Wednesday, January 06, 2010

distant horizon

We were down in Cottesloe today on business: as we drove along Eric Street we were anticipating the first glimpse of the beautiful island - but no! Some weird haze thing was happening.

No view for Rotto Bloggo. We wished for an arctic mirage, but nothing.

We're reading First Encounters by Joseph Cummins: 'epic true stories of cultural collision and conquest'. Amongst the tales of Vikings killing Algonquin and Romans invading Britain is an account of the Arctic mirage.

"In certain unusually clear and sunny atmospheric conditions, light waves are refracted, as if through a prism, so they bend with the curvature of the Earth, causing glaciers or mountains lying below distant horizons to be reflected upwards, even to rise over the horizon, something mariners call looming," Cummins says.

Can it be true? He says in 1939 some sailors saw Iceland from 550km away, and it looked a mere 40 km away. That's only twice the distance from Cott to Rott.

Also: "When the Noongar first heard reports of Vlamingh on Rottnest, they thought that the dead had come back to life and were returning to haunt their land."

Actually we made that bit up. There's no Rotto mention in First Encounters.

While you're here, please congratulate Nikola and Thomas on their recent Basin wedding.

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