Vast, powerful, beautiful, mysterious. For as essential as the oceans are to our lives and well-being, we know relatively little about them. In fact, we have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of the oceans’ floors. While half of the world’s population lives within 40 miles of a coast, the rest of us need the oceans for climate regulation, transportation, food, fun, and even medicine.
In honor of World Oceans Month, founded in 2002, Instagram users are posting their favorite aquatic photos with the hashtag #NatGeoOceansDay. See some of our favourites below. Dive in!
Photo by @BrianSkerry Today, on World Oceans Day, I hope you will give some thought to how important Earth’s oceans are to your life. As terrestrial beings, it’s understandable that we often see our world from a land-centric perspective. But Earth is largely a water world, where nearly three quarters of its surface shimmers and pulses with tides. Perhaps even more noteworthy is that 98 percent of Earth’s biosphere, the place where life can exist, is water as well. When we consider that every other breath that human being take, more than 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe, comes from the sea it becomes clear that the ocean is vital to our very existence. The ocean generates weather, provides us with food and recreation and innumerable goods reach us every day by ships traveling over seas. Yet for too long the ocean has been seen as limitless and “too big to fail.” But this is not true and today she suffers from many assaults. But it is not too late! We can create more marine protected areas, give wild fish stocks a break, end single-use plastics and do so much more to help the ocean heal. This photo that I made shows a diver encountering a Southern Right Whale in the sub-Antarctic of New Zealand. These whales had never seen humans before and were highly curious and friendly. Perhaps this is as it was with many sea creatures long ago. And maybe its how things can be again… Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has joined forces with the National Geographic Society to support their Pristine Seas Expeditions with #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #WorldOceansDay #NatGeoOceansDay #whales #newzealand #explore
#NatGeoOceansDay Takeover (5/6) Photograph by @andy_mann // About 200 miles off the coast of Western Sahara, Africa, is a sea mount (a reef that rises vertically from 200 feet to 10 feet). And there, we found a wave unlike any other any of us has ever seen, rising like a sea monster and throwing its weight around. The wave would only happen every few hours, randomly and without a swell for warning. It was a perfect example of the artist that is the ocean. Between waves, we explored the reef to find it teeming with sea life. A beautiful spot, both above and below, never to be found on a map. Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has joined forces with the National Geographic Society to support their Pristine Seas Expeditions with #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums
A curious young Galápagos sea lion approaches expedition leader Enric Sala's camera in the waters of Santa Cruz Island in the iconic Galápagos archipelago, where the @NatGeoPristineSeas team carried out a scientific expedition last December. The waters in the Galapagos now contain a 40,000 square kilometer marine sanctuary that protects all marine species from fishing and other human activities. Thank you to our @natgeopristineseas partner Davidoff Cool Water. Photo by @enricsala #NatGeoOceansDay #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums #pristineseas #conservation #exploration #Galapagos #WorldOceansDay
Photo by @BrianSkerry A diver explores a deep water mangrove at the edge of a lagoon in Belize. This region lies within the Mesoamerican Reef, a series of interconnected ecosystems each of which is dependent on each other. Habitats such as mangroves, coral reefs and sea grass beds are all linked together and provide a home to a wide variety of wildlife. Damage to any one place will negatively effect another. Exploring in this lagoon a diver can find juvenal animals like baby fish and seahorses and even larger animals like saltwater crocodiles. Rich biodiversity in the sea provides tremendous benefits to the entire planet and healthy coastal habitats like mangroves and lagoons provide a barrier against storm damage. Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has joined forces with the National Geographic Society to support their Pristine Seas Expeditions with #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums #Mesoamericanreef @thephotosociety @natgeocreative #WorldOceansDay #NatGeoOceansDay #belize #mangroves #divers #explore #biodiversity
Photo by @DavidDoubilet A southern stingray glides across a perfect ocean stage of textured sand, ultra clear water and clouds in North Sound Grand Cayman Island. I began photographing this population of stingrays when there were 7 stingrays and each had a name. The small group of rays appeared daily where the fishing boats processed their catch. Divers began to swim with the rays and quickly learned they were gentle curious creatures. @natgeo Magazine published the story of stingrays and people began to arrive in the Cayman Islands to swim with and learn about the rays. Over the years more rays appeared each day and so did more people: hundreds of snorkelers, divers and cruise ship tourists come to North Sound every day to meet the stingrays who now number a few hundred. North Sound has become one of the most popular ocean destinations on the planet and southern stingrays have become ocean ambassadors greeting people in the sea and hoping for a small morsel of squid. In the late afternoon the rays begin to disappear to do stingray things or bury themselves in the sand for a rest. Imagery and storytelling created a desire for a personal experience encounter in the sea. Now the rays and other sea life is protected and contributing to the Cayman economy and environment and visitors leave with a better understanding of the fragile and finite nature of the oceans. Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has joined forces with the National Geographic Society to support their Pristine Seas Expeditions with #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums #WorldOceansDay #Ocean #Stingray #Beauty #Clouds #CaymanIslands #MoreOcean #NatGeoOceansDay
Photo by @arni_coraldo // Common Dolphins swimming off the bow of our vessel en route from Ensenada to Guadalupe Island off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has joined forces with the National Geographic Society to support their Pristine Seas Expeditions with #NatGeoOceansDay #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums
Running of the Sardines | Photograph by Geo Cloete @Geo_Cloete "The Sardine Run along the East coast of South Africa had been described as the one of the biggest natural spectacles. And its easy to understand why once you have been there and have seen the ocean so full of life. Over fishing and especially illegal fish have negatively impacted the Run over the last few years. This situation needs to be fixed asap for the vast importance it plays in the marine ecological system." In celebration of World Oceans Day we're showcasing 10 of our favorite photos from the Pristine Seas @natgeopristineseas story on Your Shot. See all 30 photos from the story at the link in profile. Show your love for the underwater world by tagging your photos with #natgeooceansday. Since 2012, DAVIDOFF Cool Water has joined forces with the National Geographic Society to support the Pristine Seas Expeditions with #LoveTheOcean @davidoffparfums #pristineseas #worldoceansday #enricsala #southafrica #sardines #underwaterbuffet #marine #underwater #ecosystem