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3 Business Lessons from Cape Disappointment

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3 Business Lessons from Cape Disappointment

Sail through her shoal at your own risk!

Sometimes, she conspires with mother nature to obscure your visibility.
At other times, she connives with sea waves to drown your ship.

Me @ Cape DisappointmentWelcome to Cape Disappointment, Washington.

On the Southwestern tip of Washington State, lies a tiny ridge of land that prevents you from seeing the jewel beyond. Standing at 46°16′6.13″N 124°5′3.52″W, the cape is a tiny thread of land that has shaped the history of America like no army or navy of her size.

Last Friday, I went there to see this little wonder of the Pacific North West
It was a fact-finding mission; not in a boat, but with my boots.
You won’t believe what I saw.

The air was clean and crisp at sunset. Not disappointing at all!
Is this not where seafarers come to perish in the Pacific? I wondered.
Yes it is. Right on the cusp of the most dangerous River Bar in the world.

Here lies the gateway to the Graveyard of the Pacific!

A fascinating piece of land in shrouded in mysteries.
Not just for her history, but her beauty, her stubbornness and her evil genius.
This place is full of tales and tragedies of shipwrecks with countless souls.

A part of me says few people are telling the stories of this cryptic place.
You can bathe and rinse yourself all day in the facts and factoids of this cape.
A place with a grisly and ghastly past. No wonder she has two light houses!

For centuries, she concealed the great river from all invading sailors.
While the Chinooks nourished themselves with abundant salmon, steelhead and sturgeon
Day and night she fought fiercely to obstruct, outwit and hoodwink outsiders

She won!

It took centuries before any foreigner could enter the belly of mighty river
In waging wars against them, 2000 ships sunk and over 700 lives lost at sea.
Today, the US Coast Guard responds to 300-400 SOS call in this area.

That is like firefighting!

To further obfuscate and complicate any outsider from passage,
The Cape is home to the foggiest place in America;
Oh yes, that is about 106 days of fog per year.

So how did Cape Disappointment earn such notoriety?

British fur trader Cap. John Meares gave the name
On 12 April 1788 after facing a devastating storm and poor visibility,
Poor John had to turn around, missing to discover the great river.

Later on 20 May 1792, Robert Gray sailed up that river on a smaller sail boat
After spending 9 days battling bad weather and strong waves in futility
He persisted while George Vancouver was chilling

He named the river “Columbia”, after his vessel, “Columbia Ridiviva”
Thanks to his records, US could lay claim to the Oregon territory
Without which, the story could have been different.

Business Lesson from Early Explorers
He who names it, owns it. —- [Branding Lesson from Robert Gray- Give it a name] He who pushes past the storm, earns the pay-off — Resilience Lesson – Go the extra mile.] He who records it, gets rewarded. — [Record-keeping Lesson – Good records can rescue you]

While at the cape, I was desperate to have someone take a photo of me with the lighthouse in the foreground. I approached a lady sitting on the shore. To my surprise, she turned her back on me. Ouch! Disappointment, I felt like John Meares in 1788!
A young boy fishing beside the lady, dropped his fishing line and helped me to take this photo. So nice of him, I felt like Robert Gray in 1792!

Only then, I discovered that explorers and business people have so much in common.