The seas have long been an information and communications channel ....
My source: AWADmail Issue 408 April 25, 2010
From: Steve Patterson
Subject: Old Man of the Sea
Def: A tiresome burden, especially a person, difficult to free oneself from.
Outside of the Arabian tradition, the Greek mythology includes Proteus and Nereus, both titled old men of the sea, and shape-shifting gods, to boot. Heroes in search of secret information had to wrestle one of these gods, as the sea touches even the remotest shore, and the flow of rivers was always bringing more information to them.
Image source: Gallery Lui-Ko Proteus, 2003, oil, canvas, 60x80 http://www.unesco.kz/lui-ko/