You don't have to have a Masters degree in Marine Biology or be studying at an Oceanographic Institute to appreciate the astonishing variety of life that calls our oceans home. You don't even have to spend a lot of money on specialty SCUBA diving vacations to the Great Barrier Reef. You can enjoy a little science at home or on any vacation to a coastal area with very little expense and effort and a lot of adventure.
The important thing is to remember that where there is water there is life. Whether it be a tidal pool or a whole ocean, there is something to see if only you care to look for it. Although smaller varieties of life such as plankton can only be seen under a microscope, junior microscopes sold in toy stores are inexpensive and powerful enough for the needs of most amateur scientists. Additionally, plenty of animals and plants from minnows to whales, coral to seaweed are visible to the naked eye of a snorkeler or even someone walking along the shore. Smaller, deeper dwelling organisms can be brought up for inspection with the aid of a fine mesh net. If you've always dreamed of being a great scientist but instead spend your days making power distribution blocks at a factory, a day exploring the water could turn into a great adventure.
A fun activity for an adventurer of any age is creating a diary of the different varieties of life you encounter on your journey, whether it's to the beach near home or a two week cruise through the Arctic Ocean. The level of complexity of the diary can be adjusted to suit anyone's age and interest level. For instance, a small child might be perfectly happy drawing his or her sightings in a school scribbler with a package of crayons, while the amateur marine scientist who lives by day as a meticulous commercial mortgage lending agent may opt for an underwater digital camera, calipers for measuring, and an internet blog to post his or her findings.