05 Watermen Fear and Salt
There comes a time in a watermen’s life when they find themselves 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 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 is programmed into humans and animals alike since the beginning. Watermen, being a humble breed, will not handle a life or death situation the same way as their peers. Instead, watermen are quick to manage 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 they have no other choice but to take down all sails, lock all hatches, and go below not knowing if they will make it through the storm. It’s the fear a waterman gets when the waves suddenly grow too fast to reach the shore safely. It’s the fear a free diver experiences when realizing he/she is lost in a shipwreck with only minutes of air left in his lungs. It’s the fear a lifeguard has when conditions become overwhelming, being left to wonder whether saving that particular person is within limits of possibility. It is the fear a beachgoer gets when realizing the shark that just dismembered a limb may be coming back for seconds. It’s the fear a poor swimmer encounters when they grasp the fact that the rip current they just got pulled in to may be their last. For non-water type people reading this, relate this to the feeling when your life is flashed before your eyes, and the next actions you make will change your fate.
To earn Waterman status, not only must you excel at all things water, but you must frequent these situations with caution and respect for the unknown. Each time a person experiences this fear and respect of the ocean, they “Earn Their Salt”. This happens grain by grain, until they are entirely comfortable in that situation and the flame for the fear of the sea is reignited. The task is never complete, but those with the most salt are often the best, well rounded, humble, and genuine Watermen. This is why at Original Watermen, we ask you to ask yourself if devoting your life to Earning Your Salt is something you really seek.