Many people say there are a million reasons to love the Ocean. As someone who’s spent their entire life by the sea, I can easily see how that could be true. The Ocean has a way of enchanting us, capturing our imagination and intriguing us with mysteries of the unexplored. As a child, the Ocean meant hours of fun at the beach with my family, exploring the rockpools, jumping through the waves with our family dog, and attempting to balance as many people as possible on some sort of floatation device without toppling over into the water! Happy memories like those mean that for me, the Ocean provides a sense of nostalgia and a feeling of belonging and home.

Spending so much time around the water made me want to learn more about the marine environment and the animals that live there. Finding out about the diversity of marine life, the importance of the Ocean for the health of the entire planet, and that there is so much more out there still to be discovered fascinated me. The more I learnt, the more reasons I discovered to love the Ocean.

But for me, the main reason doesn’t involve the amazing animals, the breath-taking scenery, or even the feeling of child-like freedom that comes from gliding through the water. Why do I love the Ocean? Because it connects me to the people I love.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world and meet some amazing people along the way. In 2015, I spent a year studying abroad in South Carolina. I lived in a coastal town 3,000 miles away from my home in Plymouth. As a 20 year old, with no friends or family in the area, it would’ve been easy to feel isolated and distant – but I never did. I found great comfort knowing that the Ocean I was looking at every day was the same that my family and friends were experiencing at home. It made me feel closer to them.

Four years later, and back in Plymouth, I still feel the same way. With loved ones all over the world, including my fiancé who currently lives in the USA, I’m grateful for that feeling of global connectedness, the feeling of closeness despite physical distance. My partner might not live by the sea, but the Ocean still connects us. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, you experience the water of the Ocean every day. All water is connected; rivers, lakes, the sea – it’s all the same water, cycling around the Earth, connecting us all. Many people say there are a million reasons to love the Ocean, but to me, there are 7.7 billion.

Emily Carter