Sunrise at sea always seems startlingly brilliant and reassuring, especially to the tired watch, eager for breakfast and a quiet berth. Some veterans claim that the four-to-eight is the best watch of all, regardless of the awkward sleep patterns, because the benefits include the radiant preamble and postlude of each new day.
We are securely at sea, beyond landfall and offsoundings, and the blooming colors on the eastern horizon foretell a grand day ahead. At press time, The Oceanography Society numbers more than 1700 strong, a remarkable growth in just six months, indicative of widespread support for the Society’s goals and untapped potential for ocean sciences. Central among those goals is service to the professional community, service that lubricates the machinery of productivity and creative endeavor. But there is a larger calling, one that transcends mere infrastructure: it is the opportunity and the obligation to serve the global society from which we draw our members and much of our support. It is the larger arena where our greatest challenges and responsibilities await.
The boat drills are over, the fire hoses secured, and the vessel’s easy motion has banished preliminary queasiness. We will reach the first station shortly after dawn, It is time to unfold the scientific plan, time for general quarters. How shall we use our new momentum? How best to advance our science for the common benefit of society? What will be our cruise track, who will run the instruments’? It has been said that a man’s vision is his future, and certainly this must be so for scientific societies as well. With our new organization, we have the unprecedented opportunity to project collective visions and perhaps chart the future of ocean sciences. To seek lesser horizons, to shun harsher latitudes, would be an injustice to the moment. Fifty years from now, with appropriate fanfare, let us celebrate the decisions made at the outset of our voyage: decisions born of vision and not of vicissitude, vision drawn from concern for the oceans and the planet they nourish.
— David A. Brooks