An Ode To The Unfettered Sea

You plunge with joy into this image of your own:
You hug it with your eyes and arms; your heart
Forgets for a time its noisy beat, becomes a part
Of a greater, more savage and less tameable moan.

– “Man and the Sea”, Charles Baudelaire

Justine Leonhardt. 2007. JPEG. Vancouver Island.

From the sea and coral life of the Great Barrier Reef to the rocky abyss of the Grand Canyon, there are natural wonders of the world that are breathtaking and awe inspiring; beautiful sights that we can see and touch, that perplex and mystify. While a mountain’s peaks and valleys can be observed, traversed on foot with the path of the journey marked, the ocean is different, the whole of its accrued experience lying beneath its surface, to be washed away with no markers left behind.

In the deepest of its deeps, the floor of the ocean drops nearly seven miles from the teeming surface to its lowest point, a scar on the earth known as the Mariana Trench
that stretches for nearly 1500 miles. While the Challenger Deep scaled the area in 1960, Nereus in 2009 and the Deepsea Challenger in 2012, the water pressure at its bottom is far too great for a human diver to plunge to its depths unaided. The sea’s deepest point remains inaccessible to us.

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