Ever since I was a little girl, I was always fascinated by “The Big Blue”. I dreamt of being a marine biologist…training Shamu, swimming with dolphins, and diving with great white sharks. That’s exactly what a marine biologist does on a daily basis, right!? Well, rather than following through with my underwater fantasies, my life took a much different path. I went to college in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, worked for a large corporate retailer, and ended up on a TV show called The Bachelor (some of that involved working with sharks, but a much different species than the ones from my childhood dreams). Even though my most recent years have been inundated with Excel spreadsheets and television cameras, my passion for the ocean has never gone astray.
Recently, someone asked me, “What is it that makes you so passionate about the ocean?” For me, that was a very simple question to answer. Think about when you travel to Hawaii, Mexico, or any other coastal spot for a vacation. You most likely take a picture of you and your travel companions with the ocean and sunset in the background, right? It’s the typical, beautiful backdrop, to sum up a relaxing vacation. After returning from that vacation, you probably look back at that picture and think about how pretty it was or what you ate for dinner that night or even that you might need to go on a diet soon. But when I look back at that picture, I think about the nearly unimaginable world that is living below that blue surface. I envision the opening credits of Finding Nemo, where we see a rainbow of colors, hundreds of species breathing and living in a world that I couldn’t ever physically live in. It’s like another planet that is so unfamiliar to all of us, yet we see it every single day. To think that the most dangerous, largest, and most oddly shaped creatures on our planet are all housed under the surface of something many of us take for granted is beyond belief to me.
So what is my point in all of this? With the outpouring of news in relation to the recent oil spill, my passion for our oceans has only grown. Even though my days consist of crunching numbers or giving interviews about finding love on TV, I still feel that I can spread the word and help, even if only a little, to bring light to the magnificent underwater world that is so sadly being destroyed as we speak. All it takes is a little bit of knowledge on how we live our day-to-day lives, and how that might affect all of the Nemos out there.
To me, the beauty of that vacation photo isn’t the ocean’s ripples, the perfect sunset, or even the people in the photo…it’s the mystery of what is living and breathing below that surface, at that given moment.