The sounds of its waves sooth us, its beaches warm and cool us, the water can nourish or destroy us…the power of the sea is infinite.
For years I’ve been fascinated with underwater sea life, coral, sea turtles, and every living creature that fills the vast open space we call the ocean. As a kid, my dad used to take me out fishing, and though I was terrible at it – I lovedsitting on the dock with mom, swinging my feet over the sparkling waters.
It’s amazing how there are 500 million year old corals strewn less than 150 feet deep in the water. These reefs are vibrant underwater cities, a catacomb to over one hundred thousand different species of sea creatures.
Between 65 and 245 million years ago during the Mesozoic period, cyanobacteria was the oldest reef-building organism, and has been around for over 3.5 billion years. Unfortunately, near the end of that era, an inexplainable occurrence caused many of those reefs to vanish.
In order to survive, reef-building coral depend and feed off of zooxanthellae, a microscopic algae which requires sunlight to grow. The reefs are formed by hard corals, which take in calcium from the sea. The living organisms will live in the structures that are created by discharged limestone, and as they grow larger, the reefs expand.
These reefs are homes for 25 percent of all marine life such as jellyfish, sea anemones, sea turtles, clams, sea urchin, mollusks and so much more. The ocean’s chemistry has been changing due to warming temperatures, pollution (BP, you assholes), carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. All of which make it harder for coral to survive and flourish. Their preservation is vital to the balance of all life forms.
I remember swimming with sea turtles in Maui, and as I was photographing a particular little guy (above), he caught my eye and started swimming towards me. He was gigantic…and beautiful! I can’t wait to snorkel in Palau in the Philippines and explore the amazing Great Barrier reef in Australia. By the way, the Great Barrier reef is 2,000-kilometer (1,243-mile) long and can be seen from outer space. How exciting is that?! I know, I’m a nerd.
I’m often caught off guard by the beauty nature so often showers us with. It could be soft puppy ears, children’s laughter, the smell of cement after rain, fresh cut grass, or just simply swimming with jellyfish and sea turtles.
These are the moments I live for.