Two or three mornings a week around 6.40am come rain, hail or shine when I am not travelling, I enter the Castle Haven Track in Castlecrag, Sydney, Australia. The track is a steep 450 metre dirt track interspersed with the remnants of Sydney Sandstone steps, framed by local forests of dry Australian eucalyptus trees and a lush green undergrowth. I often disturb Australian sulphur crested cockatoos, native bush turkeys and their tormentors, the local domestic dogs, looking for an early morning meal as I descend onto the foreshore of Castle Haven Inlet, a small sheltered inlet in Sailors Bay, Middle Harbour, Sydney. It is here, secured by chain and rope to foreshore trees, I moor my second-hand sea kayak bought cheaply off eBay in a moment of desperation.
This kayak has become my optics onto a world of perception offering boundless insights I could not have previously dreamt of whilst connecting me as close to nature as the local Aboriginal tribe, the Cammeraygals, must have been who originally inhabited this area.
Almost a decade ago, pharmaceutical remedies had driven me further into depression rather than alleviating the problem, leaving me no option but to consider the physical in search of a way out of my immobilizing mental darkness.
It is impossible to convey the therapeutic cleansing that occurred almost immediately after my first kayaking journey. An early morning dose of nature, fresh air and sea water, accompanied by the light almost imperceptible exercise of core stomach muscles and the upper and lower body, moves the darkness of black thoughts rapidly. Over months, my mind moved from the physical to the metaphysical as the rhythm of the deep sea water connecting with the kayak paddle merged into a mantra for meditation. Slowly but surely as this pattern of movement became regular, a new awareness emerged driven by an inner voice that spoke to me in ways where depression was no longer the main character.
As it did, my mind discovered the core of a visceral experience in a surprising manner – the surface of the water opened my mind to new pleasurable doorways of perception. Digital technology in the form of first an iPhone 6 camera, then a Sony RX100 Compact Camera and later a Canon G7X and photo-editing software Adobe Lightroom, enabled me to capture these fleeting moments in a series of abstract photographs
These photographs represent for me how the power of physical movement in kayaking and the movements on the surface of the water can synthesize to act as creative inspiration freeing the mind of mental darkness to heal, recharge and inspire the inner self.