Showing posts from June, 2014


One of the things I love about the sea - well, about the world really - is the way it simply defies containment. We can make boundaries of and for things, but unless we work hard to keep them as we wish, they simple crumble away, or grow over, or spill out, or flood. That idea makes me think of parts of Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall:
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,  That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,  And spills the upper boulders in the sun;  And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. ...
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know  What I was walling in or walling out,  And to whom I was like to give offense.  Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,  That wants it down.
The shifting, changing nature of the sea - where the water line will be each day, each month, each season; the shifting sands; the currents that bring weeds, bluebottles, whales, warmth - all of it is far beyond my control, and that is something that I fear and love.
And that is what I th…

Samantha Keely Smith

I saw these images on Facebook the other day and couldn't stop staring. They're the work of artist Samantha Keely Smith and they're beautiful.

You can see more of her work over on her website, and if you're in the USA (and in the region of the gallery over on the NE coast), you might want to check out her exhibition.

'a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam...'

Clips like this make me think I might have missed my calling as an astrophysicist - Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox*. But then I remember how much maths is involved (blergh), and I know I made the right choice.

But holy crap, astrophysicists, way to put things in perspective.

This too.

*Yeah, Cox isn't technically an astrophysicist, but he's awesome and I'm counting him here anyway.

International Surfing Day

Yeah, I know. It was yesterday.* And yeah, I know this video is not new, but it's awesome. Stephanie Gilmore really does have a lovely, smooth approach to waves that is a pleasure to watch. If there is anything specific I would like to acknowledge this International Surfing Day, it's the much improved visibility of women as surfing participants in the water and in the culture that I've noticed over the past few years. So great!

Dear Sylvia, love Steph. from Morgan Maassen on Vimeo.

*So was UNHCR World Refugee Day, which I feel horrid adding as a footnote to this post. I don't really know what to say about that, except that all Australians should read the first and last chapters of Nam Le's book The Boat. Also, here is something I wrote when the boat of refugees smashed apart on the rocks at Christmas Island. Almost 50 asylum seekers died in this truly terrible and avoidable incident.

Looking at the west coast from the east

As I told you, I’ve just moved across the sea to a new home in a new country. In many ways, it’s not such a huge change; English is widely spoken, we have a similar recent colonial history set against a significantly longer past, and the north island has a lot of environmental similarities to my own home country. But there’s a lot that is different as well. For example, I know so little of the Maori history, people and culture, the cold is something new to my way of life and thinking, I don’t know where to get anything (what shops sell what?), and the coastal places on this wild west coast are very different to the powdery white sand and the clear, warm water, of the sub-topics I grew up. Here the sand is black, the water a chalky green, there are a lot fewer people (the beach I run on is often empty), and the beaches are buffered by looming hills and cliffs. It is incredibly beautiful and I’m blown away, but it’s still not in my heart. Not yet anyway.

So right now, I’m giving myself …


I know everyone is posting this clip of Benji Brand in Namibia, but it really is so, so beautiful. The colours, the mist, the pace...

None of it has any resemblance to my surfing life, but quel gorgeousness!

Brand spanking new Aussie surf chick

This awesome person became an Australian citizen today. 
(Photo by Nathan Oldfield)
So bummed I wasn't there to celebrate with her. But so, so happy that now she gets to vote in elections (especially since she votes for the same team as me).


Gap filler

I have been meaning to write here.

I have been meaning to write here about my move to New Zealand. About my little cabin overlooking the sea, about the black sand, the green water, the tides, the moon, the sky, the feather-duster plants, and my embarrassing hesitation to get in the water. I've been meaning to tell you about the day the swell was about 10 foot and no-one was out, about the days it has been tiny and crowded, about how I've already found women to surf with here, how they encouraged me into the sea, and about how I went negotiating a left-hand point break for the first time. And did I mention getting to watch the sun set into the sea from my window almost every afternoon?

But despite all my intentions, I've not yet managed to get words on a page, so this little entry and these images will have to do for now. But will some one please bug me about this - I clearly need a push!