Woman on grassy cliff looking out at passing ships
Coast & seascapes,  Themed galleries,  Writers' Quotes Wednesday

Gallery: I must go down to the seas again

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;

John Masefield, Sea-Fever
Woman walking a dog on a beach with a jetty

Early morning in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington State


Beach with walkers and a dog

The beach in Broadstairs, Kent


Small traditional fishing boat by rocky coast

Fishing boat in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam


Sculpture of a man on rocks looking out to sea

Another Time by Antony Gormley, Margate, Kent


For Writer’s Quote Wednesday (belatedly!) I’m sharing extracts from one of the best-known English language poems about the sea with some photos from my archives that sort-of fit the text. I don’t tend to do ‘water fun in the sun’ as Marsha describes it; I like my seas wild and windswept, or tranquil in the light of dawn or sunset.

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.

Misty view of sea stacks

Sea stack off Rialto Beach on the Olympic Peninsula


Sea stacks in the mist and small boat

In Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam


Pebble beach with groynes

The beach in Whitstable, Kent


Rocks and timber posts covered in green algae

On First Beach, again on the Olympic Peninsula


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;

Yacht on a pebble beach

The ‘do so’ on the beach in Whitstable


Silhouetted walkers and surfer on a beach

Tynemouth Beach, N E England, in winter


Wintery light over the sea and jetty with lighthouse

Tynemouth in winter, with South Shields pier beyond the river mouth


Waves breaking on rocks

Surf off Hanga Roai on Rapa Nui (Easter Island)


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.

Waves breaking

Waves breaking off Sal, one of the Cape Verde islands


Gull flying in a blue sky

Gull over Whitstable


Gull flying in a blue sky

Gull by the ferry landing in Seattle

Sunset over the sea framed by railings on a boat

Sunset from the Angelino on our Galápagos cruise


56 Comments

    • Sarah Wilkie

      And I would love to be by the sea right now! It’s been really hot in London the last few days – 34 degrees yesterday. But it’s cooling off a little now, and storms forecast tonight!

  • Alli Templeton

    Loved this, Sarah, you really know how to capture the essence of a theme. Those first couple of lines from the Masefield poem could have been written by my daughter, who adores tall ships and can’t wait to do some coastal sailing when we move. And your images illustrate perfectly the feel of that and all the subsequent poetry extracts. Like you, we don’t do the normal water ‘fun’ activities either, rather we prefer to absorb the haunting, natural wilderness of the quieter parts of a coastline, just as your wonderful shots show. And I went to school in Whitstable, so those images brought back some great memories, so thank you for that… 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Alli 🙂 Glad I could bring back good memories of Whitstable for you. It’s one of our favourite places but we prefer it a bit off-season, as we do the coast in the north east too.

  • wetanddustyroads

    Yes, I like the sea too … whether it’s calm or stormy! The beach at Broadstairs in Kent looks like a great place to enjoy sand and sea and what a lovely action shot of the wave at Easter Island (wow, that water is so clear). Thanks Sarah, I love all of these photo’s!

  • Wind Kisses

    Great collection and thoughtful quotes for wqw. I was glad to see the Olympics made your list. It is beautiful place. We are headed back there for a month this summer. Your photos remind me of what is in store. Very nice. Donna

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Walking by any water is lovely but I know what you mean – there’s something particularly special about the sea, because of the constant movement and sound of the waves.

  • Heyjude

    There is just something about living by the coast – wild seas and empty shores preferably. Coming up to the time when I won’t be going anywhere near a beach for a couple of months, though I am hoping it won’t be as packed as it was last year.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I can just imagine that you would want to stay away when the beaches are at their busiest. I’ve always liked seaside resorts in winter and I want to be able to walk on a beach without having to detour around sprawling bodies! Having said that, in your location I could be tempted to go for a quick dip in the sea in the hottest weather!

  • thehungrytravellers.blog

    Lovely collection – we just can’t imagine living away from the coast now, it’s great to just go out and take a seafront stroll when you need a bit of air. Lots of our Kent coastline in this collection, too: sometimes the modest hues of our own coastline make for great “moody” shots. Funnily enough I used a line from the same poem for the title of one of our Costa Rica posts.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, I thought you’d recognise the Kent locations 🙂 As said to Anna below, if I could just move London next to the coast and have the best of both worlds, I would! When we visit Newcastle I’m always happy to be able to reach the coast so easily 🙂

  • Marsha

    Having spent about half my life in close proximity to beaches along the Washington, Oregon and California. I miss that misty, wild and tumble kind of fun in the water. Your pictures bring back memories.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      That west coast of the US is so beautiful, I can easily see how you would miss it! I loved the beaches of Oregon, like Bandon, but don’t have any decent shots from there – that was back in our 35mm days and I haven’t scanned any of them as yet.

  • Anna

    I’ve lived within 5 minutes of the ocean all my life. I can’t imagine life without it! Lovely captures as always Sarah x

      • Anna

        Lol yes I remember when I went to live in London back when I was 20…. I felt so far from the ocean. And not seeing a sunset over the ocean was so weird for me!

  • bushboy

    So wonderful Sarah. At first I thought it was going to be a post for Paula’s WOW Challenge but it just kept enlivening me with images to compliment the words 🙂

  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    More gorgeous photos Sarah! There’s something about water, especially pretty water, that soothes the soul. I would say a quiet beach does just that. Oh, and that sunset from your Galapagos cruise – beyond stunning. Thank you for sharing with your landlocked-in-the-almost-desert followers!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you, yes, there’s nothing quite like a quiet beach – but I also love one with crashing waves! Come to that I love the desert too, so I could be happy visiting your area too I am sure 🙂 But only visiting – I still love best my city life 😆

  • CliffClaven

    Precisely:
    “Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
    Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
    With a cargo of Tyne coal,
    Road-rails, pig-lead,
    Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.”

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, but wouldn’t you rather have the ‘cargo of ivory, And apes and peacocks’?! Or the ‘diamonds, Emeralds, amythysts, Topazes, and cinnamon’???

  • margaret21

    All great photos of course. But perhaps it’s unsurprising that the ones from England’s coastline chime most closely with Masefield’s poem. Somehow, it’s all about the dirty-British-coaster’s friends and relations (it’s O,K. I know what I mean, anyway 😉 )

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Margaret 🙂 I see what you mean about the English shots, they do seem to fit Masefield’s words and the overall mood of the poem particularly well

Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you!

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