What Does the Sea Mean to You?

31st January 2020
What Does the Sea Mean to You?

The sea means many different things to many different people.

The oceans have played an important role in human history as a source of food, a means to travel and trade, a vehicle for interconnectivity and a theatre of conflict. They have been the site of some of humanity’s greatest achievements and also its worst atrocities, bearing witness to incredible feats of exploration and scientific discovery and also providing the means for conquest, colonisation and the forced displacement of people. As a result, the sea has shaped the identities of individuals, groups and nations, inspiring some of our most enduring myths as well as great works of art and literature.

The climate emergency means we are at a crucial moment in our relationship with the sea. Changes in ocean temperature and acidity threaten to irreparably damage marine ecosystems and rising sea levels pose an immediate risk to inhabitants of coastal regions. These changes are having a disproportionate impact on poorer areas, and those who directly rely on the seas for survival.  

It is more important than ever that we consider our connection to the world’s oceans. 

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This winter at The Golden Hinde, we’ve been inviting our visitors to tell us what the sea means to them. We hung an old net in the ship’s hold and encouraged them to hang their messages up so that they might be read by anyone exploring the ship.

So far, we have had an incredible response and we’d like to share some of our favourites with you…

Natural wonders!

A few of our visitors were draw to the natural beauty of the ocean and the plants and animals which live there.

One visitor wrote:

“[sic] The sea means a lot to me, because where would the fish/turtles/all the sea creatures from big to small to fat to thin [live]? It is truly wonderful!”

Elliot wrote:

“It makes me think of the snail and the whale”

Whilst Jack expressed his appreciation for the ferocity of nature:

“I like sharks that eat people. From Jack”

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‘A Happy Place’

Many of our visitors commented how the sea made them feel calm, happy and relaxed, with more than one describing it as their ‘happy place’.

One visitor drew themselves fishing on a desert island, and wrote:

“This fantasy sends me to sleep every night”

Another described the joy of having a seaside home:

“I live by the sea and I find it incredibly calming”

Whist this visitor was calmed by the sounds of the ocean:

“The sea means to me that I can be calm [and] listen to the waves crashing and surf”

This one wrote a poem!

“The sea, the sea,

The wonderful sea,

It makes the best

Of you and me.”

 Image 3

As Deep as the Ocean

Some of our visitors expressed their deep emotional connection to the sea, often describing how it reminded them of family. Débora from Brazil wrote:

“Happiness. I always remember my father”

Whilst Alicia wrote:

“In memory of my father who served in the Spanish Marine Army”

Ashley wrote:

“The sea is where I leave my heart”

Whist another visitor told us that the sea made them think existentially:

“A place to remember how little we all are and marvel at the vastness of creation”

One visitor had a simpler take:

“Big waves = wet clothes”


Visitors have also contributed a number of beautiful drawings:

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If you want to come and tell us what the sea means to you, or read the other visitors’ responses, the display will be up for the remainder of the winter. We look forward to welcoming you aboard! 

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