Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

Hermits (who are they & what are they saying to the world)

The first story I ever wrote – aged eight years – was about a man who lived alone in a cave in the forest and talked to the animals.  The short-story is lost but I still have the wooden statue of a monk my parents gave me that same year and which I have always called Saint Bariles.

The call of solitude has always remained very strong with me, though I have yet to become a hermit.  However as a writer and when sailing there’s plenty of time alone in which to reflect and to be centred.  Solitude is a wonderfully liberating time for me. A weight seems to lift from my shoulders and I settle into a calm, joyful contentment.  And this is not just that I can do exactly as I please (not often true on the boat where the weather and waves rule).  Even when I’m able to focus on a task, if there’s someone else present (however silent and unobtrusive) I feel a slight strain.

This does not mean I’m anti-social; but however much I enjoy friends and family, after a couple of days being with other people I’m completely exhausted. Solitude restores my energy and contentment. Then I can go out into the world again.  Solitude – and especially the deep solitude of hermits – is a subject that deeply fascinates me, so I’ll be posting whatever I can find that seems interesting and relevant.

SEE ALSO Retreats


Words from an Unknown Hermit. These short essays were written by Hermit S. , a contemporary hermit who may be living in Canada.

Part One – Methods of Practice

Part Two –  Time

Part Three – Ego

Part Four – Virtue

Part Five – Complex People Yearning for Simplicity

Part Six – The Hermit And The World

Part Seven – Self-Sufficiency, or Keeping One’s Own Counsel

Part Eight – Living Beyond the Ideas Is the Real Challenge

Part Nine – There Are No Fake Hermits

Part Ten – Love for Ourselves and Others

Falling From The World –  Poem of a Hermit at Sea

The Sound of Silence


Hermits, general

Hermits Through the Ages

Meeting the Call to Intense Solitude

 Photos – 60 Photos of Hermits by the Italian photographer Carlo Bevilaqua

Chinese hermits

Han Shan – hermit poet of ancient China

Meeting with hermits in China

Jewish hermits

Hermits in the Jewish Tradition

American hermits

The Fort Fisher hermit

Wilard of Gully Lakevideo part one, video part two, video part three

Video about Heimo and EdnaHome from Home – Alone in the Alaskan Wilderness

Russian hermits

Photos –  Snapshots of a Russian Hermit

Hungarian hermits

Photos –  The Homes of Hermits in Hungary

One comment on “Hermits (who are they & what are they saying to the world)

  1. Ernie
    December 6, 2011


    I see that this post is old, but it is also timeless. By now you know you are not alone in your ‘nature’ and reaction to ‘society’. The exhaustion is one thing in which I totally understand. As much as I would like to be a hermit, that is impossible as a reality that I have come to live with. Even with my wife & children, who I love dearly and must give myself to, I feel the liberation of some time alone. I just recently discovered you site while searching ‘hermits’ and will enjoy your reseaches and sources.

    Thank You for your efforts!


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