As always an excellent photo challenge, this time focusing on the sea/ocean and what it means to us.
The first time I ever saw an ocean was from about 20,000 feet. (I’m just guessing; I was a kid.) My family was traveling to California on our one and only “airplane vacation.” I was about thirteen as I stared out of the plane window at this immense, seemingly never-ending expanse of water. As we got closer I saw that it was dotted with little boats that I eventually learned were some of the very largest ships in the world. I’m pretty sure that during parts of our flight we were higher than we were when I first saw the Pacific. Since I peered out of the window for most of the trip, it’s likely that I was able to see further than I could when I first saw the ocean. But the scale of the Pacific dwarfed everything because it was just one thing – a unitary whole. In contrast, flying overland meant seeing mile after mile of clearly defined sections and quarters broken up by roads and cities, by long miles of fields with different colors and irrigation circles, speckled by lakes and divided by rivers and mountain ranges. In other words, the rest of the world was made of parts, but the ocean was just one thing – and that one thing was vast. While I knew from geography class that what I could see of the ocean even from way up in that plane was just a bit of the earth, I think it was then that I first really appreciated how big our planet is and how small we really are. It was not too many years after that when I started hearing that the oceans were so big that we could dump our waste in them forever or fish this or that particular species as rapidly as possible without any problems. I remember thinking, yes, they are vast, but there are many of us and we are growing fast and if we assume we can’t do any harm, we are taking a big risk because the size of the oceans also means we don’t know much about them yet.