Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flight 2: miticulture


I've long been somewhat aesthetically taken with with mussels and their cultivation, visual as well as gustatory; here's a previous photo post about them.

This went a stage further on looking down at the mussel beds from the air.  We must have been quite lucky with the state of the tide, so that their serried rows hovered visible just below the surface in the aqua- and ultramarine of the bay, their graphic, human-ordered geometry offsetting the random figuring and curves of the rocks and shoreline.

I took a lot of pictures of these, and make no apology for including a lot of them here. 



















 






Studying the satellite imagery of the coast here also, it becomes apparent just how extensive the mussel fields are, miles and miles of inshore waters delicately striated with them. One tends to think that human dominion ends at the edge of the land, that the islands stand in untamed ocean where fishermen and mariners take their chances on the surface, whereas often they are almost joined to the mainland by areas of miticulture, plotted and marked out by human agency, made mysterious in their partial concealment by the rise and fall of the tide.

I've heard though, that shell fish in general and mussels in particular, as well as being good and healthy food are relatively sustainable and ecologically benign in their cultivation, especially compared with rapacious over-exploitation of totally wild fish species or other more toxic forms of fish farming, which I rather hope is true, as not only do I love eating them but find the sight of the mussel beds rather beautiful and fascinating.

8 comments:

marja-leena said...

Yes, they are beautiful, fascinating and almost haunting images. If I'd seen them without explanation, I'd think something more sinister and almost military, not benign. Always learning something new.... thanks, Lucy! Now I'm wondering if our BC west coast, wild as it is, has anything as extensive. Must research...

Anonymous said...

These images are haunting and dreamlike. As is the trip itself, come to think of it. I read and look at the photos and marvel at the entirety of it. And then I think, "Only Lucy." Yes, that's the feel of it.
- alison

HKatz said...

Fascinating.

The ships look ghostly in that last one. And I love the geometry (bar codes?) and the way the land masses look like large beasts in the first two photos.

Air, earth and water are all melting into each other, and there's a blurry boundary between living and non-living things.

Barrett Bonden said...

I'm assuming that each bed is separate and that none is duplicated by being photographed from a different angle. If so, this explains another of the mussel's attractions - its cheapness in restaurants. Down on the south coast (I didn't notice any in Perros-Guirec or Paimpol) there are mini-restaurants which appear to specialise only in mussels and offer them, with frites, on an "all you can eat" basis. I fear a dozen mussels does me, but I've seen Mrs BB go on to a second panful after more or less clearing the first one on her own.

Rosie said...

There is a pleasing order about them when seen from on high. I love the big fat orange ones.

Crafty Green Poet said...

amazing photos,

I don't like shellfish though,

I tagged you in a meme, if you want to join in, you can find our more at: http://craftygreenpoet.blogspot.com/2011/09/7-x-7-links.html

Julia said...

I've seen those beds from the shore, but absolutely had no idea how far out they go. That's really fascinating to see!

earlybird said...

Absolutely stunning. I love the way you have seen them through the water and the contrast of the manmade lines against the coast lines.