The Sea's Face

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

John Masefield.

Civilisation And The Sea

The Wake of the Ferry IICredit: DM

John Sloan, The Wake of the Ferry II

Civilisation may have been born around rivers, but it is the sea that humans love. A home by the sea is one of relaxation, where moderating effects, tame the hot summers and frosty winters, into something more mild. The sea is a place to swim, to frolic, or to walk along and ponder life, as the salty breeze whips through your hair and the powdery sand dusts your toes. You can make  a living from the sea as a fisherman, or you can sail upon it in a boat, but don't mess with the sea, follow its rules. It is stronger than you are.

Long Ago

The Consummation of Empire. Thomas Cole. 1836The Consummation of Empire.Credit: Wikipedia

Long ago our ancestors lived near the sea and ventured off to settle other lands. However the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA can tell us about our origins even further back, as they are genetic markers that tell a story.

For example around 70% of English men, 95% of Spanish men, and 95% of Irish men have distinctive mutations on the Y chromosome labeled M173. Such DNA evidence is revealing that humans began migrating out of sub-Saharan Africa 65,000 years ago, migrating first to Asia, China, Java and later Europe. Mitochondrial DNA passes from the mother to her children and can reveal maternal lineages, and that our ancestors traveled and journeyed by sea to make their way to other lands.

The House Of Dust: Part 01: 03: One, where the pale sea foamed at the yellow sand

One, where the pale sea foamed at the yellow sand,
With wave upon slowly shattering wave,
Turned to the city of towers as evening fell;
And slowly walked by the darkening road toward it;
And saw how the towers darkened against the sky;
And across the distance heard the toll of a bell.

by Conrad Aiken

The Human Story of The Sea

J.M.W. Turner, The Slave Ship (1840Credit: Wikipedia

J.M.W. Turner, The Slave Ship (1840

This controversal painting by William Turner: "The Slave Ship" or "Slavers Throwing overboard the Dead and Dying—Typhoon coming on" is dream like...actually no, more nightmare like. Depicting a slave ship with the "human cargo", being thrown overboard, so the human traffickers can collect on  insurance policies. We see horrific, monster like sea creatures, devouring the pitiful victims. There is no mercy here; treated as merchandise by fellow-man and claimed by the sea and whatever lurks in the deep. The sea is like another country, foreign and fathomless.

Fitz Henry Lane, Salem Harbor, oil on canvas, 1853.Credit: Wikipedia

Fitz Henry Lane, Salem Harbor, oil on canvas, 1853.

According to an article by, James P. Delgado, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, said:

Under the sea is probably the world’s biggest museum”.

A Half-mile off England’s east coast, lies the underwater town of Dunwich, Suffolk. The site was a Saxon settlement and probably a Roman fort, with significant evidence of a long fishing industry. The  medieval town lost through cliff recession and coastal inundation (International Journal of Nautical Archaeology) has virtually disappeared, but the ruins of a Medieval church have been rediscovered after may years of searching.

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore."
Vincent Van Gogh


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Aquarium from Saint-Saens