Safe in the eye of the storm

Originally appeared on

My instinct was not to take a long trip in the open ocean in bad weather, but I had no choice.

I was working on a seismographic research ship in the Arctic. It was late September, and as we prepared to take the vessel from Nome, Alaska, to the Gulf of Mexico for the winter, an awful storm started brewing.

I'd read many scary news stories about the loss of fishing vessels in my area of Alaska. It didn’t help to know that seasonal storms in the open expanse of the north Pacific could create swells 100 feet tall. Or that our ship wasn’t built for the kind of sea conditions we might encounter.

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