A gift of time.

Its 2:30 AM here aboard Empiricus.  We are a hundred Nautical Miles East of Point Barrow.  Hugging the coast only 3 miles away.

The pack ice curtains us in on the Port side, as we slowly motor in sloppy, uneasy seas.

We douced all our sails a few hours ago, having sailed most of this passage so far.  But 30 knot winds on our stern, building steep seas and  thick ice flows, hiding in pea soup fog.  Dictated we slow our progress.

With the little motor gently purring, we still make over 5 knots of speed,. My son Isaac threads the ship though the pack ice… Along for another one of his old man’s adventures.

Isaac at the helm with tunes in surround sound.
Isaac at the helm with tunes in surround sound.

He will be relievd soon, as we all progress through the steady cadence of watch change and the miles slip under our keel.

I look out the rain soaked window at my son in admiration.

He is fifteen years old.  Spighetti stains on his mouth, from a hot meal had in rough seas.  He has a  go pro, action cmera on his wrist.  Aiming it at the daunting ice abreast of our little ship.  The helm is in the other hand in one hand .  He Sways to and fro as the wheel spins rhythmically under his familiar guidence.  Giant green headphones arestuffed under his orange hood.  They play some tune that seems to make him laugh.

Three grown men, inside asleep trust him with their lives, in a place as hospitable as the moon.

I don’t think that’s whats on his mind though.  I think he is bored.  I think he misses his life at home and he is trying to be a good sport.

He has a girlfriend.  Whom he misses.  And friends whom are enjoying a “Normal” kids summer.

But he is not there with them.  He is here with me.

That makes me think…

I have a long list of hopes for Isaaac, that will be strengthened by this experience.  Skills I wish to pass on.  Inspiration I hope he grasps, Confidence I pray he finds etc  But above all that.  I am realizing…  Most of all I need to enjoy him.  I need to enjoy the time he has given me…

A young mans weekend is his universe…  But its not a weekend.  Its 2 months in the high arctic oceans.  Its football season and the beginning of his Sophomore year.  I don’t believe this is a one way exchange.  I think hes teaching me something as well.  Something about him and I.  Something about appreciation for he and I.

This time he has given me, is as grand a thing that can be exchanged between father and son.  I need to be a good steward of that gift.

Capt. Jesse Osborn


70 Deg 54.2’ North

152 Deg 16.9’ West


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