The Moder-dye

Def: the original or mother wave (old Norse); used, as legend would have it, by experienced Shetland fishermen prior to the days of compasses to find land in times of fog. Described as a 'surge or physical protest' the ocean makes when her cosmic motion is restricted by proximity to land. A 'sensed' undercurrent,  which is a wave-like motion or swelling running towards land, discernible to the trained eye on soundings and observable in foggy weather . 

'No matter how wind-driven and uncertain the billow, the methodical undulations of the 'moder-dye' can be seen across the hills and valleys of a wind tormented sea, always setting four-square towards the land'. (Sail Fishermen of Shetland, p74)


  1. couldn't it also lure them onto big rocks and sandbanks?! I like your image though and it's a great phrase...

  2. There's an arts project/epic/shanty/saga in there, following the 'sensed undercurrent'. My younger son once showed me a picture he'd made. It had a yellow line running under a stretch of blue with some trees dotted over a bit of green. 'What's the yellow line?' I asked him. 'The singing line under the earth,' he said


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