The Wreck of the Mazaruni

Wreck of the Mazaruni sketchKris was going crazy with the rainy weather, too, and didn’t even have me to talk to, once I got into my painting. At last we decided to go exploring the Essequibo River a bit…rain or no, at least the sailing part would give him something physical to do, and we’d have a different foggy grey jungle view to look at…

We headed back down the river, the way we came when we first arrived. We’d seen a wrecked ship along the banks, halfway down, that had fascinated us…the jungle was taking it over, growing over its bridge and filling the cracks in its hull with vines and ferns. So we headed for the same spot, and anchored for two days near the wreck of the ship “Mazaruni”.

Of course, the first thing I did was sketch the ship…once, in pen on brown bag paper, and then a (less successful) watercolour, in a brand new sketchbook that I had bought at the Darwin airport to use up my Aussie dollars, and decided to finally use.

DSC_0200(My first experience with Moleskine watercolour sketchbooks, I have to say I was very disappointed, the paper is crappy, only 20% cotton and with a tendency to bleed a bit. What gets me is that, for the exorbitant price I paid for the thing, I could have bought nearly 2 pads of Arches 100% cotton watercolour paper. Shoot.)

Kris, on the other hand, went exploring in the dinghy…around the ship, and discovered a creek that ran behind it. Up the creek he saw Morpho butterflies (common in Guyana, but magical nonetheless…Vladimir Nabokov collected these iridescent blue butterflies. These days they are being farmed for jewelry and collectors, so the wild population has managed to recover from the past centuries’ mania for naturalist collections) and a large boa constrictor.

We started calling the creek Gabriel’s Creek, after a scene from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude, where Jose Arcadio Buendia and his band of men come upon a galleon smothered in jungle, miles away from any sea.

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12 thoughts on “The Wreck of the Mazaruni

    1. Well, I HAD to see what the fuss was about…it’s a good thing, actually, I am so glad to learn that I may as well buy the best French WC paper for just a little more…imagine is they had proved to be fantastic sketchbooks…then I’d be forced to buy them, and they’re so pricey. šŸ˜‰

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  1. I’ve used moleskines in the past (purchased from Amazon.com at a discount) and I’ve noticed that the paper quality has dropped. I’ll add that I was too cheap to buy more than four/five of them out of a total collection of sketchbooks that number maybe twenty-twentyfive; I’m not an expert on moleskines. Either way I’ve stopped using them. My next watercolor book I’ll make by hand: I can control the quality and size that way and making books is not as difficult as one might think!

    I’ve enjoyed reading and lurking for a while. :-). Thanks for your posts about your journeys!

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    1. Hmm, yes, I think we were all sucked in by the advertising and the sneakily misleading story about Picasso/Chatwin using them (when really they were using books made in France by a traditional bookbinder, and not by a commercial publisher in Milan). Made in Vietnam or China, definitely not handbound (I know smyth-sewn when I see it) and only 20% cotton…just another mass-produced product that compromises on quality, and makes up for it in PR. šŸ˜¦

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  2. How cool to find a wreck that is being gradually consumed by the jungle. I can see why that would inspire you. I too like the brown bag version best. I think the line drawing makes it a more focused, stronger piece.

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    1. I think, too, that the pristine white first page of that over-priced sketchbook cramped my freedom of expression in the second one! šŸ™‚ Cheap and nasty is so liberating! Thank you, as always, for dropping by!

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  3. I love your posts arriving in my inbox. Something exotic and beautiful, with no set timetable, and a story to get the travel bug biting hard. I like the brown paper bag one, too. šŸ™‚

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