Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coéfficient 115

As I mentioned before, we have lately become aware of the occurrences of especially high tidal ranges in the Bay of St Brieuc.  This month's, last Wednesday, presumably coinciding with the harvest moon, was one of the highest/lowest of the year, with a coefficient (look, I told you already, I don't have a clue what it means, OK?) of 115, which is not far short of the Bay of Fundy. It was to reach its highest point at about nine in the evening, and as it's still quite light at that time here, we took a blanket and a couple of bananas, left soup in a pan for later, and headed to Morieux to see it.

This is what the beach there usually looks like when we go for our walks on it:

I chose that one, from about eighteen months ago, because it had darling Molly in it, but here's another wider and longer shot:

And this is what it looked like when we arrived the other night:

As you can see, there were fishermen out on the rocks, which are usually part of the landscape rather than the seascape, taking advantage of fish brought in from greater depths. The following day, no doubt, the rocks and sands along the coast would be busy with pêcheurs a pied, searching for the delicate and delicious shrimps known here as bouquets, among other things. My classes of retirees were always much down in numbers the mornings after the grandes marées.

Many people were leaving already as we arrived a little after eight, I don't remember meeting with so many other vehicles on the steep road up from the shore, even so a good number of people were still there. There was a smidgen of sand still at that point, and a group of swimmers in the sunlit water.

'Is that a dog?' asked Tom, of one of the bobbing heads, and indeed, it was, a Newfoundland of course, doing his lifeguard patrol and circling his shoal of humans. 

We reached out to touch his oily, sea-spangled coat as he passed us. 'Watch out for the shower!' said his owner.

We settled ourselves on the top of the concrete wall round the no-longer-existent beach, 

and watched the sea advancing to our feet

(and sometimes felt it too when it got splashy).

The atmosphere was quite magical; we have been having days and days of glorious, hazy, September sunshine, Morieux faces west, toward St Brieuc then headland after headland up the peninsula all the way the the island of Bréhat; even without the tidal phenomenon the sunset would have been worth the trip. A long time ago when I was green in blogging and photography, a blogger I admire expressed the view that sunset photos were boring (which wasn't to say they thought sunsets themselves were, of course), and I rather took this on board and desisted from taking many. It's true that they can be a bit samey, of course, and orange light on waves looks pretty much the same anywhere, but I do think that watching a damn good sunset over the water takes some beating. As I said at the time, this is better than watching another repeat of Midsomer Murders

And I wasn't loathe to snap away at it either, and have enjoyed looking at the pictures too, if only to remind myself of the specialness of the moment.

Gulls and terns wheeled over the water calling, as did a flock of waders, who, unlike the gulls, aren't able to swim and bob like ducks on the surface of the water and seemed disconsolate at at having no sand to rest on, (the birds of the air, they sorrow and weep/ oh where shall we shelter, where shall we sleep?)

In the end, there was just us and a German family left at the edge of the waves, exchanging looks and laughing when we were splashed.  Sand hopping creatures, finding themselves homeless, tried to jumped up onto the steps and the grass to escape the encroaching waters, and the young girls of the family, with tender amusement, tried to catch and rescue them.

At about 8.45, it seemed to us that it would rise little higher. We turned to find the others had already gone, and we were the last remaining. We took up our blanket, walked to the top of the cliff took a final look and point of the camera, and went home to our soup. I feel so lucky to live somewhere where such experiences and such beauty can be enjoyed for the cost of a short car ride and the will to go and find them.


And indeed I took a few videos of it too, and these two are by way of an experiment, because I have found we have a video editor on the big computer, I never knew! So I can crop sections out of them and also shrink them so they don't take hours to upload.  The first one - which if I had the know-how I would make into one of those non-stop gif things - is shrunk to about the size of a postcard but is still uploaded via Youtube, the second is reduced to very small 'suitable for e-mail' dimensions, so that if you try to view it full-screen it pixellates, but I was able to put it straight onto the blog. The visual quality doesn't actually matter, because it's only a grainy view of the seagulls roosting on the water, but one can hear Tom, who didn't know I was taking it, giving his verdict on the state of the tide, which I rather like. Indeed, the visual quality of any of these little videos is hardly great, as Bob Marley didn't quite say, my knees is my only tripod, but I'm rather enjoying taking them as little moving and audio snapshots of moments.

Off to the End-of-the-Earth again for a few days shortly, so probably no more posting for a little while. Bye for now. 


Zhoen said...

Newfies are endearing creatures.

I rather enjoyed the array of sunsets you have here.

Julia said...

That's amazing, I never knew :)

marja-leena said...

Oh, I love the sea! These wonderful photos of very high tide, rocks and sunset has awakened a not too dormant a craving to go to our favourite wild westcoast place on the west side of Vancouver Island! The sea around Vancouver is too tame, though we are grateful to be living here, like you are too to be so near to the sea.

The Crow said...

That is probably the best photo of your dear Tom I have seen here yet.

I have always loved sunset and the long shadow time the hour or so prior to it. My favorite sunset pictures/scenes are those near water, especially the wide expanse of the sea.

Lovely post and wonderful photos, Lucy. Thanks for this.

Ellena said...

Have a great time away from home. I'll stay here and watch the splendor of your sunset over and over again and listen to the songs of your sea.

christopher said...

Thank you.

The Crow said...

Came back to listen to sound of the sea, to watch the sun shine through the waves. soothing...the reasons I love the beaches, especially rocky coasts.

Dale said...


Lyse said...

Tu as fait de bien jolies photos; tu vas devenir pro!
Merci de nous faire voir notre belle Bretagne

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

I love these and the videos too - always fascinating to watch and listen to the sea lapping at the shore.

HKatz said...

Beautiful post - I love the changing light on the water, and that you gave us more of a sensory experience with the videos. One of my favorite sounds in the world - water hitting the shore.

the polish chick said...

knowing that sunsets are elusive, and never quite as magical when captured as they are experienced, i still can't help myself and photograph them to bits. you really are fortunate to live where you live!

it's neat to hear tom's voice - somehow it's not what i imagined, though goodness knows what i would have imagined. i had a dream about you two the other night, and it was wonderful how you were simply friends like any other, instead of strangers i had never met. hearing your voices fleshes you out more for me.

Roderick Robinson said...

"A long time ago when I was green in blogging and photography". I almost leaped forward to point out the DT echo, only to be held back by old age's caution. If it was intentional - and the more I ponder the more likely that seems - then I would look a right Charlie and that, as you well know, matters a lot to me and my navel. But I could treat it in a different way - as I have just done - and get away with it. Proust is full of moments like like that, delayered and delayered, pruning characters down to their very skeletons and beyond. Just the marrow. How lucky I am to know that this rather shallow observation is going to a good Proustian home.

Needless I am witholding my views on the spelling of abyme.

Lucy said...

I am horrified to see that I have not left a single thank you or reply to this post! Also slightly surprised to find a stats map at the bottom of it, something I am not remotely interested in having but which Tom had expressed an interest in, so I was messing about seeing how one could get one installed, before concluding that neither of our templates would accommodate one easily and I was too much of a numpty to work out how to shrink it... Anyway, might as well leave it.

Thank you everyone anyway.

PC - sunsets and water lilies, and many another thing, beautiful clichés. Nice to know we were friendly members of your cast of dreams!

Robbie - mmm, I suppose I am aware of the DT reference of course, but perhaps more so of Anthony and Cleopatra and salad days, which I think he echoes in Fern Hill (?, haven't checked). But in the same way as you hope I'll tag along with your Proustian asides, I suppose I hope and assume you will be there to pick up on such things if no one else is. I don't think the quotes and allusions are just showing off, we've all got them after all and the possibilities of intersection are sometimes rather slight (slighter still since Joe went and left). One thing I can generally rely on is that you'll be tracking back in the thread at some point! (Though maybe you aren't...) I did wonder at the spelling of 'abyme', but no, it is correct, though there's an option of the 'î' instead. I think it must be old French from the heraldic term. There's a driving school in Lamballe calle 'Abyss' which always amuses me as it sounds like they'll teach you to drive abysmally!

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh how I miss the sea of Japan. This is a wonderful post, sweet Lucy. And the two videos at the end are great!