Oh Captain My Captain….

A couple of days ago, I was sitting on the couch facebooking and youtubing and generally blowing a mountain of time doing nothing. Stephen got home early from school, grabbed a bowl of cereal, picked up the remote and proceeded to flip through our 96 (mostly Spanish) cable channels. He settled on channel 9 – Discovery – nice. They were showing back to back episodes of Deadliest Catch, a show that follows the captains and crews of Alaskan crab fishing boats. As indicated by the shows title, it is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world as the crews work tirelessly to make a living hauling Alaskan King Crab in from the icy Bering Sea.

I wasn’t really paying any attention. I’m not all that into reality TV, and to be honest, the show is not all that interesting. Yes, it’s cold and wet and dangerous. Yes, there’s tension between the greenhorns and the old mariners. Yes, their lives and livelihoods depend upon wether or not they can fill their boats with crab. Lots of drama, lots of arguing, lots of salt water – We get it already. So anyway, I wasn’t really watching because, you know, you’ve seen it once you’ve seen it 100 times. And stalking my not-so-close-friends on Facebook had me so riveted that Deadliest Catch wasn’t even a blip on my radar. But then Stephen turned it way up and said, “Oh, he’s gonna die……he is totally gonna die! Oh, jeez, oh jeez! He has no hope”
This got my attention. I looked up to see that a deckhand had been swept off of a boat and into the freezing water. Cameramen follow as the crew of the nearby TimeBandit see the fisherman disappear from his boat into the whitecaps and they frantically set about to pull him from the water. The captain of the TimeBandit edges his boat as near as he can while the crew scrambles, pulling on protective gear, throwing themselves onto the deck, fighting against ropes and knots and the elements of nature to cast a lifesaver to the man, to jump in if need be, and ultimately to save his life. They finally drag the poor guy out, close to dead from hypothermia, sputtering from his near drowning and literally begging for his life. He’s thanking everybody around him as he strips out of wet clothes, they wrap him in a blanket and bring him into the warm galley. It was all very exciting.
*sidenote* I haven’t been sleeping well for the past few months. I can fall asleep….but not stay asleep. Which pretty much sucks. I usually wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with some random thought. “I wonder if Kathy can buy pecans in Alaska?” or “Maybe I should put the towels on the second shelf and the sheets on the top shelf.” I mean stupid stuff really, but there I am, awake in the middle of almost every night thinking about switching shampoo or renting a movie or googling some odd fact.
So, the last couple of nights I’ve awakened (*not surprisingly – see “sidenote”*) to thoughts of the man overboard and the captain and the crew that saved him. There was this moment, a few seconds really, where the captain of the ship comes down to see how the guy is. He is still dripping wet and shivering from cold and the captain stoops down and leans in to tell him how happy he is that he is alive. They embrace, and as the captain hugs him, pats him, hugs him again, the man finally begins to cry. He cries out, “You saved my f-ing life! You saved my f-ing life! You saved my f-ing life!” Again and again he says it as he clings to the captain, burying his face in the other mans chest and crying out in his gratitude. All of this lasts less than a minute. Two gruff sailors unable to contain their gratefulness for the life that was saved. The man is left to warm up and the captain returns to his post with a visible sigh of relief.
I’m guessing that it’s not as moving as I think, but for whatever reason, the whole scene has sort of stuck with me. It reminds me of who I want to be. The man was right to thank the Captain for saving him. It was His careful maneuvering that made the rescue possible. It was the crew in His service, using the tools and training that He had provided that pulled him from the sea. A crew that acted with honor and sacrifice to see him into the boat. Every man on the ship that day did his job, no matter how seemingly small. They were selfless and courageous. No one was jealous of another mans role or took on more than his own. They served their Captain and their fellow man. I want to be like that.
It just occurred to me that I could have simply referred you to the video clip. You should totally watch it. Seriously, I am fully aware that I’m reading into it, but still when I watch it I am moved:
Do you feel me?



  1. Kelly on May 6, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Ya, I feel you! (PS…I do like “Deadliest Catch.” I think I saw the beginning of that episode…kind of felt the foreshadowing.)

  2. kathy on May 6, 2009 at 1:32 am

    ..Yes. I’ve seen the episode! So… feeling what you are feeling! And yes, I can buy pecans in Alaska. =)
    you are loved

  3. Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras on May 6, 2009 at 7:05 am

    I don’t know if I saw that exact one (not an avid Deadliest Catch viewer), but saw one very similar. There definitely is a sermon in there somewhere. By the way – melatonin does the “keep you asleep” action – I know you can buy it in Costa Rica – look for it in a GNC (I’m pretty sure there is one at the mall), or in a “natural” store – there is/was one in Hiper Mas if I remember correctly. I take it when I’m in the fall asleep, but can’t stay asleep mode. Or have someone send you some.

  4. sundog on January 21, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I wonder how long his gratitude lasted before he was grumbling again about the cold or how hard the job was, etc.

    By the way… I found your blog by one of your comments on SCL. Thanks again Jamie.

  5. Buddy B on October 12, 2010 at 5:25 am

    As I watch Deadliest Catch I think of Jesus' disciples (all fishermen).

    It would be great to take them, add in an IRS enforcement agent, a left or right wing radical and a religious bean counter (gotta have Judas) then send them to seminary…

    What would happen? Would they be accepted with their fisherman language and radical ideas?

    They would spend time in storms and at dinners with politicians, at church and dinners with the fundamentalist crowd…

    They would also spend time with the poor and orphans from Costa Rico and the lepers from India.

    Now that is a reality show… We could call it the New New Testament. What we have been teaching for years and you have been living… Hope you get this from 2 year old post.

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