Happy World Oceans Day!

Someone really needs to make a calendar highlighting the good “World days” of the year, because I have only just this second, at 5.34pm, discovered that today is World Oceans Day.

Octopus Japanese woodblock print
Image from Vintage Printable

So, happy World Oceans Day to you all!

I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned it, but I am a really keen diver. Before the arrival of the sproglet, I’d had a few excellent years spending large swathes of time out in Asia – a lot of it under the water. I even met my other half out in the Philippines while we were both taking part in a marine conservation programme. (AKA a good excuse to spend lots of time diving every day; looking at beautiful unspoilt coral, making friends with cuttlefish and checking out the progress of the cuttlefish eggs living in a bit of fire coral. Oh, and sunbathing on a beach surrounded by palm trees whenever you’re not diving. I know. It was tough…)

Sea anemones
Image from Clip Art etc

I’m not going to launch into a diatribe here about the importance of oceans or their degradation around the world, partly because this isn’t really the place for all that and partly because my brain is a little mushy and inarticulate after a day in the sun. (If you do want to read more about it, you can take a look at the main website: World Oceans Day.)

Had I actually found out about this in advance, and had a little preparation time, I would have definitely tried to make something in honour of the day. However, here we are, Saturday afternoon, it’s now 5.40pm, and I’ve got no Blue Peter here’s-one-I-prepared-earlier up my sleeve, so instead I’ll do what I always do when I want to celebrate something in a slightly half-arsed way: I’m going to share some nice vintage ocean pictures with you. Giving you a little view of some of my favourite under sea creatures along the way…

Firstly, the wonderful octopus. Is there anyone in the world ever who doesn’t like an octopus? I would always be seriously happy to spot one of these lovely creatures on a dive.

There are so many amazing octopus images it was hard to whittle them down. But whittle I did, to these two.

Octopus zoology plate
Image from the New York Public Library digital gallery

This octopus looks a little mean and scary. But I still love him.

Octopus cigarette case
Image from the New York Public Library digital archive

One thing I love even more than an octopus is a squid. I did a dive once in Borneo when I looked up and an entire school of about 20 squid had materialised from nowhere right around my head. It was an odd, very eerie experience, almost like a sci-fi film (or Doctor Who episode), these squid suddenly shimmering into view.

On a sad note, though, since discovering how awesome squid are under the water, I’ve stopped eating them above the water and desperately miss the delights of calamari if I’m on holiday somewhere exotic. Mmmm, I’m thinking of it right now and salivating: that lovely crispy little ring, the lemon, the salt. Slurp.

Squid vintage image
The odd looking squid. Image from Vintage Printable

Moving on, the only thing I love more than a squid is a cuttlefish. Boy, do I love cuttlefish. They are one of the absolute oddest creatures you’ve ever seen. Pleasingly, not that tasty either, in my opinion, so I don’t have to miss not eating them…

It’s surprisingly hard to find a good vintage picture of one though. Everything called “cuttlefish” tends to be a squid or an octopus. But I didn’t want to miss the wonderful cuttlefish out, so here is one from a cigarette pack.

Cuttlefish cigarette packet
Image from the New York Public Library digital gallery

Away from cephalopods, I think perhaps my favourite under sea creature is a puffer fish. I just want to pick them up and cuddle them. (Don’t worry, I don’t…)

It’s number five in this incredible set of illustrations, though, it has to be said, this isn’t amazingly accurate.

vintage fish illustration
Image from the New York Public Library digital gallery

Are you getting bored yet? Okay, then, just one more creature for you. The amazing sea horse. So tiny! So cute! So free from gender stereotyping!

This little illustration was without doubt the most adorable I found:

Vintage seahorse image
Image from Vintage Printable

Ah, such wonderful things under the sea. And I haven’t even included dugongs or whale sharks or christmas tree worms…

But until the next time I can zip on a wetsuit – and it will likely be a good few years – I’ve been making good use of all the aquariums I can get to. The sproglet will recognise a weedy sea dragon from a hundred yards before he knows what a cow is, I suspect.

Related articles:

  • Like a vintage image as much as I do? I’ve collected together some of wolves and some of gardening.
  • And having said that you might not know I’m a diver, I’ve realised that quite a lot of my projects have some nautical theme, so you probably weren’t that surprised at the revelation. A lot of my second batch of fabrics were sea-related. My octopus love snuck into some of my printed T-shirts. My screen printed F is for fish had, erm, a fish in it. And, of course, I thought it was a good idea to make a lobster necklace, so that was probably a pretty big clue to my under sea obsession.

2 thoughts on “Happy World Oceans Day!

  1. One of my favourite blogs so far…but that might have something to do with who I’m related to!!! I’m with you on the love of cuttlefish….I could watch them for hours. I too wasn’t aware that it was World Oceans Day so thank you for enlightening me.

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