The Lure of the Sea

The Atlantic Ocean never ceases to amaze and inspire.

How many hours have we each spent gazing absent-mindedly at the endless blue that dominates the periphery of the Algarve coast? We live in unusual times where restrictions are commonplace, but the sea offers a continual means of escape – a reminder of the freedom that we so longingly crave.

As humans, we are drawn to the sea like magnets. Within its abyss lies beauty, danger and above all a romantic sense of mystery. As with a roaring fire, we find ourselves mesmerised by it, hypnotised by something which we can never tame. The sea brought us here and its ever-presence ensures we remain.

On sunny days, the ocean is like water from a tap – pellucid, refreshing and enticing. It is the same vista we observe upon a thousand Algarve picture postcards. When the sky grows cloudy, the sea becomes glassy, like the metallic sheen of a freshly polished car.

Today, the sea whips wild waves against the shoreline rocks. There is a majesty to a stormy sea that demands respect. Treat her like an unpredictable queen as she is just as likely to incite pride as to chop off your head. The many shipwrecks along the Algarve coast will attest to her despotic volatility.

Yet, despite her erratic behaviour, we are continually captivated by her charms. The colours are broad and dynamic – an artist’s dream. They mirror our moods and our desires. Maybe it is this that attracts us the most – humankind reflected within the personality of the ocean depths.

In his diaries, Vincent van Gogh made a similar comparison.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea. It has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.”

Going further, perhaps we find attraction in something that we can never truly have? In an increasingly materialistic world, the sea remains as wild and transcendent as ever. It is as exhilarating as it is soporific. As gentle as it is savage. It is the last unchartered territory: a vastness without laws, without restrictions, without lockdowns. The only limits are the bounds of our imagination.

Tomorrow the forecast is calm and the fierce waves will abate leaving us with a sea of tranquillity. She will again offer us a strong sense of stoicism and sanguinity. After all, she has seen far more than you or me, having lived through pandemics and battles and wars. If she could, she would remind us all to stay patient as she will still be there when we emerge on the other side.

For now, we remain held within her omnipotent grasp, safe in the knowledge that she will never be owned yet always be ours. She embodies joy and freedom for all those willing to dip their toes into her hallowed waters. She is, perhaps, our liberator and we would all do well to keep her in mind when times are tough.

We asked our readers on social media to help us illustrate this article and the ‘Lure of the Sea’. We would like to thank everyone that participated, here are all the photos:

(hover over each one to see the authors name)


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