Salt Water Culture

The sea is an element that is fully present in the Portuguese culture. It is a place where tradition and modernity go hand in hand in a meeting of generations surrounded by the same salty water. From fishing, to spear fishing, recreational diving, navigation, shipbuilding and wave sports, Portugal has its roots deeply sited in the Atlantic Ocean.

I am Portuguese. I was born in Lisbon in the 80s and, like many Portuguese, my first contact with the sea took place during the summer holidays, the time of year where I moved with my family to the coast in search of the beach and the sun. However, my encounter with the sea was seasonal and for 10 months of the year my life was spent away from it, splitting time between the city and a peaceful life of the countryside where he lived.

Because of the geography, history and culture of my country, the sea has always been present in my life, in my dreams, perhaps recorded in the complexity of my genetic code. Maybe that is why I have always searched for it during my 33 years of existence. However, I never felt that I belonged or depended on it or that my life was in its hands. There is as a dimension of the sea that I do not understand, but to which I am drawn motivated by the recognition and respect for those who have the sea as their way of life.

In 2015 I started traveling along the Portuguese coast in search of men and women of the sea, humans who rely on it, that were born and raised “from within”. Sailors, fishermen, shellfish gatherers, surfers, bodyboarders, divers... to all I ask the same question, seeking a definition for the element that unites them and that is the root of a Salt Water Culture to which I belong to, but I do not fully understand. “What is the sea”? 

 
 

O mar é um elemento transversal na cultura Lusa. É um espaço onde a tradição e a modernidade caminham de mãos dadas num encontro geracional envolto por uma mesma água salgada. Da pesca, à caça submarina, ao mergulho de recreio, à navegação, à construção naval, aos desportos de ondas, Portugal tem as suas raízes mergulhadas no Oceano Atlântico.

Sou Português. Nasci em Lisboa na década de 80 e à semelhança de muitos Portugueses, o meu primeiro contacto com o mar aconteceu durante as férias de Verão, altura do ano em que me deslocava em família para o litoral à procura de praia e sol, dando continuidade à velha tradição de “ir a banhos”. No entanto, o meu encontro com o mar era sazonal e durante 10 meses do ano a minha vida era passada longe deste, dividindo o tempo entre a cidade e tranquilidade do campo onde vivia.

Pela geografia, história e cultura do país onde nasci, o mar esteve sempre presente na minha vida, no meu imaginário, quem sabe gravado, de forma invisível, na complexidade do meu código genético. Talvez por isso, durante os meus 33 anos de existência sempre o procurei. No entanto, nunca senti que lhe pertencesse, que dele dependesse ou que a minha vida estivesse nas suas mãos. Há como que uma dimensão do mar que me escapa e à qual me sinto chamado, motivado pelo reconhecimento e respeito por todos aqueles que fazem do mar um modo de vida.

Em 2015 comecei a percorrer a costa portuguesa em busca de homens e mulheres do mar, de humanos que dele dependem, que nele nasceram e cresceram. Marinheiros, pescadores, mariscadores, surfistas, bodyboarders, mergulhadores, a todos faço a mesma pergunta, procurando uma definição para o elemento que os une e que é raiz de uma Cultura de Água Salgada que me pertence, mas desconheço. “O que é o mar”?

In this short video I bring you Mr. Manuel Moreira, the last living proof of whale hunting in the island of Madeira.

In this video I bring you Hugo Pinheiro regarded as one of the best Portuguese bodyboarders of all-time.

In this video I bring you Joel Papu Pereira. Brought up in a family of fisherman Joel grew as a fisherman and man of the sea. He is now a surf instructor and owner of the Activity surf centre in the village of Ericeira.

In this video I bring Mr. Marcelino, fisherman and a living legend in the art of Cod fishing.

In this video I bring you Nuno "Batata" Leitão. Nuno is one of the most charismatic and talented portuguese bodyboarders of all times. "What is the sea, Nuno?"

In this video I bring you Pedro Matuta. Pedro is has been a fisherman all his life, fishing for sea-bass in the mouth of the tagus river close to lisbon