The sea has been part of our lives for thousands of years. For many here in Cornwall it was our main source of transportation and communication until the railway arrived in the 1850s. It provides our food and our livelihoods. In recent years it has become a place of recreation, and also a source of renewable energy.
But it is not called the cruel sea for nothing, it can take lives away. Every coastal community in Cornwall will have suffered from the loss of loved ones. It can flood towns and villages, erode cliffs and damage harbour walls. And sadly, through human intervention, it is becoming a polluted resource.
We need to look after the sea, and respect it, the same way that we do our own bodies and minds. Both can be calm and tranquil, but once stormy, they are hard to control.
Many of you who come to Cornwall on holiday do so because of the coast. We have nearly 400 miles of coastline and hundreds of beaches dotted along it. You may be content to just sit on the sand and read a book, or you might be one of those who dive down deep to explore the hidden wrecks around our coast, whatever, you are doing it because you enjoy it.
And that’s all we want you to do, enjoy yourself. But deep down its doing wonders for your health. We all lead stressful lives these days, from the commute to work, to the pressure of achieving targets, and then there’s the bringing up of children. We all need a little time off.
And where better than in a marine environment? We all love a walk along a beach at sunset, a time to forget about the daily grind and escape into a world without distractions. Feeling more energetic? How about striding out along the South West Coast Path, the wind in your hair, the sun in your face and some of the finest vistas in the UK?
Beneath the waves, just a simple snorkel and mask can take you into another world. As the tide comes in, swim out over those rockpools you were exploring earlier and you will see them in an entirely different light. Or just swim? The sea is so much more invigorating than a few lengths in your municipal baths. Yes, it can be cold, and yes, you do have to be aware of currents, but take advice from lifeguards (if there are any) or others on the beach and all should be OK.
Most harbours around Cornwall offer sightseeing trips out to sea. You will see the coast from an entirely different perspective and you may even get to see some of our wonderful marine life, such as dolphins and seals. There’s always a desire to see these creatures close up, but just remember they can get stressed too. So don’t be too disappointed if your boatman stays a safe distance away.
The more adventurous might like to join a group kayaking or try an SUP? Silently exploring our out of the way places, our creeks and coastline. Seeing the best of Cornwall from just above the waterline.
And then of course there’s surfing. The ultimate distraction as you surge into the beach on the wave that you have been dreaming about for days. It’s just you and the power of the ocean.. There’s a reason why the most chilled out guys in town are surfers, all they’re worried about is when they can next get in the water.
Here at Visit Cornwall we believe a holiday by the sea should be prescribed by doctors, at least once a year. Travel broadens your mind, you experience new cultures, new sights, new smells, it gets your brain working. Swimming and walking is great exercise and getting away from it all can do wonders for your mood, putting you in a much calmer place, and just the simple pleasures like standing on the seafont looking out to sea, have got to be better for your state of mind than sitting in a traffic jam on the M25?
Team up with SOPHIE
The University of Exeter is involved in a project looking at the links between oceans and human health. Called SOPHIE (Seas, Oceans & Public Health in Europe) it would love to know your observations and experiences of time spent by the coast or at sea. Who knows, the data collected could be used to persuade the NHS to fund trips to the coast, you never know?
To take part if their survey, Click Here.