Some Excerpts of Spatial Oases: adapted from Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s The Ocean World, V.1: OAISIS IN SPACE

All the water on earth makes up about only one-tenth of one percent of earth itself.In this diagram the black circles on the left represent 100 percent of the specified chemical found in ocean water. Circles on the right show the relative amount of the specified chemical in human blood compared to the ocean.A. / Pteropod. This wing-footed snail captures tiny animals in a-thick-mucus-net.

I. / Orca. The orca has been given an undeserved name—“the KILLER WHALE.” He is no more a killer than any other animal who must actively capture a meal.


G. / Orca. The killer whale, as it is mistakenly known, is equipped with large, sharp teeth.


E. / Orca. The sleek streamlined body of the orca assists this highly intelligent mammal in its life in the sea. A broad horizontal fluke, like those found on other worlds, propels this superior dolphin.A. / Sponges. Like the fish nearby, these sponges are sensitive to light and various chemical stimuli. For example, the release of sexual products is simulated by chemicals from adjacent sponges and the development of these gametes is controlled by day-length.E. / Feather-duster. The feather-duster worm can, without elaborate sensors, perceive the pressure waves from a diver’s moving hand or the shadow of a passing fish.

B. / Tempting the octopus. The diver then placed the jar, with a hole in the cork to allow water to pass through, near the nest of the octopus.

D. / Orca. The orca is an highly intelligent animal, and its brain would rank very favorably in each of these above-mentioned categories.


The pyramid of life. In the sea roughly 10,000 pounds of plants will support 1000 pounds of plant-eating animals, which in turn will support 100 pounds of meat-eating animals, which in turn will support 10 pounds of tuna, which in turn will support one pound of human flesh.B. / Arctic fox. This charming animal has one major enemy: the polar bear. A. / Amateur fisherman. Strictly for recreation–although the fisherman can make a meal of his catch. Still, fishermen must not deceive themselves into believing that the sea is inexhaustible.

A. / Sunset. Serene sea at nightfall.

B. / Sea smoke. Cold air over warm water.

A. / Typical tide-pool. After the tide has run low, algae, mollusks, and other creatures are revealed.

B. / File shell. These bivalves can use a form of jet propulsion. They have tentacles which extend from their shells and which cannot be withdrawn completely.

G. / The exit. Water leaves the tide-pool.

H. / Nudibranch. Meaning “exposed gill,” these  shell-less mollusks are predatory animals, feeding occasionally on sponges.


A. / Sun on the open sea. Beneath the ocean’s placid surface teem countless millions of sea creatures—some of which are described here.A. / The “ring of fire.” Here on the ocean’s bottom, volcanic lava forms a chaotic seascape.B. / The abyss. In resembling the lunar landscape this region goes as far down as seven miles! It differs from the moon’s surface in only one very important way, however a—life exists here.

G. / Young (a.k.a blue-faced) booby. Found in the Caribbean, this two-foot-long bird makes spectacular plunges into the sea for its meals.

B. / At home. The fur seals are seen here on Seal Island in South Africa.

C. / From the Calypso. After we had two fur seals on board with us for a few weeks, we could easily go diving and swimming with them.

D. / Elephant seal. The young elephant seal is not waiting to feed. It is emitting a loud scream, which it does for attention and when angry. It weighs a round 75 pounds at birth.

Coral atolls. As seen from this satellite photograph, these coral rings are surrounding volcanoes which once rose above the surface of the water but have since subsided below the surface.

C. / Manganese nodules. This valuable mineral is about to be taken from the seabed for use in industry.

B. / Starfish house. Five men lived, worked, and observed for one month in this submarine colony in / on the ocean floor.

A. / Argyronete. The submarines of the future will allow saturation divers to leave the submarine to work in great depths and return to it. Remaining under pressure, they can be transplanted back to shore where they can be decompressed safely.

D. / On a personal level. Some residue of our twentieth-century society.

F. / The Juan Fernåndez fur seal. A distinct species known to live only on the Juan Fernåndez archipelago 500 miles west of Chile. Perhaps only a few hundred survive.

+++++++++—Alessandro Mario Powell



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