Underwater Mona Lisa

Photo: Anna Iltnere, Beach Books

2017 Favorites

Some find their dose of sublime in stars, in mountains, for me it is the water. The sea, a pocket of ocean, is so big. How big is the ocean, oh. I can feel that. All waters are connected. You stand in the dunes and overgrow yourself. No more walls, and there is much more in front of you than you actually see. It is the sea. The big blue secret. Gigantic bed sheet swelling. Underneath is the underwater world and it smiles the Mona Lisa smile. They think they know, she smiles. Only five percent of oceans have been explored.

The relief of the ocean floor, with its canyons and hollows, filled with lava, has been painted and published only 40 years ago. Discoveries of it appeared 60 years ago. Jack Cousteau laughed when he heard that there are mountains under the sea – idea that oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp defended passionately. Until Cousteau saw it himself. Mona Lisa smiles and straightens the indigo pleats of the abyss with her prehistoric fingers. Still 95 percent of somersaults.

This summer gave birth to a project called “Seabed 2030”. 100 ships will stroke the ocean floor with the most up to date technologies. They will map the entirety of sea floor around the globe. For the first time. But time is a strange thing when thinking of the sea. Time bends just like maps are bended by the nautical miles. Only five percent have been explored in 2017, but it was 50 000 years ago when bunch of people had an idea to go into the big blue secret and sail without knowing what is there beyond the horizon. For the first time.

I’m not a marine scientist or a sailor, I’m a reader who travels through sea books to gain a better eyesight when being at the beach. To see more, to notice – the layers of science and culture. To breath in the big blue secret, the great unknown, the mystery. The marine magic that is real. Sea is my calling. This photo, taken at Kemeri Beach in Jurmala, Latvia, from 2017 presents it best. This stumping beast at the beach as Virginia Woolf once wrote.


Kam zvaigznes, kalni, man ūdens. Tik liela tā jūra, okeāna kabata, un okeāni – ak, un to jūt. Ūdeņi ir savienoti. Stāvi kāpu pakājē un kļūsti plats, un pats. Šķind stikla būris ap galvu. Nav sienu, un acu priekšā ir vairāk nekā redzi. Liels zils noslēpums. Gigantisks palags viļņojas. Zem tā – zemūdens pasaule smaida Monas Lizas smaidu par katru “zinu” un Lohnesa trīs līkumiem. Pieci procenti – tieši tik izpētīti esot okeāni.

Gultnes reljefs ar kanjoniem un lavas gravām tika uzgleznots tikai pirms četrdesmit gadiem. Pirms sešdesmit – par to radās apjauta. Žaks Kusto smējās, ka zem ūdens esot kalni, kā uzskatījusi pētniece Marija Tarpa. Līdz pārliecinājās pats. Mona Liza smaida un ar aizvēsturiskiem pirkstiem piekārto indigo dzelmes faltes. Vēl deviņdesmit pieci procenti kūleņu.

Šovasar piedzima “Seabed 2030”. 100 kuģi grābsta okeāna grīdu ar šodienas tehnoloģijām. Pirmo reizi. Bet jūra loca laiku tāpat kā jūras jūdzes loca karti. Tikai pieci procenti apjausti, bet jau pirms piecdesmit tūkstošiem gadu saujai cilvēku radās doma doties lielajā zilajā noslēpumā, nezinot, kur nonāks. Pirmo reizi.



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