The Perfect Storm (October 1991)
The journey of the offshore
commercial fisherman can sometimes take them into perilous circumstance beyond the reach of those who would help them.
They are alone in their crisis and must face fate as it comes. Such is the story of the Andrea Gail.
The 72 foot longliner and her crew of six were in search of what they hoped would be a record catch when they found themselves trapped
in the middle of what has has since been described as "the Perfect Storm". Meterologists of the day, who chronicled
the storm's awesome power, did not refer to the storm that way. Someone later coined the phrase
and attached it to this particular display of nature's fury. This reference to the perfection of the storm describes the
fortunately very rare culmination of the forces of nature coming together at one time to produce the worst storm in recorded
history. The collision of three separate weather patterns in the North Atlantic created the monster which used
more energy to keep going EACH DAY than the total energy that would be produced by the world's arsenal of all nuclear
weapons combined. The story of the Andrea Gail is one of many individual stories gleaned from the storm
which roiled the Atlantic Ocean from Newfoundland to New Jersey. The men and women of The
United States Coast Guard performed their duty heroically to save lives throughout the storm's duration. Sadly, the members
of the Coast Guard also lost one of their own while performing a rescue during the height of the storm's fury. It is in a cynical sense true that nature had produced "The Perfect Storm".
|The Andrea Gail. Lost at sea with all hands.
"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works
of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro,
and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them
out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they
be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven." Psalms 107:23-30
The "Man at the Wheel" is the Fisherman's
Memorial located in Gloucester, MA. The fishing port of Gloucester has lost over 10,000 men to the sea. The Captain and crew
of the Andrea Gail are among those lost at sea.