Even in Matera, some things never change

These days in Matera there is an exhibition of Salvador Dali’s great pieces. One of my favourite Dali’s paintings is “Ship with butterfly sails” (1937) 🙂


Long time ago I crossed the Adriatic sea by small sailboat from Bar to Bari. This summer, I did it again but by ferry and then came to Matera. I also had an opportunity to be on the other seas, Ionic (Basilicata, Calabria) and Tyrrhenian (Campania). Oh, those shades of blue colour… Inspired by different seas and beauties, I decided to arrange in English my favourite article I ever wrote. Wind in sails and (un)calm Sea has always been considered a big challenge to many people. Sailing is a synonym for freedom which is so far and elusive. When you are in the middle of an open sea under the sky full of stars, it seems they are so close that you can touch them. So close and so far at the same time… When someone gets that seafarer experience, he feels like he had touched the sky and freedom that he had dreamed of. That enjoyment is available only in the open sea, far of the shore when there is nothing but the water.
We can think about protagonists of film “Pirates of the Carribean” who tend to sense that freedom and who actually live that kind of life. Davy Jones is the captain of the ship Flying Dutchman. The name of the ship is taken from 19 th century legend Flying Dutchman which was popular in port cities in offshore countries. The legend is about a captain of ship who is cursed to sail seas until the Judgement Day. He is cursed by Rocalda, queen of water demons, because Dutch captain outdared power of natural and God.
But there is an opportunity for salvation – Dutchman’s ship can land in port every seven years, in hope that captain will find the true love which will end the curse.

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German composer Richard Wagner was inspired by this topic and wrote a libretto for his opera “Flying Dutchman” (“Der fliegende Holländer”). Dutchman could be redeemed only by a faithful woman Senta, who had been waiting for him all her life in one Norwegian village. (In the “Pirates of the Carribean”, Davy Jones’ love is Tia Dalma or Calypso, God of the seas who cursed him on lifelong rambling and gave him a title of captain of the cursed ghost ship Flying Dutchman.) Wagner’s Senta was dreaming of Dutchman and finally she met him. The sentence she sang in her Ballada refers more to Dutchman’s character:

In bitter gale and raging storm,
He once tried to round a cape;
He cursed, in mad fury, and swore:
‘Never will I give up!’

Whoever is born on the sea understands and appreciates the beauty of the sea, but also its strong power. Sailing is a beautiful activity and gives you an endless freedom. The capitano of doomed ship also loved that freedom, and because of desire to get another experience, he was punished and cursed on sea rambling. So, tempo moderato! Why Holland? At 17 th century, this country had a powerful armada with close relations to other fleet countries. Behind navy ships there were fishing and merchant ships, ships for public transportation and also small ships, yachts for entertainment – sailboats. As expensive regatta sport it continued developing in Great Britain when Dutch gave a sailboat as a present to King Charles II.

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According to a legend and a film too, it was a pirate ship mugging other ships. Capitano has all time of the world, his own freedom. No one can stop that immortal man! The quote of Serbian writer Milorad Pavic is “Who knows on what wind his mind works…”. Free spirit quote! Also, the word “flying” is not literary flying under the water (like Peter Pan’s flying ship over Neverland), it is nautical term which is related to tactic of sailing through and cutting the wind while the sail is not full of the wind. That is the best way to change the direction of the ship and then you can sail for long hours. In Dutchman’s case, in what direction wind blows he brings up his sails and goes for new hikes and conquests. Somehow, he doesn’t need a compass, but generally we all do need it. So, look at those shades of blue, keep calm and experience peacefulness; enjoy, know the “art” of certain wind, sailing tactics and choose the best direction for yourself.

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An article in Serbian. https://pulse.rs/vetar-u-ledja/



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