“When you’re out in the middle of the ocean…you just have this abundance of time which leads to thought, so mariners think differently than the average person. I forget who said it, but they said ‘All man’s troubles can be narrowed down to the fact that we have trouble sitting alone in a room for an hour‘… on a mid ocean bridge watch you have nothing but alone time’”
John Konrad is a USCG licensed Master of Unlimited Tonnage and cofounder gCaptain, the world’s most popular maritime blog, cohosts gCaptain Radio, a weekly podcast with Jeff Eckles and edits TheTeakRail.com, a new website that provides expert reviews of the best marine gear.
His highly-acclaimed book investigating the Deepwater Horizon disaster, entitled Fire on the Horizon: The Untold Story of the Gulf Oil Disaster, chronicled the story of the people and the explosion of the rig, which resulted in more than 200 million gallons of crude oil spewing from a hole three miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scut: What first drew you into the sea?
JK: I’ve loved the sea as long as I can remember. I grew up on a little fishing island in the Bronx —
Scut: City Island?
JK: You know it?
Scut: I used to work on a charter boat out of there.
JK: We moved to Larchmont and picked up sailing. I had a mentor, Richard DuMoulin, who owns a shipping company and — my dad was a
farmerfirefighter, we didn’t have money for the yacht club, but Richard kind of put me under his wing and taught me how to sail on a big boat. Then I did some dinghy racing, and I always liked fishing with my grandpa on the south shore of Long Island. So, I knew I wanted to do something around boats, and first I thought it was going to be the Navy. Then I looked at the Merchant Marine. I went to the Naval Academy…then transferred to SUNY Maritime College and found out what the Merchant Marine was, and the pay was excellent, the travel was excellent, and I signed up and became a ship’s officer.
Scut: How long were you with the merchant marine?