Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Roaring of the Sea

For those who have never been to sea, they have no idea just how vast it is. For those who have never been to sea in a storm, they have no idea just how powerful it is. While I have not spent a lot of time at sea, I have spent enough to understand just how vast and powerful is the sea.

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.

Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?

Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.

- Winfred Ernest Garrison

Back in olden times, there were areas of the great deep which were unknown and uncharted, there were thought to be dragons dwelling in those deeps. No dragons were needed to make the sea dangerous. The winds and the tides were dangerous enough.

The sea, mysterious and terrifying at times. But still we are drawn to it, its rhythms, its seasons, even its furies. For the sea is in our blood. We evolved there, as all life did.

But still, when I am upon the waters of the deep, I look to the ever receding horizon and say, "Thy sea, O God, so great, My boat so small."

For those who travel upon the sea in our Nation's service.


  1. Not fun on the mess decks in seas like that.
    Only half cups of coffee.

  2. Been there, done that ... repeatedly. Tin can sailor, sea legs, et cetera, et cetera. We had our coffee pot firmly lashed to a vertical conduit - gotta keep those cups at half-mast, ya know.

  3. I rode the Callaghan from Rota to the eastern Med one time. Eye opening for a carrier sailor. :)

  4. Rode the USNS Geiger in November 1960 to Bremerhaven. Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of a huge storm was sporty to say the least. Fortunately I wasn't seasick and since most of the troops were to some extent the chow line wasn't very long. Was never aboard ship in my 20 year Navy career as I was always in aircraft too big to get on a ship. Which was just fine by me.

    When I was ready to retire I called my detailer just to see if he might offer that dream set of orders. As soon as he found out who was on the line his first words were "Senior Chief, You're going aboard ship!". "Never mind" said I.

  5. USS Halsey, South of Guam, 1991.

    Supertyphoon Yuri (Category 5)


  6. Now imagine doing all that in a ship made of wood, with only a sextant to guide you, after the sun goes down, and tell me that our ancestors didn't have big brass ones!

  7. Went from the largest body of water I'd seen, the Great Salt Lake, to 14 days on a scheduled 9 day voyage aboard a troopship. January 1964 Brooklyn to Bremerhaven. Gave me the greatest respect for mariners everywhere. If I knew anything about ships and storms I probably would have been scared instead of bored.

  8. Independence, Ranger, Kitty Hawk, Nimitz and George Washington..................I freely admit that I still miss it after 23 and 1/2 years.
    There was that day, three years ago on Ronald Reagan with good friends.......................

  9. My dad (at 17!) was on USS Little Hales, 110ft. wood hull minesweeper in a
    typhoon of Japan in 45'....had some GREAT tales!

    1. I can well imagine!

      A toast to your Dad and his shipmates!


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