Some thoughts from a sea captain

by Guest Blogger

July 18, 2006

The following posting is from Captain Bob Pedro, who is onboard in the Bering Sea…

I’m sitting in my chair and thinking. Thinking about how we set anchor last night in calm protected waters with a patchy low fog embracing the peaks of St. Matthew Island here in the middle of the Bering Sea. At this latitude, were it not for the fog, it would have been bright daylight even at 11 p.m.

When we awoke this morning, the fog was heavy right to the water line and at best we could see about 50 yards. This was not at all cooperating with our desires to circumnavigate close around the island hoping to see what bird and mammal life might be living here.

We were a little disappointed, but after a little discussion we decided to move plans forward to the search pattern route we’d set between St. Matthew Island and St. Lawrence Island. We will be traversing an area from about 5 miles from the International date line/Russian waters and 100 miles east of that line and back and in a somewhat north easterly general direction.

This is already the farthest north I’ve ever been and we are going even farther. Thinking about this is very exciting. It’s a new life experience. I keep wondering what I’m going to see next. The lookouts on watch up in the crows nest keep scanning for whales as far as they can see. Every time I see a whale, I am in awe. They are such magnificent animals, and simply breathtaking to see up close. And yet we know so little about them.

As I am learning on this trip, whales and many others of the sea are on a proverbial “tight wire”. There are many good and dedicated people from all walks of life, who are trying desperately to help maintain that critical balance between animal and man.

As I stand and look out the wheelhouse side window and breathe in the cool fresh sea air, I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to be here, and have these great life experiences that most people will never have. And then, to have a job like mine as Captain of this great research vessel, doing what I can to help the efforts going on all around me to make the world a better place.

I look out the wheelhouse window and know words could never describe how it feels to be at sea. I’ve seen severe storms and I’ve seen flat calm with cloudless skies a thousand miles from shore. I’ve seen sunrises that caused my whole being to smile and sunsets that set fire to the sky from horizon to horizon.

I truly have an affection for the sea. Not unlike the affection I have for my beautiful wife. I believe that if we treat each other with the mutual respect that we each deserve, our relationship and love will go on forever. And also with the sea, I believe that there can be a balance where, if well maintained, we can have an abundance of life that will go on for all future generations. Working together we can and will find that balance. Working together we can not only enjoy the fruits of our efforts, but know that future generations will be proud of us for having done it. We must find that balance.

As I stand and look out the wheelhouse side window and breathe in the cool fresh sea air, I know that I am in love with life. My life! And I’m a very lucky man.

Thank you for sharing it with me.

– Captain Bob Pedro

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