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By Ilene Little

Why we love the ocean

There is more going on here than meets the eye

Charter boats offer great sea adventures.

Charter boats offer great sea adventures.

Oceans, lakes, rivers, pools, even fountains can irresistibly affect our minds. Reflexively we know this: there is a good reason why a view of a beach is more appealing than a view of a stockyard. There are logical explanations for our tendency to go to the water’s edge for some of the most significant moments of our lives. But why? And why do some feel the need to head out into the open ocean?

Author Wallace J. Nichols in his book, “The Blue Mind,” offers an answer: “In an age when we’re anchored by stress, technology, exile from the natural world, professional suffocation, personal anxiety, and hospital bills, and at a loss for true privacy, casting off is wonderful.”

Research into why our brains love the ocean

Researchers are experimenting with a mobile electroencephalogram (EEG) unit invented by Dr. Stephen Sands, a biomedical science expert and chief science officer at Sands Research, pioneers in “neuromarketing.”

Enjoying the ocean view.

Enjoying the ocean view.

The mobile EEG unit looks a lot like a Sci-Fi version of a bejeweled swim cap and is worn by research participants in, near and surrounded by water while their brain’s response to the ocean is monitored. “Since time immemorial, humans have been captivated by water. And the reasons go beyond evolution,” states Nichols.

Beyond the “Why” How to cultivate a romance with the sea

Panama is an aquatic wonder world so take advantage of local knowledge. Experience is often the best teacher. Riding the ferries here is not only an inexpensive and safe way to venture out, it is also entertaining, informative and a great way to learn from first-hand observation.

For example, a ride on the Sea Las Perlas ferry will take you right through the majestic cruise ships and commercial tankers queuing to go through the Panama Canal. With the

An EEG unit used to monitor the brain’s response to the sea.

An EEG unit used to monitor the brain’s response to the sea.

Bridge of the Americas in the background, it is also an awe-inspiring photo opportunity

–and that is just the beginning of the trip. This time of year, you are very likely to encounter whales and dolphins as you move into open water.

Charter boats, sailing lessons and private boat tours provide more flexible opportunities to gain knowledge through personal engagement. In the charter sports-boating industry, a considerate and capable captain is the one who will take you on an adventure where your comfort level can be stretched without putting you in harms way. The most popular charter boat captains know when to pamper, reassure or have an adventure, depending on the temperament of their passengers.

When you can walk away from a day on the water with a great story to tell and a new skill, it becomes more than a fishing trip or a boat ride –it fulfills a basic need. I wonder if that is why most people sleep better after a day out on the water.


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