I don’t know if this is how it was for Magellan, Columbus, Lewis and Clark, Shackelton, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin…or even Indiana Jones…but I have seen this movie before. What we remember about really exceptional expeditions is, well…, the “exceptional part”. Great team, discovery and insight beyond all hope, physical challenges and an inspirational natural setting. We forget all the #$$%%^&*(! that we have to plow through to get going. This primordial, self-healing, selective memory has probably been with us since the earliest days of human exploration.
Today was fun. Emily, our totally devoted Operations Manager, was as best I can tell, literally fused to her PC and toggling her brain in and out of Skype with the dodgy reception. I think she is sleeping on Skype right now. Dale, our Expedition Leader phased in and out like some engineering specter with periodic status reports. Behind the two of them I could see random shapes passing by, slaving on. In the grainy Skype video feed I can’t tell who they are. Working hard though. The dear generator has self terminated in a manner that her makers at Northern Lights cannot imagine…”we’ve never seen that happen before” (another common refrain). The new “back end” is enroute…depending on how you define that. Apparently UPS seem inclined to let it have a rest stop in Miami. Some guy in Rio says something about it being too heavy to clear customs ( 150lbs / 77 kg?). The navigation computer hard disk died but its getting sorted. Dale’s buying enough food to restock Ascension Island and diesel fuel to take us to Mars…boats are fun, you get to go to the fuel “dock” or even have a “tanker truck” come to you…2,000 liters…fill ‘er up. People are running through the boat with pieces of inner systems that you just know really need to be in place soon. The decks are covered with stuff and the galley table is always, always completely covered with junk. Emily again…sending out epic numbers of emails trying to hit every last imaginable item that somebody needs to get, hear about, or do. Orchestrate all the incoming equipment, people and information to make a working team. Lists are being constantly written and updated, phones ring, tools spread out across the corridor floors, people come and go. Diagnose, tear apart, order, call, jot that down, run, load, sort, clean, pack, check, count, make more lists, label, find what you just saw, eat a half lunch and just keep going. You sometimes cannot imagine the boat leaving on time. No way the new crew say. The seasoned hands think the same in a moment and then press on.
The same drama is more than likely playing out in the homes of all the crew soon heading for flights. Add here an extra layer of family time and personal moments that have been a part of “going to sea” for thousands of years.
And then, we realize that this is actually normal. The world is in order. Slowly, but surely over the next 7 days Sea Dragon, her crew and all the supporting resources will come together like a slow motion transformer. From the disparate, multi-directional flow will come a unified team ready to go to sea. I do believe that it has always been this way. In a very short time this boat and this team will head to sea. They will be focused on the mission ahead and ready to do exceptional things.
Here we go.