Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Ocean, and Future Marine Technology

The first (and only) time I took a transatlantic cruise from New York to England, I was really scared. When I returned and showed a friend the photos I took, he laughed and said, "Do you have any photos of anything besides the porthole?" Indeed, I spent way too much time staring out of my bedroom porthole, convinced that the ocean liner had sprung a leak a la Titanic, and was sinking.

Ironically, I think my dread has most to do with my absolute respect and awe of the sea--its vast, liquid landscape and frigid depths. Its deep sea creatures with glowing tentacles and its life-giving seaweed rich in minerals and iodine.
Pelamis Wave Farm
The future will exist in large part, on the ocean. I'm convinced of it. My imagination caught fire when I pictured that future. MY YA thriller,  Fireseed One is set in 2089. It opens with a boy, Varik whose marine biologist father has drowned under mysterious circumstances. Varik has just inherited a vast ocean farm that he doesn't quite know what to do with. I made up hybrids that are part fish, part grape vines so that Varik and his farmhands could grow them up in floating warehouses. Other hybrids I created could eat up the floating toxins.

Vertical Farm Concept
In the real world, scientists and marine biologists have already started to invent the ocean technologies of the future. There are underwater tidal turbines and wave farms like the Pelamis Farm in Portugal that produces clean energy for 15,000 houses. There are plans for real ocean farms. Depicted here is one such vertical farm concept.
I'll leave you with some great websites that tell you more about them. Enjoy! And here's the A to Z link.
Web Ecoist talks about vertical sea farms
Nandu Green talks about tidal turbines
World Culture Pictorial talks about wave farms
What amazes you about the sea and its future possibilities?


  1. The sea has long been my muse-and the place where I can touch what is real inside, what might be off-kilter or neglected-what needs immediate attention. I can never lie when I am sitting on the shore; can never be shallow--just like I can never underestimate the power of the ocean's unfathomable depths.

  2. Very interesting stuff, Catherine!

  3. The ocean terrifies me, but I'm aware that it is the source of so much life and energy. I worked for a team that was trying to create an Ocean Thermal Energy Converter. It was the most interesting job I've had.

  4. Your vision is far more inspiring than mine. I imagine dead oceans in our future. Good job on developing the new hybrids for gardening! Great ideas!

  5. Chailicious, I so agree! The ocean is one of my biggest muses as well. Janna, the job you had sounds really interesting. Yeah, Maggie, the danger is in having a "dead" ocean, something which we cannot afford.

  6. I've never heard about the vertical sea fasacinating!

  7. I love lakes. Put me amongst trees, wildflowers and and small bodies of water and I am one happy girl. Oceans freak me out a bit. Fine from the shore, but the idea of being way out there is more than a little unsettling. I suppose the recent crop of cruises-gone-bad doesn't help, either.

  8. I love the sea because it was made by God, and has some awesome creatures in it..ones that man has not seen until recently. Your story sounds fascinating...good work! Enjoy the remainder of the challenge.

  9. That is very interesting, Catherine! The ocean kinda scares me, but I love wading in it. I have your book on my list of books to read! :)

  10. Aww, thanks, Krista!! Yes, it seems like the general agreement is that the surf's edge is cool, but deep sea scares people. So, I guess I wasn't alone in being scared out in deep sea!

  11. Interesting. I knew about the sea farms, but not the verticals ones you have shown. And, it's about time the ocean was used for making energy. There should be more de-sal plants too, for making fresh water.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, Catherine!

  12. I'd never heard of the vertical sea farms.

  13. I'm now a follower on your site.

    I think you're right about the future of the ocean. There is so much still unknown.

    Places I Remember
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  14. It is an amazing world you built in Fireseed One - and to think its only in 2089, not so far away! Scary to think about. HA HA - when we moved back to the US from the UK we took (my only too) transatlantic trip. We sailed on the QE2 and near half way across an engine blew. We had to limp back to the UK and fly home! :)

  15. This is so interesting! Of course we're getting a lot of info right now about Titanic because of the anniversary but it always makes me think about how vast and uncharted the oceans really are. Hopefully we'll take better care of them since we'll apparently need them to sustain us in the future!