Bay Bulls is a small fishing town in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. This is where we boarded the fishing boat that would take us to see the majestic icebergs that drifted along the far off horizon. Camera in hand, I breathed deeply of the bracing fresh air and felt the heady excitement of adventure. It was a calm day, according to the tour hosts. The low hanging clouds merged with the blue grey of the ocean as we headed out into open water.
The definition of calm sea is when the water is not moving excessively and there are small waves. As the icebergs came into view, I realized that small waves have a powerful force. The wind moving across the surface of the ocean is a transfer of energy that tossed our boat from side to side.
I spent most of my time sitting very quietly on the open deck, feeling the advent of sea sickness, but determined to capture the spectacular display of ice with my camera.
Was I feeling just a little sorry for myself as I watched others scurry from side to side of the boat, laughing, chattering and pointing out each new view? I confess that I was, even though I was putting on a brave face.
And then I felt someone drape a warm blanket over my shoulders, and sit down beside me. The captain came to see how I was faring. For a time, we sat in silence and then, he spoke of his days as a fisherman, the freedom of being on the open seas, of battling the storms, and coming safe home. It was dangerous work he said, but the sense of independence was worth the hardships and risk.
I thought of Vincent Van Gogh words, “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”