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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer


Jun

17

On Father’s Day

Dr. John “Jack” Hopkins, Assistant Professor of Wildlife Biology, Unity College
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It’s Father’s Day and my anniversary – so Laura, love of my life, this is for you.

Last night, following our watch, I stood, staring at sunset, sipping spiced tea over stories of adventure. As you know, I get lost in such talk, and as expected, it was hard to say goodnight, especially when fresh conversation and inspiration washes in on the deck with the next watch.

The spark of sunrise clipped the corner of my eye. It was 4 AM at the helm. I don’t remember my nerves on the Great Lakes with Dad, but unlike the rivers connecting those vast freshwater seas, there were no clear navigational aids – no shoreline on the horizon and nothing but wispy clouds in the sky. There was only a compass for bearing, and later, the feel of being on course. While at the wheel, there was mention of students sailing for days at sea without an azimuth – a feat worthy of a badge or patch, something you show someone at a bar and in return get a free beer – definitely something to share in the right moment. For me, it was an early morning game, one that I wasn’t particularly good at. At 5, I was “relieved”.

Early afternoon, I went aloft. Don’t worry, this was a good choice. When I reached the top, hundreds roared in the distance – not at me though, but instead at the humpback breeching, then diving, revealing at the last moment its identity to the hoard of onlookers. Although the pursuit of the massive passenger boats was obnoxious, I soon smiled at the thought of you catching Nathalie’s puke in the bag on the fast ferry to the Dry Tortugas. Again, great work.

Later, like the Babe calling his famous dinger, I left the quarterdeck announcing my prediction to Hila as I walked away. Less than 15 minutes later, I watched through the glass as the first humpback breached in the distance, then dove out of sight. Three for three watches is no coincidence, I thought. I might be a whale whisperer.

The day ended with a sunset sail in the wind and some waves. The deck was busy with trimming and coiling and smiling. I felt like this was the grand finale – at least for the day. I lingered, again, denying the inevitable, talking more about interesting parts of the world with someone who reminded me of myself a few chapters ago. 

It was truly a memorable Father’s Day, Laura. Thank you again for your support and encouragement. I love you. Goodnight.

- Jack

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