, Kerala


Punting With Poise

Our lazy afternoon drift along the backwaters showcased various schools of punting:

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Power, comedy and effortless grace.
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Pictures of Jaimon, Anu and Robin, punting on the Chellanam backwaters, Kerala.


A Cruise For Christmas

or
Four Men In A Boat

Christmas Day was spent with friends.
Robin invited Anu and I to join his family’s celebrations.

The fun started immediately:
Robin and his brother, Jolly, took us in one of their fishing canoes through the canals and lakes which back onto the family home.

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Beautiful scenery, gentle warm breezes, just a few bottles of cool beer, and a lot of laughter.
All served with the companionship of kind friends.
It’s the perfect recipe for a very happy Christmas.
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Pictures taken in Chellanam, on Christmas afternoon.


Boat People

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Pictures of men in practise for the Nehru Trophy Boat Race, taken near Kottayam.


The Wire

River ferries are commonplace here
but this ferryman stands out,
literally.

He collects his passengers from steps cut into the river bank
then safely carries them to the opposite side,
without the use of oars.

Instead, he walks his hands along a guide-rope, 
which spans the river. 

No fares are collected.

This free service prevents his fellow villagers from being isolated by their river.
It is
“pro bono publico”

A far from fashionable concept,
in the West
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Pictures taken of the river crossing, near Kottayam, Kerala.


Arriving In Style

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Pictures taken at the Mattancherry Jetty, Cochin.


Exit Strategy

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The plan was a dawn ride to the lake shore:

A chance to capture sunrise over the water.

But nature is capricious.

Cloud entirely covered the sky.

Three fishing canoes came to divert us:

More than adequate compensation.

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So having photographed the boats, we headed back to home…

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Harbouring Dreams

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To sit overlooking Fort Cochin harbour, with a glass of fresh lime-soda in your hand, is as good a way as any, to while away the sunset.

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And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced

As though the sun took step of thee, yet left

Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—

Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!

Hart Crane

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Launching Out Alone

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“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

Henry David Thoreau

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And you O my soul where you stand,

Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,

Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,

Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,

Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O, my soul.

Walt Whitman

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Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies

and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul

in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith

with its store of food ..and change of clothes,

D.H. Lawrence

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Launch For Two

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Launch One

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Launch Two

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“Death is only a launching into the region of the strange Untried; it is but the first salutation to the possibilities of the immense Remote, the Wild, the Watery, the Unshored…”

Herman Melville

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Countdown To Launch

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When the fishermen are ready to launch a boat

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They gather at its stern

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Before pushing it down to the water’s edge.

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They must then wait

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For a suitably large wave

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Before

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Launch

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Can be achieved.

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An Assembly Of Fishermen: Preparing Your Boat

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Before the fishermen set out, the boats and nets are prepared:

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All must be sea-worthy.

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They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.

For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

Psalm 107. 23 – 25

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Sea Fever

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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

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I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

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I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


“Sea Fever” by John Masefield.

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Christmas Morning

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A walk along Fort Cochin sea front on Christmas morning.

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Happy Christmas!

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Tropical Greys

Even the tropics have their grey days.

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Days when tourists fade away, leaving the beach to local lads

And livestock.

Days when all seems strangely muted.

When colour struggles to force its way through the rocks,

iron and concrete.

Days when skies, seas and ships are grey in uniformity:

And slow in motion.

Days when men stand watching,

And apparently, waiting.

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Across the waters

Fort Cochin sits on a peninsular. To reach the mainland means taking a relatively long road journey or a shorter and more interesting trip on the ferry.

Even after four years of regularly taking this boat journey, I experience an almost child-like sensation of excitement as the boat leaves the jetty.

The journey provides a multiplex of sights:

Fellow passengers;

The engine being adjusted;

A working water way;

Boatyards from Portuguese and Dutch days;

And the modern port.

The mainland is reached after twenty minutes.

But after an hour in the modern busy city I am very happy to say goodbye to the expensive, high-rise real estate of Kochi’s Marine Drive

And take a ferry back across the water

To the quiet, faded glories of Fort Cochin

And its ramshackle jetty.

Back to home.