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Olympic Coast, Washington

Picture: Olympic coast

Flattery Point juts into the waters of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington State.

The sanctuary—the size of Puerto Rico—hosts 29 species of marine mammals, including gray whales. It is one of the 14 U.S. national marine sanctuaries and 1,800 marine protected areas.

"Less than 5 percent [of the ocean] is explored, and a fraction of 1 percent is protected," says oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle. "The whole idea is to embrace protection for the ocean and not to kill the creatures that are there. You need to have real [sanctuary] in these areas, like in national parks."

Photograph by Anne Keiser

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