This weekend, I spent my would-be leisurely weekend off responding to a vessel emergency off of Brenton Reef in Newport, RI where a vessel was abandoned before smashing up onto the shallow rocks that make up the reef. Fortunately there were no injuries, however partaking in the salvage of the vessel, I was once again cleary reminded of how we humans are no match for Mother Nature.
The salvage operation involved initial swims through heavy surge and increasing swells to inspect for hull damage and to determine the best salvage plan. Then over the course of the next 10 hours, we secured the vessel, made her float (though not so high and dry), and towed her back to port. The effort took us to well into the nighttime, and for those who have never ventured to sea in the dark, well – it’s dark.
I had the honors of staying suited up and aboard the salvaged vessel during the tow ride in to make sure pumps were running, and the lift bags used for flotation remained secure and were doing their job. Fortunately, the trip was rather uneventful, but I have some serious bruises to show for diving beneath the sinking vessel to do the lift rigging.
In retrospect, the life lesson that has taught me well several times now is to respect Mother Nature. These forces can tear huge manmade structures to shreds in an instant, and claim human lives in the process. Just as she takes away however, she also gives back. We need to both better understand this delicate balance out on and under the seas, as well as develop a renewed respect for this balance as a global society that is placing increasing pressures on the ocean.
We’re guests and temporary visitors here on Earth. So, do what your Mother taught you…clean up after yourself, be polite to your neighbors, share with your friends, and be sure to give back…
…or you’ll get a spanking.