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  • Writer's picturesteve richardson

Charting A Course

On long sea passages, the Royal Navy replenishes ships by using a mechanism called, Replenishment at Sea.

This sees the warship and a supply vessel run a parallel course while 25 metres feet apart, and travelling at 12 knots. Once in position, provisions and fuel are transferred.

On one such occasion, in particularly rough weather and choppy seas, I was at the helm. The wheelhouse, used for steering the ship, is situated in the heart of the ship.

This meant, I couldn’t see what the captain could see on the bridge, and he couldn’t see what a beast of a job it was trying to keep the ship on course.

Rough seas make the whole replenishment exercise challenging and risky. Every time the sea pushed the ship closer to the supply ship, the captain would say calmy, but firmly, “Bring her round... bring her round.” Meaning: We are getting much too close!

Each of us have a captain at our helm and it is us. Or, as William Henley once penned, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.

And I believe strongly that emotional pain lands on our doorstep when we do not heed the wisdom of our instinct, intuition and gut feel. Our higher self (The captain), is in touch always with what is best for us.

The instinct that says, ‘leave a relationship, go for a job interview, avoid certain friends, speak to the beggar, stop drinking, protect the reputation of the absent, have faith in yourself, or even ask/offer forgiveness of another.

I’m sure you get the picture.

So can I urge you, the next time something or someone tries to push you closer to catastrophe or inevitable pain; listen to your instinct. Please don’t allow ego, fear, self-doubt, or peer pressure to place you on a course towards unhappiness.

In other words: believe in you!

And perhaps, the last word to this maritime themed blog, should go to another poet, Robert Deimel. He captures beautifully, the idea that life cannot be controlled... but how we deal with it can.

I am the captain of my ship.

But I’m no master of the seas

I do not choose the skies above

Nor create the wayward breeze

But I choose the heading of my ship

I set the sail and chart the course

But I can’t quell the angry waves nor any storm’s prodigious force.

I hope you enjoyed the blog.

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