The Ocean

March 10, 2008
By Katelyn Sims, Spokane, WA

I love the ocean. Everything about it; the feeling of sand between your toes, the sound of seagulls crying, and most of all the smell. When you breathe in the air, you can almost taste the salt while the distinct smell of seaweed permeates your nose. Amidst the beauty and calming affect it has, there’s only one problem I can find with the ocean. It’s terrifying. The idea of plunging myself into the open water doesn’t sound too appealing; it sounds more like a death sentence to me.

Snorkeling would be a very fun, leisurely activity. You hover over coral reefs swarmed with little clown fish zipping around; the sea anemones bobble like jello in the swirling water and your tucked away in the ocean “safety zone.” However, it’s that deep, dark abyss that terrifies me. Massive marine creatures inhibit those waters, and I’m not too eager to join in. I’m well aware that whale attacks are rare, but ever since my whale watching experience in Alaska, my whole perspective on those once big and harmless creatures changed quite drastically. It only amplified my fear of swimming in open ocean water; exposing my body to every massive marine creature in existence.

It was a windy day, the tail of each whale I saw was the size of my car, and the captain of the boat, some crazed Ahab mimic, hung off the side pointing and yelling, “There she blows!” Oh, and I got sea sick. Not a pleasurable experience. Oddly, I enjoy going out into the deep ocean in a boat. It’s fascinating to me. Of course, my eyes remain glued to that black, sloppy surface of death, but I still find it interesting…. Well, after sitting in a boat for six hours while my dad catches various salt water fish, I have to find ways to keep myself somewhat entertained. I just kind of stare into the open stretch of ocean, conjuring some kind of image of what the megaladon, the massive prehistoric shark, may have looked like and obsess over its monstrosity. Sometimes I tip my head over the side of the boat and splash the water with my fingers, dwelling over my contradictory feelings of the ocean and try to persuade myself into thinking I can become fearless of it… until I come to my senses and realize I can never overcome that fear.

Ironically, as a ten year old, my career plan was to attend the University of Washington and become a Marine Biologist. Ha, ha! Maybe I can still pursue Marine Biology if they let me stick to the tide pools handling crabs and starfish. But then you have to worry about the abnormal, rare crabs that have massive pinchers and come skittering out of nowhere and you can’t help but picture them pinching your finger off…possibly your whole hand. Maybe I’ll just stick to being a dentist. Then I can enjoy the ocean from the beach.

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