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Fear and Salt

There comes a time in a watermen's life when he/she finds himself/herself suddenly in a situation where fear takes over, and the waterman is dealt a rough hand in a game of poker against the ocean itself.

The brain begins to grasp the possible life changing options at hand and place them in queue respective to greatest chances of survival. Then without voluntary control the sympathetic responses in the brain begin activating the fight-or-flight response, which has been programmed into humans and animals alike since the beginning. Watermen, being a humble breed, will not handle a life or death situation like their peers. Instead they are quick to manage the biological emergency responses and draft the best plan of action for survival.

What are we talking about here? We are talking about the fear of possible death among a deep, powerful, unpredictable, and merciless sea. It's the fear an offshore sailor experiences when he/she has no other choice but to take down all sails, lock all hatches, and go below, not knowing if he/she will make it through the storm. The fear a surfer gets when the waves suddenly grow too fast to reach shore safely. The fear a diver experiences when he/she realizes they are lost in a shipwreck with only minutes of air left in the tanks. The fear a lifeguard has when conditions become overwhelming and he/she is left to wonder whether saving that particular person is within limits of possibility. It is the fear a poor swimmer encounters when he/she realizes that the shark that just dismembered a limb may be coming back for seconds. Its the fear a beach-goer gets when he/she grasps the reality that the rip current they've been sucked into may be their last. The panic a river guide experiences when pinned underwater against a fast moving river. For those non water-type people reading this, try and relate to the feeling when your life is suddenly flashed before your eyes, and the next actions you make will change your fate.

To earn the status of waterman not only must you excel at all things water, but you must frequent these situations with respect and caution for the unknown. Each time a person experiences this fear and respect of the ocean they "Earn Their Salt". Grain by grain until he or she is entirely comfortable in that situation and the flame for the fear of the sea is re-ignited. The task is never complete, but those who are the most seasoned are often the best; well rounded, humble, and genuine watermen.

That is why we at Original Watermen ask you to ask yourself if devoting your life to earning your salt is something you really seek.