12th November 2001
When I look out at the sea, there is nothing to see except an unbroken horizon – 360 degrees of grey brooding seas, meeting an equally grey and brooding sky. That view is as old as the sea itself. But hundreds of metres below us there would be a very different view if only we could see it.
The Grand Banks are a relatively shallow area of seabed which stick out into the North Atlantic. They are flanked by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream which originates in the Caribbean and moves along the the Atlantic seaboard of the United States before passing the Grand Banks on it’s journey through the Atlantic and bathing the UK in warmer waters than their latitude dictates. This current plays a huge part in driving the weather and climate of not just the UK, but all of the North Atlantic.
On the Grand Banks there is another current at play – the cold and nutrient rich water of the Arctic flow down to form the Labrador Current, which meets and mixes with the Gulf Stream right here on the Grand Banks. The combination provides the perfect ingredients for marine life to flourish – starting at the bottom of the food chain with phytoplankton right to the top with the big predators such as the sperm whales, and of course humans.
It can be really boring and monotonous out here, but by trying to think about the big picture like this, and putting it all into perspective, I can appreciate the unbroken grey horizon with a renewed sense of wonder for what lies beneath it.