You can see it at sea level if you are mid-ocean (or a big lake). The issue at sea level is you can see out about 30 miles in each direction, so you might be seeing a 60 mile across slice of the Earth. The curvature is there, just it is really hard to see without putting a straight-edge against the horizon. Most minds immediately just see it as a straight line. For the curvature of the Earth to pop out at you, you have to be quite high up (15,000 ft above sea level in the mountains, or just a few thousand above sea level if you’re in a very flat area, like the Bonneville salt flats).
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