71°23′20″N 156°28′45″W -Coincidence?


Adventure update as of 0340, July 28, 2013:
As Empiricus sails well into the Arctic Ocean, parlaying with whales and walrus, skirting pieces of ice and gaining empirical knowledge of the treasures to be found in the frigid waters of the North, the captain relates enthusiastically the beauty of the voyage thus far. “At one point, we were sailing wing and wing with the Genoa going 8 knots!” (*Empiricus’s hull speed is 7knots) The crew has experienced ideal sailing conditions averaging roughly 120Nm each day and enjoying seas varying between about 1 and 2 feet. Everyone is healthy and in good spirits, appreciating the favorable conditions thus far. With West winds projected for the next 24 hours and continually melting ice, Empiricus will sail on to welcome the final crew member just east of Prudhoe Bay.

As an explanation of the title, I’d like to share the following on the topic of coincidence:
Yesterday afternoon I received a fortune cookie. The fortune within I crudely photographed and is the second of the two photographs in this post. When I read it initially, I thought, “oh, this must be referencing when we (Empiricus and crew) land in Greenland in the next few months”. It’s fun to suppose how the random fortune can be applied to your life and so, that was my fun little synopsis of what the fortune meant for me. I realize Greenland is not truly the top of the world, but it’s pretty far north, and I felt it reasonable to visualize a literal interpretation of the fortune thusly. So what bridges the first photograph to the second?
The first picture is copied from the Sea Ice Group at the Geophysical Institute website. It is a copy of their webcam footage (located at 71 degrees 17’33″N, 156 degrees 47’18″W). There was a great deal of fog and I am unable to make out Empiricus (perhaps you can). We are not certain that she passed the camera at the right time, but she was within minutes of the 03:39:38 time indicated on the photo, so she may be on the edges of the photograph. The location of the camera is just before the northern most point of the United States (the coordinates posted in the title), essentially, the “top of the world”! Was the fortune I received only hours before a coincidence? Maybe Greenland wasn’t the foretold top of the world I initially though it was, and maybe “world” could be loosely interpreted to mean “our individual world, or our experience thus far”. In this way, Empiricus was soon to sit/sail past “the top of the world”! What an exciting coincidence that this was foretold! Now, (polar) bear with me folks, I realize my interpretation of the events that transpired in the last 24hours is more carefree and whimsical than it is truth and certainty. Even so, it proved a pleasant way for me to ameliorate the 0250 phone call alerting me that Empiricus was nearing the Barrow Sea Ice Webcam. And consequently provided an imaginative segue into what I’d like to leave you with today…
On the topic of coincidence and meaning, how grand or mundane are our experiences if not merely the extent of our interpretation of them? Personal meaning and individual resonance are not readily imbued, rather they are generally the products of our unique interpretation. What we interpret from any situation or story is unique representation of who we are and where we’ve been. The degree to which interpretations of the same event can vary is why we are able to share stories that inspire each listener differently. (*it is also the reason you can tell your children the same thing for years, and some random person can say the same thing to them and all of a sudden it makes sense*) Truly, it is what leads us to recognize the adventurer in others and to ally with those who are open to discovering meaning in their experiences. The pricelessness of the treasures found at the “ends of the Earth”, (if indeed something round can have an end) are not meant to remain undiscovered, rather let them be selectively revealed. The tales of such revelations happen upon us as coincidence, in the chance encounter of fortuitous event. These tales are our introduction to the possibilities that we may have never imagined otherwise, they are the impetus for future explorations. As you take note of the coincidences in your lives, recognizing your unique contribution and ability to receive, I’d like to leave you with the following quote:
“Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies.”- James Redfield, “The Celestine Prophecy”
Cheers to a wonderfully coincidental discovery of your personal mission, moving you ever toward your destinies. Thank you for taking part in our coincidence.


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