For someone who loves the sea as much as I, it may seem a little strange that I live almost as far from it is as possible in this country. Now it's not like I live in America, Australia or Russia or anything like that, where it could be miles to the nearest wave - I am still at most a three-hour drive from the big wet wobbly thing that fish swim in. But I like to get closer when I can, and this week Him Outdoors had a couple of days off work so we drove to the Catlins and spent a couple of days by the seaside.
5 Things I Love About the Sea:
- The Sight - I remember as a child being terribly excited to be the first to see the sea when we were driven towards it, the four of us cramped and sweaty in the back seat. I love the rocky shores, sandy beaches, or sheer cliffs that meet the water, and I love the lighthouses and tales of shipwrecks, smugglers, and lost treasures. Whether it's a windswept barren landscape, a working port full of ships and cargo, or a bustling coastal village, the place where the land meets the sea is incredibly evocative.
- The Sound - crashing waves, howling winds or gentle splashes; that sound backed up with the calling of seagulls is the rhythm of my dreams.
- The Smell - salty sea air, tangy seaweed and the sharp scent of vinegar on chips - that's the sea for me and it smells of holidays.
- The Taste - salt on your skin and icecream on your tongue... I don't know if sea air really does sharpen the appetite, but there is nothing better than eating fresh seafood or shellfish in sight of the sea. We once had coconut crab on a beach in Vanuatu and, although I felt a little guilty at the sight of the crustacean brethren scuttling about nearby, it was one of the best meals I've ever tasted.
- The Feel - purely physically, walking in the sea, with sand beneath your feet and waves swrirling round your calves is about as restorative as it gets. A morning dip is a divine way to cool off and to dive with the marine life is an overwhelming privilege. And on a slightly more metaphorical level, the feel of limitless possiblities I sense when I look at the horizon is hopeful and inspiring, even on my darkest days. The sea has power - use it wisely.