It’s that time of the year when thoughts turn to looking back over the past 12 months and all we’ve achieved. And of course, we’re also looking forward to the coming year and wondering what it has in store for us.

So while we’re in this reflective mood we thought it would be a good time to put together ten of our favorite quotes from books about that thing that features so heavily in all of our lives: the ocean.

Without further ado, here are:

10 of Martide’s favorite quotes about the sea


“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

close up of waves with setting sun in the background

“Little islands are all large prisons; one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.”
- Sir Richard Francis Burton

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“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

“I must 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,
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.”
- John Masefield, Sea Fever: Selected Poems

sailing ship on an ocean with a starry sky above

“How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.”
- Ruta Sepetys, Salt to the Sea

“I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me.
The sea.”
- Gary Paulsen, Caught by the Sea: My Life on Boats

“There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea.”
- Khalil Gibran

“Ocean separates lands, not souls..”
- Munia Khan

man standing on cliff jutting out over the ocean

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. I have heard them all, and of the three elemental voices, that of ocean is the most awesome, beautiful and varied.”
- Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

If you enjoyed these, take a look at our other post 10 of Martide’s Favorite Quotes About Seafarers!