Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The SEA'S MAGIC - what is it?
More recently, its magic has stirred the hearts and souls of poets, playwrights, authors and filmmakers.
The essence of the Sea is intangible, yet the Sea embraces all the senses. You can see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, feel it and smell it. You can even immerse yourself in it.
Is it the Sea itself?
The majesty of the tall ships that roam the vast oceans?
Or the breed of brave seafaring men who dare to venture across its immensity?
Herman Melville (Moby Dick) wrote of the Sea as a place, “...where each man, as in a mirror, finds himself”.
He claims there is a magic in the water that draws men from the land.
I have gazed into the deep and wondered, is it an intrinsic desire to return to the place from whence we came?
One hundred years ago, J. M. Barrie's children's classic, Peter Pan first graced the stage.
With pirate ships, mermaids, Captain Hook and the Jolly Roger, it was an instant box office success and it continues to delight young and old to this day. As a youngster growing up in an industrial town in the north of England, it was my favourite pantomime. What child would not wish to sail across the sky to Neverland?
More recently, Captain Jack Sparrow (aka. Johnny Depp) sailed over the horizon and onto the square screen on his ship, Black Pearl.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies immediately caught the imagination of the world.
But was it the Sea or Johnny Depp that cast a magic spell on millions of viewers?
Sailing the high seas under a press of canvas lets you thrill to the thrum of the rigging and the thrap of the bow as it buries its beak into the oncoming swell. And once enfolded in the arms of the sea, you submit yourself to the Sea’s moods and mysteries and succumb to its movement as it lulls you to sleep, where you rekindle the fantasies of childhood, recapture the lost dreams of romance and adventure, and step back in time.
Though the days of fighting ship, fast clippers and even steam ships are gone, there still remain a few ships which today grace the great oceans swimming beneath a pyramid of sails.
The Dutch Bark Europa is such a ship. Built as a light ship in Germany in 1911, this one hundred year old vessel regularly sails from her home port in the Netherlands to the Antarctic Peninsula at the bottom of the world.
When I learned Europa was sailing to the Antipodes, I added my name to the voyage crew and have just returned from a 2,500 miles voyage. What an awesome experience it was.
Under a full press of canvas, sailing close-hauled to the wind, the days drifted by with few changes but the colours of the sunsets, the unexpected appearances of whales and dolphins and the fleeting visit by a passing wandering albatross.
Ten years ago, I first embarked on a voyage on a tall ship in the Indian Ocean. It was there I first witnessed the luminescent particles (not phosphorescence) shining, like bright diamonds, in the sea. Seeing this phenomenon inspired my first book, Sea Dust.
Since then, several non-nautical books followed, but eventually the call of the sea drew me back.
All three of my books in the Oliver Quintrell Nautical Fiction Series series (Floating Gold, The Tainted Prize and Admiralty Orders) are available on Amazon as e-books ($2.99).
For the period of this Nautical Blog Hop I will be attending the Tall Ship’s Festival in Hobart, where I will be working as a volunteer guide introducing school children to the visiting tall ships.
I hope some of the Sea’s magic (whatever it is) will rub off on them.
Thank you for visiting me as part of your Blog Hop.
Here are the other Nautical Bloggers - please hop on.
James L. Nelson