"I think I'm a lot like most other people who find solace in being near the ocean. It has not only been a source of comfort and rejuvenation, but has persistently influenced my life to one degree or another. I feel fortunate to have had a long association with it from my early years living close to the beach and body surfing in SoCal, to my early adult life when I joined the Navy and made it a career. It was a place to honeymoon many years ago, and a place I now call home, on the Monterey Bay.
While at sea in the Navy it was easy to see the ocean as vast and limitless. I flew helicopters off the fantails of ships which gave me many different angles and countless pleasant memories. On calm, cloudless days, you could climb to altitude where you'd see open ocean from horizon to horizon - and the only human presence, your small ship. You could see the wake of your ship rippling out in a great “V” reaching out mile after mile to those horizons and then disappearing.
It was all so humbling - the vastness of it all.
Many years ago, I had heard about an organization called Save Our Shores up in Santa Cruz and it got me thinking about becoming more active with the stewardship of the oceans. But living in Monterey County, it seemed better for me to work locally. It wasn’t long before I heard about the 2010 Coastal Cleanup Day being conducted at beaches around the Peninsula and I signed up to volunteer with my teenage son Travis, who has his own love for the ocean.
The beach we went to was manned by Andrew Hoeksema from SOS. Andrew shared that SOS was just starting to work in Monterey County and was looking for Stewards from the Monterey area. Perfect!! So I volunteered and then went to the Sanctuary Steward training which started a few months later.
The Sanctuary Steward program was a very enjoyable and informative course about the beauty and bounty of the ocean, but was also disturbing. The training enlightened me as to how much we have lost just in the course of my lifetime, but also hopeful about what we can do together to turn things around and bring it back. It has been a great personal experience and by-the-way, a terrific father/son activity that Travis happily and frequently participates in.
By Ronn Rygg, Sanctuary Steward Class of 2011
Why should YOU join the Steward Class of 2012?
Classes start soon on February 21st!