Updated: Dec 5, 2019
The color blue is the color of the sea, the color of the sky, the color of most pools and the color of earth from space. 70 percent of our planet is blue. There is turquoise, cerulean, teal, jade, royal, navy and, as Alex says in Kubrick's, Clockwork Orange, "As clear as an azure sky sir." We get the blues. We play the blues and we feel blue. Most interesting to me is the connection the color blue has to the ocean, moreover, how it makes us feel and why we endeavor to get to it whenever we can.
When we plan travel, unless we are planning a ski trip or a city weekend, we travel to the ocean. Presumably, if not hopefully, beautiful teal seas with talcum white sand. I think of Silver Beach on Vieques, Gili Meno off of Lombok, the Maldives and the Adriatic off the Dalmatian coast. There is, of course, Tobago Cays, Trunk Bay, St. John, Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda, Koh Lipe, Thailand. All of these waters, I ironically, have said of- wow it's Tahoe blue!
There is a reason we are drawn to cobalt blue oceans, fringed by white sand and arching palms. It turns out our brains like blue. Color Psychology says, "blue suggests a feeling of peace and calm. It has also been known to aid in relaxation and meditation" As I write this page I see blue all over my computer. As I check my Iphone, I notice most of the apps are blue and notifications on most social media platforms are either blue- to calm, or red- to excite, starting the flow of dopamine for our next pavlovian response to a like or a poke or a smiling bitmoji.
Again Color Psychology says,"Red revs the parts of our brain that deal with excitement," The Limbic system deep in our reptilian core must have caused excitement in our ancestors when they saw sanguine blood after days of not eating. Surely, this is the reason almost all fast food restaurants are Red and Yellow. In n Out knows what they are doing. Im drooling now.
On the other hand, When we travel, specifically, when we vacation, our drive is to become relaxed, to reduce adrenaline and norepinephrine, the feelings we get when our boss calls and says...."I have a concern." It makes sense that we seek out cabanas by teal pools looking out over jade bays.
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols points out in his book "Blue Mind," a terrific look at why we need water in our lives,"When we are born, our bodies are approximately 78 percent water. As we age that number drops to below 60 percent - but the brain continues to be made up of 80 percent water. In its mineral composition, the human cell is made of essentially the same as sea water. The human body as a whole is about the same density as ocean water- allowing us to float."
Not only are we keenly driven to seek blue water to calm our modern day jangled nerves, we seek water because it offers health benefits beyond its calming powers.
"The Blue Zones," by Dan Buettner, is a fascinating look at areas around the world where the population lives longest and has the lowest level of chronic disease. They are, Loma Linda, California, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, Sardinia, Italy, Icaria, Greece and Okinowa. Though, Loma Linda is inland, one could argue, its proximity to coastal California makes up for its lack of absolute seaside location.
Buettner lays out several reasons inhabitants of these locations live longer, including:
1. Eating plant based diets full of, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seafood.
2. They fast and reduce calorie intake, pushing away when they are 80% full.
3. They consume alcohol in moderation..... Booooooooo!
4. They exercise.
5. They sleep well.
6. They are religious or spiritual.
7. They have a life purpose.
8. Older and younger people live together.
9. They are part of a tribe or social network.
All over the world, near the ocean I have witnessed these behaviors. Grandfathers surfing with granddaughters on the north shore of Hawaii. In Saint Barth, old men sit on the wall of Gustavia harbour playing pinocle. Women in hijabs and modesty suits wade and laugh in the shallow waters of warm tropical waters.
The ocean, with its calming blue tones and salty water lends itself to health and revitalization, whether living there or choosing to travel to be nearby, blue water is beautiful and worth being by it, in it, or near it for a lifetime or even just a week.