Down to the Seas

A brief and rain-swept trip last weekend took The Doctor and me to the south shores and harbors of Cape Cod.  Though the weekend was good for staying inside, with winds, storms and low ceilings, whenever one did venture out, there was an unforgettable smell and taste in the air: The smell of the sea.  I grew up at the ocean’s edge, nestled on a small patch of land between one of the world’s great harbors and the ocean.  I grew up with this as part of my very center core:

So, when my way found me at sea over the years, it was only natural that I made it my “standing personal order” that when I did not find my way to the “roof” as part of my day’s work, I always found a way to stand for a while, be it on a weather deck or even just in the hangar bay, to watch the sea.  When, many years later, I finally was able to take SNO, SNT & The Doctor to sea, I took each of those few, precious days to stand at the rail, near sunset, and again just look out.  It is salutatory in its therapeutic effect upon the soul.

My friend Bill “Pinch” Paisley has a talent for capturing such moments.  So, as we all sail into this weekend, I’d like to share a picture he took from USS Truman’s fantail a few years’ back:

Not bad for a fighter puke.  Enjoy the time you have, wherever this finds you all.

“Sea Fever” by John Masefield

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 grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


Filed under Carriers, Ships and the Sea

13 responses to “Down to the Seas

  1. Bravo Comjam! Though I’m an Air Force type, I spent my youth on the beaches in Maine. If I get too far from saltwater, I tend to get melancholy. And “Sea Fever” is one of my favorite poems. Well done brother, well done!

  2. Nice post, beautiful photos…

  3. Bill Brandt

    You captured the beautiful side of the sea, Comjam – she has an angry side, too. Never will forget what a dive instructor told me years ago – “You can’t fight Mother Ocean”

    That advice saved my life some years later when diving off San Diego – out of air and drifting out past the Coronado Islands. Dropped my weight belt and was 5 minutes from dropping my tank – and decided I’d rather float to Japan if I had to but wouldn’t fight that current any more –

  4. Beautiful way to start the weekend…Thank You!

  5. done a bit of sailing had two sailboats, small ones. Did a bit of bluewater on a friend’s 72 footer.Sloop rig. Miss it…Thanks.
    Short story , Sister-in law was married to a guy who was from an old Cape Cod family. She was from Port Orford, Or. Port Orford sits on Cape Blanco.
    south side. wild nasty winter storms there 75kts. not unusual. Blanco usually gets 100kts.+ once every few winters. While the y were eating at
    a nice restaurant on Cape Cod, there was a Cat One Hurricane coming
    75 sustained, the waiter was very worried. Gwen said:” 75! you guys
    are worried about only 75!” Waiter said:”Where are you from lady?”

  6. Having grown up with bodies of water which can be measured by eye and crossed in a canoe, the vastness of the ocean does me in. I have not been able to do any sort of seagoing which would take me out of sight of land. I love the water, however, and understand completely the need to find a place of vantage from which to overlook the changing vista that is a great body of water. I love your pics, and look forward to my upcoming opportunity to rejuvenate my soul by communing with the Indian Ocean in quietness and solitude.

  7. Hogday

    How apt for yesterday, COMJAM. My motorcycle round trip was punctuated by a compulsory stop by the coast, for the purpose of sitting and staring at the North Sea. Maybe its because deep down inside each of us, there is something that recognises this is where we came from?
    Great photo from the fighter jockey, by the way, now shamelessly poached 😉

  8. Perfectly perfect. Cape Cod is a place I grew up going to on a moment’s notice, living just one hour away from it at the time. So I too have grown up near the ocean and still live less than one hour from the shore. I couldn’t live further away…the beach – rocky or sandy – and the constancy of the tides heals my soul.

    • Bill Brandt

      Kris – to me as a native Californian – while I have been tempted to leave I would miss the ocean – even though I live 90 miles from it – knowing that it is there Have never been to New England or Cape Code – must go there some time – I guess fall would be better 😉

  9. Hogday

    COMJAM, may I offer you this, an Anglo Saxon poem written circa 975AD. Still rings true.

  10. NaCly Dog

    Comjam, thank you, sir. + 6.022 x 10²³

    Please thank Bill Paisley for his photo, which I have added to my desktop gallery “Sea & Sky”

  11. Pingback: The Boy And The Sea - Everyday Gyaan

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