A true power all of its own

‘That’s alright,” he said, “I’m enjoying the quiet.” That’s how today’s column begins, the two of us together, looking out over a small bay on the less developed, west coast of Sicily.
Nanjing Night Net

Yes! We are finally in Sicily.

We are staying with friends, Angelina and Giovanni, in the small bayside village of Scopello, which means rock, and our bay is rock edged and sheltered.

In ancient times the area was known as Cetarea, which means “land of tuna fish” (Google it).

On Tuesday, close to sunset, the ocean breeze was cold. Good fortune, persistence and a dash of luck had provided us with dinner.

Earlier, I followed my nose down a winding track and found a fish wholesaler; no fish, but yes, he would shuck me a dozen oysters.

“We’re closed tomorrow (Wednesday). He’s driving three hours east for the annual horse race…he’s got a marquee, trackside,” the fishmonger’s offsider said.

Headed back to the bay, I popped into the local supermarket, which sold fresh fish. I bought some tails of the local, deep-water white fish. Even though it was covered in plastic and on black trays, its flesh was opalescent .. a good sign. I pictured it lightly fried, between slices of fresh bread and butter.

Right on cue, husband arrived late in the afternoon with a loaf of fresh, light-rye bread and a bottle of local pinot gris.

So there we were, eating oysters, followed by our fish, pan fried in browned butter, between slices of fresh bread. Shoes and even underwear were optional in our primo bayside position.

We’ve been overseas once in our 25-year marriage and I’m randomly envious of those who flit here and there.

More frequently, though, I get serious pleasure out of groovy little moments captured, like those we snatched this week.

This week didn’t really take me to Sicily. But you probably already saw through the ruse?

This week we enjoyed the hospitality of dear friends at Binalong Bay. No passport required.

HYPNOTIC: With its endless oceans and infinite night skies, Tasmania has the power to bewitch and beguile better than anywhere else in the world.

The food experience was real, just insert St Helens Salty Seas, the Launceston Cup and the fish, fresh blue-eye from the local supermarket.

Call it the Binalong effect.

It started at that same day 2am, when I spotted a fleet of 20 boats, moored 500 metres off shore.

Out the loo window was a mass of bobbing light. Cray fishermen? Scallops? Fishing fleet?

Apparently, it was a small fleet from Hobart’s Wooden Boat Festival making its way north, up our east coast. A rare sight, Angela said.

There I was, on the loo with my dreamy mind, hypnotised by ocean-going glow worms.

The Binalong effect.

From there on, the days lasted long, the sun bright and the ocean mesmerising, sometimes in a threatening, dark blue, quicksilver, kind of way.

Here’s a trick that the ocean plays: It will let you sit and watch for days and it will do all the work.

One day it will be like an Italian widow, dressed dark, with threatening silver tips and almost grief-stricken; black in its mood.

Another morning it will be a nubile aqua, promising warmth and fun.

Spend hours just watching, and the sea magically empties your mind and refills your heart and the only exotic experience you need is a pan-fried fish sandwich with people you love.

This week I noticed, because my mind wasn’t totally empty, the many, many people who travelled from overseas and interstate to experience the Binalong effect.

Note to self, Tasmania is the new Sicily and BTW, Scopello and Cetarea are real, but not as dreamily beautiful as our Binalong.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.