This special collection of articles is dedicated to Vladimir Kamenkovich, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. We take this opportunity to celebrate his extraordinary career in science and education. Through his pioneering work, Vladimir Kamenkovich has made important contributions to the development of modern physical oceanography, being, in the words of Peter Rhines, “a great force in ocean dynamics,” and he has inspired many scientists worldwide. It is fair to say that the field of ocean dynamics would have been very different if Vladimir had chosen a different career path.