published Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Moon's poem sails Bering Sea

by Dan Cook

General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon of Chattanooga has fished offshore for more than 30 years. He goes on excursions with plastic surgeon Jim Eyssen and other friends aboard the Contender boat "Seacup" out of Dauphin Island, Ala.

Moon's experiences there have led him to recognize the dangers of unpredictable storms, gale winds and high seas.

He was watching a Discovery Network "Deadliest Catch" television program last year about the Northwestern, a crabbing vessel operated by Capt. Sig Hansen in the Bering Sea off Alaska, when he became even more respectful of the dangers of the high seas.

That led to a prayer poem he wrote for the vessel, and his poem now is displayed in the china cabinet on the boat.

"The episode referenced that a man had gone overboard on the crab boat Time Bandit earlier in the week," Judge Moon explained recently. "He was fortunately rescued and survived.

"When the crab season begins in October, an average of one man per week is lost at sea," Moon said. "In freezing weather, a man overboard must be rescued in a matter of only a few minutes in order to survive.

"I was inspired to write the prayer in reflecting on some of the difficult times at sea that I have personally experienced, together with the perils that I saw these crab fishermen endure. The big difference is these men fish for a living in the treacherous Bering Sea, and I have always fished for sport in a usually more docile Gulf of Mexico.

"Sea conditions in the Gulf of Mexico can be hazardous and deadly, and it is not unusual for boats to capsize and for people to drown. Obviously, the more frequent perilous conditions in the Bering Sea are much worse and much more unpredictable."

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