These Ocean Quotes capture the enigmatic beauty and draw of the sea for humans.
From filmmakers to artists, philosophers to deep sea explorers, these people describe the watery depths that spread across the planet from a wide multitude of different perspectives.
“The Ocean is a continuous body of salt water that covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. Geographers divide the ocean into five major basins: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern.
Smaller ocean regions such as the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Bay of Bengal are called seas, gulfs, and bays.
Inland bodies of saltwater such as the Caspian Sea and the Great Salt Lake are distinct from the world’s oceans.
The oceans hold about 321 million cubic miles (1.34 billion cubic kilometers) of water, which is roughly 97 percent of Earth’s water supply.
Life in the ocean depends on phytoplankton, mostly microscopic organisms that float at the surface and, through photosynthesis, produce about half of the world’s oxygen.”
“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
– Anais Nin
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”
– Werner Herzog
“I know about me. I am the moons sister, a tidal child stranded on land. The sea always in my ear, a surf of eternal discontent in my blood.”
– Keri Hulme
“Little islands are all large prisons; one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.”
– Sir Richard Francis Burton
“Ocean separates lands, not souls..”
– Munia Khan
“I am longing to be with you, and by the sea, where we can talk together freely and build our castles in the air.”
– Bram Stoker, Dracula
“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities… If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”
– Rachel Carson
“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
– William James
“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”
– Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
– Jacques-Yves Cousteau
“I was happy anywhere I could see the ocean.”
– Ai Yazawa, Nana, Vol. 18
“Time is more complex near the sea than in any other place, for in addition to the circling of the sun and the turning of the seasons, the waves beat out the passage of time on the rocks and the tides rise and fall as a great clepsydra.”
– John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat
“The sea is a desert of waves, a wilderness of water.”
– Langston Hughes, Selected Poems
“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple. It is there we can see into ourselves.”
– Rolf Edberg
“The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.”
– Queen Elizabeth I, Letters
“But the sea
which no one tends
is also a garden”
– William Carlos Williams, Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems
“So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”
– Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
“There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath…”
– Herman Melville, Moby-Dick or, the Whale
“I, while the gods laugh, the world’s vortex am;
Maelström of passions in that hidden sea
Whose waves of all-time lap the coasts of me;
And in small compass the dark waters cram.
Mervyn Peake, Collected Poems – “I, While the Gods Laugh, the World’s Vortex Am”
“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.”
– Francis Bacon, The Oxford Francis Bacon IV: The Advancement of Learning
“Doesn’t it seem to you,” asked Madame Bovary, “that the mind moves more freely in the presence of that boundless expanse, that the sight of it elevates the soul and gives rise to thoughts of the infinite and the ideal?”
– Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Whenever I look at the ocean, I always want to talk to people, but when I’m talking to people, I always want to look at the ocean.”
– Haruki Murakami, Hear the Wind Sing
“No one would have crossed the ocean if they could have gotten off the ship in the storm.”
– Ocean Quotes by Charles Kettering
“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”
– Ocean Quotes by H. P. Lovecraft
“But as you gain expertise so you will gradually gain a more graceful, elegant and inventive approach to how you relate to waves – in other words, you will develop a mindfulness in the ocean.”
– Sam Bleakley, Mindfulness and Surfing
“A good pilot is not known when the sea is calm and the weather fair.”
“Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the ocean desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.”
– Carl Schurz
“Go strip off your clothes that are a nuisance in this mellow clime. Get in and wrestle with the sea; wing your heels with the skill and power that reside in you, hit the sea’s breakers, master them, and ride upon their backs as a king should.”
– Jack London
“Sometimes in the morning, when it’s a good surf, I go out there, and I don’t feel like it’s a bad world.”
– Kary Mullis
The deepest reaches of the ocean were once thought to be devoid of life, since no light penetrates beyond 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).
But then hydrothermal vents were discovered. These chimney-like structures allow tube worms, clams, mussels, and other organisms to survive not via photosynthesis but chemosynthesis, in which microbes convert chemicals released by the vents into energy.
Bizarre fish with sensitive eyes, translucent flesh, and bioluminescent lures jutting from their heads lurk about in nearby waters, often surviving by eating bits of organic waste and flesh that rain down from above, or on the animals that feed on those bits.
Despite regular discoveries about the ocean and its denizens, much remains unknown. More than 80 percent of the ocean is unmapped and unexplored, which leaves open the question of how many species there are yet to be discovered.
At the same time, the ocean hosts some of the world’s oldest creatures: Jellyfish have been around more than half a billion years, horseshoe crabs almost as long.