In the air

Today is World Ocean Day (why do we need all those special days by the way). As I already wrote about the problems of plastic in the ocean, I’ll take this opportunity to write about the beauty of the oceans. While sailing through the tropics, the number of birds dropped dramatically. A long day on deck would only result in a few sightings of birds, most of them far away. Some marine mammals were seen, but they were often not photographable either.

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Flying Squid

There was a new category, however, that made life interesting: flying fish! While most fish are found in the water, this group manages to get out of the water and fly. Their little fins have turned into small wings and with their tail they can make some speed, sometimes flying tens of meters. They use this ability to avoid predators (or, in our case, ships). Their presence made it much fun to stand on the bow, looking out over the water, hoping for schools of fish to get airborne.

But it did even get more interesting. Suddenly something jumped out of the water that looked a bit different. It didn’t fly as far as the fish did and it didn’t have a tail to propel themselves with. Looking on the photos, it turned out they were flying squid! Until a few days before I had taken this picture, I didn’t even know they existed and until two minutes before this picture, I had never seen any.

Even though the open ocean is by far the largest ecosystem of our planet (covering well over 50% of our Earth’s surface), there are still many things that we don’t know. This makes these prolonged stretches at sea very interesting.

Oh, and for those who are wondering: the squid is flying away from the camera.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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