Shy

All was calm in the marina this morning, no swell. The Muscovy Duck was catching a few rays of sunshine and appeared dry and relaxed. Breakfast was prepared and ready for us to eat in the cockpit but John had disappeared. I thought it a bit weird that he should choose that moment to spray WD40 on his bikes which are secured near the marina gate.

Moments later I was presented with a rose and a bouquet of local grown flowers from the market. Today is Valentines Day. John admitted to being embarrassed about buying Valentine flowers. I had made one of my card creations for John, not a fair exchange really but it was made with love.

Valentines day can be a cruel day. The teenage school girls in Tahiti are demonstrative with their newly presented roses and often look smug rather than smitten. I’ve seen girls purchasing their own roses from the local garage, glancing quickly around to check that no one in their peer group has noticed. Such is the pressure.

Having purchased a baguette a couple of hours later, I noticed that the flower sellers in the market were having a field day. Men young and old seemed shy and embarrassed as they make their choice of bouquet. Token gesture or completely over the top, what message should they give.

A shy Tane scurrying away with Valentine flowers.

On closer observation I was happy to note that families old and young bought flowers too.

Oh no. Not helium balloons.

I don’t want to be too harsh on the concept of Valentines Day but I loathe the fact that it has become another commercial gimmick. How could you possibly approve of a bunch of flowers containing an inflated Chinese helium balloon. So bad for the environment.

Jitters

Folks in the sailing community around Tahiti and Moorea have the jitters. Huddled groups with serious faces discuss the weather and only a token few are British. It’s the cyclone season. Meaning our little bit of paradise called home, could be at risk.

A couple of weeks ago, a number of Papeete Marina pontoons were badly damaged and some boat fenders burst when the swell came in.

The recent grim weather forecast for lashings of wind, rain and swell have driven folks out of the marina. Preferring to seek refuge in known boltholes in the lagoons around Tahiti and Moorea. The marina was eerily quiet over the weekend.

Empty berths in the Papeete marina

Just one yacht here

Predicting the effects of the weather, particularly with a convergence zone, is notoriously difficult. It follows no pattern; a bit like me and my map reading skills. We then have to decide what effect the conditions will have in the marina. With John’s skilled knowledge, hunched over the computer deciphering the weather, we opted to stay in the marina.

Most yachts are tied securely to the pontoons.

It has poured with rain for days. I’ve checked on the welfare of the solitary Muscovy Duck who also opted to stay in the marina. Poor thing has been so wet, bedraggled and miserable, plucking out feathers in despair. I don’t like the idea of a wild animal becoming dependant on humans but in time of need… Some rustic whole meal bread, seeds and grain have been gratefully swooped on, with an appreciative little tail waggle. From the duck not me, I hasten to add. I ignored the raised eyebrow from John, as he compared his bland subsidised baguette to the duck’s wholesome delicacy.

The poor Muscovy Duck

Last night the wind was due to peak and head straight into the cockpit. Lucky for us, in the evening, the cruise ship “Marina” appeared. It was 12 hours earlier than scheduled and formed the perfect windshield for us all.

Early arrival of the “Marina” cruise ship. Happy days.

By morning the wind had dropped off and changed direction. The rain had eased a little. The smell of kippers for breakfast wafted across from the cruise ship. The Polynesian dancers, were braving the elements to greet the guests. The place was noisy and vibrant once more.

We are not complacent. It’s the swell that wrecks the pontoons and brings along with it tree trunks and debrey. We have yet to have that event. Our fingers are crossed.

Day 6: “Solitude” — The Rule of Thirds

The Instructions

When composing your solitude shot, think about the placement of your subject. Use the Rule of Thirds to place the subject in your frame, ideally at one of the intersections of these lines, or somewhere along them.


Today I would like to introduce you to the Muscovy Duck, who is a transient visitor to the Papeete Marina. His first appearance some six months ago was somewhat of a mystery, a solitary bird who looked lost, confused and out of place. Now he regularly makes an appearance, he’s very laid back and likes to waddle around the pontoons but he’s always alone. I’ve spotted him on many occasions in the Paofai Park but I think he feels safer in the quiet marina, where folks are kind. Sometimes he’s forced to take to the water because a dog or child has startled him. I don’t think he’s keen on swimming and waggles his tail in annoyance.

I’m using the Muscovy Duck who lives in solitude as my photo theme for the Rule of Thirds.

I think this mid distance shot of the duck on the pontoon allowed me to apply the Rule of Thirds to the best advantage.

Solitary Muscovy Duck on the pontoon in Papeete Marina.

I didn’t think the distance shot worked too well bearing in mind that he’s a duck, not an ostrich, so is quite small in stature. Although it made the solitude point more poignant.

Solitary life of a Muscovy Duck.

Being photogenic, he liked to waddle towards me, so most of the shots were close ups, making it difficult to apply the rules.

Stretching his wings.
Waddling along the pontoon

Any feedback on my application of the Rule of Thirds is welcome.

I was fascinated to read about the Muscovy Duck in the Wikipedia link. Look at the last paragraph under the heading Description. Crikey, may be this explains why this Muscovy Duck is a solitary chap.