It’s hard to ignore everything we hear about the ocean, especially since it’s mostly doom and gloom. We’re dealing with unfathomable amounts of plastic pollution and reduction in biodiversity which we need to address immediately.

But, on May 10th 2019, it’s Mother Ocean Day, founded by South Florida Kayak Fishing Club. It’s a day to celebrate the wonders of Earth’s oceans, so in true Mother Ocean Day spirit, we’re looking at all the weird and wonderful facts the oceans have to offer.

The lungs of the world

In school, a lot of us were taught that rainforests were the lungs of the Earth. They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, allowing animals to breathe. While this is true, many people don’t realise that the oceans contribute between 50 and 58% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere.

This specifically comes from phytoplankton in the water, including green algae, silica-encased diatoms, and dinoflagellates. Ocean waters absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and plants use this in photosynthesis, producing oxygen.

A whole new world

Humans have changed 77% of land to suit our needs. But, in only 20 countries, there remains some unexplored wilderness. The top five alone contain over 70% of the world’s wilderness:

  • Russia

  • Canada

  • Australia

  • United States

  • Brazil

It makes sense that these are also some of the biggest countries. So it’s hardly surprising that the ocean - which contains 97% of the earth’s water and covers 71% of the earth’s surface - remains mostly unexplored. In fact, 99% of the ocean floor remains uncharted. And, as the ocean makes up 99% of all living space on the planet, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that there could be hundreds of undiscovered species and life forms beyond our imagination.

Everest who?

Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth. Reaching the top of it is something few people will ever attempt and even fewer will do successfully. It stands at 29,029ft (8,848m). Even with its current colossal height, Everest grows about half an inch each year. This is because it’s a fold mountain, formed as the Indian and Eurasian plates collide.

If you think that’s impressive, let’s talk about the Mariana Trench. The Challenger Deep, in the southern end of the Mariana Trench, is the deepest spot in the ocean at a depth of 36,070ft. Scientists measured this using sound pulses in a 2010 survey by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This means that the deepest part of the ocean is 7,044ft deeper than Everest is tall. Then there’s also the Mid-Ocean Ridge - Earth’s longest chain of mountains - which is completely submerged in the ocean.

Anything land can do, I can do better

It’s possible to find rivers and lakes beneath the ocean. They aren’t just limited to land. It’s because of the combination of salt water and hydrogen sulphide which becomes denser than the rest of the water around it. It falls lower and forms a lake or a river beneath the ocean. In the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, you can find a secret underwater river called Cenote Angelita. Divers can swim along with this underwater spectacle, complete with fallen trees and leaves on its shore.

While it’s important we change the way we live to protect our oceans, it’s nice to take a step back to appreciate how magnificent our natural world is. As swimmers, we have a unique connection with the water, whether in a pool or as open water swimmers. We rely on the oceans just as much as the marine life who call it their home, so let’s show some appreciation this Mother Ocean Day!

At Maru we aim to make swimming better by designing beautiful, vibrant swimwear for all athletes, helping you stand out from the crowd. We also try to reduce our impact on the world’s oceans by using life-saving ECONYLⓇ yarn in some of our costumes. If you want to be a part of this change, head over to our website to take a look!