My first job ever, was working as a technical assistant in the department of Sea Fisheries. Fresh out of high-school. My first task ever, was to plot masses of bathythermal data by hand because of course in those days, Steve Jobs was on the path to dropping out but had not yet had exploded into the computer world and well – PCs were hard to come by. The researcher I did it for was a very nice German man but heck-of dry (which I suppose is ironic) and he gave me my first experience of working under bad breath conditions. Anyway the data I was plotting came from positions off the coast of Namibia which was still South West Africa and he explained something that I thought was quite interesting.
The offshore winds blow the warm waters at the surface miles into the ocean and these are replaced by deeper waters, causing upwelling currents which bring nutrient rich but freezing water from the deep ocean off the continental shelf. The nutrients feed plankton which fed one of the richest sources of pelagic fish in the world. And much of the research went into estimating stocks and regulating fishing tonnages. Later I worked for a very pleasant German, in Walvis Bay, called Fritz who correctly predicted the collapse of the fishing industry due to over-fishing. But that is for another day.
Tonight I thought of the upwelling as I stepped into the water at the Pipe. The South-Easter has been blowing for the last few days and the sea was a milky- blue-green colour and fereezing!!!
I had a few lekker waves as there were only two of us out there and then came to do a painting. Actually, when I set up up on my little dune I sat looking at the mountains with a blank page on my lap, thinking about life and the story and what could have been. Really, I could have just sat dreaming for a lot longer but decided to paint. In the wind. While I worked a girls school hockey team from up-country came down to the beach. It was good to hear them loving the sand and the sea. The driver came and leaned against a pole for just long enough for me to decide that he would stay long enough to star in the painting but left as I tried to get his red face right.
So here we go, an upwelling painting: