Pondering on (and in) Oceans

There is one area (actually there are many, many areas, but that is another story) where my education is sorely lacking.  I cannot understand why my K-12 schooling did not include the study of oceans.  I have spent the last week or so (and uncountable weeks over the decades) staring at waves, and I have questions. Lots of questions.  I do know, of course, that answering questions is the reason we have libraries and the internet (you thought it was just for cats?).  But oceans are really important, and after all, who really needs to learn Hamlet when you could learn oceans?

Starting small, there is the question of waves.  I sit on my camp stool with my coffee each morning when I am lucky enough to be at an ocean, watching the waves.  I did read sometime that waves break when the swells come near enough to the beach to touch bottom.  But you know, waves never stop coming and breaking, so what causes waves in the form of swells?  Wind at sea?  Hardly.  Whales?  I like that better.

So that brings on the matter of tides.  I love tides.  On the beach, when the tide is incoming, I sit there until the waves come right up to me.  Makes me feel a bit like a queen, beckoning her subjects to her presence.  I do not feel such power when the tide is ebbing, but that is life in a nutshell.  But anyway.  It really is a good thing we have a moon to stop the ocean from coming in continuously.  Staring at the waves breaking constantly, continuously, you have to believe that without the moon to control the tides, there would be no land.  How could mere rock hold up against that continous wear?  No way in this world.

However, moon control does not end the problem of tides.  Does the water in the ocean move back and forth between the continents like water in a bathtub?  When moon draws the water out here where I am, is it pushing that same water into land on the other side of the sea?  Or, does the water sort of flatten itself out as tides go in simultaneously on each side of the sea, then sort of scrunch up as the tides flow back?  You see my problem.

As I said, I could find the answers to these questions in some book or another.  However, that would ruin a lifetime of speculation, and what would I do in my retirement if I were not  thinking about these and other very serious mind-boggling questions?  Sometimes, it is best not to know what other thinkers think about what you are thinking about.  There would be no new theories, no new answers, if everyone thought the questions had already been answered!  And where would the fun be then?


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