“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea -- whether it is to sail or to watch it -- we are going back from whence we came.” -- John F Kennedy
A lot of us yearn to return to the sea.
It covers about 70 percent of the Earth's surface. It provides half the oxygen we breathe, released from the pelagic phytoplankton living just below the water’s surface, and most of the water we drink, through surface evaporation that rises and then eventually falls as rain or snow.
Despite its importance in our lives, much of the ocean and the creatures in it remain unexplored. It’s been estimated that well over 90 percent of all species that live on earth exist in the ocean.
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Head a few miles out to sea from any Central Coast harbor or port, and you find yourself in a whole different world. On most days, the farther out you go the warmer the ocean becomes. The reason is that near shore, ocean temperatures are affected by upwellings that drive deeper, nutrient-rich cold water from the ocean depths toward the surface, almost like an upside down waterfall.
Head way out, and the ocean turns a fierce blue with rolling hills of water that resemble a vast prairie but without any borders, roads or fences. You can’t help but feel a boundless sense of freedom. Transversely, the ocean can also be unforgiving.
At this year’s “Lost at Sea Memorial Day” celebration held annually at the Cayucos Pier, Navy Chaplain Bill Houston eulogized sailors on a submarine who were lost in an instant as the ocean depths imploded their sub’s hall. These warriors give everything they had, except for their souls, to preserve our freedom.
On Oct. 5, 25 Wounded Warriors left Morro Bay aboard the Fiesta chartered from Virg’s Landing, and You Lie skippered by David Fort. They spent their day fishing as part of the 2nd annual Anglers Anonymous Operation Hook, Line and Sinker event. Participants came as far away as San Diego and Sacramento. Many of these vets had never been deep-sea fishing.
"We take the veteran out of their regular environment and put them in a beautiful place like the ocean, and they're able to experience nature and experience what the ocean has to offer in a way that they couldn't do otherwise, " said Greg Birkholz, president of Anglers Anonymous.
Unlike last year’s event that saw strong northwesterly winds and choppy seas, this year’s trip had gentle winds and subsiding swell. Each angler caught between seven and eight rock cod.
The fishing trip was sponsored by Anglers Anonymous with help from PG&E’s Veterans Employee Resource Group, Amp Surf as well as donations by individuals and other businesses.
At the conclusion of the fishing trip, the Bay Osos and Atascadero Kiwanis Clubs sponsored and staffed a delicious tri-tip barbecue meal in Tidelands Park. Anglers Anonymous is already planning for next year and hope to help even more veterans.