In the Fleet Marines I steamed around the South China Sea on an amphibious assault ship. Every moment not used in planning the next mission was spent gazing at the Southern Cross from the forecastle, trying to uncover the mystery of the wine-dark sea. We have just to look at the sea — and think. My inclinations were accurate. The sea is the closest we come to being in another world. And the U.S. Navy is master and commander of the seven seas, projecting power, diplomacy and trepidation.
A few weeks ago Gary Mekikian, a dad from Girl Scout Troop 889, invited the scouts to Coronado for an adventure on the high seas. The girls would sail Coronado Bay and participate as ship’s crew. The scouts would later camp along the ocean at Silver Strand State Beach.
The sea induces a transformation of the soul; one’s senses become a tingling palette of experience, emotion and wonder. Would the girls realize that such experiences are life-changing? Awareness is not immediate, but our experience is our personal literature. Joseph Conrad says, “There is nothing more enticing and enslaving than life at sea.”
The weekend culminated in an excursion aboard a commissioned naval fighting ship, the U.S.S. Mobile Bay, a guided-missile cruiser. My contact, Petty Officer Hernandez, arranged a tour for Troop 889.