In today’s countdown to my nautical travel journal pre-order, let’s explore something I didn’t give much attention to, until it became blatantly obvious: Most fish don’t swim backward very well.
In order to get the water flowing in the correct direction over their gills (so they can breathe!), fish spend most of their time swimming forward. Occasionally they pause… hover? Hold station? I’m not sure what the term is!
So while most fish have the body motion to capably move backward, they simply don’t have a need to… most of the time. Until they get stuck in something and hoo boy. Watching the troubleshooting on that conundrum made it obvious that, though they can theoretically move backward, they are certainly not good at it! Not to mention that, while doing so, they wouldn’t be breathing very well, making it even more difficult.
There are “fish” that swim backward fairly well, such as eels and black ghost knife fish, which both have odd body structures for “fish.” Sharks actually don’t have the proper body structure to swim backward, but they also can’t come to a stop, so they’re a bit odd all around.
I’ve complied all sorts experiences I encountered during my artist’s residency aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor, into a 36-page travel journal! Get a free PDF sampler of the upcoming travel journal right here: