In my life I have been extremely fortunate to see and experience some extraordinary things. I was raised on Matinicus Island, Maine and spent 17 years as a commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Maine. I have also spent 2 years on supply ships in the Gulf of Mexico and 4 years working for the United States Antarctic Program as a marine technician and marine projects coordinator, sailing on scientific research ships around Antarctica. Even coming from a state that’s well known for its cold winters, this was nothing like I had ever known. I spent months during the dark of the Antarctic night crashing through sea-ice that was at times over 20 feet thick, with air temperatures that stayed deep in the negative numbers and winds that would blast the paint off the boat. But on the other hand the still summers in Antarctica were almost welcoming, and with the return of open water came free floating icebergs and thousands of animals. The penguins, seals and albatross seemed to come from every direction, and whales of every kind – humpbacks, fin, blues, minkes and orcas – came to feed in the krill rich waters. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen and still is.
Most recently I have traded in the cool Antarctic climates for a slightly warmer spot. I have spent 8 years sailing up and down the west coast of the United States, Mexico and Canada. I have been sailing as a pilot and mechanical technician, flying a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California. The tethered submarine that I fly is called Tiburon. It has allowed me to work closely with scientists from around the world as they study the deep canyons and volcanic fields deep below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. I have flown the submarine while scientists discover and capture animals in the midwater that have never been seen before, and from what I’ve seen we are just barely scratching the surface. Since I have begun working with the all world-class people at MBARI, I have been amazed and humbled as I have learned about the many different facets of deep sea exploration and science research.
I spent four years studying biology and mechanical engineering at the University of Maine in Orono where I learned great deal of things, but it is the work I have done since then that has given me a truly invaluable education. I look forward to returning to Maine and to having the chance to share my experiences and gain some new ones as we offer the students of Maine an opportunity to get a head start on their own experiences in life.