Go On! One Ocean Expedition

If you would like to escape the confining mindset of COVID alienation and isolation, I recommend signing up as a crew for a leg of the Ocean Expedition currently conducted by the Norwegian Tall Ship, Statsråd Lehmkuhl. This ship will travel around the world for two years. The ocean is unbelievably vast and the sky is filled with thousands of stars. Both the moon and the sun have a special brilliance in the sky at sea, especially the sunset. One day we saw both the sun and the moon at the same time. Dolphins like to lead the ship and birds like to follow. As crew you will be expected to learn how to steer the ship, climb rigging up to the masts and the bow, pack sails, raise and lower sails, watch out for small boats and buoys, look out for man overboard, learn to tie knots, and inspect for fire. You will have to sleep in a hammock (earplugs provided). I traveled from Norway to Spain and was very moved by the precious impact of being surrounded by ocean for an extended period of time. There was a little brown bird who was a stow away, he ruffled his feathers in response to the sea breezes while sitting on a rope on the outside of the ship. I sincerely hope that he disembarked in Spain before the ship leaves for the Trans-Atlantic leg of the journey. When we saw evidence of humanity, it came in the form of off-shore oil rigs, wind farms, and a nuclear power plant on the shore of the UK. We also experienced a close inspection of our sails (we had 19 up at the time) by a bi-plane and a helicopter and seemed to have sailed through a military exercise comprised of 3-5 submarines, one surveillance ship with no windows, and jet fighters that we could hear but not see in the sky above. The fellow crew members came from all over the world and represent all age groups, from an 18 year old German young women travelling with her father to a 70 year old former paratrooper who scampered up the rigging with great finesse. The professional crew was composed of several Danish women (including Signe Maersk) who exhibited superhero strength in drawing in sails and climbing to the top of the masts. The women stated that there were few women who were appointed as captains, challenges include the need for child care while away at sea and stereotypes regarding capabilities. I recommend reading the excellent collection of essays in Gender and Law of the Sea. It is memorable experience which serves to confirm the joy of committing to recognition of the special relationship between human beings and nature.

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