The allure of the ocean

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© HAWKEYE Nico Francois

By Rachel Davis, Op-Ed Editor

Something that can always lift my spirits no matter the day is a trip to the Seattle Aquarium. I love to watch all of the different fish being swept away by the flowing waters, the octopus hiding away in the corner of a tank and the seals who always seem to put on a show just for me. But, how accurately can we observe the lives of these creatures if they’re stuck in a glass tank? 

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been fascinated by sea creatures, and I often go to different beaches with my parents hoping to learn something by observing what washes up onto the shore. A lot of the time, I just observe dead crabs and pieces of squishy seaweed, but it was during one of these trips that I discovered those holes shooting water into the air were actually creatures living deep in the sand. I learned that some of the jellyfish that wash up are actually alive, and I once watched a live sand dollar float back into the waves. 

A lot of things are unknown about the sea, even after years of taking trips down into those salty waters. Due to the high pressures on the lower levels of the ocean, it’s difficult to navigate, and over 80% of the sea has yet to be explored.

With an area of 63.8 million square miles, for example, the Pacific covers almost half of the Earth’s water surface. The Pacific basin, which is the water area and islands in the Pacific, is divided into three regions: the eastern, western and central. These regions differ in location, depth and the relationships between land and water.

The best part is, we don’t have to go far at all to enjoy the mysteries of the ocean, because it is all around us. The state of Washington is surrounded by the largest oceanic section of the Earth, and it is full of creatures most of us have grown up hearing about. 

These creatures are what sparked my interest in the sea, as they are so similar, and yet so different, to those who live on the land. Like land animals, sea creatures vary greatly in size. For example, the California Grunion, a small fish, is distributed in the northeastern Pacific Ocean range from five to six inches in length, while the Swordfish found in tropical waters worldwide can measure up to 15 feet and weigh up to 1,400 pounds. 

Of course, these estimates are not necessarily the maximum or the standard; the largest Swordfish ever caught was 1,182 pounds. While this is a big fish, there is so much more of the ocean to still explore.

While technology has its limitations where the sea is concerned, it has helped us learn so much already. As we progress in our society and advance technology and research, I am optimistic that we’ll dive even deeper into the ocean.

What could be waiting to be found when we get there? What new things will we discover?

Personally, I’m hoping we find a strange ocean colony of different multicolored people living down there. Hopefully nothing that can harm the human race or take over the world as we know it, though.