Showing posts from March, 2012

Three Tarns

Sitting a low bowl between the peaks of the Langdale Valley is Three Tarns. On the right day the eponymous tarns catch the sunlight and glitter. On the wrong day it’s a place of sudden masking mist, contrary pathways and a confusing map error. I like the place, but I’ve not been there for years. Three Tarns is in the English Lake District, or The Lakes, where there is only one lake, but there are many tarns, quite a few meres and even a water or two. Here in Victoria we have The Lakes – out in Gippsland – where the highland rivers empty into a series of marshes and lagoons. Trapped by driven sand they form a long barrier between the sea and the land. Confusingly, the lakes flow into the sea at Lakes Entrance, which would have been called Lakes Exit if we had kept the lake in mind, rather than the boats that use it. This mix and match approach to naming waters seems a worldwide phenomenon, with names meaning one thing here and another thing elsewhere. In the North of England – where thi

Bobbing About

The boat bobs, rocks and rolls in the chop. My wife and daughter look a little green, wave splash dampens us. H pulls his hat down over his ears. I wish mine fitted better. We sit at the boundary between air and water, at a state change frontier between two fluids. Gravity pulls and the water pushes back – we float. Despite knowing why it works, floating still seems vaguely unlikely, like some great cosmic mistake. The land recedes with surprising speed, the dull chug thud of the engine belies its power. Old fishing boats sit along the harbour wall, waiting on better times, waiting for the fish to come back, many simply waiting. Newer boats, leisure boats, gather in tight clusters around the chance of fish, around GPS locations bought from local tackle shops, around echoes on the fish finders. (Summer 1984 – Sherkin Island – Republic of Ireland. We head out when the sun is still just a pale glow behind the row of damp harbour houses. Out past Clear Island, south towards Fastnet Rock,