Coming home (for now)

Yaquina Bay Bridge at night
A welcome sight: the Yaquina Bay Bridge at night. Photo by Craig Hayslip.

(This post was originally published September 16, 2021. Posts have been manually reordered for more logical storytelling. To go to the next post in the sequence, click “Previous Post” at bottom.)

It was 1 am Saturday morning when we sailed under the Yaquina Bay Bridge, under our own power, but without the ability to put the engine into reverse. Once we took the ship out of forward gear, it would require an intense session in the engine room to get it engaged again.

The maritime skill that I witnessed during that next hour to get the Pacific Storm sandwiched in tight between two of Newport’s fishing vessels, and feet from the Chelsea Rose at Port Dock 3, was extraordinary. Even more striking, though, and what will remain with me, was the unplanned dynamic of human interaction that played out over that short period of time in the middle of the night.

The group of professionals (our captain, chief engineer, crew, individuals from the Port of Newport, captain and crew from other vessels), family members, and friends that, at short notice and without a second thought, came together in the darkness to help us had one laser focus — to get us in safely. The event was unscripted, and the stakes were high.

I know that a community is a heterogeneous collection, and no matter how large or how small, has divisiveness within it. But for that short period of time, I watched extreme talent, brought together through deep connections and profound trust, working in perfect harmony toward a common goal. We are home.

~Lisa T. Ballance

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