13 Ways to Celebrate the Ocean

If you think the ocean is “just” for swimming or fishing, you’re wrong. In honor of World Oceans Day, here are 13 other ways to enjoy the deep blue, some of which you may never have thought of.

Meditate or do downward dog – Spread a towel on the sand that’s big enough to accommodate your yoga mat. Then let the waves be your soundtrack as you practice your asanas and pose your way to inner peace. Best done at sunrise, in the cooler early morning hours, or at sunset.

Go sailing or learn to sail yourself – You can sail across the ocean or just along its shores. Learn to steer the ship, trim the sails, “come about” and read the wind. If you drop anchor to swim, snorkel or dive, just be sure to avoid any coral that might be out of sight but below your boat. Coral is highly endangered and can be easily damaged by a steel anchor.

Sea kayakSea kayaking is a great way to get up close and personal with marine animals and shore birds without causing much disturbance. You can loll in flat water, but also surf waves and paddle around coastal islands. Sea kayaks come in a variety of sizes. Some are designed for just one person plus gear; others carry two. Some are longer with space inside to accommodate camping gear. Some are narrow with v-shaped bottoms that enable a paddler to twist and turn. The basic paddling stroke is driven from the torso and the shoulder. If your arms are tired you need to check your form!

Paddleboard - Paddleboards come in all shapes and sizes. It’s generally much thicker than your average surfboard, and may be wider, which is good if you’re a beginner and need to practice balance and stability. The paddle is attached to a long pole that you push and pull through the water to get forward motion and to help steer the board. Like a kayak, a paddleboard is great for accessing flat water or moving into marshes and coastal areas to take a closer look. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you get started.

Take a glass bottom boat tour – These tours will motor slowly over the ocean floor at relatively shallow depths so you can see the fish, and possibly turtles, starfish and other marine life. They’re a good alternative for people who might be uncomfortable snorkeling or diving, or for parents with small children.

Snorkel – All you need is a mask that doesn’t leak, fins and a snorkel. You can also wear a life vest for buoyancy if you don’t plan to do any diving. But diving is a great way to get closer to some fish and reefs, so give it a try at least once. Just remember to hold your mask when you dive so it doesn’t come loose.

Scuba dive – The beauty of scuba diving is that it can get you far below the surface of the ocean and a lot closer to some of the amazing wildlife that never break a wave. You can take preliminary and easy diving lessons at many resorts around the world, or get certified by PADI so you can dive in more challenging locals. I got PADI certified in graduate school in Michigan and actually did my qualifying dives in a deep lake there. But since then, I’ve been diving in the Galapagos, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Red Sea, off the coast of Bali and in the Great Barrier Reef. I highly recommend it.

Go whale watching – There are whales in every ocean. Sometimes, they’re easiest to spot when they’re migrating, like the California grey whales do down the Pacific coast of the U.S. from Alaska to Baja, California and back. Other times, you can see them in the habitat where they live year round. Make sure your boat doesn’t harass the whales, but keeps a safe distance, both for your well-being and that of the whales. Or, just sit on the beach and watch them breach, like you can if you go to Baja, California in February and March, grey whales arrive in Magdalena Bay to give birth.

Learn to surf – Almost any place there are waves big enough to surf, there are surfers. Unless you have natural balance and know how to read waves, it’s probably a good idea to take a few lessons. It can be hard to stand up on the board and stay standing, even in pretty low-key waves. But as they say, when you catch a wave, it’s pretty cool!

Go body boarding or body surfing – If a full-length surfboard is too intimidating, try a half-size body board. It’ll be about 30 inches long so you can rest your torso on it and is just wide enough for you to wrap your arms around. You wouldn’t use this for big waves, but a body board is perfect for riding smaller waves closer to the shore. You can also forget the board altogether and just ride a wave in by straightening out your arms and legs and catching the wave right before it breaks.

Windsurf – Attach a sail to a surfboard and voila. Windsurfing is born. The two challenges with windsurfing are pulling the sail up so it is perpendicular to the board and then knowing how to move the sail in the wind. I’m very good at windsurfing when the wind is at my back, but having to tack back against the wind? Not so much.

Try kiteboarding – Think snowboarding but in the ocean, and propelled, not by a downward slope, but by a taut kite that pulls you across the water and up into the air. Wear a harness that’s attached to the kite and use a board to stand on. Here’s the video showing how it works.

Related:
This Man Built a Kayak for His Dogs
This Couple Sold Everything and Travels the World Sailing

 

 

258 comments

Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

TY

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

enjoy in safety

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

listen and smell

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

pick up your litter

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara3 months ago

th

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

Thanks for posting.

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Hannah K
Hannah K3 months ago

Thank you

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Ellen J
E Away J3 months ago

Sitting and watching the ocean works for me as does walking on the shoreline.

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JoAnn P
JoAnn Paris3 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Carole R
Carole R3 months ago

I just love to sit on the beach and watch the waves come in and go out. It’s very peaceful and relaxing and you can appreciate the wonder of nature.

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