Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 14, No. 1, 2015
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Nancy Snipper
Louis René Beres
Lynda Renée
Nick Catalano
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
Farzana Hassan
Betsy L. Chunko
Samuel Burd
Andrée Lafontaine
  Music Editors
Nancy Snipper
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Chantal Levesque Denis Beaumont
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Mark Kingwell
Naomi Klein
Arundhati Roy
Evelyn Lau
Stephen Lewis
Robert Fisk
Margaret Somerville
Mona Eltahawy
Michael Moore
Julius Grey
Irshad Manji
Richard Rodriguez
Navi Pillay
Ernesto Zedillo
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Nayan Chanda
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward




Roberto Rotondo is a distinguished artist living in Montreal. He is the author of the antidisestablishment blog entitled Up Yours, and would rather listen to Led Zeppelin than Mozart.

From the beach where I lay reading the epic Melville whale tale the buoy appeared no bigger than a bowling pin, a mere yellow thing floating in the distance. At first I was indifferent to it but as the days past I found myself watching it with growing interest , swimming a bit out to get a better glimpse of it, then turn back. Couldn’t have been more than 500 yards from shore. A mere twenty laps at the pool. Even at sea I’d several times swam considerably farther than that. No, the distance didn’t phase me.

And yet its mere presence spawned a certain feeling of disquiet which both intrigued and disturbed me.

Soon as the ocean calmed down I’d swim for it.

You never want to be far from shore on turbulent waters, regardless how confident your stride. If I learnt anything in my student summer job as cabin boy upon the Charmer it’s to respect the sea, however seemingly tame and inviting. Besides the moon would soon wane and with it the tide. No point in taking chances, though my patience was running thin. The buoy had become an obsession. I couldn’t keep my eyes off it. I had to get near it, to see it up close, to touch it, perhaps climb atop of it, ride it. It became my Moby Dick.

The waves slashed on as the days rolled by and that yellow reliable sentinel of the seas always there, keeping place, dancing subtle and alone upon the briny sea

Periodically with the rise of the waves I’d lose sight of the buoy, never for more than a few seconds yet enough to arouse in me a feeling of anxiety, a senseless sentiment to be sure, as I well knew it could neither far navigate nor sink, but this being in keeping with the absolutely irrational enchantment I’d fallen prey to only added to the enticement of my quest.

And then one evening the waves did quell. The buoy stood still. Its light shone brightly. At sunrise I’d swim out to reach it.

Even at early morning St. Maarten’s waters are pleasantly tepid, their swishing soothing, as they ripple along the sands leaving coralline treasures in their wake while pelicans fly the coast of the isle scouting the shallows for fish.

And in the distance the buoy shone brightly bouncing the day’s first light off its yellow skin.

I began my swim out in breast stroke dipping my head and torso, inspecting the sea bottom then coming up for air looking out up and ahead. Every so often a wave rose higher than most and, my head being now level with the buoy, I’d lose sight of it, sometimes for several strokes. This made me uncomfortable and I’d pick up the pace eager to gain a glimpse of it again This repeated itself and always the same feeling prevailed.

After some minutes the sea bottom grew deeper and darker. Black splotches of what might have been sea weed lay below like ominous shadows. And the farther out I swam the murkier it got.

The seas are vast and boundless. The big fish is everywhere and given its uncanny speed always near, however far, always near, as near as its whim, the whim to go for it, for me, the intruding swimmer. Thoughts of this kind must run through one’s mind as the shore fades in the distance, as the bottomless blue grows thicker as all sound is swallowed up by the all surrounding splashing of the unfurling seas, the only other sound being the humming breathing of your lungs as you spear beneath the water and up again for air. The fish is always there, in the back of your mind, Jaws is always there. Of course one often hears how slim the odds of getting clipped by one of those monsters. But then again, not too many bathers dare venture farther than a few dozen yards . . . I must have been more than two hundred away when these thoughts began assailing my mind, thumping repetitively like a mantra. But I kept up my stride regardless, keeping it as smooth as I could , keeping the waters unruffled , quieting all thought, phasing it all out.

Swimming the seas is the closest thing to flying. The buoyancy of the waters breaks the resistance, the flow is easy, the salty taste delightfully cleansing and real. There is no truer taste than the sea. I felt physically well, the breathing full and smooth, my neck relaxed, but the buoy seemed hardly nearer now than when I’d left the shore. Even the most experienced of mariners finds it difficult judging distances at sea.

Occasionally the waters turned bluish grey and I’d glance up at the sky. Clouds hurried past the rising sun casting their dark shadows everywhere across the ocean. And then warm colours once again and on I swam and up the buoy bobbed, the yellow spar now appearing considerably bigger then I’d imagined it from afar. It must have been at least 200 hundred yards up ahead yet I began to feel uneasy seeing it there jostling up and down and about as though challenging me, beckoning me forward, if I dare. I stopped for a few seconds, looked behind me, breaking my stride for the first time since I’d left the safety of the beach. Seemed like hours since I’d began my swim though it couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes. Too far gone to turn around. Couldn’t be more than a hundred yards from the buoy. I had to get to it. I swam on.

With every stride the thing now grew bigger and more and more ominous. Its bob more arrogant and menacing, frowning at my audacious advancement. And the waters beneath darker and murkier still. I swam on, my head now always out of the water, looking around, hoping to see nothing. No more than thirty yards from the buoy, its bulb now fully visible. Like a gigantic pumpkin some five feet in diameter. I swam on hurriedly yet cautiously. At a distance of ten yards I stopped. Its skin wasn’t as bright as it appeared from far. It was weather beaten, soiled, barnacles, weeds and algae clung to its base. At five yards I again stopped and listened. The thing seemed to be moaning as the waters hitting against its bulbous hollow resonated liquidly. A huge inanimate object. It had a purpose, but it didn’t seem to belong there prisoner to a spot in the middle of the sea. I moved on, now at touching distance. Its base was inches thick with sea filth which had accumulated round its belly since who knows how long. I dunked my head beneath the water. A thick rope with greenish tentacles clung to it and ran down and disappeared into the seemingly bottomless featureless obscurity. I no longer feared the buoy. I pitied it. I touched it. I caressed it. I hung on to the metallic handle on its pin, stayed with it for a few minutes, resting, happy beyond words to have made contact with it, but uncomfortable to the feeling of my legs dangling defenseless to the deep darkness beneath. I involuntarily found myself humming Williams’s haunting Jaws theme -- the brilliantly conceived two note melody.

And I began to swim for shore, looking back every now and again, wondering if I’d ever be with IT again.

I later asked. The buoy was 700 yards from shore.



Email (optional)
Author or Title






































































































Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
ISSN 1718-2034


Help Haiti = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting, no down time/top security, exceptional prices = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting, no down time/top security, exceptional prices
Film Ratings at Arts & Opinion - Montreal
2015 Montreal Percussion Festival July 3-12
2012 Festival Montreal en Lumiere
2014 Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 08-19st, (514) 844-2172
CINEMANIA (Montreal) - festival de films francophone 6-16th novembre, Cinema Imperial info@514-878-0082
Nuit d'Afrique: July 8th - July 20st
Arion Baroque Orchestra Montreal
Lynda Renée: Chroniques Québécois - Blog
David Solway's Blood Guitar CD
2014 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL (Montreal) North America's Premier Genre Festival July 17-Aug. 5th
Montreal World Film Festival
2014 Space for Life Concerts @Montreal Botanical Gardens
Listing + Ratings of films from festivals, art houses, indie
2012 Montreal International Documentary Festival Nov. 7th - 18th
Montreal Jazz Festival
Montreal Guitar Show July 2-4th (Sylvain Luc etc.). border=
2013 Montreal Chamber Music Festival
April 25th to May 4th: Montreal
Bougie Hall Orchestera Montreal
2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101
CD Dignity by John Lavery available by e-mail: - 10$ + 3$ shipping.
© Roberto Romei Rotondo
Festivalissimo Film Festival - Montreal: May 18th - June 5th (514 737-3033
Photo by David Lieber:
Armand Vaillancourt: sculptor
Canadian Tire Repair Scam [2211 boul Roland-Therrien, Longueuil] = documents-proofs
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis