I’m an Islander, born and raised within earshot and smell of the sea surrounding Vancouver Island. Although I haven’t lived on the Island since the early 1980’s, there are still many times I can close my eyes and swear I can smell the redolent aroma of kelp drying in the sun punctuated by the salt tang of the ocean.

This is often hard to explain to people who grew up on ‘the Mainland’ well away from the Pacific, harder still to explain why I live half a continent away. It is simply in my blood, even from faraway, an almost keening in my ears. Sometimes I wonder if it is akin to the Zionist ‘Next year in Jerusalem’ or The Haj. Perhaps not, though it is a bit of a religion for sure, an independence borne of the sea surrounding your roots.

Thalassophile comes close to describing this feeling, though still a bit clinical for my taste: Someone who loves the┬ásea. But thalassophile is much more, a need to live by the ocean, like an unrequited love when faraway on ‘dry land’.

Are you a Thalassophile? Surfer Today has a great little test, only 10 questions with a Thalassophile scoring at least 6. I won’t spoil your fun with my score, other than to say it was less than 10 and much more than 6.


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