With the Festive Season fast approaching, it's time that we look back on the month of ocean news and be thankful for the beauty and life it adds to the world. Here are the pieces of uplifting ocean news that caught our attention this month:

SANCCOB opened their seabird hospital

On 14 November, SANCCOB finally opened the doors to their new, R17 million seabird hospital - the first facility of its kind. This hi-tech new facility includes expanded surgeries, laboratories, an x-ray room and other equipment vital for the rehabilitation of South African's endangered coastal birds.

“The new hospital will be much easier to work with and much easier for the rehabilitation to be done. I had a dedicated team to make sure we got through all of this. The new centre will be enlightening for the public and it is amazing to see the seabirds up close and to be able to see how the professionals work with the animals.” – Stephen van der Spuy, SANCCOB CEO

Massive "octopus garden" discovered

In a first-of-its-kind discovery, marine scientists have found a gathering of more than 1000 female octopuses (yes it ends in an -es) nursing their eggs off the coast of California, more than 3km deep.

“We went down the eastern flank of this small hill, and that’s when—boom—we just started seeing pockets of dozens here, dozens there, dozens everywhere.” – Chad King, Nautilus chief scientist

R6.1 million revamp of Cape Town's tidal pools

Tidal pools at Glencairn and Soetwater have just undergone extensive renovations - just in time for kids to once again have the chance to enjoy a summer in contact with our ocean and the animals that call it home.

This sea hare is just going about its business, munching some sea lettuce. Credit: Faine Loubser. 

Did you know that you can find a list of all the tidal pools in Cape Town here?

21 rescued penguins released at Penguin Festival

21 endangered African penguins that got a second chance at life after being rescued and undergoing extensive rehabilitation at SANCCOB. These penguins were released at Simon's Town during the annual Penguin Festival.

We rescued some ocean sunfish

The Two Oceans Aquarium was able to rescue two unusual ocean sunfish (Mola mola) that became trapped in the nearby harbour. One of these quirky animals has already been released back into the wild, while the other, nicknamed "Gumdrop", will be spending some time at the Aquarium recovering from a few minor injuries. Learn more about these amazing visitors to the Cape.

Credit: Devon Bowen/Two Oceans Aquarium

Local brewery becomes first to use eco-friendly packaging

James Williams, the founder of Rosebank Brewing Company, is an avid surfer and regularly sees the damage inflicted on the ocean by plastic pollution. To make a difference, the brewery has invented the "E6PR", Environmental Six-Pack Rings, which are 100% biodegradable and are made out of leftovers from the beer brewing process - the first of its kind in the world.

NASA motivates plan to explore alien oceans

Earth is not the only place in the galaxy with an ocean - but it is the only ocean that contains life (as far as we know). Because of what we know about life around hydrothermal vents in the deep oceans here on Earth, NASA scientists speculate that there is strong evidence that hydrothermal vents on Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa may have the conditions to support microbial life - and be worth investigating.

Europa - under its thick icecap lies an ocean deeper than ours (And that's Enceladus in the cover photo in case you were wondering).

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