Hello friends! 

It makes my heart happy to introduce a new contributor: Chelsea, an accomplished and spirited sailor who hails from Southeast Alaska (by way of Cal Maritime and now the oil field). I want to share what she said when she sent me her bio: 

"I was listening to a podcast about Astronomy today, and there was a panel of women who work for JPL and NASA on it... Did you know that even aero-space has a higher percentage of women than the maritime industry!!???!!!! They are at about 10%, much higher at NASA. How, down here on Earth, are we still at 1-2%?? ... They were talking about how female camaraderie is what made the numbers grow in their industry, especially at NASA. So I was inspired to finally write this."

I have the same query, with just as many question marks and exclamation points; I really think it's time to even out the numbers in this industry, and I think the best way to do that is through camaraderie, support, encouragement and empowerment. And if it's not going to come from outside our numbers, it's got to come from within. We have to lift each other up, we have to make it clear that there is plenty of room for all of us. 

In her bio, Chelsea highlights not just the positive facets of her experience along the way, but some of the negative and unflattering details of the path that led her to working at sea. I was moved to emotion when she talked about being unhappy in school, and I was so proud that she was willing to share this with the world. Her story illustrates what a community like ours can give to women trying to get into the maritime industry: courage. We don't have to worry about being alone, about not having a voice. We can be sure that we'll be heard and not judged for being imperfect. Struggling and learning is all part of the experience, and we're all here to listen. 

Thank you so much for joining us, Chelsea. Fair winds to you,