The magic of the ocean, the secret of the sea

This post is an experiment. Rather than a single travel destination blog, I chose a theme. I selected about a dozen photos of the ocean or the sea from my archive and, in addition to writing my own stuff about those, I added some quotes or lyrics that seem to match somehow.

The sea gives me emotions, various kinds of emotions, but mostly calm, serenity, a sense of adventure and of the unknown, a bliss, an endless joy. Some artists wrote about these emotions in a much nicer way than I would ever do, so here’s an attempt to add to the visual effect the one for the soul… Let’s see how it goes….

“Mauritius was made first, and then heaven, and heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Mark Twain. Can’t argue with that!


El Golfo, Lanzarote, Spain, February 2012

El Golfo is a place on the Lanzarote volcanic island, one of the Canary Islands west of Spain. The lake opposite to it is always green because of some algae. Ernest Hemingway has lived in Spain (and faught for it) for many years, albeit perhaps never set foot in Lanzarote. But what he says about night life in Spain is quite accurate….

“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day. Night life is when you get up with a hangover in the morning. Night life is when everybody says what the hell and you do not remember who paid the bill. Night life goes round and round and you look at the wall to make it stop. Night life comes out of a bottle and goes into a jar. If you think how much are the drinks it is not night life.” ― Ernest Hemingway.

And to continue with Hemingway, another famous residence of the writer was Key West, Florida (with his famous cats, of course…). Key West is a special place, which you reach after a long drive literary through the ocean from mainland Florida; and the Sunset Pier, where everyone gathers around at 18:00 to see the fall of the sun into the sea, is just spectacular. It gives you this strength: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” — Ernest Hemingway.

Ha Long Bay is another magical place. The legend says that, a thousand year ago, during a foreign invasion of Vietnam , the gods protected the people by sending down a family of dragons (hence the name of the place, literary meaning “Descending Dragons”) who spewed jade and jewels into the water; these turned into thousands of rock formations, like little mountains, which then protected the population from the foreign invasion. I’m almost certain Jacques Ives Cousteau never set foot in the place, but this quote of his is quite fitting : “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

East Point Reserve is usually a place where one goes to see the wallabies in their natural habitat. But they don’t come out all the time, so we had to wait until sunset – and the wait was so worth it… Both for the wallabies and for the majestic sunset. The connection with the quote is merely the emotions from the lyrics, as the author has probably never been there:  “My soul is full of longing / for the secret of the sea, / and the heart of the great ocean / sends a thrilling pulse through me.”  ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Three days in Sidney are clearly not enough for what there is to do. But Taronga Zoo, a night at the opera (“Carmen”, of course), and a trip to Manly beach gave us enough of the taste of the city to come back, soon. The quote is quite fitting: “The jewelled city glitters through the night /The jewelled boats glide softly through the gloom; / On the either hand dark isles and headlands loom” — Mary Richmond.


Inish Mor, Aran Islands, West Coast, Ireland, August 2017

Aran Islands, a place where time has actually stopped. Had written extensively on the Irelnad trip here, so straight to the quote, which I actually have searched for the longest time…”Fast boats squirt out from Rossaveal / And chase at speed across the fertile bay / And fertilise the barren island places / With foreign talk and tanned and laughing faces./ Ease up, traveller. Stay here. Sleep.” — Kieran Furey.


Keem Bay, Achill, West Coast, Ireland, August 2017

This comes from the same trip to the West Coast of Ireland, and goes perfectly with the quote from WB Yeats’ The Stolen Child: “Come away, O human child! / To the waters and the wild / With a faery, hand in hand, /For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.” We could almost touch the magic…


Paradis Island, Maldives, September 2017

Last, but not least, comes from the short trip to Maldives: “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” — Rainer Maria Rilke.


Sailors on a fishing trip, Indian Ocean, Maldives, September 2017

This one I added only because I initially found the quote, and then had to look for a photo to kind of match it. It’s from a fishing trip out of the Paradise island in Maldives – no connection between the author and the place but the quote is nice: “To reach a port we must set sail / Sail, not tie at anchor / Sail, not drift.”– Franklin Delanyo Roosvelt.


Somewhere near Galway, Ireland, August 2017

I put this in just to add one more quote, which sums up the general feeling that at least I get from the ocean or the sea… “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea”. — Isak Dinesen (or, on her real name, Karen Blixen, Danish author of “Out of Africa” among other things).

If you enjoyed this, perhaps you’d care to pick your top three pics and send me your choices… I’d be curious to see which photo you liked most, but also which mix of picture and quote tickled your feelings!

“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean.” — Arthur C. Clarke.




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