• Happenings

    Driving inspiration

    West coast drainer

    Working full-time has brought odd changes in lifestyle. Endless hours seep away as eyeballs turn to jelly and adhere to microscope eyepieces searching for specific shapes on the tips of hairs sprouting from the eyebrows of tiny worms; passing time in transit trying to force down the food-like substances sold at exorbitant prices whilst en-route to week-long conferences or workshops in weird  and wonderful locations. Weekends are now approached like annual holidays – most of them ‘the best xmas ever’.

    One of the joys of my life is the little car. Pack it well and hit the roads in darkness. It’s not thirsty and loves the miles.

    Another West coast drainer

    It has never said a word about sitting on headlands, at the ends of mucky farmer’s tracks or in sea-side car-parks in frigid temperatures getting blasted by salt spray.West coast drainer

    It is the benign, smiling Yoda of surf exploration, “heavy you are not, shoulder your burden I will.” The West coast is full of treasures.

  • Happenings


    Steering gear

    Perception is a funny thing. More curious than ha-ha. What lies ahead? Wreckage or opportunity?

    Wreckage or potential?

    A long enough drive this time. The furtherest West I’ve been since getting back here. With a dermis-ruffling Westerly gusting to force 6 or more, heading West is a good option; a dash for cover if you will. The foot down as hard as you like you become the human pinball about the buckling bends beyond Balina, through the kinks of Killala… Ahh… North Mayo!

    Good from far; someplace near Kilcummin

    I stood staring down from the sliage-streaked road to the sandbar below. The fellah in the giant cell further up the road was kind enough to offer his floor and I nipped in just as it began to hail. From black skies to blasting sun and then comes the cacophonous rebuttal of hailstones. Yep – this is mid-May in the West of Ireland and summer is here. Of a fashion…

    Good from far; someplace near Kilcummin

    Only a few heads out. The sets seemed to be overhead but bullet-train fast. Gallant attempts at paddling in were mostly fruitless as thick, blue-black anacondas of the sets whipped around the coastline sucking the kelp from the rocks, trailing plumes of sand and creamy foam behind. Too fast?

    Steering gear

    More opportunities lay not too further afield so with a few gears shifted in swift succession, another came into view at the same time as the sun.  The harbour was lit up – sun and some grinding sliders alike. Overhead, or more on the sets and more heads out hurling themselves down the wind-blasted faces. Here’s not a place to get caught up in the lip. It wraps hard and kinky around the harbour but with the right lines, ohh.. with the right lines!

    Winding gear at Kilcummin

    That inside section! Writhing with seaweed and sucking hard enough to breed the burliest of limpets down in the intertidal.

    Kilcummin; kinky.

    It was just a joy to catch a few snaps of someone out there winding up some solid arcs on single-fin equipment. I took my time taking in the scene and met a fellow forager and ended up down in the intertidal soon enough. ‘HEY! Scrounging for the pot?’ Shambles McGoldrick roars at me as he staggers in over the big boulders with his gorgeous single-finned Lightning-Bolt replica under-arm.

    Shambles McGoldrick on his lightning-bolt pin-tail gun

    By the time I was ready to paddle out everyone had finished up and come in – great timing but such providence also brought considerable uncertainty. Your first surf in solid waves at a heavy point… where is one supposed to sit? Paddle deep, paddle hard and hope for the best. Trust in your equipment. There’s the potential for wreckage and opportunity both.

  • Happenings

    What’s that in your bag?

    Sea spaghetti, Duileasc, and Carageen harvest from Kilcummin

    “Ahh hello there! What have you got there in your bag?”

    No I’ve not been conducting some informal self-training for Customs inspections. I’m curious is all. When I see someone in an enormous jacket with a funny hat who has climbed over the harbour wall from the intertidal below with a well-stuffed plastic bag of… ‘Well, I say… what might that be he has there?’ is a question that springs like a Sika throughout the pulpy bits in my skull. It was, as I hoped, seaweed.

    Michael had come down to harvest his personal stash of Carageen/Irish Moss (Cosáinín in Irish; Chondrus crispus) last September and with his stocks running low, made the trip out to replenish it. When I first leapt upon him (verbally) his eyebrow arched so high as to pull half of his face up to almost knock off his hat. I took it as a sure sign of favour as a strange smile tore out to one side of his mouth. He had a spare plastic bag for me and together we bounded back over the harbour wall to descend into the intertidal. A nice spot to forage too it was, and a little work before heading off dancing would only add smiles to the wiggles.

    Foraging at Kilcummin harbour

    Well-washed with rain, blasted by wind and bleached by what sun forces a path through the clouds out West here, and the Carageen turns to gold. Both in colour but also in value. Michael had been imbibing of a draught made from Carageen for as long as he could recall, ‘Good for the chest… those with the asthma… with weak chests.’ He spoke with his mouthful too; within the rock-pools the red flames of Dulse/Dillisk (Duileasc; Palmaria palmata) gently waltzed with a colourful swathe of other algal species; he’d plucked some of the maroon tips to munch on as he described the rack he’d constructed for drying the weed. ‘The Carageen needs the weather, wind and rain and sun, but don’t get the Duileasc wet! The salt will wash off and that’s where the flavour is!’

    Sea spaghetti, Duileasc, and Carageen harvest from Kilcummin

    Back at home the spare bedroom may not smell the same again. Out of the rain but blasted by sun and the wind let whistle through the window, the clothes rack has found a new use. Michael suggested that the Duileasc would be right after only a few days like this. The Carageen, stuffed into a large onion-bag that now looks like a seething black pillow, will be out on the balcony to be weathered for the next two or so weeks. The stash should do us until at least christmas I’d say. I might be back out to Kilcummin and perhaps I’ll meet yer man again for a thermos of tea.

    Carageen from Kilcummin harbour

    Drying the Duileasc

  • Happenings

    Foraging: Laver crisps

    The toasted Laver ready for grinding

    Fresh Laver washed (and washed, and washed) clean of sand and ready for toastingFair enough though, I’ll agree that it does somewhat resemble the byproduct of a seal’s hayfever upon the rocks at low tide but this was not enough to steer me clear.

    Layered Laver on the oven rack for drying

    Various references suggested that leaving a third of the algae attached would be enough to sustain growth. I did my best to spread my harvest wide and collected a fair fistful of the almost ectoplasmic, green-black filmly red algae known as Laver, Nori, Sloke, Sleabhcán (Sleabhac; “schlow-ack” – although my Irish tutor will tear strips from me for this) or one of the Porphyra species. Apologies to my fellow seaweed-nerds for failing to decipher which.

    A close friend shared a memory of being told that the time for harvesting the Sleabhac was early in the year before the geese got to it and began their eager feasting. I adhered as closely as I could to the directions to wash, and wash, and wash (and wash again) the Laver to rid the film-like folds of fine sand. I can’t say I’m a big fan of grinding sand between my teeth but neither was I fond of the fiddly job of washing this slippery bugger for too long.

    Two oven racks were draped with the Laver about two layers deep then bunged into the fan oven pre-heated to 100 degrees C for about 30 minutes.

    Toasted Laver crisps - tasty, savoury goodness

    The resultant crispy laver popped off the racks easily for storage. These tasty snacks now have a delightful property by which they have a wonderful crispy crunch before melting on your tongue. Savoury goodness devoid of fat and dodgy oils and though the chemical compounds in seaweeds can vary enormously from individual to individual, the nutritional value of this delight is nothing short of surprising; even at its lowest values (2000 ppm; with highs around 8000 ppm) it bests cow’s milk for calcium (1220 ppm), weight for weight. It might be easier to knock back of milk than Nori – but I’m willing to give it a crack.

    Perhaps a Bloody Nori could find itself onto the cocktail menus of the pubs out here in the West. I’ll stick to the ccrisps for now.

    The toasted Laver ready for grinding

  • Happenings

    Foraging: Wild garlic pesto

    Wild Garlic Pesto

    Far beyond the littoral fringe was where we found ourselves on Sunday, traipsing up the path and into the mist fizzing forth from Glencar waterfall. Not quite a bear hunt but a hunt nonetheless. Perhaps ‘hunt’ is a little strong. It was doubtful that neither Muireann or myself would be in a position to suddenly exclaim, ‘..it’s coming right for us!’ and so plunge our scissors into the stems of the Ransoms as they marched down upon us. No, nothing quite so dramatic.

    Wild Garlic Pesto

    What was dramatic however, was the gentle waft of garlic upon the haze of the waterfall as we fought our way off the path, up and across the slick side of the glen crushing some of the Ransoms underfoot whilst other fell to the shears.

    Back in the kitchen with an appropriate soundtrack, our harvest of the wild garlic (Allium ursinum) was washed, patted dry and stuffed unceremoniously into the blender along with some groundnut oil and almonds. The result is a deliciously mellow garlic pesto. Straight over some crusty chunks of good bread, stirred through pasta with mushrooms and nuggets of mozzarella, poked about by carrot sticks…


  • Happenings

    2012 NCMCRS Marine Conservation Film Series

    2012 Marine Conservation Film Series poster

    2012 NCMCRS Marine Conservation Film Series poster by Ian Jermyn

    For the 3rd year running the NCMCRS Marine Conservation Film Series is serving up another 6 nights of captivating documentaries about the marine environment and our relationship with it. As we’ve done over the past two years, getting along will cost you nothing – there’s some pizza and drinks available too (yep, these are also free).

    Canvas print to be auctioned off on the final night!

    Further, one of the art prints from the OD archives will be raffled off to raise funds for Surfrider Tasmania’s marine debris clean-ups that go on around the coast of Tassie each year – tickets are only a buck each and the draw will be on the final film night, 11 October 2012.
    For more details:
    > Organic Devolution – facebook
    > Surfrider Tasmania – facebook
    > NCMCRS Marine Conservation Film Series – facebook

    July 26Sun Come Up, Miss South Pacific
    August 9 – Whale Fall, My Father the Captain: Jacques Yves Cousteau
    August 23Ocean Frontiers
    September 13The Still Point, Surfing & Sharks
    September 27Ray: a Life Under Water, Living on the Line
    October 11Sushi: the Global Catch


  • Happenings

    “Peddler on the woop” – digital art from sketch

    "Peddler on the woop" - digital art from sketch

    Tonight marked the final showing of the 2011 Marine Conservation Film Series at the Australian Maritime College. Some fine films over the six sessions. Kudos for those who showed to support the gigs. Congrats to the scruffy surf-wag who pulled the winning ticket for the print. Nice to see it go to a good home.
    Keep on peddling little fellah… not far to go now.

  • Happenings

    Exhibitionist Postscript

    A decent showing of local (and not so) heads grew as the evening progressed. Plenty of smiles, finger-pointing, hmms & ahhs. I was happy enough but for the travesty of being designated driver for the evening. Travesty, harsh? No, the free beer at the show made for the travesty, but perhaps retaining coherency was the better bubbly.

    It was grand to see the odd piece here & there disappear or affixed with a little ‘sold’ card. Little victories. Smile & nod. All of the works have many special people behind them, without which none of this may have matured to fruit.

    Post event musing had brought two items of significance to my awareness; The venue & the folk.


    After a trip down the East Coast from Sunny Coast to Sydney in search of stockists with an aesthetic to complement my fetish for wave-riding & roots respect, I discovered that the few found were a rarity.

    For the most part, most seem a herpetic rash of ‘ticket-to-ride’ junk shops manifested from rubbing too close to their bastard step-sibling retail mega-marts with which, I postulate, they will inevitably be assimilated.

    Solace, however, are indeed a shining example of one of the flourishing few far flung from afore-mentioned excrement purveyors. With their passion for tradition made apparent in the manner they have filled their spaces in Mooloolaba & Noosaville. Artisan surf-craft shapers, brush & pen wielders, water-logged photogs, writer & movie-makers; all degrees of visionaries, tale-tellers & translators through their preferred mediums, showing respect & reverence for a divine art are given space to exhibit their craft.  For this is is more a Craft co-op than surf shop.

    What about the folk?

    Well here’s another flip. It was of no concern to me who showed up; I had wondered if anybody would show up but it fussed me not in the slightest – it was enough to have a few mates out for a beer, check out some awesome boards they had in store & lather up a foam of debate over rails & rockers, concaves, vees, weight distribution & tail preference for specific conditions.

    Strangely enough, a froth of characters washed the deck of the Noosaville space & soon it was abuzz with all sorts & ages in & amongst the easels, in & out the doors, standing clumps bending to gusted volleys of tale & mirth, strewn across the couches, hovering over the make-shift bar, swaying to guitar & vocals of Mr. Andrew Morris’ offerings as if he commanding ethereal fingers through their hair, & some mused in-depths of their own over the equipment sleeping inside on the racks.

    I realised that there was no significance in the exhibit itself. Nor in the venue itself. What festooned me with a smile deep & wide was that there were still places out there endeavouring to keep respect & tradition strong by making space available for those to continue their art & craft, & there were folks in numbers stoked at the chance to come together & resonate in harmonious vibration.

  • Happenings


    Haa well now, serves me right for taking a challenge. 15 nude little canvases were on offer to splash with paint as an addition for this Noosaville exhibit. Bring the noise. About half are complete & the process is awash with a profound tide of enjoyment. Things are loose & making like a mercury bell rising from a heightening external atmosphere.Inside

    Pictures on papers of me & mine were not what I had in mind 6 months ago. With a boot from the Kingdom & a one way ticket with a slow bounce through Bali has seared the return to eden with the flames of fruit. Next weekend I’m gifted with an opportunity to publicly expose myself in & out. Not a break I needed but took in hand to force an issue. More flashes of mindful awareness come to strobe visions with the luminescence required to see-shift though some opaque fabricated plates.

    The weather shall be warm & fine.

    Stoked to hear the the lad providing the acoustic set for the night has played with Bernard Fanning‘s beautiful Tea & Sympathy album; Andrew Morris. Quite looking forward to catching some good tunes on the coast with some new & old friends.

  • Happenings

    Solace presents…

    Solace Art Show : 19 Dec. 2008

    Ahh, the sound lads up at Solace surf & art have offered some space up at their Noosaville boutique to swing some framed & mounted prints, canvases & a bunch of shirts. There’s to be some sweet live music & they’ve managed to get the gig licenced so you can have yer pinky up while you’re swilling a beer & stroking your chin & quietly musing, ‘Mmmm, mmmm. Mmmm, yes, mmmm. Oooh, thas noice, I like tha..’

    Love to see you there.


    Check out the address here in Google Maps..

  • Happenings

    Icon Creative Summit Festival

    Icon Creative Arts SummitVenue: Turbine Platform, Powerhouse, Brisbane

    When: Thu 27 Nov 08

    “An exciting annual multi-arts festival showcasing high level artists in music, fashion, short film, dance, performing arts and visual arts.” Sound amazing? Well, as titillating as it may well be, I will be holding the whole show together with the unveiling of 8 giant pieces of such confounding gargantenourmosity (yeah, wiki that)… of such shatteringly symbolic profundity that would enough startle the Alphas to wee.

    Everyone is invited! Please come!

    Share in the whining about all the cheese.

    Hit the Powerhouse Site for all the guff.