Happy Easter 2013

Happy Easter 2013

While Happy Easter 2013 wishes are resounding from all over the world – be it from the new pope, Francis 1, to the old new president of the US, Barack Obama, to the countless names flooding our Email boxes – how happy and profound this day and celebration eventually will be depends on us. Ultimately, happiness is not to be found outside – otherwise material wealth would equal happiness – it’s something we all carry within us.

Clouds above Chapman's Peak

Happy Easter 2013

This year, 2013, as any year I can remember before it, the Happy Easter time marks a change in the year. A new season is upon us down here at the tip of South Africa: autumn! Punctually, the first autumn storms and rains have arrived and although we still have beautifully sunny days with bits of blue skies and the surfers on Noordhoek beach are having a ball, there’s no doubt that the temperatures are cooling down, the nights are shorter, darker and colder and Nature prepares for much heavier rains than we had so far.

Good Wishes for Madiba

For me, Easter is a joyful time of love, laughter and union. Most importantly, it’s a time to go within, to meditate, and search for that light that so often gets obscured by the darkness outside. That’s why I chose the picture above, Chapman’s Peak taken just a few days ago, as a reflection of my thought.

Last but not least, let’s all join the worldwide community of those who pray and are sending good wishes to Madiba – South Africa’s pillar of light, a living legend of humanity and peace!

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Stranded whales on Noordhoek Beach

Stranded whales on Noordhoek Beach

Early this glorious Sunday morning, a message reached me that there were 20 stranded whales on Noordhoek Beach: “Can you come?” “I’ll be right there!” I answered and off I went, to assist in whatever way to help rescue at least one of these graceful creatures that form an important link in our evolution. That’s where I then spent the next 4 hours, kneeling in the icy water, until ‘our’ whale was finally transported to a safe place where it would be released back into the ocean. They spoke about Table Bay. As I write this, I pray he (or she?) has her life back and, one day, we see him/her frolicking in the bay and waving its huge tailfin!

Stranded Whales on Noordhoek Beach

Stranded whales on Noordhoek Beach

It’s not the first time we had stranded whales on Noordhoek Beach. A few years ago, there were 50 of them, a little further South towards Kommetjie. Those were very dramatic and challenging hours; I wrote about them, which gave rise to an interesting communication with professional animal communicators.

Strangely enough, a few days ago I still checked on the ‘to do’s’ and the ‘not to do’s’ in such a situation, which came handy when cooperating with the brilliant crew from Fish Hoek Sea Rescue.

Only yesterday, a friend informed me that about 20 whales had been spotted in Table Bay, which is very unusual for this time of the year. According to local papers, the SA Navy was doing some operations in the waters, which got both of us very nervous. Today we know that the terrible noise mankind creates in the depth of our oceans is destroying the way whales and dolphins communicate amongst themselves and around the world. They get completely disoriented and it may be one reason why they beach themselves. Our environmental consciousness should not end at our shores; it should include our seas – all of them all the way down.

On the positive side, it was again simply amazing and wonderful to see how a group of – mostly – strangers just got together with a common goal: to help a precious being survive, in this case. Everyone did it in a spirit of love and compassion – and we did it ‘until’. Nothing else was important; this had to be brought to a happy ending first. It was no ‘duty’, noone was ‘paid for it’ and nobody gave commands or controlled – that was only later once the trucks and loaders and the men in uniforms arrived. Everyone – mostly women and children and a few fabulous men – just saw where they could jump in and do their bit – powered by their free will and a passion for life and its beautiful manifestations!

As I applied whatever energy work I have learnt in my life, being in close contact with the head of the pilot whale at all times (with my hands and mind), I clearly had the feeling that our efforts and loving vibrations were received and deeply appreciated – and communicated to all the other whales that hopefully were also cared for as intensively as this one. “Intensive care” is the word – I just realize it! There was no time to look elsewhere, one had to remain fully focused to keep the animal upright at all times, to keep fresh water coming and flowing over it – without going down the blowhole. It was an irony to be that close to the sea and not able to just get it to swim off again. But the surf was crashing up the beach quite heavily and the wind was blasting sand all over us. But the creature went from being in a relatively weak state to being stable and even quite lively at times, giving us a bath. But perhaps that was just a way of connecting from its side and the fact was that many of us were in awe to be given such an opportunity to feel the sacredness that connects us all. At certain moments the animal vibrated very stressfully. With hindsight I believe it sensed when its less fortunate friends were euthanized; I only heard that later, when the rescued animal was safely on its way to new swimming grounds. I only know of two that were that fortunate. . .

I did prepare some video material but due to our catastrophic Internet lines at the moment – due to a broken Seacam cable I was told on Friday – all that is impossible right now. This little post here takes ages and I can only work with code as the visual editor doesn’t even respond! I don’t see the photo… so I publish fast and blindly! We had to take many chances today, this will be the last one – but what a day! Certainly, not without magic and wonder!

Citrus Swallowtail

Citrus Swallowtail

Whenever I leave my studio, at least one beautiful Citrus Swallowtail (Papilio demodocus) flits through the air and inspires me to go back in a hurry and get my digital camera: then the (photo) hunt is on! They never sit still! Only armed with a simple NIKON Coolpix P90 (…this will change very, very soon!) it’s extremely difficult to catch them as they flutter hectically from blossom to blossom, then lift high up into the warm summer air to disappear for a while – but, of course, they return to their favourite spots! That’s where I’m waiting for them… and the question is: how fast will my autofocus be?! I think they enjoy this game!

Citrus Swallowtail by Bianca Gubalke

It must be the time: they are currently depositing their eggs singly underneath the leaves of the various citrus plants and trees in my garden and only hover for instances over flowers to sip some nectar and off they zoom again!

How gorgeous they are!

Citrus Swallowtail

While you can see the natural colours on the original image of the Citrus Swallowtail above, I could obviously not tame my creative muscle and reworked things a bit in black & white tones using Adobe Photoshop CS6, my favourite online photo editing tool.

Citrus Swallowtail by Bianca Gubalke

I’ve always been a Black & White Photography fan and I still believe it’s a good exercise to sometimes only focus on that in order to work on composition and values, fine graphics, light and shadow – and to expand and experiment to find new avenues, new possibilities and something that excites us to research further and explore. Since Digital Photography has become easily available to almost everybody – followed by all sorts of practical and handy mobile devices today – iphones, smartphones, ipads and the like – , everybody with a passion for photography has a fantastic tool at their fingertips to develop into an enjoyable hobby, meaningful work for family and friends, or a fulfilling profession.

We are living in incredible times – just open eyes and see! With camera or without it … first we’ve got to see it !

Fresh Honey

Fresh Honey

Today was the day to get fresh honey from the honey coombs in a wild tree in my garden – what a privilege to capture the delicious golden liquid bearing in mind that honey bees are on a sharp decline all over the world. A little drunken from a combination of smoke and honey, the little fellow below dries on my finger and will soon buzz off. When getting the honey coombs we want to ensure that no bee is harmed and can return safely to the hive and its queen.

600-Bees,Noordhoek,Honey,-South-Africa-061

Fresh Honey

Fresh honey – true liquid gold!

Honey coomb from my Garden

Only a few people know that we owe about each third mouthfull of any food we eat to be healthy and strong to the services of the honey bee: it is crucially important to pollinate fruit trees and the many foods we grow for our own survival as a species.

It was Albert Einstein (I think, if I remember correctly…) who said that should the honey bee disappear from the planet the human being would follow shortly.

Not so in my garden… it’s part of my vision and environmental contribution to help ensure the honey bees are here to stay!

And by the way: I’m dedicating a whole chapter of the book I am currently writing to… the honeybee!

Ycademy Seminar March 2013

Ycademy Seminar March 2013

The next YCADEMY Seminar in March 2013 will take place this coming weekend, 9 and 10th March 2013.

YCADEMY Seminar March 2013 designed by Bianca Gubalke

Ycademy Seminar March 2013

The YCADEMY Seminar March 2013 is specifically designed for web developers and website designers working with the WordPress based Semiomantics XO scripts and will focus on what matters most for any aggressive and successful website, especially in modern and mobile web oriented times: Search Engine Opti­miza­tion and Load­ing Speed

Although we still find that Word­Press remains one of the most pop­u­lar plat­forms for online pub­lish­ing, the way it needs to be con­fig­ured for an opti­mized impact is constantly changing, especially also since Google made impor­tant changes on its algo­rithm in 2012. As webmasters we all felt the result­ing con­se­quences.

Our main objective always being to assist our cus­tomers in getting the best out of their web­sites, it is impor­tant to under­stand the way Google per­ceives and eval­u­ates web­sites and their content. That will be the purpose of the YCADEMY WP SEO Seminar coming up this weekend.

YORGOO Limited

For those of you who haven’t been with us since a while and are awaiting the renaissance of our most successful traffic generator before Social Media and the Mobile Web made their appearance and consequently changed the way we market and promote: YORGOO Limited has been registered in London, UK, as per 1 March 2013.

It was an important and essential step on our journey together on the famous and loyally trodden “Path to Profitability”. Please be patient; any significant news will be communicated in due time to the many members who joined us at the time. As you can imagine, this is a long and well-planned process. Once we are ready, you’ll know!

Please try to attend as many of our daily workshops as possible and prepare for a smashing seminar – what else!

Bianca Gubalke Showcase Image 2012

Miriam Makeba – Happy Birthday

Miriam Makeba – Happy Birthday (1932-2008)

Happy Birthday Miriam Makeba – with a beautiful drawing to be seen on Google today!

Time goes by so fast… and sooner or later we all have to move on. What continues is what we gave, what we passed on – be it our love, our spirit, our thoughts, our writing, our music… and the way they captured and transmitted a Joy for Life, Hope when we needed it, Courage to trust the Unknown and move beyond our limitations, Inspiration to realize our Dreams… Those remain burnt into our hearts forever.

Miriam Makeba - South African Icon

Miriam Makeba – The Emperess of African Song

Driving through a typically beautiful hot and sunny South African morning I enjoyed listening to “The Empress of African Song”, the first African woman to win a Grammy award, the great “Mama Makeba” . This African legend performed with musical legends from around the world like jazz maestros Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte and Paul Simon just to name a few… and what marked her is that she always remained truthful to her Purpose and her Passion – and this until her last moment:
‘I will sing until the last day of my life!’

Miriam Makeba - South African Icon

Miriam Makeba at the Jazz Festival 2008

Well, she did… and for us she keeps singing and reminding us that…

“Age is Wisdom if one has lived one’s Life!”

Mama Africa lived for her Music and its Mission. She sang what she felt from her heart, never mind the (political) circumstances. She represented the almost magic strength of the African woman, a strength that can achieve everything – without losing a sense of belonging, of compassion, of purpose.

Nelson Mandela’s Tribute to this Grande Dame of Africa when she suddenly collapsed and died on 10 November 2008 in Caserta, Italy:

Nelson Mandela - South African Legend

The sudden passing of our beloved Miriam has saddened us and our nation.

For many decades, starting in the years before we went to prison, MaMiriam featured prominently in our lives and we enjoyed her moving performances at home.

Despite her tremendous sacrifice and the pain she felt to leave behind her beloved family and her country when she went into exile, she continued to make us proud as she used her worldwide fame to focus attention on the abomination of apartheid.

Her haunting melodies gave voice to the pain of exile and disclocation which she felt for 31 long years.

At the same time, her music inspired a powerful sense of hope in all of us.

Even after she returned home she continued to use her name to make a difference by mentoring musicians and supporting struggling young women.

One of her more recent projects was to highlight the plight of victims of land mines.

She was South Africa’s first lady of song and so richly deserved the title of Mama Afrika.

She was a mother to our struggle and to the young nation of ours. It was fitting that her last moments were spent on a stage, enriching the hearts and lives of others – and again in support of a good cause.”

Mama Afrika lives on in her Music and Rhythms…

Mama Afrika would have turned 81 years today… we wish she was still around ! At least her music lives on…