In order to glide out of the water, a flying fish (Latin name “exocoetus”) swishes its tail to up to 50-70 times per second,which “vibrates” to produce enough speed to burst through the surface. It then spreads its pectorial fins and tilts them slightly upwards to lift itself to glide through the air. This permits it to sail above the ocean’s surface where it can at travel at 70km per mile. The fish is able to increase its time in the air by travelling against or at an angle to the direction of updrafts created by a combination of aircurrents in which the “wings” flutter due to the wind with a maximum glide time recorded to be 30 seconds. At the end of a glide, a flying fish folds up its pectoral fins which have been acting as “wings” to re-enter the sea or drops the lower end its tail into the water where it “vibrates” the lower part of its tail to allow its body to reaccelerate and change direction, providing the thrust to lift itself for another glide.
In 1900 to 1930s flying fish were studied as possible models used to develop airplanes. There are about 50 species grouped in seven to nine genera. Flying fish are found in all of the major oceans, particularly in the warm tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Historically the country of Barbados was nicknamed as “The land of the Flying fish”. Today it remains the official national fish for the country and it was in the Caribbean that I first saw them. I looked down from a deck above the bridge of a cruise ship and for a moment wondered why the captain was playing with paper airplanes! Then I realized who they were and spent a wonderful afternoon watching them ride and play enjoying the updrafts caused by the ship as we sailed passed Dominica!
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Innisfree is a small island at the eastern end of Lough Gill in County Sligo, Ireland. Yeats spent part of nearly every year in Sligo while growing up. He often walked out from Sligo town to Lough Gill. First published in the collection The Rose in 1893, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” is an example of Yeat’s earlier lyric poems. The rhythm of the poem perfectly reflects the lapping of the water on the lake shore. But the poem was written in London at a time when Ireland was in economic and political turmoil, and Yeats and his family were struggling financially. It is not surprising that the sound of a water fountain in a shop window on a bustling London street would take him back to the lapping water of Lough Gill and a more gentle life.
Cardigan, on the totally unspoiled West Wales coast, is the birthplace of the Welsh National Eisteddfod. With a population of 4,200, Aberteifi (its Welsh name meaning bridge over the Teifi) stands on the banks of the river Teifi where Ceredigion meets Pembrokeshire. Just outside Cardigan is St Dogmaels, an ancient and tranquil village nestling peacefully around a ruined Abbey at the mouth of the river Teifi. The monastery at St. Dogmaels was formally established as an abbey on September 10th 1120. It suffered in the dissolution of the monasteries and is now a picturesque ruin – well worth a visit. Near-by is Poppit Sands, one of west Wales’ premier blue flag beaches with acres of golden sands and where you can get lungfulls of bracing sea breezes. That is where the wonderful Pembrokeshire coastal path begins. But it is the river at St Dogmaels that I love best – fascinating in all lights, tidal so constantly changing, but with a wonderful calmness. Nowhere quite like it on a summer evening with clouds of swallows taking their nightly constitutional before settling to roost! Why don’t you take the lovely winding road across the mountains and visit the place for yourself.
A heady mix of stunning scenery and contemporary living make Guernsey an ideal place to relax. Inspiring walks along the cliff paths, rambles through the rural interior can be combined with lazy days on the island’s beautiful beaches. St Peter Port, the island’s capital, is a bustling harbor town with a tapestry of architectural styles that tell the story of the region’s changing fortunes. Here bistros, restaurants and boutiques jostle, while the harbor ferries make travel to the other Channel Islands (Jersey, Alderney, Sark etc) simple. Although Guernsey is geographically much closer to France than the UK, it is loyal to the British crown. This loyalty, can be traced back to Norman times when the Channel Islands first became part of the English realm, and forms the basis of the island’s constitution.