Santiago loved the sea. He appreciated the beauty of the colors and the form of some of the creatures in the ocean. At the same time, he recognized that it could change from a beautiful setting to a threatening and potentially dangerous body of water very quickly, so there was a healthy dose of respect mixed in with the affection.
He always thought of the sea as la mar which is what people call her in Spanish when they love her...the old man always thought of her as feminine and as something that gave or withheld great favours, and if she did wild or wicked things it was because she could not help them.
Santiago was proud of his skill as a fisherman. He was confident in his ability to locate fish, even after his long stretch without any luck. He knew his equipment and how to use it, but he also recognized the strength and importance of the marlin's life and intelligence. The landing process was a battle of strength, wits, and endurance and he completed it with an attitude of prayerful gratitude and admiration for the marlin, as well as resignation toward the sharks and physical exhaustion.