Modern Prophets, Ep. 199

I could not stop checking the newsfeed every hour. Like so many, I was captivated by the announcement of a submersible exploring the depths of the Titanic, lost with five crew onboard. But why was I hooked on their story? People die everyday, every hour, plenty in a gruesome manner. Why should I care about five more people, these five people in particular. Of course there was the uncertainty of the crew at the inky depth of 3800 meters below they surface of the Atlantic, desperately trying to hold on to the slippery bonds of life. I didn’t want to get caught up in the livestream theatrics of it all. ‘The Truman Show’ was showmanship worthy of my attention and praise. But here were real live human beings, with ten fingers and ten toes, just like their mommas had hoped for. The graduating senior who drank too much at prom and drove a car full of buddies into oncoming traffic is tragic, no doubt. So much potential lost, so many questions to answer. Yet here, knowing that there could be a submersible crew at the bottom of the ocean struggling for their life, while my own struggle was simply running out of bread for the day’s sandwich, felt deeply troubling. And then to learn that they apparently were banging on the hull every thirty minutes in a crude underwater cry for help. 

When one parent sees another parent’s child trip and fall, they feel the pain. They might even console the child. Why? Because they have been there, both as a child and as a parent. But very few of us know someone who would pay $250,000 to sit cross-legged on the floor of a submersible for a brief encounter with a 100 year old shipwreck that ended the life for thousands. Or do we? Yes, these shipwreck tourists were wealthy. But so was Charles Lindbergh in his day. We need to peel back the onion further. I think they embodied two fundamental traits: an innate curiosity and a sense of hope. Curiosity clearly drove them to explore, to take risks beyond (and in this case far beyond) their daily life on land. Hope is a little more subtle. I believe that out of great risk grows a feeling of hope. If our civilization can put humans on the surface of the moon and carry them to the depths of the oceans, then hope – for our species’ survival, for the joy of living – is the only logical conclusion.

And so we sit in our homes, our offices, our schools watching and waiting for news on these five prophets of curiosity, of hope. Maybe because we long to embody this same curiosity and hope in our own lives. I would like to think that these five brave souls were captivated, in turn, by the curiosity and hope of those brave souls onboard the Titanic. They were not just the wealthy. They came from all walks of life. They were taking great risks by walking away from the comfort of the old world to the unknown of the new. They all had stories. I am willing to bet the common thread woven through all of their words was one of curiosity and hope. 

Let it be an inspiration for all of us.

In one week, Karen and I will be embarking on the next phase of our adventure. This will be our sixth year of sailing in Europe, and will arguably be our most ambitious. Starting in Kalmar, Sweden, we will exit out of the Baltic Sea, sail up to Gothenburg, and then cross over to Norway where we will spend the rest of the season winding in and out of fjords, wearing through our wool socks, and if we are lucky, gain a few Norwegian friends. Due to its remoteness, we have locked in our haul out spot even before we have launched Sea Rose. We will sail north along the Norwegian coast past the Arctic Circle and wrap up at Tromsø, a town where, for six weeks in the dead of winter, the sun does not make an appearance above the horizon. The stage is set for a curious adventure.

2 Replies to “Modern Prophets, Ep. 199”

  1. It has sure been a reflective time, sitting here in St. John’s and watching another ocean adventure go terribly bad – as you know it can be a cruel sea to the curious and unprepared – our thoughts are with all the families and friends of those lost.
    Look forward to following your journey to the land of the midnight sun – “Lykke til ” !

  2. Thanks Stew! Indeed, the sea can be a cruel teacher. So much to learn. Hopefully it will make it safer for future projects. Take care.

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