Sailing again

On the morning of 18 April 2009, I feel the dawn just over the horizon and wake.  Today I plan to sail on the promise of good wind for the Apostle Islands along the south shore.  I hear with the minds ear my dear Godmother and Prayer Warrior, Irene, speaking with the wisdom of her 90 years, “Tommy, if you want to make God laugh,… just tell Him your plans.”

I sailed on the Research Vessel CORY CHOUEST on an around the world trip with Captain Russell Bosigua (Forgive me, Cap, for misspelling your name.  That was a long time ago) in 1992.  We did a global warming experiment in the southern Indian Ocean off Herd Is.  We did?  They did.  All I did was drive the boat when it was my watch.  The important thing is on the bulkhead of the mess deck was a poster with words so powerful they changed my way of thinking forever.  I do not know who the words were attributed to but they shook my foundations.  They simply said this:

The course of your life is not determined by the way you wish things were, but by the way you deal with how things are.

So, I adopted them as my life’s motto and like never before it must be at the forefront of every choice I make on this voyage.

One of the things I love so about sailing is the real and immediate need for clear precise choices.  You see, by nature I’m an emotional based decision maker in desperate need of becoming be a principle based decision maker.  Emotions change and feelings change and they are not reliable for making decisions.  (LUKE SKYWALKER!  DON’T TRUST YOUR FEELINGS!)  But principles are steadfast and unchangeable.  If I make my decision based on the principles of good seamanship I will make good decisions.   Irene again… “Right  actions bring good consequences.” 

The constant correction of course that must be made as the bow hunts its way through the water is the every reminding factor of what I wish for and what I get are always in conflict.  The uncontrollable forces of wind and tide, light and dark, known and unknown will be at play to thwart my wishes and must be dealt with in their turn with the best unemotional principle based choice I can make.

 And, whee, all I want to do is get across the lake.

Thank you, Stephan.





5 Responses to “Sailing again”

  1. Matthew Parker says:

    I received a surprise phone call from Capt. Tommy today. What a treat. I chatted with him as he was bearing down on the Apostle Islands once again. He signed off grabbing his binoculars to check out another passing ship as the “big” vessels seem to be his only company on the water (besides ICE). My guess is most of the locals are waiting for winter to go away before putting to “sea”. I was glad to hear from Tommy as I tend to worry between his blog posts. I would like one everyday to know he is all right and to see where he has turned up this time. It sounds like he is having the time of his life. So between blogs I pass my time with the kids praying for Grandpa Tom’s safety (He is affectionately know around the Parker house as our “Fake” Grandpa a title given him by my daughter unaware of the term “adopted”.

    Well Tommy you are giving away your secrets. I have spent my days since know you sharing that little quote about how you deal with things the way they are and attributing it to Capt. Tommy Cook. It certainly is true. Don’t people waste a lot of time whining? As I read this little line in today’s blog “becoming a principle based decision maker” it reminded me of God’s Word and how it applies on the “Sea of Life” just like seamanship on the sea. Good to hear from from you and hope to again soon.

    Capt. Matthew

  2. Matt Halsted says:

    Matt Parker,

    How are ya, my friend? Long time, no see! Who would’ve thought that Tommy would reunite us again? How are you and your family? I talk to Jeff K. quite often and it sounds like things are going well out in P.A. w/ MSRC.

    My family and I are out here in Kincardine, ON Canada. I started working at Bruce Power, a nuclear power plant on the western shore of Lake Huron. I’m hoping Tommy gets in touch with me on his way down to Sarnia when he leaves Lake Huron en route to Lake Erie. I’d like to meet up with him on his way through.

    My wife, Kristin, has a blog for our family and updates it quite often. It’s our way of keeping family and friends up to date since leaving Washigton State. The web address is

    I’ll send my contact info to Jeff and will have him pass it on to you. We’re planning on going back home to Bremerton for Christmas for a couple of weeks. If everything comes together, I’ll plan on coming out to P.A. for a day. I’d like to see all the guys again.

    You and definitely agree on one thing; I get coincerned when Tommy doesn’t leave at least one post per day on the blog. It makes me want to get underway and go track him down!

    Take care buddy,


  3. Bill Williston says:

    Hello Captain Tommy,
    Thank you for sharing the Lake Superior sailing. Thank you for sharing the mess deck quote, too. The quote reminds me of what is important. So does your sailing.

    Here is a link to NOAA images of Lake Superior that you might find interesting:

    I apologize that it is cut and paste and not clickable. The images from 4/16 are the latest clear photos. One can see ice in the lake West and North of the Keewenaw Peninsula. One might also see a huge ice field between Isle Parisian and the mainland in Whitefish Bay at the East end of the lake.

    God speed,

  4. Chad Evans says:

    Hi Captn. Tommy,

    I just found you site today and will add it to my favorites. Your granny’s quote about telling God your wishes, had me in stiches. I’m going to add it to my list of quotable quotes just so I won’t forget it, as if I could.

    Fair winds and full sails,


  5. Virg says:

    Oh, my gosh – it’s late because I think I finally have read all the blogs (maybe one more to go), but I had to laugh at “And, whee, all I want to do is get across the lake.” What a lake to get across!
    My only dealings with boats was when I had a 14 ft. Seacrest kayak that I kept down on the bay below my house. I loved taking a thermos of coffee and getting out in the middle and then just drifting, looking around at the beauty. My daughter and family have the kayak now for a couple years where they live on a river.
    I’m learning a lot just from reading all the blogs. 🙂