I did not grow up on the ocean, although I sometimes say that I did. Oh sure, I grew up close enough to it, but my childhood was not spent on the open sea, searching for and emptying lobster traps like some of the others I went to school with. So when I think of the ocean, I invariably picture the shore, as opposed to open sea. During my university years, I preferred to watch the constant chaos of waves crashing on rocks over venturing out beyond the point where land is no longer visible. I would spend long afternoons at the park, watching the surf roll in, or I would paddle a canoe along the shore, always in water shallow enough to see the bottom (for that was where the truly interesting things were.) The point is that I could and would often lose myself for hours by simply watching the water. I think it's also why I like a really small boat like a kayak - it is essentially you on the water, with little else. I think my wife put it best when she said she wanted to take a sea kayak out in Vancouver harbour just to paddle alongside a gigantic oil tanker. I have to admit, that would be a really cool thing to do.
These days I tell people that I live in the mountains, even though I really live in a valley, surrounded by them. As before with the ocean, I'm not really far from some truly impressive mountains. Heck, to get just about anywhere from here I have to traverse more than one mountain pass. It has made for some nerve wracking trips over the Christmas holidays but on a clear day, the view can't be beat. Is it the same as spending time along the shore? No, not really. But I am starting to lose myself a bit as I peer out at the vast landscapes, so maybe it is a different, but just as good a view.