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meeting the oceanMy love for the seas and the oceans grew from an early life spent on the beaches of Crete, where my parents introduced me to the magic of the Mediterranean before I could even talk. In fact I probably swam before I walked. (Note to self: ask your mother for confirmation…)

me beachI smiled and laughed through days of play on the sand, on the shores of my friend Med, growing golden skinned and fearless of waves and sea creatures. I spent most of my swimming time under water and, rather than following the shore line, I always swam straight out, heading for the horizon and adventures in the deepest deep blue, enjoying the feeling of the water getting colder as it got deeper and knowing I could float on my back and take a break if I needed to, looking up at the sky and the sun and giving myself to the strength and gentleness of the water’s hold.

me and flippersAs I became older and more fast and fearless, flippers helped me to speed along and dive down to the bottom even quicker. I spent so much time gliding along the surface looking at the wonders beneath that I burnt my back countless times and had to swim with a tee-shirt on for protection.

diveBut you don’t need flippers when you dive off a rock, and this rock was the best diving rock on Crete!

Zoe the mermaidIn fact I loved the oceans and the seas so much I wondered if I was really part mermaid. I shared this thought with friends well into my teenage years (no, I still haven’t ‘grown out of it’), one of whom decided to find proof for me once and for all, that mermaids did exist…so she made herself look like one and got her boyfriend to take a photo!

snowy beachAnd this is where I now live. In the north of Scotland, near the Moray Firth which connects to the North Sea and is home to dolphins and seals, which you can sometimes be lucky enough to see from the shore. I took this photo the other day because I’d been inspired to visit the beach for a specific reason by a young man who loves the oceans at least as much as I do, if not more, and that’s a big compliment to you Ryan!

I originally read about Ryan here


and was moved to answer his dedication with a little action of my own. Time for a bit of beach clean up…

cigarette packet in the snowThe bag filled quickly in the time I had with everything from the usual cigarette packets and rusting drinks cans to discarded clothing and broken balloons.

bin bagLadies and Gentleman, love is a verb. If you love the oceans – what are you going to do about it? It’s easy enough to tut tut and ask, ‘Why do those lazy irresponsible people drop litter that pollutes the oceans and harms wildlife?’ Why not ask, ‘Why don’t I take time to pick up that litter that pollutes the oceans and harms wildlife?’ I don’t have a bag/gloves/time – then get a bag and find some gloves if you need them and make some time!

I’m 35 now, and when I revisit one of my favourite places in Crete, which I won’t name here, I am as much filled with sadness as the familiar love. The water has an ugly sheen from the oil and waste of the boat busy harbour, and I have to swim further and further out to sea before it feels clean again. It was pristine when I arrived as a child. It’s simple really. If I want other children to be able to enjoy the oceans as much as I did then, and still do as an adult, then I have to do more than just wish it. Love is a verb – let’s take action!