Added: Shaila Baillie - Date: 04.11.2021 02:43 - Views: 36722 - Clicks: 7887
This has been archived and is no longer updated. For the last 6 years, I've lived in an ocean paradise.
Hawaii is pretty much as much as ocean as you can get - it is the most isolated island chain in the world, which means we have more ocean around us than anyone else. There is nowhere on this island that I am more than 15 miles from the ocean. But by the time I have published this blog post I won't be here anymore.
Instead, I will be 4, miles away, in the center of a huge city, and the closest ocean will be more than a two hour drive away although there is a nearby bay. I didn't grow up in a religion. Instead, as cheesy as it may sound and we all know I have a hipster-esque fear of being cheesymy soul is replenished when immersed in nature. Seeing wild creatures living their often messy, rarely idealistic lives is a privilege that I find almost spiritual.
As a scientist who studies whales, I have a very hard time admitting to this. Whale biologists absolutely groan at quotes from people having "spiritual" experiences staring into a whale's eyes and feeling their souls meld. My experience is a little bit different - I don't feel spiritual connections with wild animals, and I don't look into their eyes and see their souls. Instead, seeing a native Hawaiian animal reminds me of how easily lost these ecosystems are, and make me profoundly grateful to be able to see them as they now are.
I will never see a sea cow, or experience the oceans as they once were. This is one of the reasons why I have been waking up at am, feeling like my heart is being squeezed and twisted apart by a pair of fists. Melodramatic, I know. All of this personal angst actually relates to a big debate in ocean science education. This debate is about whether it is necessary to show people ocean animals to get them to care about those animals.
The argument is that people living far from the ocean never see whales, or dolphins, or sea slugs, or nudibranchs, and if they don't see them they can't possibly care about conserving them. I don't suppose I can definitively answer the first question. I have only been away from the ocean for about two weeks.
I wrote the beginning of this post several weeks ago, while I was still in Hawaii, but stopped I wanted to have the experience of living in a place that was far from the ocean before I continued. The city I am currently living in is further from the saltwater than anywhere I have lived for the past 12 years. Superficially, things are much the same. There is still a lot of beautiful nature, and wildlife, if I look for it I even saw a heron today! But there is no way to go down to the shore in the evening and peer through tide pools.
The closest I can get here is by visiting the tropical fish tank in my office, the Natural History Museum's Ocean Exhibit, or the animals at the National Zoo. In the wild, I can see some of the complex interaction between a sea star and its environment. There is a sense of place and community. It is like the difference between eating at a French restaurant and visiting Ypres. Even though I think seeing animals in the wild gives a more nuanced understanding of ocean creatures than seeing them in nature, I also think you can get that sense of place by learning about the ocean.
Stories about the lives of amazing sea creatures are what got me excited about the ocean before I lived anywhere near salt water. Which also answers my second question. I am interested in hearing about other people's stories.
What experience first got you interested in the ocean? October 14, By: Alexis Rudd.
Aa Aa Aa. If I move away from the ocean, will I stop caring about it? Did I ever care about the ocean before I lived near it? October 25, AM. Posted By: Sedeer el-Showk. Fantastic post! I don't have a particular interest in the ocean, but it's wonderful to sense your passion through your words.
And it makes me want to spend more time exploring tidal pools the next time I get a chance October 19, AM. Posted By: Sara Mynott. Lovely post Alexis!
In my experience, nothing helps understanding better than being able to come into contact with creatures themselves and experience the marine environment first hand. I am extremely grateful to all the lecturers that have taken the time to show me what's out there - even exploring rock pools alone fills me with wonder.
Living in central Europe has separated me from the sea and I rely on science papers, posts and programs to take me back. I can't remember what sparked my interest, but was fuelled by my parents' interest in the natural world and glimpses of the ocan and its inhabitants on TV - something I think still plays an important part in ocean education today. October 15, PM. Posted By: Alexis Rudd. Hey Cynthia! Thanks for sharing your memories.
I forgot to put mine in - I think my first memories of the ocean are of flying kites on the Oregon Coast, and collecting Sand dollars washed up on the shore. But it wasn't until I took a marine biology course in college that I started the be really fascinated by the interconnection of the oceans ecosystems. Posted By: Cynthia Tuthill. While I easily remember my first actual experiences with the ocean staring in awe at the wide blue expanse that reached all the way to China; sucking my breath in, squealing and thrilled, as the first wave hit my legs; feeling my toes sink in the sand as the wave receded; being brave enough to wade out and dunk my head under an on-coming wave; the incredible daring I believed it took to body surf - and the unbelievable sense of pride when I finally triedit's harder to remember how I felt before ever encounting the majesty itself.
I have far-off memories of stories -- my dad would go fishing for tuna, which he called albacore and brought home in cans, to be delightfully devoured; my parent's friends had a house on the beach where we would one day visit, to walk along the sand at sunset and look for shells and beach glass -- but I believe it was having the book "Blueberries for Sal" read to me as a young child which taught me a deep and abiding and visceral love for the ocean.
your Friend. Submit Cancel. September 15, Thanks for the good times! Here's Where To Find Shelter. August 09, What are coral atolls made of? December 03, Underwater nursing: how marine mammals feed the August 24, How can you yes, you! July 16, Runoff: How activities near and far from the oc April 05, Feeling Cold?
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