As a child, the beach was my playground. We lived barely 5 minutes’ walk from the sea, and I spent many a day pondering in the rockpools, playing cricket on the beach with my gang, swimming, surfing and lying placidly in the warm sand. It was the greatest free medicine I had.
I’ve always loved the sea. Its tranquility, grandness and ambiguity. My senses are awoken by the sight, sound and smell of the salty ocean. Whenever I’ve been faced with a difficult decision, I would first take a walk by the sea. Additionally, if I was hurt, angry or scared, a quick dip in the Pacific would calm and soothe me. For me, the sea is my greatest ally.
Like many an easily accessible thing, I took it for granted. Yet now, I am very much rooted in an urban existence and I hanker for an expansive ocean. My closest alternative is Hampstead Heath Pond and while I do love a good quick summer dip, it can’t compare to the azure Pacific that was previously on my doorstep.
This year I craved the ocean. The undiluted stress of London; finances, work and health were mounting and come late July I was desperate for some vitamin sea. Off to Sicily we went, where we were guaranteed sunshine, sea, copious amounts of fresh pasta and chilled Pinot Grigio.
Unlike in Australia, Sicily’s enclosed by the Mediterranean. Known for its serine coastline, warm temperature and tranquil bays, the presence of sharks are few and the gashing waves of the roaring Pacific Ocean are alien.
Upon our arrival at the pristine waters of Scala dei Turchi, I flung myself into its crystal-clear abyss. Warm and serenely calm, it immediately coaxed me and my urban anxieties seemingly evaporated.
Specifically known to the Mediterranean is thalassotherapy. An ancient Greek concept, thalassotherapy refers to the medical usage of seawater.
Unbeknownst to me, we had chosen a beach celebrated for its aquatic medical prowess. Against a tableau of smooth milky-rock and indigo sea, I slathered myself in clay determined to be rid of ailments, both physically or mentally.
The results were varied, but there was one certainty. The ocean is the greatest free medicine we have. Its serenity is unparalleled and it feeds its visitors both mentally and emotionally. I have grown up by the sea and spent many a formative year within its presence. I unashamedly miss it, and while the pristine coast of Southern Sicily were indeed mesmerising, I missed my local jaunt, Bateau Bay. It’s wildness and unspoiled beauty is unmatched.
For, home is always home.