What does the ocean mean to me?

Immediately my mind jumps straight to Cula Bay, Benbecula. My beach, well I say mine, it’s for everyone but its where I spent my whole childhood and this summer I’ll be taking my own baby boy there for the very first time and I can’t wait. If I close my eyes I can feel the sand under my toes and the sun on my face, the dark stormy days of winter and the sound of the crashing waves as the Atlantic Ocean comes battering down on the shore. It’s not a big beach, it is remote and it’s beautiful. I suppose this is where my love affair with Marine Biology began, this beach and the movie Free Willy!

Cula Bay, Benbecula

I think it was fairly inevitable that I would end up working in the marine sector. From an early age I have been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time at sea. Being the only daughter of a fisherman and therefore cheap and easy labour, my dad had me out on the boat as much as possible. It was great fun as a child and it wasn’t until I had finished my degree that I appreciated how scientifically my father approached his work.

Dad and his wee boat, Loch Carnan South Uist.

Now fast forward to 2017 I am a Research Technician within Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton. Over the years I have worked on a variety of different projects which have ranged from deep-sea research to rocky shore ecology. At the moment my work is mainly focused on Limpets. I have had the pleasure of seeing the sea virtually every day of my life, I grew up on Benbecula in the Western Isles, moved to Aberdeen for University and then settled here in the South Coast. For me the ocean is everything, my heritage, my livelihood and our very existence. I cannot begin to explain how much it means to me with three photographs. I hope you enjoy the MOOC and I look forward to being one of the facilitators.

Me photographing barnacles on the Isle of Man.

 

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