Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Aztec Lady



One of the things I like about the internet is you can find out about boats.   See an unusual boat somewhere, get its name, chances are you can find out quite a bit about it.

The Aztec Lady, as well as being a magic trick invented by Robert Harbin where a woman appears to be cut into four pieces in a box, is this big sailing ketch we saw up out of water in Granville back in September.  She was being restored, and as it turns out, when I came to write this, it seems she has just been put to sea again all shipshape, shiny and beautiful.  There are some lovely photos here of her in Nadia's Flickr stream that were taken just a couple of weeks ago.  She's doing charter cruises round the Channel Islands, before embarking on adventure cruises to Norway and the Arctic Circle next year.  She was built in 1977 in the UK, has cruised around New Zealand, but then went to the bad, and was seized in the Med in 2004 with ten tons of cannabis aboard, and nearly ended her days in a ships' graveyard.

But someone recognised what a good boat she was underneath, and how her sturdy zinc covered hull would stand her in good stead for journeys to the chilly North and you can book to go there on her next year.  Which sounds lovely.

However, before I knew any of this, I was simply taken with some of the lines and shapes, and the patterns of corrosion and peeling paint on her hull.  I thought they looked a little like something by Klimt or Hundertwasser.   I've tweaked up the contrast and saturation on them a bit; I always feel this is somehow more acceptable in abstracts than in more naturalistic shots.



















32 comments:

Plutarch said...

If these were paintings they would be praised for their consistency of style. Wonderful colours, amazing shapes! You should enlarge them and fill a wall of a gallery with themm

Lesley said...

I was going to say exactly what Plutarch said. I would love to see any one of them them blown up to enormous proportions and hung on a wall.

Barrett Bonden said...

The quasi-Klimt is magnificent and I admire your courage for coming out of the closet and admitting to visual tweaking. It truly isn't a moral matter. However you'll forgive me if I don't book passage. Rust is frequently an external expression of an internal fault however much zinc is plastered on. I'd hate to be woken up in the Bay of Biscay with the immortal (soon to be mortal) invitation: all hands to the pumps.

marja-leena said...

Oh, wow, wow!! Amazing colours and textures. And, as the others said...

Julia said...

Beautiful! These really strike a chord of happiness.

herhimnbryn said...

Well, what wonderful colours. I can feel a mosaic forming:)

Zhoen said...

Nature does it's best works with boats.

leslee said...

Wow! Each one a beautiful abstract painting. Great find, Lucy!

Rouchswalwe said...

Looks like the good ship ran through a rainbow.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what gorgeous photos, such rich colours

Dale said...

:-) gorgeous.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I know what you mean about boats. I like the idea that they have such a chaotic life - built in one place, working a particular route maybe, having adventures and then ended up quite by chance somewhere peculiar. My boys got quite interested in all the shipwrecks you see off the Australian coast and finding out about those.

I may have told you this before (I've told someone) but when I lived in Wales my neighbour and I tried to make a Hundertwasser floor for our outside sunhouse with bits of broken tiles we found in the gardens (they were old floor tiles in wonderful colours which had been chucked out at some point). It looked rather good when we had finished but no-one ever came along and said "oh what an amazing Hundertwasser style floor". But perhaps you might have done?

christopher said...

I guess I'm the only dissipated one in the crowd. Ten tons, huh? That hurt someone's business plan.

As an old dealer, some thirty plus years retired, I wince.

Lucy said...

Thanks chaps, knew I'd get round to posting these sometime, good old Nablopomo!

Talking of which, thanks to all of you for being such faithful readers. It risks being an overload, especially when a number of people are all doing it everso nicely, and getting around them all isn't easy. So sorry if I'm tardy making the rounds to you, or indeed of replying to your comments here. It really has to be more about making the demand on myself than on you, but your continued encouragement is much appreciated.

RB - I like to think I would have complimented you on your Hundertwasser floor, I have seen his public toilets in New Zealand you know!

Christopher - I know I know. Let's just say you're the only one who's out about it! The sense of waste is distressing too, though if what one gathers about the police in that neck of the woods is true it might not all have ended up in the incinerator. Let's just hope someone had a good time hanging over it if it did... Thanks too for responding with such interest to the subject of nightshades, and for making me imagine reainwashed mornings in Oregon!

Bee said...

I had exactly the same thought as Plutarch . . . and many others. :) They really are very pleasing to look at . . . Cannabis Dreams?

Anonymous said...

I sailed on the Aztec Lady across the Atlantic in '84 in the Tall Ship's Race. I was trying to find out what ever became of her? Now I know, great to see her again.

The Crow said...

Wow! What fantastic photos; those colors make my heart happy, Lucy.

Wonderful eye of yours.

:)

Anonymous said...

Le bateau de leur papa !! Les 2 garçons sont émerveillés et moi aussi; Magnifique et surprenant.
Continuez!!
Cordialement

Anonymous said...

magnifique, bravo

knut said...

She is laying in port of Ålesund today, a city in the mid west of norway.

Brent Bezugley said...

WOW! The power of the internet! I googled 'Aztec Lady' as I crossed that Atlantic on her in 1984. Your site came up! What wonderful photos and colorful history you mention of her. I even noticed another comment from 'Anonymous' that they were on the same trip as me. I was a Canadian Sea Cadet (18 at the time) and invited to sail on Aztec Lady who was charted by the owner to take British Cadets on sail training passages. We sailed from Southampton to St. Malo, Plymouth, Las Palmas-Gran Canaria, Bermuda, Halifax & Quebec City. I got off there and the s/v carried on back to the UK. I was a wonderful experience! Thank you for the awesome photos! It takes me back!

Roger Grace said...

Hi Brent
Just fooling around on my PC and came up with your name on this site.

What a good trip we had in 1984

Roger Grace English Sea Cadets

Lucy said...

Hi Roger, this is why I still allow anonymous comments! Wish there was some way to put all you ex-Aztec lady people together. The current owners took copies of these photos to frame for the cabins, don't know if they did. If you follow the links you can book a trip on her still, I believe. Thanks for commenting!

Lucy said...

Oh, and Roger, if you click on Brent's name above, you can access his site and perhaps get in touch...

Anonymous said...

I was a Sea Cadet from Bedford and spent a week on Aztec Lady. What great times :-)

Anonymous said...

I live in Auckland now, but am from the UK. The Tall Ships arriving here today also prompted me to Google 'Aztec Lady' as I sailed on her out of Gosport in 1987, on her way to Australia for the Bicentinary celebrations in '88. The skipper was from my home town, good to see she is still going strong, despite a few checkered moments on the way!

Love the photo's too.

Lucy said...

Hi both anonymous!

So glad you found this post, it's the unofficial reunion site for Aztec Lady veterans!

Anonymous said...

And for me! Having just seen the Tall Ships gathered in London I thought I would search for Aztec Lady having sailed on her in 1990 across the Bay of Biscay. Great memories and lovely to hear that she is restored and doing well. I love the photos. Thanks, Heather

Ben said...

classic this must be the Aztec Lady appreciation website as I'm another one from the Class of '84 Tall Ships Race. We had an amazing trip and adventure on her and great to see comments from some of the old crew!

Lucy said...

Hi Ben, thanks for stopping by! Though this post is nearly six years old now, it's great how Aztec Lady people keep finding it and saying hello here. The above comments have been left over the years - unfortunately the system doesn't date them - but I hope sometimes they come back to read the follow-up comments. I'm quite proud to host the AL veterans association!

Malcolm Barnes said...

I had the pleasure of sailing on the Aztec Lady twice, first was across the English Channel and the last time was on the 1984 Tall Ship race on the Queen to Liverpool leg of the race, an experience I will never FORGET. All thanks to Bedfordshire Sea Cadets.
Posting this Sept 2017. Malcolm

Lucy said...

Hi Malcom, thanks for stopping by. Though I finally put this blog to bed early 2017, I still get comment notifications so I know when anyone comments on an old post, and I think perhaps of everything I did here I'm most proud of this! I wonder where she is now?