A review of Praia da Luz (October 2023)
A brief recap: Since arriving at Ocean Villas Luz in August 2020, writer David Lugg has been experiencing all aspects of Luz Life. This is his review of October 2023:
The sea dominates our way of life here in the Algarve. We swim in it, we sail on it, we surf on it, we fish from it, we take photos of it, we paint it and we write about it. Yet why are we so fascinated? What is it about the sea that makes many of us embark on an annual coastal pilgrimage? Why do we feel compelled by its sirenic charms? I put it down to three things – the good, the bad and the unknown.
Let’s start with the good. The ocean is perhaps the most beautiful tangible feature on planet Earth. It is a symbol of life and of power and of freedom. It is kaleidoscopic both in colour and in its nature. It calms us; it excites us; yet it never bores us. The ocean is sensory perfection – how sweet it is to hear the soothing sound of lapping waves or the nostalgic scent of salty air. But the ocean is also our reliable friend. In our ever-changing world, the sea remains constant, just as it was for our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents.
Conversely, the sea is also bad. Let me ask you a simple question – what is the ocean made of? Aside from the obvious compound of hydrogen and oxygen (H̀₂O), you might be surprised to learn that, according to (marine toxicologist) Professor Mike Moore ‘in a litre of seawater you will find ten billion microbes, mostly bacteria’. In addition, ‘you will find one hundred billion virus-like materials’. Fortunately, most of these viruses are not toxic but, nonetheless, it is a startling thought.
Before I put you off the ocean for life, the general belief is that a little bit of bad can actually be a good thing. The hormesis effect suggests that low exposure to potentially harmful bacteria actually stimulates various parts of our immune system. This helps fight infection and inflammation. What’s more, the sea spray produced by the bacteria contains antioxidants which can offer a wide range of health benefits from anti-aging to brain function. This is the viewpoint put forward by cold-water swimmers. Fascinating stuff.
Aside from the duality of good and bad, us humans are forever intrigued by the unknown. The great explorers set off on intrepid voyages, unsure of what they would find or if they would ever return home. Would they sail off the edge of a flat earth? Would they encounter great sea monsters? Or perhaps they would find a world of infinite riches? The fact is that around 80% of the ocean remains undiscovered. Eighty per cent! Also, bear in mind that the ocean covers over 70% of the surface of our planet. It appears that we have only discovered a mere drop in the ocean.
I think we can all agree that the ocean is not only the most beautiful feature on our planet, it is the most vital. The U.N states that around 3 billion people rely on the ocean to provide for their families – that’s almost 50% of the population of the planet. What’s more, it is estimated that around half of the oxygen production on earth comes from the ocean. It transpires that we are not only fascinated by the ocean, we depend upon it.
Life is very much like the ocean. It is unpredictable but often spectacular. We often wish for a simple life though I’m not sure we actually mean it. Life is more fun when you experience all the ups and downs of the ocean wave. Just remember to wear your armbands.
More news next month.
All photo images owned by David Lugg