|Otra Vida at anchor, Santa Luzia|
We anchored off Santa Luzia for five days. Landing by dinghy is challenging due to the surf and we only did so once, anchoring the dinghy outside the surfline and swimming ashore. I also snorkelled off a rocky outcrop near the boat which promised lobster and garoupa but delivered neither, and the spear gun remained in the dinghy.
|Dali-esque dream landscape|
With the warm sunshine and the moderate cooling breezes this was a special stop. The hammock got plenty of use. Late afternoon sun turned the slopes of the island into a Dali-esqe dreamscape of endless sand, boulders with long sharp shadows, and black folds of volcanic rock highlighted in the fading light.
|Strange clouds over Santa Luzia|
There is a tangible familiarity to this view, a clear recognition of the forms and shapes and colours and shadows here in some of Dali´s paintings. This comforting recognition will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in the Alt Emporda area – Dali´s paintings are peppered with iconic visual quotations from Port Lligat, Cadaques and Cabo de Creus – rocks, bays, fishing boats, the curve of a hill. But there are other landscapes in Dali´s paintings too, and they are not from that area. It is many years since I read a lot about Dali but as I recall he did little travel in his early life beyond his journeys to and from Paris, and I certainly can´t imagine him having made a journey to the Cape Verdes – in those days a considerable undertaking indeed.
Now Santa Luzia surely isn’t the only place in the world
that has reddish-orange volcanic gravel, black volcanic hills, boulders, and an
aspect open to the setting sun. But the
point is that the places Dali visited physically, as far as I know, have
nothing close to such a landscape. Where
did it come from, and in such detail?
Dali, Breton, Bunuel and the other surrealists were trying to access
dreams and report back what they found each in their own way. Dali may not have visited these landscapes
physically, but somehow in his dream life he did, and what he found in his
dream life seems not to have been based on any likely experience he had in his
waking life. It came from somewhere else.
|Full moon rising over the island|
Jung would point to the collective unconscious. Others would point to astral travel or any
number of new age or ancient wisdom explanations. There are interesting parallels between these
concepts and the worldview of shamanic tribes that I am reading about in
preparation for travel to the Amazon basin in the next months. Oversimplifying considerably, our modern day
western view of reality seems to offer two broad choices: the existentialist
view of a dead universe of random combinations entirely without meaning, or the
religious view of a supervised duality requiring uncritical subservience and
largely dismissing direct experience.
The surrealists and the shamanic tribes both seem to point to a
possible third choice. It is shaping up
to be an interesting few months.
|Watching the sun go down behind Sao Vicente|