Wayfarer Column- The sea is admiral but also ruthless in its fury

Some things in life never change, living by the sea gives the pleasure of being able to see the waves repeatedly come and break up on the shore.

The swell appears out at sea and as it gets closer to the land it changes as a white crest breaks down on itself until it reaches the beach then tumbles on to the sand time after time.

This has repeated itself down through the centuries and will continue to do so long after we have left this life. The only change is when it is affected by a storm at sea or strong winds. It is the continuity of things like this happening which gives some stability to life as everything seems to change and not always for the best.

If something works why bother to change it just for some infinitesimal improvement which creates confusion rather than improvement. Petronius Arbiter a Roman Centurian in 210 BC summed it all up ‘We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be re-organized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by re-organizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.’ Well there you are all worked out back in 210 BC by a centurian and which we have not profited by even today. I have problems with computer systems which once I have to some minor degree mastered their complexity are changed allegedly due to improvements.!!

However, no matter how much we admire the sea it can be quite ruthless in its fury. Back in 1884 The William Hope, a Dundee steamer, was wrecked and driven on to the rocky shore of Aberdour in Fife. The following morning Jane Whyte was walking her dog along the shore when she saw men waving and heard shouts from those clinging to the mast of the wreck. One of the survivors managed to throw a rope which she was able to grab braving the cold and dangerous seas, tied it round her waist and struggled back to land. There was nowhere to anchor the rope so she clung to it herself whilst the first man managed to make his way ashore. In turn they were able to rescue all fifteen men on the boat after which Jane took them to her house where they were fed and dried before returning to Dundee. For her heroic action Jane Whyte was presented with a silver medal by the Royal Navy Lifeguard Institute and awarded the sum of £10 by way of thanks. A ruthless sea is relentless even to a brave Jane Whyte. See you next week.