There's only one right way to start: with a "thank you" to all of those who have given me the experiences that I now seem to think are worth writing about. My family comes first, undoubtedly, but there are countless friends as well whom I owe a tremendous amount. So thanks!
The ocean comes next. Its beauty and power have enthralled me for as long as I can remember. I know I'm not the first person to write these words and I certainly won't be the last, yet I still believe they are worth repeating. The ocean provides a tremendous amount to quite a few people in countless different ways. For me, the ocean provides a playground for just about everything I do: from study through recreation. I work and play as an oceanographer, specifically a chemical oceanographer (more on that eventually...). My favorite activities are naturally-powered water sports: surfing, sailing, swimming, rowing, windsurfing, surf kayaking, and I'll count cycling and running as well, since I'd far prefer to do them near the water.
If I'm only able to accomplish two things in my life, I think I'd choose (1) to be the best friend and family member possible and (2) to understand better and to introduce others to this aquatic magnetism that I feel. I believe the roots of our attraction come from psychological reasons—the ocean is power to behold, a source of curiosity, a fountain of calmness, an entity to be conquered, a place of solitude—as well as many more pragmatic reasons—it provides half of our oxygen, a huge fraction of our protein, a means of travel (for just about everything, not just humans)...
Written July 2012