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Home BLOGS Guest Blog The Clipperton Project - Part 2

The Clipperton Project - Part 2
Written by Trippe   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 11:43

This is part 2 of a two part blog. Click here to view part 1.

Bay Area artist and waterman, Martin Machado, was invited to sail with a group of artists and scientists to a far off uninhabited atoll in the middle of the Eastern Pacific. Exotic animals and beautiful tranquil scenes. Check it and dream of similar travels.

(photo: Biller)

(photo: Biller)

(photo: Biller)

(photo: Biller) The science folks were diving daily, studying the reef and its inhabitants. This place is historically known as a shark haven. Just a few months before, the dive boat had seen the waters teeming with sharks when they had made a run out to Clipperton, this time we saw practically none. Some blame the fisherman for being well within the boundary they were supposed to keep off the island, some say its natural to see numbers fluctuate. The scientists involved on our trip stressed that it is impossible to say what happened without a proper extended study. I hate talking shit on other commercial fishermen, but the facts show that those large purse seiners are doing irreputable damage to tuna populations as well as for their bi-catch (i.e. sharks).

When onboard the tuna boat they showed me a freezer full of about 15-20 sharks (they would not allow us to take photos).

They say they keep records of this and that they are allowed to catch a certain small amount due to the difficulty of escorting them out with a swimmer. It is not likely that such a legit ship would be taking part in the shark finning trade, but studies show that there are fins coming from the eastern pacific. I'll stop waxing political about it, but please read up on it if you can and avoid eating Tuna if possible or go for line caught Albacore. Or try wild caught Alaskan salmon!

(photo: Biller)

(photo: Beek) Getting anything or anybody onto the island was an insane challenge. There were no channels anywhere and large waves pounded the shallow reef constantly.

(photo: Beek) After damaging an outboard and popping an inflatable on their first landing attempt, we resorted to kayaking everything ashore.

(photo: Machado) It was tough work and you pretty much had a 50/50 chance that a set would come in and smash you on the nearly dry reef that circles the island.

(photo: Machado)

(photo: Machado) I saw some footage of the island from the 80's when Jaques Cousteau came here, so I convinced French Tom to bring one of his surfboards. But we couldn't find anywhere that didn't look like it would smash us to bits.

(photo: Machado) We spent about a week on the island, with constant shuttling gear back and forth from the boats. I honestly don't know how someone didn't die in that surf, the photos don't do it justice, there were some big waves onto shallow reef!

(photo: Beek) Ashore, a tent camp was pitched on the cement foundation of an old base. The island has an insane history involving conflicting nations, pirates, murders, and a whole bunch of marooned people. Its definitely worth looking into if you're a history buff.

(photo: Beek)

(photo: Machado) Sleeping in hammocks under coconuts, not the best idea.

(photo: Machado) The island is covered with these little tough guys

(photo: Machado) Crabs and Boobies for as far as you can see. In the middle of the island is a huge brackish lagoon, which currently is closed off to the sea.

(photo: Naim Rahal)

(photo: Naim Rahal)

(photo: Naim Rahal)

(photo: Machado)

(photo: Machado) These birds were hilarious, totally unafraid of people and not too smart, they would fly into us all the time.

(photo: Naim Rahal)

(photo: Machado)

(photo: Machado)

(photo: Machado)

(photo: Machado)

(photo: Machado) Lots of boats have run aground out here

(photo: Machado) Clipperton Rock, the only elevated area on the island

(photo: Naim)

(photo: Naim)

(photo: Naim) Way back in the day there were Guano collectors here from San Francisco, but turns out this shit is not all that great

There were caves the wind all through the rock, it seemed almost fake, like something out of a pirate movie set

(photo: Machado) The view from the top of the rock

You can see the deep part of the lagoon in the background. Jaques Cousteau did a deep dive to the bottom, nasty acidic water down there.

(photo: Machado) Unfortunately strong currents in the Pacific gyre cover this place with plastic debris

(photo: Naim)

(photo: Machado) The French catching up on their favorite t.v. shows.

(photo: Machado) The sailors collecting goodies, a huge Japanese float! Prize find.

(photo: Naim)

(photo: Beek) Sadly the week came to an end and we packed up all of our gear to head back up to Baja

The Island Seeker took off first, but we switched up crews and I got to try the other sailboat for the sail back

(photo: Machado) We had some adventures on the Pisces on the sail back, broke a forestay, shredded some sails, realized we were without a sat phone, etc. We had a civilized cocktail hour though every day around sunset, with some ingenious concoctions. Because of the compromised rig we couldn't sail upwind anymore, so we limped into Puerto Vallarta, safe and happy after about a week of sailing. For some of the crew it was their first time ever on a boat! A 2,000 mile sail for their first trip, not bad. All in all it was a successful trip though. Artists helped scientists with their field studies, and vice versa. Conversations constantly spun around in three languages and I did my best to follow along.

(photo: Machado) Julie (smiling above) is happy to be pulling into the bay off Puerto Vallarta. Poor Julie was sick nearly the entire time we were at sea!

Since the trip everyone has gone back to their respective parts of the globe, but The Clipperton Project folks have been hard at work organizing events and things. Check out their site for more info and upcoming shows. They are already planning their next excursion to South Georgia Island, one of the least hospitable places in the world. I told you Jon might be mad. Anyways, their current show has been running in Glasgow, Scotland and should continue into October. There is work from many of the participants and they have been holding educational events as well. If you are in Scotland, check it out at The Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

Here are the two large paintings I did on paper, rolled up in a tube, and shipped out to Scotland in June. Both are titled "The Inhabitants of the Waters of Clipperton Atoll"

Thanks for reading and looking at the pics, I hope you enjoyed them. - Martin

For more on Marty Machado, check http://www.martinmachado.com/. Be sure to check his wonderful paintings. He's not just a travel blogger.

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contact FF

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a_m


 

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lead

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//////////
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John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


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Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


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Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

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Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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