Thursday, November 26, 2009


Avast! treasure! below my feet here, shimmering under the surface, lies a 5D Markii...

Unfortunately this is no new loot. It is my 5D Markii. And I am standing chest deep in the Aegen Sea.

Soaking wet, I emerge from the sea and scramble back up the outcropping of rock from which I flung myself seconds before. And from which my camera plummeted seconds before that. 

If you've been living vicariously through me, and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, perhaps you should stop reading now ;)

It began on a beautiful sunny day, as we rented mopeds on the Greek Island of Paros, and headed out on a pirate moped adventure. An adventure of the best kind. Catching a ferry to the island of Anti Paros, we arrived at dusk and after gathering provisions headed out of town on the single track around the island. Stopping for some spelunking in an old cave we emerged under moonlight and were greeted by the quiet sparkling seascape of the Aegean.

Driving on we left the lights of civilization. Pulling off of the main road we wandered down towards the coast and stashed our mopeds to continue on foot. A mile up the coast the shore turned to ragged cliffs, and we found a good cove to make port for the night. After starting our pirate bonfire I climbed up a cragg overlooking the campsite to enjoy the view of the surrounding islands while Captain Wuestewald cleaned the nights catch to cook on the fire. 

Startled by his shouts from below I scrambled from my perch, missed a step in the darkness and tumbled into the water below. Climbing out of the brine I found Rosco's in a frenzied dance along the shoreline as he clutched at his hand and yelled obscenities into the waters. Blood spattered the rocks from four razor cuts in his finger. As best as we can make out the story, Earl the eel (as we have named him) was drawn to the smell of the tasty fish, and perhaps confused Rosco's finger with the fish he was cleaning. At least that's what Earl said. In alternate versions it has been hypothesized that Earl actually knew full well that it was a finger, and was in fact trying to drag Captain Weustewald into the sea so he could eat him.

In any case, enter the cursed Cove of the Shrieking Eels. A few hours later my camera would meet it's untimely demise as we spent the rest of the night trying to dry out clothes and keep a fire going. Pirates-0, Cursed Cove-4. Escaping at daybreak, our bad luck decided to tag along freezing up the shutter on Rosco's camera. Camera death toll mounting: Canon 50D, Sanyo Exacti HD waterproof (or so it falsley claimed), Canon 5D markii (never claimed to be waterproof - tested it anyway) + a couple lenses.

So what comes of all this 'misfortune'? An unanticipated, but in retrospect much needed, break from photography for me, the beginning chapters of Rosco's novel, and plenty of inspiration for philosophical musings. 

Nietzsche spoke of amor fati (love of fate) and coming to terms with the idea that you are absolutely responsible for all of your actions. In that there is liberation. In recognizing that you control your fate, you also have the power to choose your outlook on the life that stems from your choices. From a sociological perspective I have some qualms with the philosophies lack of compasion for those whose 'life chances' are limited by the circumstances under which they enter the world. However I am drawn to the general premise that it is up to us to choose our outlook on life and the story we make of it. Bad decisions, ugly situations, or invoking the wrath of karma all happen in a lifetime. And it follows that in moments of reflection or introspection we retell ourselves the story of our lives; molding the chapters, creating new ones, and rewriting old ones to incorporate new discoveries or changes in perspective. The liberation comes from the recognition that it is up to us, not to rewrite the actual events, but to choose our emotional response and the greater context of the story in which these events are framed.

Recognizing the intention that is inherent in my emotional responses to the events of my life, reveals the ambiguity of many situations, and the degree to which I am free to choose to bring humor and good intention into the stories I tell. Not just talking about being a pirate here. That was just a carefree tryst of the imagination and kicking it back to childhood. In thinking about the events of the last week, the story is held together not by regret or cynicism, but by the more important elements, of laughter, good people, adventure, music, artists and pirates, connection and reflection, misfortune and growth.

Travel imparts the unique opportunity to share briefly in the lives of others. Unexpected connections and chance encounters carry the power to inspire, or provoke a smile, a twinkling, a fresh glint. In such, it makes little sense to carry yourself with anything other than good humor and openness, even when it seems you are being followed by the curse of the Cove of the Shrieking Eels....

 We're not laughing at you fate, we're laughing with you

('read more' for a few of the last snaps from the Cursed Cove)

pirate moped

pre-eel attack
post-eel attack
Aegean moon


  1. beautiful. i love your words just as much as your photographs.

  2. sorry to hear of your collateral losses at the Eel Cove! Hopefully some business insurance will bail you out of that situation. And Roscoe will learn not to put his hand where it doesn't belong! :-) Happy Trails!

  3. @Hailey I haven't written for fun since before college. It's refreshing!

    @Kathy Just passed that onto Rosco - sharing a good chuckle ;) (and yessum - insurance will cover most of it)

  4. I enjoy living vicariously through your adventures, Forest. You are truly a free spirit, a fantastic writer and one who embrases whatever comes your way... I envy your joie de vivre! Glad your camera gear is covered and that you and Roscoe have survived your latest brush with fate.

  5. hey forest, perhaps you should be writing a novel love love your writing. so sorry to hear about your camera. i am guessing that your eyes will adjust to the reassignment of documenting/interpreting your moments. love the images too. and by the way, didn't know we had a german philosopher mutual fascination...hmmm. did you know that he was raised by women...i think that's one of the reasons that he's a little hard on them in his writings. i hope you are able to find another camera. want a pinhole?

  6. Forest, you LEGEND. Adventure and experience always equals risk, without it we don't live. Sure, the loss of a prized $3K camera (plus lenses, etc) is PAIN, but it's temporary pain. You will never forget this experience and the loss will somehow change how you shoot.

    What is the best postal address for you in the medium term (next few months) - I'm going to send you a camera. Don't thank me until you see what it is!

    Keep inspiring us and yourself,

    Happy Captures,