Which is the best Ocean – an unscientific analysis

I’m sure we’ve all, at some point in our lives, dabbled in everyone’s favourite, riveting pastime – a game of Top Trumps. It’s easy to identify which of our ocean’s is the biggest (Pacific), warmest (Indian) or closest to home (Atlantic), but which one is, in fact, the best of the bunch – obviously their instagrammability metric is the best to measure them by, right? But what about their weirdest beastie, fabled folklore and portrayals in pop culture? These are all Top Trump categories we need to consider…

At home in the Atlantic

Formed during the dawn of the dinosaurs in the ancient Jurassic period, the Atlantic ocean is the world’s second largest Ocean – only the Pacific trumping it in that category. It’s also the ocean that’s closest to home, feeding our luscious English Channel year round – we surely owe it some gratitude then, don’t we?

Well, perhaps not so fast – it’s also the Ocean home to the infamous Bermuda Triangle, vicious Bull, Tiger and Great White sharks, as well as a huge garbage patch only slightly smaller than its more well-known, Texas-sized trash vortex cousin in the Pacific.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the Atlantic however, its first category – instagrammability – blowing us right out of the water, quite literally:


8.5/10 – who doesn’t love an Atlantic Puffin?

Thanks to @ scor7beck  on Instagram

Thanks to @scor7beck on Instagram

Thanks to @ factopaedia  on Instagram

Thanks to @factopaedia on Instagram

Weirdest beastie:

9/10 – we debated giving this one to the Giant Spider Crab, enough to induce arachnophobia in anyone – but instead we’ve chosen the Vampire Squid, Dracula it may not be, but a terrifying creature of the deep it certainly is.

245 Likes, 5 Comments - Marine Biology | Conservation (@submerged_scientist) on Instagram: "Giant Spider Crabs at Port Phillip Bay during their huge annual aggregation. Follow..."
3,107 Likes, 110 Comments - The Largest Octopus Fan Club 🐙 (@octonation) on Instagram: "This cephalopod is one-of-a-kind. 🦑 Its scientific name means "the vampire squid from hell," but is..."

Fabled folklore:

10/10 – the Bermuda Triangle is still up for debate whether it is a myth or, in fact, reality – so we’ve swerved that option and gone for everyone’s favourite lost Ocean city – Atlantis. The home of mermaids, mermen and arcane technology that some say beats that of the modern, the lost city of Atlantis may bear a few more truths than you first thought…


Portrayal in pop-culture:

0/10 – the Ocean where Kate and Leo met their doom isn’t even going to get a score from us.

Thanks to @ titanic_official_fp  on Instagram

Thanks to @titanic_official_fp on Instagram

Chilling in the Arctic

The Ocean that almost everyone forgets when asked to name the world’s Big Five – the Arctic Ocean forms our most northerly barrier to the North Pole and registers itself as the smallest and shallowest of the lot.

The Atlantic’s little sister, the Arctic, is both the cute girl next door – with a deep blue, serene ocean scape – and the frosty concierge – sea ice covering a lot of the Ocean year-round. For what it lacks in swimmable waters and idyllic beaches, it more than makes up for with its unique, enchanting wildlife – polar bears, walruses and narwhals all poster-critter for our wonderful world.

It therefore comes as a massive shame to hear that this is the Ocean most affected by climate change – the current, global warming epidemic dramatically melting the habitat for some of the world’s most unique, beautiful creatures.

The Arctic is trying its level best to maintain its winning instagrammability – it’s about time we all gave it a helping hand:


10/10 – quite simply the most stunning place on this earth.

Thanks to @ ladzinski  on Instagram

Thanks to @ladzinski on Instagram

Thanks to @ natgeo  on Instagram

Thanks to @natgeo on Instagram

Weirdest beastie:

5/10 - straight out of a children’s story book, the Narwhal is nature’s answer to the legendary unicorn. Yes, it’s a weird beastie – but boy, it’s just too darn beautiful to be considered among the likes of the Giant Spider Crab and Vampire Squid.

Thanks to @ bornendangered  on Instagram

Thanks to @bornendangered on Instagram

Fabled folklore:

9/10 – Santa lives here, guys. End of discussion.

Thanks to @ longxtradingco  on Instagram

Thanks to @longxtradingco on Instagram

Portrayal in pop-culture:

8/10 – featured in close to every news cycle, the Artic Ocean is our biggest frontier against the ever-pressing issue of global warming – to many, a sad and depressing sight. But no task is impossible if we all put our minds to it – time to take a stand and preserve our beautiful Arctic.

Thanks to @ u_capture  on Instagram

Thanks to @u_capture on Instagram


The circumpolar Southern

The only Ocean to travel around the length of the earth with no land barriers to contain it – the Southern Ocean is – imaginably – a very restless beast. Renowned by sailors and circumnavigators as the toughest of the five oceans to cross – the Southern Ocean isn’t one you’d want to mess with, or even dip your toes in – much of it way below freezing (*to get all science on you, the high salt content is what allows it to go below negative without becoming ice).

Home to the world’s largest ocean current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the Southern Ocean is actually one of the most important of the Big Five – providing fresh, cooling water for the Tropics, as well as masses and masses of krill that form the base of many ocean food chains. Mmmmm, krill.


8/10 – Home to penguins, orcas and some of the world’s best rainbows – you can’t help but gaze at the Southern Ocean in absolute awe.

Weirdest beastie:

10/10 – everything gets a little weirder the further down south you travel, and the Southern Ocean is certainly no different in that regard. We could have written a whole article about this Ocean’s weirdest beasties, but have instead chosen to opt for the world’s most indestructible creature – the Tardigrade, otherwise known as ‘the Water Bear’. Watch out humans, these will be taking over soon.

Fabled folklore:

8.5/10 – with the restless nature of the Southern Ocean and its frequent storms, many sinking fishermen blamed their ship’s demise on a giant sea monster, known throughout the world as ‘the Kraken’. Not confined to just the Southern Ocean, the Kraken travelled far and wide, sending many ships to their doom – however, it would seem that recently the big beast has made its way back home, reported sightings cropping up just off the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica.

Portrayal in pop-culture: 

The ideal place to be for thrill-seeking sailors and circumnavigators – pack up your compass, reel in the anchor and off you go – into the dangerous deep.

An Indian enigma

Is it an Ocean, or is it just a large, warm inviting sea off the coast of the Indian sub-continent? Nope, it’s definitely an Ocean, in fact it’s the third largest on our list – bigger than both the Southern and Arctic oceans.

The warmest Ocean in the world, it comes as no surprise that many people choose this part of the world as their ideal holiday location – its lush, sunny beaches, tropical climate and island paradises enticing people from all corners of the globe.


9/10 – would you just look at that tropical paradise?

Weirdest beastie:

9.5/10 – you’re always going to find some strange creatures living two miles deep into the Ocean – but we think it’s fair to say that the Indian Ocean has some of the weirdest, the Leafy Sea Dragon in particular.


Fabled folklore:

6/10 – A tale passed down across the previous four centuries from fisherman to fisherman, the Indian Ocean’s ‘glowing milky seas’ legend continues to be a natural phenomenon, baffling scientists from all around.

Portrayal in pop-culture:

9/10 – Home to talking lemurs, plotting penguins, shy giraffes and enigmatic zebras – the Madagascar film is a true classic of its time. Featuring the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer, this is one film that will only get better with age.

The big, scary Pacific

We’ve saved the biggest, scariest and most daunting of the world’s oceans till last – but what is it that makes the Pacific so incredibly, erm, terrifying?

Perhaps it’s the presence of earth’s most ferocious shark species – the Great White – or maybe the sheer, vast expanse of it, the ocean itself covering 30% of the earth’s surface. Nope, I know exactly what it is about the Pacific haunting our dreams and keeping us awake at night – it’s home to the hellishly-deep Mariana Trench. At 36,070 feet deep, this pit to Satan himself is taller than the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner and deeper than any human has ever ventured before – it’s safe to say that we won’t be exploring it anytime soon.


10/10 – Indian island paradises are one thing, but Pacific retreats are just something else entirely.

Weirdest beastie:

8.5/10 – Ain’t nobody got time for the Frilled Shark.

Fabled folklore:

7.5/10 – Home to Sirens, giant Leviathans and Grindylows – the Pacific Ocean really does have it all in terms of mythical sea creatures. However, we think the Japanese myth surrounding ‘Namazu the Earthshaker’ may just take the cake on this one – a giant catfish that causes all the world’s earthquakes and tsunamis, it’s just science, duh.


Portrayal in pop-culture:

4/10 – Until 2013, the Pacific ocean was the setting of Tim Van Patten’s award-winning war drama – The Pacific. It has now been relegated to the stomping ground of giant robots and sea monsters in the Sci-Fi blockbuster, Pacific Rim – please, someone take us back to the good old days…



If there’s one thing this Ocean analysis has shown us, it’s that all five of our wonderful, world oceans are worthy of a candid Instagram shot – as well as a swift nightmare following a peruse of their weirdest beasties. We may not be able to maintain our supply of gorgeous instas, however, if we do not begin to tackle the growing problem of global warming and ocean pollution – check out 4Ocean today, or purchase one of our 4Ocean bracelets, to get tackling this problem right away.


Will NewtonComment