When Spanish ships first started sailing to the Americas, there were many new challenges associated with the long voyage. One particularly challenging ordeal was an area known as the doldrums. The area, about 30 degrees on each side of the equator, is one of the most still areas in the Atlantic Ocean. A ship could hit this spot and go days, even weeks, without a breeze. Ships that did this were in real danger of exhausting their food and water supply. There is a record of one such ship being so depleted of water after a month in the doldrums that by the time they approached the Americas many of the shipmates were dying of thirst. They didn’t know their latitude so they had no idea how much longer their journey would last until they happened on a Peruvian boat. When the Peruvians saw their sickly condition, they called out, “Can we help you?”
“Water!”, they called out, “We need water!”
“Lower your buckets!”, the Peruvians replied.
Every good sailor knew not to drink sea water. The salt is dangerous and can kill you. “No!”, they called back, “We need fresh water!”
Again, the Peruvians called out, “Lower your buckets”
Unbeknownst to the Spanish sailors, for the last week of their journey they had been sailing where the mouth of the Amazon river empties into the Atlantic Ocean. This is the source of 20% of earth’s runoff water. It flows into the ocean with such force that for hundreds of miles in every direction, the water is fresh. The sailors had been dying of thirst in a sea of drinkable water.
Sometimes what we need is “right under our noses.”
Reflection Question: Have you ever thought you needed something, only to discover you already had it? OR Can you recall a time when you easily obtained something you needed (much to your surprise)?