Nautical Quotes

Quotes tagged as "nautical" Showing 1-20 of 20
Gideon Defoe
“I should say we’d reach England by Tuesday or thereabouts, with a decent wind behind us. It would be a lot quicker than that if we could just sail straight there, but I was looking at the nautical charts, and there’s a dirty great sea serpent right in the middle of the ocean! It has a horrible gaping maw and one of those scaly tails that looks like it could snap a boat clean in two. So I thought it best to sail around that.’

FitzRoy frowned. ‘I think they just draw those on maps to add a bit of decoration. It doesn’t actually mean there’s a sea serpent there.’

The galley went rather quiet. A few of the pirate crew stared intently out of the portholes, embarrassed at their Captain’s mistake. But to everyone’s relief, instead of running somebody through, the Pirate Captain just narrowed his eyes thoughtfully.

That explains a lot,’ he said. ‘I suppose it’s also why we’ve never glimpsed that giant compass in the corner of the Atlantic. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed.”
Gideon Defoe, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“An orphans curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! How more horrible that that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Tim FitzHigham
“In a French accent developed through a lifetime of using English I said, 'Hello sir, I would like to row the English Channel in a bath please.'
What actually arrived in the ear of the French Navy man was, 'Hello sire, I would like to fight a condom across a bath if you please.”
Tim Fitzhigham, In the Bath: Conquering the Channel in a Piece of Plumbing

Tim Powers
“Mr. Bird flung his food away and leaped to his feet, glaring around at no one in particular. 'I am not a dog!' he shouted agrily, his gold earrings flashing in the firelight.”
Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides

Rudyard Kipling
“It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and heart, and sends you to breakfast ravening. They emptied a big tin dish of juicy fragments of fish- the blood-ends the cook had collected overnight. They cleaned up the plates and pans of the elder mess, who were out fishing, sliced pork for the midday meal, swabbed down the foc'sle, filled the lamps, drew coal and water for the cook, an investigated the fore-hold, where the boat's stores were stacked. It was another perfect day - soft, mild and clear; and Harvey breathed to the very bottom of his lungs.”
Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous

“We were not a crew; we were only here at the same time.”
Rosemary McGuire, The Creatures at the Absolute Bottom of the Sea

Patrick O'Brian
“Puddings, my dear sir?' cried Graham.
Puddings. We trice 'em athwart the starboard gumbrils, when sailing by and large.”
Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission

Tim Powers
“Shandy looked ahead. Blackbeard, apparently willing to get the explanation later, had picked up his oars and was rowing again.
'May I presume to suggest,' yelled Shandy giddily to Davies,
'that we preoceed the hell out of here with all due haste.'
Davies pushed a stray lock of hair back from his forehead and sat down on the rower's thwart. 'My dear fellow consider it done.”
Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides

C.S. Forester
“The cork was in the bottle. He and the Atropos were trapped.”
C.S. Forester, Hornblower and the Atropos

John Locke
“It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.”
John Locke

Tim FitzHigham
“I phoned the Admiral back.
'It's no use, Admiral, the French speak nothing but French.'
There was a short pause on the end of the line then his voice rattled into life like a sabre.
'They're lying, Tim!'
'The French Navy must by law speak English, as English is the international maritime language of the sea.'
'Has anyone told the French that?'
The line went dead for a moment before he thundered, 'Yes Nelson. At the battle of Trafalgar.'
I tried to stifle an irresistibly British giggle not knowing if the Admiral was making a joke or not. I got it right. He was serious.”
Tim Fitzhigham, In the Bath: Conquering the Channel in a Piece of Plumbing

Cathy Ostlere
“Listen, Miss, boats are supposed to float. Even if they break up, they usually still float and show up on a shore somewhere. There have been no reports of wreckage or abandoned boats. At this point, no news is still good news. Don't worry. It's too early to worry.”
Cathy Ostlere, Lost: A Memoir

Terry Pratchett
“All that yohoho stuff's for landlubbers, or it would be if we ever used words like landlubber. Do you know the difference between port and starboard? I don't. I've never even drunk starboard.”
Terry Pratchett, Jingo

“The Bane

...where coxswain's dirt
and seaman's shirts
brushed bawdily upon her chest...”
Muse, Enigmatic Evolution

Patrick O'Brian
“Why, the devil, do you see,' said Jack, 'is the seam between the deck-planking and the timbers, and we call it the devil, because it is the /devil/ for the caulkers to come at: in full we say, the devil to pay and no pitch hot; and what we mean is, that there is something hell-fire difficult to be done - must be done - and nothing to do it with. It is a figure.”
Patrick O'Brian, The Mauritius Command

Frederick Marryat
“My wisdom is for my friends, my folly for myself.”
Frederick Marryat, Mr. Midshipman Easy

Frederick Marryat
“In Frederick Marryat's Mr. Midshipman Easy Jack's father, Mr. Easy, became a(n) ____________ as it was the very best profession a man can take up who is fit for nothing else. ”
Frederick Marryat, Mr. Midshipman Easy

Micheline Ryckman
“The wind tousled his hair, and Dain’s chest loosed a little as his gaze broke from the wooden maid to follow a breeze-blown gull toward the horizon. The distant salmon skies dipped over the rim of the sea, and for the first time since boarding, he wondered where the waves might take him.”
Micheline Ryckman, The Maiden Ship

Kristy McGinnis
“The monster under my bed is pitchpoling. See, when you’re in heavy seas you always face the bow forward. Steer into the waves. Seems to break the laws of nature but most times it works. You're gonna live to see another day. If your vessel gets turned sideways though, you get stuck in the trough and in heavy seas you can capsize. I don’t even worry about that so much. I can control that- I just steer the boat into the oncoming waves. Problem solved. Until it’s not.”
Kristy McGinnis, Motion of Intervals

Gretel Ehrlich
“In the evenings the boat spun on its anchor and mist fell to its knees, raining directly into seawater. Trees grew on red buoys, bald eagles lifted out of dark trunks like white-steepled chapels, a raven ate a crab in the boat's crow's nest, and schools of herring, who sometimes migrate in rolled-up balls five or six inches thick, broad-jumped the incoming tide.”
Gretel Ehrlich, A Match to the Heart: One Woman's Story of Being Struck By Lightning