Throughout my “career” as a scientist I have seen and experienced many things I never imagined I would have the chance to: flowing lava, several earthquakes, the Coliseum, pet an moray eel, Prague, Corsica (I had to look it up too when I first heard of it), hold a shark, just to name a few. Each have had an effect on me, but one feeling/emotion appears over and over – humbling. Yesterday (and into today) was definitely one of those days.
I have been to the beach more times than I can count, and I have been on boats (big and small), but nothing quite compares to standing on the back deck of the R/V Roger Revelle recovering instruments (in this case seismic lines) in horizontal rain, 30 knott winds, and 2-3 m swells (which as I write this are now over 5m). I was mesmerized by the power, the unpredictability, the beauty. I felt humbled. Humbled by nature’s power, the energy that it takes to cause the swells, to rock a large boat, the opportunity to experience something so powerful, the sound of the waves crashing into this large boat (it sounds like a car crash), and the vastness of our oceans. Here we were somewhere offshore of the North Island of New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean on what one could argue was a big boat, but in that moment (on deck) I was well aware of how insignificant we are. Those who have sailed the World’s oceans probably understand this, and I hope that other do too.
The lesson learned: NEVER take Mother Nature for granted.