Under certain conditions the sea turns into metal. It takes a cloudy sky with a bright sun right behind, and several layers of thin clouds, not large storm ones. Then the grey reflects into the sea, and with the sun shining through, and the tiniest bit of wind to raise the waves, it turns into gleaming, moving sheets of iron. If the wind blows from the East, you cannot see through them. They will carry enough sand and debris to mask your fingers if you dip your hand in to the wrist.
In the morning, with just enough thin clouds to mask the rays, the sun itself will become a spotless moon. A white, perfectly pure moon over a sea of metal. It’s far below what it takes to make the sea menacing, but it’s uncanny.
If the clouds lift but some great white ones still hover, and the wind abates until there are almost no waves at all, there will be no distinction between the sky and the sea. There will be clouds in the water and all will be a uniform, burning blue. Sailing there will feel like flying. It will not matter how many metres lie underneath. There will only be a mirror smooth enough to walk on (or so it feels), blue everywhere, clouds to cushion the fall.
When the wind is just right about the islands, the water will turn clear enough to see the ripples in the sand twelve metres below. Swimming or sailing then is even better than flight, because the salt in the water will carry you through like a pair of arms. There is nothing that feels smoother, more peaceful. When you come closer to the shore, you can see the details on the seashells.
At sundown the wind invariably abates. There is a moment of quiet, and if the sky is clear enough, the waters put on an undefinable colour, mostly white with glimmers of blue, pink and yellow at the tip of barely distiguishable waves. It seems like a beautiful thing to paint, except that this is a light that could not be captured by physical means, to subtle even for photographs. Then the sea is so calm that when night has fallen, you really think you could walk on it. It turns black, perfectly black like stone. The boats embedded in it are the only thing telling you it’s still water.
In places there are only rocks or sand. In others there are weeds brushing the surface. They are long and very thick, and somewhat unsettling. For real reasons first: it you step in there, there is no way to tell if there will be urchins underneath, or fish with poison spines. For not-so-real reasons as well: where there are blankets of weeds, there is no way to tell if there is still a bottom, or even real water, or anything except undulating vegetal quicksands.
There is a place where all of this is real.