Guidelines: Peter Iredale


By Simon Ambit

As my family and I had the opportunity to take a vacation to the majestic Oregon Coast this summer, we saw many things. From sea lions to lighthouses and high tide to low, the adventures were numerous. One of the stops that stood out as a personal favorite of mine was the shipwreck site of the sailing vessel, PETER IREDALE.

110 years ago this month, on Oct. 25, 1906, the Peter Iredale was leaving a wake to be reckoned as it trudged up the coast bound for Portland. Captain H. Lawrence and his crew sailed under growing anticipation as the crew had been offered a bonus if they could shave five days off the normal sailing time allotted for the trip. Things were sizing up nicely as they sailed under perfect conditions. With threats of changing weather patterns, they stood and held up just off the mouth of the Columbia River.

As the perfect sailing conditions were swallowed in the hunger of unexpected storm, merciless currents and gusting winds, the Peter Iredale was helplessly tossed toward the shore and ran aground. Miraculously, all crew members survived. Minus some of the ship being sold as scrap, the vessel was declared a total loss.

As I stood there in the sand and walked around the decrepit skeletal remains of the Peter Iredale, I couldn’t help but think about the bustle of life. In an effort to scuttle a little faster, to cut a tighter corner, to trim a little more fat from the system; lives were endangered and the ship was lost.

Do we find ourselves sailing around under perfect conditions and just barely getting through the pull of the current? Though I think we need to be ever engaged in good causes, we need a balance of work and play and push ourselves to improve. I think at times we try to get too much done, try to go too fast, try to adjust the course a little too much. When the weather changes or something outside of our control happens to change our perfect sailing conditions, we don’t have enough margin built in and we get tossed around by the tides of life. Our ships gets forced into the reefs and sandbars lurking below.

With the haunts of Halloween ushering in the holidays, make the time to slow down and take an inventory of what course we are sailing. Do we have a little extra money in case someone gets sick? Are trying to cram 27 hours worth of “to do” into 24 hours worth of today? Do we have air in the spare tire? Do we have candles or batteries should the power go out? The lists can stretch on and on and we can only tackle them one at a time. Let us do what we can to leave a little water between us and the shore, so that when the winds pick up, we have time to safely adjust course. Life is good. Here’s hoping for friendly tides and smooth sailing ahead!

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