Grab hold of your beach blanket because that might be the safest place to spend the rest of your summer. Despite the heat wave and the mind-blowing humidity, there are millions of reasons not to get into the ocean this year or even ever again, for that matter. Of those reasons, eight million of them are garbage and the rest are even more horrific. From life sucking squid to unfathomable archaeological finds, from the disgusting to the bloodcurdling, to just downright bizarre instances, we now present you with some unarguable accounts that prove that the ocean is not only unlivable for humans, but it’s also a place you shouldn’t really be swimming in- at least, not if you can help it.
What’s that you say? It’s a scorching 98° and the shimmering waves are crashing against the shoreline seducing you, almost as if calling you by name? What if we told you that’s all part of the plan? The ocean is smarter than you, grander than you, and way more mysterious than you’ve been told. What we do know about it can be pretty scary but it’s what we don’t know about it that can get you killed, or worse, mutilated and spit back out into the world. Whether you’re simply wading in up to your knees or you’re diving out past the buoys you’re taking a bigger risk than you might realize. Even on a cruise line, the ocean is a force to be reckoned with. Still curious enough to ride the wave? Well before you do, pay attention to the warnings, or rather, the facts below.
16. It’s Alive
When on land, you might not give much thought to the fact that everything you walk past, beneath, and over is alive- be it a tree, a patch of grass, a bush, or a bushy-tailed squirrel. The reason you don’t have to think about that is because humans have been on land for a while and we’ve got a pretty good idea about what does and doesn’t pose a danger.
But here’s the catch. Everything in the ocean is alive, too. The reefs and the rocks and the shells you’re stepping on, and just because something looks like a clam doesn’t mean it won’t bite you like a shark. Furthermore, the floor of the ocean is every bit as alive as the reefs are, and like most living creatures it has to eat to survive.
15. It’s In Disguise
The ocean is crawling with predators that look like something they’re not. For example, the stonefish pictured above is a statuesque being who likes to hang out in the shallow end (you know where you like to hang out), but he isn’t a stone at all. In reality, the stonefish is the most poisonous known fish on the planet. His bite can be fatal or cause paralysis and you won’t even know what hit you until three hours after the sting. But here’s some food for thought. What if the barrier reef, the enormous looming structure they can spot from space, is actually a great big wall of stone fish? Sounds ridiculous at first but so did giant squid and they turned out to be very, very real.
For all we know, the ocean itself is a great, flesh-eating monster in disguise that has been waiting for millions of years for all of the humans on Earth to jump inside it simultaneously and become lunch. We’ll get to what scientists really know about the ocean (which is nothing) later down the line. For now, just bear in mind the fact that, when you wade into the water, your feet are brushing over billions of living, breathing creatures with teeth and hooks and claws for brains and you’ve only just dipped in your toe.
14. If You Disappear You’ll Never Be Heard From Again
Things disappear in the ocean all the time. Keys, sunglasses, submarines, airplanes, cities, and of course people. Not that many people though, right? Wrong. So many people disappear at sea that there is an entire association dedicated to the phenomenon. They’re called the International Cruise Victims Association and they claim that at least 165 people have reportedly “just disappeared” in the ocean over the past 20 years. Before the establishment of this cruise victims unit, multiple ships were vanishing annually without a trace and even more bewildering were the instances in which it is suspected that passengers were simply thrown overboard for reasons unknown. This leads us into the next terrifying fact.
13. You’re Swimming With The Dead
Whether you take into account the missing or you simply choose to count the buried, understand that the ocean is brimming with dead bodies. Many an ancient burial ground has been sunk by the sea either intentionally or unintentionally. Astoundingly, the ocean contains more human remains than all of the museums on Earth put together. During an excavation near the Yucatan Peninsula, scientists uncovered a 10, 500-year-old skeleton and nobody blinked an eye because it’s such a common find within the oceanographic community. Underwater graveyards are even creepier than they sound. Skeletal remains attract bottom feeding scavengers who lay millions of eggs on the carcasses beneath the ocean blue. This is a dark place that feeds on the living and the dead in a haunting, disturbing manner. If the ocean’s not the most horrific place on the planet then answer this question…
12. What Is This 59-Foot-Long Cannibal Squid Doing Down Here?
Squid are some pretty scary suckers (sorry for the pun). For starters, these tentacle clad carnivores come in super-size but also, they’re so vicious they will eat anything—even each other. The giant squid is quite elusive. Until about ten years ago, it was thought to be a fictional character either deriving from human imagination or a species that was already extinct. The first giant squid spotting that was caught on camera happened in Japan in 2004. But don’t worry. Carcasses of these colossal beasts have been found in every ocean in the world, so it’s safe to say there’s at least one of these in the ocean you’re wading into right this second. In case you were wondering, the eye of a giant squid is about the same size as that beach ball you’re tossing around in the waves. Here’s looking at you, kid.
11. There’s Something Swimming Beside You – It’s A Staph Infection
Do you have any idea how many illness-causing bacteria are swimming around in the ocean with you? Well, here’s a comforting thought – scientists don’t know either. What they do know is that you can “catch” all of the following utterly disgusting communicable diseases from swimming in the ocean: MRSA, Hepatitis, Legionnaire’s Disease, Schistosome Cercarial Dermatitis (a rash that occurs when parasites inhabit human flesh- yay). While the bacteria alone is enough to send anyone screaming off the beaches, the cause for many bacteria is what should really have you thinking twice. Human waste, that is, everything ranging from infectious needles to oil spills to discarded plastic Pepsi bottles, is what’s been attracting all the bacteria in the first place.
10. Eight Million Tons Of Garbage Is What You’re Smelling
Picture this: you’re making your way to the beach in your car. Windows are down; grains of sand are gathered in tufts along the pavement. A sign on the roadside declares you’re within close proximity of your vacation spot but you already knew. You could smell it. The salt water and powdered sugar scent was wafting through the air but underneath it, there was also something faint, sour and foul. Of course, like many beach goers, you ignore that lingering odor and direct your attention to the delightful overtone of the scent, the way an artificial sweetener lover ignores the aftertaste left behind by a packet of Equal. Nevertheless, that faint drifting smell is still there, and it’s garbage. It’s tons of garbage. According to National Geographic, the floating debris is equivalent to about five grocery bags worth of trash per foot of coastline worldwide. No wonder the parasites are so eager to gather around.
9. Sea Creatures Of Lore Are Sometimes Real
Ancient maps are brimming with warnings of sea creatures that allegedly inhabit the ocean and recent excavations seem to support the theory that many of our ancestor’s tales weren’t so “tall” after all. The giant squid is only one example of a so called mythical creature that ended up being real. Other horrific sea monsters for which evidence leans toward their existence include mermaids and dragons.
Many of these creatures are thought to have existed in the prehistoric world, but what we’re missing is a point of extinction so bear in mind the fact that, just because we haven’t seen them in a while, doesn’t mean they aren’t still there.
8. The Shorthorn Fangtooth Fish Is Definitely Real
Sharks are pretty scary but at least you can see them. The shorthorn fangtooth fish, on the other hand, measures at half the size of the common fangtooth fish, meaning he’s only about nine centimeters long and most of his body is teeth- hence the name. These Dracula-like sea creatures are virtually uncrushable. Their tiny bodies are built to withstand approximately 500 times more water pressure than the human being. In other words, this is a pint-sized vampire in a suit of armor. You’ll never even see it coming. Notice though, that we mentioned that this fish is built to withstand the crushing pressure of the ocean. This implies something…
7. The Ocean Can Crush You To Death
Have you ever wanted to die like a soda can? Ever wondered what it might feel like to be squeezed and deflated? If this sounds like you, then by all means, dive right into the ocean and experience the force. Its current will shift you, its waters will move you, but it’s the compression that can kill you in the end. For every 10 meters descended in the ocean, the pressure increases by 14.5 psi. If you can envision what it might be like to collapse under the weight of 50 jumbo jets then you have a good idea of what it would be like to die in the depths of the deep blue.
6. Not Only Are The Waters Infested With Bacteria, They’re Also Haunted By Goblin Sharks
The goblin shark derives from a long line of deep-sea predators and its ancestors date back to prehistoric times. Known for its spooky detachable jaw and ability to sense prey based on the excretion of electric fields, this rare but deadly swimmer likes to ambush and then suck in its prey like a vacuum, protruding its unmistakable jaw and going in for the kill. So what could be scarier than a ghost-like shark with a jaw line that resembles a dinosaur? Well, how about adding to it the fact that this shark is prey for other larger sharks? So in the event that you survive its bite and are left bleeding in the deep, no worries- bigger, deadlier sharks are on their way.
5. The Human Eye Has Only Seen 1 % Of The Ocean Floor
Here are some factoids that should give you an excellent glimpse into what scientists do and don’t know about the ocean. First, only about 5% of the ocean has even been explored and of that 5%, 80% of its ocean wildlife remains a mystery! But even more importantly, the bottom of the ocean has almost never been seen at all. The fact that the ocean even has a bottom is a great big assumption based almost entirely on the fact that other things have bottoms. What we have seen of the bottom consists of varying landscapes from deep pockets to mountain ranges to… Wait a minute. Mountain ranges?
4. The Ocean Is Home To The Largest Mountain Range On The Planet
At first glance, this fact might not seem all that bad. At this very moment, you’re picturing a beautiful rocky mountain range surrounded by little tourist shops with breathtaking views and awe inspiring sunsets. This is the mountain range of land. The ocean is completely uncharted. There are no panoramic sunsets. There’s no sun at all. Beneath the surface of the ocean, it’s almost entirely pitch black. The mountains in the ocean are a whole new monster. Are they where all the sea serpents are hiding? Maybe.
3. The Ocean Is Luring You In
You know that urge you get when the weather is hot and the humidity is up and you just can’t wait to see the seashore. You’ve always assumed this stems from your childhood and the sheer beauty of the shimmering blue sea. But what if it’s not the boogie boards and the dollar stores and those cheesy but addictive slogan tee shirts that beacon you to the coastline at all? What if I told you that the ocean is a giant magnet and it’s luring you in with all of its might? What if the shift in the planet’s magnetic field was the drive of the ocean itself? This is all fact. But why on Earth would the ocean want to lure you in at all? Well there’s a very good answer for that. It’s number two.
2. You’re Bait
Who do you think you are when you step into the ocean? A nautical explorer? A gnarly surf dude? A hot mom in a tankini with a stunning tan? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The correct answer to this question is bait. Why else are the great white sharks and electric eels, the giant squid and killer fish all gathering at the surface? According to the biology of sharks, the only reason these creatures come to the surface and expose their dorsal fins is because they are attracted to floating bait. The ocean contains at least four different circles of food chains that we know of to date and you aren’t at the head of any of them.
1. It’s Coming To You
You won’t exactly have to be brave in order to brave the deep blue ocean in the future. According to NASA, sea water levels are rising at an alarming rate. In order to prepare for what looks like an inevitable disaster, scientists are arming themselves with all of the data they have compiled that accounts for sea levels. This accounts for only 23 years worth of documents. To put things into perspective here, scientists have been studying cancer for over 40 years and they’re still a far cry from finding a cure. So how exactly do we keep a rising sea level at bay? Well, maybe we should look to Polpetti for the answer. Or the more recently submerged city of Kernville, California, an old western town that drowned in 1954. In the meantime, everything is going swimmingly we presume…