ocean reef

The mystery that is the ocean reef – journeying the ocean

If you’re in any way intrigued by the ocean, this post is for you. Specific reference will be made to the Indian Ocean. This Ocean is named after India, and is referred to as Ratnākara in Sanskrit literature. There is quite a lot to be said about (any) ocean. However, let’s dwell on ocean reefs.

The other day we took that literal journey into the Indian Ocean. I know no one disagrees that the Ocean is no one’s mother ;). Still, it has been said that only about 5 percent of the ocean has been explored! Granted, new things are certain to get discovered all the time. Ironic, since the ocean has often been dubbed “the Lifeblood of Earth.”

The Indian Ocean reef

You most likely know about Darwin’s theory of Evolution. There are many other theories that have been attributed to the philosopher. One of them is a theory explaining the formation of reefs. He thought about it during the voyage of Beagle. That was an interesting cruise that involved sailing across most of the world’s oceans. Sounds like something you’d love to do?

According to the theory coined by Darwin, there is, at first, a volcanic island that becomes extinct over time. In case it isn’t clear, the volcano is found in the ocean. A fringing ocean reef then forms from coral growth. This process is as a result of subsided ocean and island floors. Most often than not, the fringing reef causes a shallow lagoon between the beach (land) and the main reef.

ocean reef

Photo courtesy


The subsidence continues, forming an even larger barrier reef – emphasis on barrier. This is essentially why you don’t see sharks as you swim near the beach. The distance from the shore also, ideally, increases over time – insistence on ideally. Global warming has brought about very many changes, the ocean notwithstanding.

Eventually, the (volcanic) island sinks below the ocean. The barrier ocean reef is now referred to as an atoll. The remains of the original volcano is found underneath each lagoon, and creates a bed rock base.

ocean reef

Literal walk into the ocean

There is so much that can be said about reefs. Nonetheless, there is truly so much unexplainable power in the ocean. I was deeply awed by this “reefy” thing – I’m sorry 😀 – , and I’m still trying to understand the depth 😛 Hope this post will stir your curiosity, and that you will think about the ocean much differently now. Even much better, try appreciating the differences that exist between and among the oceans.

In Kenya, for instance, during low tides one may walk almost 4 kilometers into the ocean. That does not happen in every country. If you haven’t already experienced that, you are missing out. It is especially exciting with a guide. Anyone else wonders how much locals (fishermen) understand the ocean?

ocean reef

If in Mombasa, check out the Kikambala beach any time before 11 p.m. Beaches at Watamu are also great for this since then you have access to the love island. However, the Kikambala one is perfect for experiencing the ocean reef phenomenon upclose.

Check out some of the stuff we saw as we made that literal journey into the ocean.

ocean reef

This worm is actually filled with water :O

coral reef

ocean reef

Sea Cucumber

ocean reef

ocean reef

ocean reef

ocean reef

ocean reef

Would definitely appreciate more insight on this subject.

Share with someone who’s even a tad bit curious about the ocean, geography or anything really J

Cheers to the unknown!

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    • Mikaeel Bakari
      October 23, 2017 at 4:40 am

      I am glad I had an opportunity to see this low and high tide phenomenon up close and in person. I really enjoyed reading your article and understand everything mentioned. After seeing the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico, I can honestly say I have never seen the ocean recede so far back during low tide than while I witnessed the Indian Ocean do this. What’s more memorable is I had the opportunity to see this with a very special person. Would love to experience this again. We saw starfish, sea urchin, sea cucumbers, sea spiders, and all kinds of sea shells. One must understand the timing however of low and high tides and venturing out on a floatation device is smarter because the ocean; although beautiful and mysertious, can also be dangerous.

      • wachera
        October 23, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        I agree. It is even more beautiful with people we care about. Thanks for the detailed comment and yes, the ocean can be very dangerous 🙂


About Wachera



I can’t keep calm! That’s probably the worst tag line ever, but it’s true. I have tried finding fulfilment from settling down and focusing on one activity and place, but I failed terribly. Okay, I should probably start by telling you who I am. My name is Wachera, a daughter of the African soil. Just recently, I realized that Wachera is native for “the one who loves travelling” . Read more

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