Okay, I promise, we smug people who went to the symposium will stop banging on about Brazil eventually. But I haven't even mentioned the boat trip yet...
It was all Brenda's idea - she's the kind of person who gets things done. She organised a group, helped sort out a boat, then pep-talked us when we saw the cloudy weather that morning and started to dither. Well done Brenda!
Because, despite the lack of sunshine, it was a wonderful idea. It was still warm enough to sit up on the top of the boat and sketch together, as beautiful scenery glided by.
The sea was peppered with pointy islands. It was incredibly restful.
We anchored just a small way from a tropical island and the more gung-ho members of the party jumped into the sea - yahoo! A few of us swum all the way to the island. Then our captain rowed the others across to join us. We saw blue butterflies the size of your hand and bright red crabs scuttling on the rocks. A spotty fish came to investigate my toes... Bliss.
The next island we visited had a little cafe - we didn't swim to this one, but were ferried in shifts in the dingy, so I was able to take a sketchbook.
I had an odd but delicious sandwich, deep-fried (!), then sat next to Mark Leibowitz, my sketch-mate (and my symposium muse - how many times did I draw you Mark?!?), sketching the view above, with my rainbow pencil and a bit of watercolour.
The sandwich lady had two little dogs which sat doe-eyed beside each of us in turn (you can see Mark studiously ignoring their pleas). I think it was Brenda who turned out to be the soft-touch (I gobbled mine down - no sharing!).
We started back shortly after that, because the weather was getting worse. Instead of idling along, we picked up the pace, so it started to get chilly. Undeterred we sketched on (yes, this is Mark, of course, though it doesn't look much like it):
We piled on what little clothes we had with us. Brrrr:
I was sketching in two different books, both home-made. One from ages ago, my first foray into sketchbook binding, but also one of the concertina books I made not long ago. It was perfect for folding out so I could draw bigger (although I had to hang on to it tight, once the boat really got going):
We made it back to shore before it rained and, as soon as we were stationary, it wasn't even that cold. Here we are on our way back:
Back on terra-firma, we found time to do a quick throw-down of the sketchbooks, to get a proper look at what everyone had done:
I hope you appreciate how brave I am being in putting up that photo - what DO I look like?
We had a lovely time and it was great to spend several hours with a small group of friends, sketching together, getting to know one-another better and sharing a special experience. Thanks again Brenda. Good one.