You may have noticed (for our few loyal readers–thank you) that we didn’t write anything last week. We intended to and as much as we like thinking and talking about travel, there are times when it just falls to the bottom of the list. (Shocking, I know.) Those times are now: school year ending (phew!) and new job for Steven. Plus, we had our two-day spring last weekend and we are back to dreary, rainy, cold. Sigh. Makes it difficult to envision the summer with the top down and a glorious road trip.

This way to New Zealand! We know plenty about the land that lies due West from here, but little to nothing about what lives in the ocean all along the way. Anybody wanna come explore? I bet the scenery down below is fantastic!!! Image courtesy of Chris German, INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2012 Expedition, NOAA-OER.
The Pacific

Nevertheless, I have a trip coming in a month and I think we have a road trip coming in July. Lots of BIG LIFE DECISIONS are up in the air, but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming of the ocean or the two that sandwich the U.S. and make up 50 percent of its surface area.

Image result for atlantic ocean
The Atlantic

This summer, I’m going coast-to-coast. Although I have been living in the Midwest for 15 years, I still think of myself as a coastal gal. First up will be the Pacific. I never understood it when people said oceans have character until I saw the Pacific for the first time as a teen. You probably can’t tell the difference from these pictures (or maybe you can and I’m just not that amazing), but even without landscape or even with my eyes closed, I can tell. It just feels so much bigger than the Atlantic. It is so much bigger than the Atlantic. “Now I know why it’s affectionately called The Pond,” I thought.

Related imageThe Pacific Ocean covers more than 60 million square miles–that’s about 30 percent of the Earth’s surface–making it the largest Earth ocean. I have no concept of how big that really is, I still struggle to visualize an acre, although I do know it takes a squirmingly long time to cross it in a plane. Not only is the Pacific the largest, but it’s also the deepest, averaging 13,000 feet; the Challenger Deep within the Marianas Trench sinks to a depth of more than 36,000 feet. Let your imagination take you there.

The Atlantic, the world’s second largest ocean, by contrast, is about 41 million square miles or about 20 percent of our planet’s surface. While still vast, and vastly deep (average depth almost 11,000 feet, deepest spot  more than 27,000 feet), the Atlantic–the ocean that I grew up going to–is familiar and comfortable. Plus a lot warmer and more inviting for immersing myself in. Even when I lived in San Diego, I would only dare go into the Pacific past my toes in August.

This bicoastal summer will be a joyous nostalgia trek for someone who has lived about 800 miles from the ocean for 15 years (although I do try to at least see the ocean every year or every other year). Even though I am having trouble focusing on summer travel, I am reveling in the meditative aspects of imagining the sounds, smells, sight, and rhythm of oceans.


2 thoughts on “Waterworld

  1. Sally Greenwood

    This was a nice comparison of ocean coasts; having been a Midwesterner the bulk of my life, I know little about each. I liked your explanation of their contrasts.

    As to our faux spring, I say this: Chicago has three seasons – Winter, Fall, and Summer with a tepid little ‘spring-let.’ It is ridiculous.


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