June 8th is World Ocean Day

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.                     Loren Eiseley – The Immense Journey

Some of my most profound memories come from my times at sea. Watching dolphins leaving ethereal trails as they swam through a bioluminescent layer in the North Atlantic. Standing on a headland in Newfoundland and seeing a Minke Whale

charge, roll, twist and swallow a school of Capelin in one mouthful. Witnessing a class at sea as flying fish leapt from the water, and the instructor talking about the fish’s adaptation to avoid predators only to have a flock of Magnificent Frigatebirds dive down and catch the fish while they were still in mid-air.

My life and work have given me the opportunity to see icebergs roll-over in the Labrador Sea, hand-lined for cod in the Bay of Fundy, experience the intense stillness of the Sargasso Sea, recorded the songs of Humpbacked Whales in their calving areas, be mesmerized by the grace of Blue Sharks as they swam between me and the surface, and study the life ways and life cycles of pelagic birds.

This is not to say that the ocean experiences have always been kind or a friend. There have been oil spills, fish kills, harmful algae blooms, vessel strikes on marine mammals, fisheries bycatch and mass stranding events. Not to mention white squalls, storms, winds, soaking rains, waterspouts, hurricanes, storm-surges, damaged ships, fog and high seas. I know and understand why ship captains built there homes on high ground and inland. The ocean is also the final resting place for several friends, family and acquaintances: some by choice and others because the sea decided it was their time.

The ocean reminds us that we are mere humans and should have more humility than hubris. The Ocean deserves the respect that we tend not to give it. Perhaps we will learn from our folly. But the least we can do is take one day a year and reflect upon its majesty and capability.