by Rich Wilson, Skipper, Great American III

Halfway around the world, through the Atlantic, Indian, and now Pacific Oceans, we have seen a diverse array of wildlife. Porpoises have played in the bow wave, flying fish have leapt onto the boat, and unlucky squid have been washed onto the deck by errant waves. Birds are everywhere; we’ve seen petrels, terns, and now the inspiring albatross of the Southern Ocean. With a wingspan of 9-10 feet, they glide effortlessly, almost never flapping their wings, and are the royalty of the air.

On previous voyages, we’ve seen whales off South Africa, and sharks in the tropics. And here now, when a wave sweeps the deck, it leaves behind dozens of minuscule shrimp, each about 1 centimeter long. Last night, a small gray animal made a hasty exit from the surface as we approached, leaving only a whirlpool.

Each species we see at the surface is amazing in its own way. Beneath the surface more species are being discovered to add to the thousands known. Sadly, all are threatened by pollution, global warming, and overfishing.

What an embarrassing legacy. Still, as we did with the ozone hole and CFCs, perhaps we can organize globally to save the oceans and make them vibrant again. Individually, we can join a group, make a donation, or write a congressman. As the young French boy said to me in Les Sables d’Olonne, “C’est important a participer.”