The Mediterranean is un-sea-like. I mean, it doesn’t smell and taste of salty ocean the way it does in Australia or elsewhere down below. The swell is also more subdued. But oh is it glorious to be perched above a vast, disinterested body of water once more.
We woke at 4am, me finishing a peculiar dream where all my teeth wobbled and then fell out, ivory rubble on the night asphalt. Some half-awake packing, and 5 minutes of last-minute internet madness, then off to the Geneva airport once more. Lucky for Speedy Boarding because the queue was like Guangzhou Main Station at Chinese New Year. A shortish plane journey where I alternately snoozed and worked out how a GoPro works (a bit like a mobile phone from 2001), met the remaining two of our six, and then arriving, finding our car, a supermarket stop somewhere, and arriving proper.
We six are staying in a house, so to speak. By Australian standards, it’s a normal-to-large family home, mostly on one level, with a winding stairwell to the master bedroom, and from there a ladder to the turret roof, where the view approximately east takes in a swathe of ocean bookended by dry limestone cliffs and shrubby arid flora. Beside, and off the entrance/dining area is a pool which flows over one end, giving the illusion that it becomes the sea. And below that, off to the north-ish side, is the small studio, curtain windows on two walls overlooking gardens and that aforementioned swathe, and where Dasniya and I shall be sleeping and waking the remainder of the week.
Yes, it’s quite surreal. The ocean is an endlessly deep, clear, and brilliant turquoise, cobalt, aquamarine, azure, depending on the sun, or leaden when the clouds move over. To the left, just viewed out our bedroom windows is the massive sea arch which Chris Sharma soloed in 2007. Yes, that one. It’s our bedroom wall, more or less.
Not that we have spent much time admiring the view from here. Unpacking, a quick lunch, a walk along the coast to look at locations, repacking ropes and other equipment, a drive through towns and through narrow roads bordered trench-like by hand-built limestone walls, olive groves and houses, buildings of ochre, terracotta, umber, to another vast plate of ocean and sky above equally rampart-like cliffs, and then on to another more subdued bay down a narrow path, following the coastline until arriving at a rectangular bay shaped like a chisel-stroke, the sea unbearably light blue, and for us hours of discussions, walking, looking, pondering, eventually for me building something of a seven-metre, three-point anchor above a cave undercut into the stone by the tide, in front of which, Dasniya will hang.
Which we will return to tomorrow. We have a cameraperson, a diver, a musician, an artist, a performer, and me, something of ‘assistant’.