Words and Photographs by Gero Lilleike
For as long as I can remember, the sea has always fascinated me. The vastness of its mysteries is perplexing, impossible to fathom in a lifetime. The beauty that abounds in our oceans is incredible and surfing has given me a unique opportunity to witness the ocean in all its majesty and has changed my life in ways I cannot explain in words.
Many of my greatest memories originated from the sea. One of them will be forever etched in my mind. On a bright, sunny morning in the Transkei, on the east coast of South Africa, we decided to go surf. We arrived at the surf spot and were welcomed by perfect waves rolling into the small bay. With not a soul in sight, we paddled out and caught a few waves, having the time of our lives. It wasn’t long before our friends from the deep showed up to teach us how to surf in style. Five or six Bottlenose Dolphins joined us in the surf that day. We were out there for at least two hours and in that time the dolphins never left us. The experience was surreal and being in the water with those dolphins made me so incredibly happy to be alive. I will never forget that day.
It’s those moments, along with many others, that make you realise just how precious and sacred our oceans are. The fact that humankind is destroying our oceans in so many ways saddens me beyond belief. Every beach I have ever walked on has been riddled with rubbish, the evidence of our sick existence. All over the world we hear stories of atrocities inflicted on our oceans by the hand of man and those atrocities are happening right now. At the same time, many people across the world are doing magnificent work to save our oceans, and that fight must continue forever.
Every single person can do their bit to save our oceans, whether it be through recycling, education, spreading awareness or simply picking up a bottle on the beach, it all counts. In the spirit of saving our oceans, I have written a poem.
In the darkness and the deep,
Where the mother yearns,
Do forgotten secrets sleep,
In love, her heart burns.
In the distant light to be,
With wind she must dance,
Her treasures for all to see,
In waves, lies her trance.
On the shore we stand in awe,
Her bosom full of joy,
Through her eyes we see our flaws,
Her soul, we destroy.
No matter what she will be,
Forever, she is our sea.
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