I spent Thursday and Friday touring the facilities of the University of Hawaii – specifically SOEST (The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology). The school, their facilities but even more so the science they are performing amazed me and gave me hope for our oceans and the earth. As a motivational speaker, I was wowed by this school in many ways, not the least of which was the comments by their researchers on how much we don’t know about the oceans and the potential solutions in the areas of energy, food, and medicines that are being discovered.
Deep Sea Submersibles
I could spend hours talking about the fascinating things I saw and heard all around the University but my sweet spot was really in two areas.
First, I want to talk about, the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory and their use of two deep-sea submersibles, the Pisces IV and Pisces V. Amazing machines that have made hundreds of visits to the deep ocean and continue to take researchers on trips of discovery.
Meeting the sub pilots Terry Kerby and Max Cremer and specifically, the discussions with Max was engrossing – I could have spent a day or two talking about their adventures and the things they have seen at the bottom of the oceans.
Max, who could be a motivational speaker himself, told me about some of their most exciting missions. Discovery of a long lost Japanese mini-sub that was sunk one hour before the Pearl Harbor invasion; endless discoveries of minerals and extremely hot thermal vents lying on beds of molten sulfur; and their surprise at finding Monk seals playing at depths of 1600 feet. Mammals at 1600 ft! Amazing how life adapts and how much we don’t know. These guys simply rock!
The thing that impressed me the most was their humility, professionalism, and graciousness. I hope we can all count on having Terry, Max, and other pilots and scientists on deep sea voyages for years to come. And, I also hope the tide of using Remote Operating Vehicles does not completely displace our need or adventure of humans physically exploring the ocean bottoms.
More than the eye can see.
At times the problems in our oceans overwhelm me. I can’t see how my granddaughters will ever live to see the coral reefs and creatures thriving in an ocean choked with plastic, inundated with CO2, coral bleached dead, waters overfished and absent all the amazing sharks and other large predatory fish. It’s at these times that I can give up, surrender and say there is nothing I can do. The problem is simply too big and complex. It’s times like these I need an injection of hope as a motivational speaker sharing conscious connections with you and this trip gave me one.
Max and Terry have gone where few others have ventured. They are true adventurers in an era where there aren’t many new frontiers. The bottom of our oceans is one of these places and these two, along with a handful of others, have ventured there repeatedly discovering new and amazing facts about our planet. All of this is fascinating stuff but I think the real story is one Max told me and I hope to share with you as the motivational speaker side of me knows a great story of inspiration and hope when he sees it!
One Grain at a time.
On the weekends, Max spends his time at the ocean shore with a wheelbarrow, bucket, small shovel and a net made from a paint strainer, extracting microplastics from the sand by floating it back out and then skimming it. He said, “some people tell me it doesn’t make a difference, but 1,000,000 minus 1 equals 999,999 – each digit is different. What are they talking about?” Here is a guy who has seen more amazing things than most of us will ever see in places on this planet few of us will tread and rather than giving up hope he is trying to make a difference, one grain of sand at a time.
I don’t know about you but I need this kind of hope and inspiration to get me to do my part.