Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The SEA'S MAGIC - what is it?

For millenia, the Sea has been a source of wonder to adventurers, explorers and voyagers alike.
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,  taste, feel and smell it. You can even immerse yourself in it.
Yet, what is it about the Sea that transports us so easily to the world of imagination?
Is it the Sea itself?
Its mysteries?
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?
In the literary world, CS Forester’s adventures of Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O’Brian’s, Aubrey/Maturin Series have ignited the imagination of generations of readers hungry for nautical adventures offering them the opportunity to escape the humdrum of everyday life, albeit for a short time.

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.
At times, the ship heeled and pitched, and like many good seamen (Lord Nelson included) I was sick as a dog for a couple of days.

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.
J.M. Aucoin
Helen Hollick
Doug Boren
Linda Collison

Julian Stockwin
Anna Belfrage
Andy Millen
V.E. Ulett
T.S. Rhodes
Mark Patton
Alaric Bond
Ginger Myrick
Judith Starkston
Seymour Hamilton
Rick Spilman
James L. Nelson
S.J. Turney
Prue Batten
Antoine Vanner
Joan Druett
Edward James
Nighthawk News


Linda Collison said...

Ah, you've mentioned some of my favorites: Peter Pan, Herman Melville and Johnny Depp! Magical photos of Europa, thanks for sharing your inspiration!

J.M. Aucoin said...

Great post.

For me the sea is a sense of adventure, mystery and excitement. It's a way of getting away from your troubles in search of something better. Though you're at the mercy of the sea and storms, in a way it feels better than being stuck in your lowly position in life locked on land.

World of the Written Word said...

rytWMa 282rytWhat a poetic post, Margaret.

Anonymous said...

A restful and beautifully-written account of your love affair with the mighty sea. Yes, its immensity and consistency provides perspective for the small issues of everyday life. Margaret Sutherland

M. C. Muir said...

Seymour Hamilton was unable to access the blog comments and has permitted me to publish his reply:
"I envy your voyage. Mine was small by comparison -- a mere four days from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland and back on a 50 foot schooner -- but it was enough to experience being entirely surrounded by sea, to hear dolphins following us at night, to stand watches and be responsible for the ship, to deal with an emergency before it turned into a disaster, in short to have the adventure of my life, amazingly different from climbing mountains, canoe tripping, winter skiing -- all of which I have enjoyed, but none of which made me feel at the same time so very very small, and yet part of a continuum of human beings who have sailed over the horizon.
Which brings me to my favourite line from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie: "Fetch me that horizon!"
Thanks for your blog. I enjoyed it immensely."

Unknown said...

A 2500 mile voyage! Fantastic post, thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M. C. Muir said...

Thanks to everyone who has hopped by so far and left a comment. Special thanks to Helen Hollick for organising the Nautical Blog Hop.

Prue Batten said...

Everything you said resonates, Margaret.

Judith Starkston said...

What an extraordinary experience to be part of the crew on these ships. I grew up spending part of each year on the edge of the sea and have certainly felt its magic call, but I can't say I've ever been a sailor. Have fun with the school children--convincing them to enjoy the tall ships must be a fun, delightful sell!

Ann Victoria Roberts said...

Wonderful post on the magic of the sea - I envy your experience aboard Europa! I haven't experienced sail, only merchant ships travelling around the world - but proud to say I've been around Cape Horn, seen the wandering Albatross, Mother Carey's Chickens, playful dolphins and the occasional whale. All many years ago now - but I still miss those travels!

M. C. Muir said...

...But the magic lingers on and the memories remain.
Again, thank you all for your messages.

Unknown said...

What a lovely post and a beautiful sample of your flowing prose, Margaret! I can never fully accomplish that with my articles. Unlike yours, they always seem to mirror their author--a bit dry!

Debra Brown said...

(It was Johnny Depp. Sorry)

Ahem, I enjoyed your post, Margaret.

Helen Hollick said...

What fabulous photos - some of them promptly stolen for my screen-saver album!

Helen Hollick said...

What a fantastic Voyage this Blog Hop has been! The third part of my Blog Hop article is now up - please do share in this final phase of the Nautical On Line Voyage http://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/weigh-anchor-nautical-blog-hop.html


Thank you to all who participated, authors and visitors alike. The Voyage has been wonderful!