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Lessons from the Ocean

As told by Ed Liskey
Annapolis, Maryland

Story Narrative:

"My story about water involves my dad, who . . . he passed away when I was 18, so that's why I'm emotional, but before I was born he was a yacht salesman, and he also build sailboats, so he taught me to sail, so I love to sail. Um, so when I was in college before I graduated and before I had to get a job, one summer I wanted to do a lot of sailing, so I found a berth on a 36-foot sailboat and the guy needed some crew. It was a trip to Bermuda from the Annapolis area. So, I went on this trip. It took about six days to get to Bermuda. It was my first ocean sailing. It was really great for a 19-year-old.

On the way there we did experience a gale--you might think this is a story about a gale--we did experience winds. They were 50 knots or so, and you know, huge seas to me although they were probably 8 or 10 feet. They were big enough that we, he had to teach me how to sail down the waves so the boat didn't roll too much. So, that's not really the main point of the story. Spent a week in Bermuda, which was a really nice vacation for us. Then, on the way back, it was a completely different trip in that we--for a lot of the time we didn't have enough wind--so we did a lot of motoring, which was really relaxing except for the noise of the motor.

Got very tiresome, but what was surprising to me was, people may not think of the ocean being so calm and for a lot of the memory of that trip, the ocean was basically completely flat. And, you've heard in literature describing the ocean as a desert. You know that's kind of how it was. There are always some rollers underneath the water but otherwise it was very flat. I guess my biggest memory from that trip was that one time when it was really hot one day and there was no wind, we were tired of motoring and we shut off the motor. We wanted to cool off and take a swim, so we streamed a line off the back of the sailboat and took down the sails. We streamed a line off the back just for safety because the boat still drifts. All three of us went swimming, so of course, that felt great.

It was kind of exciting thinking that we weren't tied to the boat. We were in the middle of the ocean. I guess the other main memory of that was that when we looked at the chart later, where we went swimming, it estimated that the water was 10,000-feet deep. I remember swimming and looking down and thinking that there's 10,000 feet of water below me, and of course, it gave me a lot of memories of my dad teaching me sailing. So, that's my biggest memory about the water."

Asset ID #3914

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