He could be implacable and more stubborn than a train of mules. Author Michael Parfit once described him as “autocratic and opinionated, sometimes remote, and master of the long, cold stare named the stink-eye.” A former chief engineer of the research vessel Hero reportedly said, “he was 90 pounds of wet bobcat.”
But those who knew Capt. Pieter J. Lenie – the scientists who depended on him to reach the unreachable and the crew that depended upon him for their lives – the long-serving master of the Hero was, well, a hero.
“I had this tremendous confidence in the guy that absolutely nothing could go wrong,” recalls biologist Bill Fraser, who first sailed with Lenie in the 1970s as a young graduate student studying seabirds.
Notes Bill Leslie, also known as Jack Fids, who crewed with Lenie for several years in the engine room and idolized the captain, “He was everybody’s hero on that ship. … He was unbelievable and always reliable.”
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