The First Time I Saw An Ocean.

This is The Edward Elliots Beach in Chennai with the Karl Schmidt memorial. This is the Southern end of the Chennai Marina Beach.

Although I was born in Mumbai, I don’t recall ever seeing the ocean there during my early years. Mumbai is an island and the Western side of the island faces the Arabian Sea and I have lived in places in Mumbai from where the ocean can be seen though much later in life.

By the time I was about three or four years old, my parents moved from Mumbai to Chennai and my first memories of the ocean are seeing the Bay of Bengal both at the Marina Beach as well as at the Edward Elliots Beach but, the latter most vividly as my uncle and aunt lived in The Theosophical Society in Adayar which was frequented by my family often as my father too was connected with the society and I lived there with my uncle and aunt for a whole year.

My father taught me to bathe in the ocean at Elliot’s beach and that is a memory that is not easily forgotten. Perhaps that is why my memory of the Elliots Beach is so vivid. There are many photographs of our times on the beach when we were children but, they are all in various collections with my siblings and so I am unable to reproduce some of them here. What my memory tells me of those visits to the beach is the sense of awe one felt at the immensity of the ocean and the miracle of the water coming to the shore and retreating.

If there is another memory that surpasses that of the childhood one of the Madras beaches that is the one of my first visit to Kanya Kumari in 1974 where the Indian ocean, The Bay of Bengal and The Arabian Sea meet. A sight that simply blows one away.  A re-visit there is very much part of my bucket list.

This week’s 2 on 1 topic was chosen by Shackman. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say.

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24 Responses to The First Time I Saw An Ocean.

  1. I didn’t see the ocean util I was 26 years old.
    Coffee is on

    • I must have been about ten years old or so when a much older cousin from the interiors came visiting us in Madras and I had to escort him to the beach. I still remember his awe at his first view of the ocean. I was zapped seeing his being zapped!

  2. Joared says:

    The ocean, tides rushing in and out must be quite awesome to a young child. I never saw an ocean or beach until I was 17 yrs — the Atlantic, the U.S. Daytona Beach in Florida on our east coast. It was many years later before I saw our West Coast’s beaches in California and the Pacific Ocean.
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    • My response to Peppylady refers: I must have been about ten years old or so when a much older cousin from the interiors came visiting us in Madras and I had to escort him to the beach. I still remember his awe at his first view of the ocean. I was zapped seeing his being zapped!

      • Joared says:

        I gather then that you were already familiar with the beach — possibly from when you were a much younger child. It is awesome the first time we see it whatever age.

  3. Mike says:

    Until I was 15, I lived almost 900 miles from the closest point, the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston, Texas. Then I moved to Houston and that same closest point was only 45 miles away. At some point, we made the trip down there. I just don’t remember it clearly. For several months in my late teens, I made the trip with a friend and our surfboards — I never was very good at surfing — sometimes in his car and sometimes in my 57 Chevy.
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    • I have had my share of trysts on the beaches of Madras in my mid and late teens. We did not then nor now have surfing as a sport and so never got involved in it.

  4. shackman says:

    From age 10 on I have lived within a quick drive of an ocean. In Hawaii I would ride my Suzuki 550 to Waiamea Bay, grab a shave ice and stare at awe at the giant waves. The Banzai Pipeline was also a fave spot to sit and watch.Nothing matches the majesty of those giant waves at Waiamea Bay

    Ride the wild surf indeed!

  5. Diane Dahli says:

    Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, such romantic names to me, since I’ve only read about them. But I love the ocean—I was 19 before I saw the Pacific Ocean, and had to travel over thousands of mountainous miles to do so! Now, thankfully, I live within a stone’s throw of the Victoria Harbor, and can indulge my love of the ocean every day, for which I am truly grateful!

  6. tammy j says:

    I’m like Diane above… the names truly are magical!
    I have never seen the Pacific Ocean. my growing up years were on the eastern coast as far as oceans go. maybe someday if I live long enough I will see more!
    the oceans fascinate me though. the sheer majesty and beauty … well. there is nothing like it!

  7. I lived in inland NZ where the nearest water was a huge lake (L. Taupo). I saw a lot more of the ocean and the sea when I was about 5 years old, when Mother decided she couldn’t leave me behind with Dad when she took herself on a trip to the UK to see my then older sister. (said sister is still with us at 92)…

    If you are living NZ, everyone is relatively close to the sea, of course the road to get there maybe not be straight…here in Auckland I’m close to both the Waitemata and the Manukau harbours which lead to respective bigger oceans…

  8. Wisewebwoman says:

    I have felt this strong connection to the ocean since I was a toddler. I remember standing on this wide beach with my wee bucket and spade and just staring at it in awe and wonder. All that water!

    Since then I have lived away from it but every chance I got I drove, sometimes thousands of miles, to get that first exhilarating sighting. Now I’ve lived with it on my doorstep for the past 15 years. How lucky am I?


  9. Mike says:

    Reading the comment, I remembered some unique ocean memories.

    Once, I had the opportunity to look through the periscope while it was still beneath the surface when we were on patrol in the North Atlantic. What I remember from that was water all around us and the surface of the water above.

    The one other time I was able to look out the periscope was one summer night in the North Atlantic near (or maybe past) the Arctic Circle in the summer with the sun low on the horizon. Years later, I saw the sun near the horizon at midnight on July 4, 2002 from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Alaska.

    Other memories include standing lookout watch on the bridge after the submarine had surface on our way in to port.
    Mike recently posted..Butterfly on Purple Coneflower

  10. I don’t remember ever not having seen the ocean, since I grew up in a Navy family and we always lived on the coast. Even now that I live far inland, it calls me.

  11. Atharva says:

    What is the doctrine of the Theosophical Society? Is it still functioning?

    • To the best of my knowledge the TS is still very much alive and kicking. I however have no touch with them after the death of my aunt and uncle who were both connected. If you click on the link given when I mention The Theosophical Society Of India on the blog post, you will go to a website that will give you all the information that you want about the TS.

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