About Me

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Sacramento, California, United States
so salty pieces of coral from surfing Hawaii in the 60's and 70's getting reef pounded living in my body fall through my skin from time to time!

sailing to Oahu

Jimi Hendrix was playing on Oahu. I had never sailed. Surfed Mexico, California, Hawaii! Aw, how hard could it be to sail 90-110 miles from Kauai to Oahu? Piece of cake, right? Remember it was the 60's! This is so bad. We thought we were looking at Kaiena Point,Ohau, knowing we weren't going to make the concert! But at least we were in site of Oahu-wrong! Coy, who had never sailed before, me,who had never sailed before, jeff and Abbott etc. We were looking at the sleeping giant on Kauai! We had done three-sixty's in the night! We sailed on the only tri-marran I've ever sailed on ( except later ) in my life, missed the concert! It was at the Waikiki Shell Ampitheater ( Moon eclipsed . We finally made Nawilwili Harbor! The Skipper tried to give us his boat saying, " It's trying to kill me"! We watched him go stark raving mad not even realising that had we got caught in the channel current we were on our way to Japan! Remember it was the 60's and we were going to see Hendrix. I left out some of the good stuff but I will make up for it later!

Monday, June 29, 2009

7 daze in a canoe

Living on the American River in Sacramento without my canoe would be to me like living in Hawaii without a mask and snorkel and a surfboard! Just knowing that I can walk out my door, get in my 15' Dagger and with the determination of Hannibal ( the Hun ) crossing the Alps on his way to Rome with his elephants, make my way to the Pacific Ocean. I decided I was ready after preparing myself with long day paddles up and down The American River. The flora and fauna are like a who's who of a wild west! Rattlesnakes are around so one keeps one's eyes and ears open when launching and landing! Deer, beaver, turtles, badger, hawks, coyotes, turkeys, ducks, geese, cranes, owls, stripers, salmon and more abound. The flora is as varied as the fauna and is dictated by which bend in the river you're on! It's a mish-mash of color and sounds. The American flows to downtown Sacramento where it joins the Feather River, doubling up to become The Sacramento River which is navigable and deep enough for a commercal shipping lane to San Francisco. You can sail from Sacramento to Hawaii! There are sailboat marinas in Sacramento and cities on the River all the way to S.F. And so, my story, " Seven Daze In A Canoe ". Begins

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today and yesterday, Maybe tomarrow!

Saturday, today, I am provisioned to the ten's! My canoe is( as I speak ) loaded! I walk out of my garage! I have wheels on my 15 foot canoe. I go over the levee and launch into the American River! Sutter historically anounced " Eurecka ", from this very river that connects to the Sacramento River The Feather River also joins the Sacramento. This connected waterway made Gold what it is today! Ha! Only joking! Everyone knows San Francisco is the capital of California! Ask Arnold? If it had been left up to Ronnie, the capital would have been Santa Barbara! I wonder if canoes are allowed at the Saint Franscis Yacht Harbor? I just might find out!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Captain Cook

There comes a time in every true sailor's life that said sailor must speak of one who has/had inspired said sailor to come forward and tell the truth! Are you running frowards? Or are you just running? I will tell you the truth but it may sound like a yarn! Everywhere I have sailed in this Ocean called the " Pacific "! I have come across a name and it is likely, Captain James Cook "! I lived in the islands that he had sailed into and lost his life for many years before I was a bairn! I went to the place, which is the southernmost, of a very big island, called Hawaii!!!! They tore him into pieces, not their fault! They thought Cook was Lono! If life was a wishing well! Damn the storm that made his vessel return to that bay on the "Big Island " of Hawaii! Yes they tore him apart but at least most of his body parts are buried in his home country! His spirit and his name exist in small and large places I have had the honor to sail to and through. Welcome to the coming sailing stories of the places I have sailed where the greatest sailor, with permission and blessing and sorry, commandmant, from the Queen, was allowed to leave his family on his third exploritory mission for God and Country!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hardtack ( ugh ! )


"Baked hard, it would keep for years as long as it was kept dry. For long voyages, hardtack was baked four times, rather than the more common two, and prepared six months before sailing."

"In 1801, Josiah Bent began a baking operation in Milton, Massachusetts selling "water crackers" or biscuits made of flour and water that would not deteriorate during long sea voyages from the port of Boston, which was also used extensively as a source of food by the "gold diggers" emigration to the gold mines of California in 1849. Since the journey took months from the starting point, pilot bread was stored in the wagon trains, as it could be kept a long time. His company later sold the original hardtack crackers used by troops during the American Civil War. The G. H. Bent Company is still located in Milton, and continues to sell these items to Civil War re-enactors and others."

"During the American Civil War, 3-inch by 3-inch hardtack was shipped out from Union and Confederate storehouses. Some of this hardtack had been stored from the 1846–8 Mexican-American War. With insect infestation common in improperly stored provisions, soldiers would breakup the hardtack and drop it into their morning coffee. This would not only soften the hardtack but the insects, mostly weevil larvae, would float to the top and the soldiers could skim off the insects and resume consumption."

Fun Food Facts:

Pirates & Seamen would tap their biscuits on the table (remember these biscuits were hard) to knock most of the weevils out before eating. If the biscuit was going to be eaten in a broth, they would emerge the sea biscuit in the liquid and wait. "Wait? Wait for what?" They would wait for the maggots to float to the top of the liquid so they could remove them before eating. Some Pirates were so tough, seeing all these maggots and weevils didn't bother them at all. They would eat the food with or without the crawling and wiggling little critters.

Hard Tack is also know as:

sea biscuit, sea bread, hard bread, pilot bread, worm castles or ships biscuits.

Kind of like the worm in a good bottle of Tequila? Do you think when you read about being shanghaied that sailing aroud the Horn would be a good thing? Knocked on the noggin, waking up before the mast! Wondering where Annabel Lee is now? Have you ever been in a storm on land so ferousious that you didn't think you would survive? Imagine being in that same storm on a vessel at sea with land close by!!!! Scary? Yea!!

bully-beef, Pago Pago, Samoa

I was compelled to buy two cases of big Steinlager for my new friends after arriving in American Samoa. After all, I was a guest who had just arrived from Fanning Island. It was warm! Not the beer but the temperature. I joined into a marathon volleyball competition that lasted two days. It wasn't the beer that allowed me to become a part of a Samoan family but an attitude. In a very real sense the Hawaiian word " Ohana" sums up a feeling of mutual respect that relays a feeling of family or a relation of trust without bloodlines in all of Polynesia. But sometimes a deeper, spiritual, friendship that bypasses race, creed, or color, is often times realized. I stayed with my new friends for four days. Where billy-beef (bully ) comes into the picture is that when we sat down to a full dinner, I was placed in a position of honor. Just right of the matriarch (Chieftess) and was given a plate of pure fat with a little meat, taro leaves and sweet potato (yams). She kept saying, " Eat, you are to thin! You must put on some weight!" In Samoa you can buy 5 gallon buckets of beef similar to what early sailor's were reduced to eating after they had been away from land for two weeks. The diet of early sailor's consisted of what? Use your imagination! Before refrigeration! I was honored and ate everything on my plate and more. It would have been a major insult for me to try and explain to this wonderful Samoan family that had taken me in to the very heart of their being that I was a vegetarian! When I returned to " Sea Rover ", I found that my skipper and his wife were so worried about my absence that they had informed the American Consulate that I might have been abducted and were instigating an A.P.B for my whereabouts! All I really wanted was for them to have some privacy as the boat was only 32 feet and we had been together for awhile. Husband, wife, child and Scuppers (the cat) and me. All on our way to stralia! Ready for more?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fiji- Danger Lurks!

When you are exploring the many and varied governments, cultures and sometimes isolated populated islands of the South Seas invaribly one runs across individually unique experiences that sometimes need to be expressed-just so-in the light of day! This is one of those daze! Ha! After diving a sunken ww 2 Japanese submarine in Fiji on an island I won't mention by name, we had gone ashore and hiked to the top of a ridge for a view. We found a water supply and folded leafs to gather the water to our mouths in a traditional way of drinking. We did not find out until later what the price would be for swimming in the villages water supply system! Phil and I went back to " Guinevere " and two hours later had sailed into a small bay to go ashore and trade as we always do with the villages that abound throughout all the islands. I, first mate, would go ashore first to anounce that my illustrious Captain would be forthcoming to sit and exchange pleasantries with the Chief of the village! This was/is protocol 99% of the time on every island and every village we had encountered until this one! They took me captive! They said their warriors while out hunting had seen me ( and Phil ) bath in their villages collective resevoir, of drinking water! They wanted my skipper to pay a fine for such unsanitary and disrespectful behavior! They allowed Phil to return to the boat to deliver the sad message that I was a captive being held for ransom unless a monetary settlement could be arrived at which would satisfy all parties concerned. Of course, Dave sent his wife, Leslie and son Andrew to shore to negotiate or at the very least to remedy what could possibly esculate into an international incident! Let's see. Guinevere was carrying United States, Australia, New Zealand and South African flags! So what? Leslie( skipper's wife ) comes ashore knowing Phil and I did not swim or bath in their water but with all the poise of a born politician, began a wonderful negotiation that to this day is remarkable in that wisdom revealed itself to all! I said to the entire village that "what the warriors claimed to have witnessed may have appeared to them the way they saw it. Phil and I surely did not see them while we were drinking your water. I can only say to all of you that the water that we drank was as sweet as any water we have ever tasted in these travels"! I looked directly at the Chief and expressed my regret that by my offense we could not trade with him and that even though falsely accused my Captain was willing that I would stay in his village for the amount of time and be one of his people, to work off the debt I had incurred by my bathing in his village's drinking water. "I will eat with you, plant with you and stay here until my offense is reconciled"! Oh, was he pissed! He threatened to take us to Suva before a major inquiry!He realized we wern't bluffing and that no grease was coming his way! We left all together within a half hour (15 minutes )! Set sail and laughed for days. I have many stories of villages on a lot of islands in different countries that may bring a tear to your eye! My next story will be one of those! But this one stands in an area of selfishness and uniqueness that I am still dwelling upon today. The lie was unnessesary! Curious that!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Man With A Disease (cont)

Uly, ( my friend ) found me in a fetal position, unconscious, by my dingy below the old Cairns Yacht Club in Cairns Australia. He carried me to his dingy and rowed me to Guinevere, the boat I had sailed through the South Seas on for quite awhile. I stayed in the forpeak, where my berth was located, not moving for four days. I was to sick to move, hallucinating people who seemed so real but were not there. Continually throwing up anything put before me.Dave ( the skipper ) was working and staying in Port Douglas and Leslie, Dave's wife, couldn't lift me or drop me over the side into a dingy to get me to a hospital so we waited for coherency. When I finally got to the hospital my temperature had dropped from 106 to a low 102! Almost died. The sisters at the hospital were so excellent ( nurses in the U.S.) and the doctors so familiar with malaria, they healed me with a regimen of 12 pills a day for thirty days. I still get occasional periods of weakness but not like my friend Phil from Adelaide, Aus! He contracted cerebral malaria (bad)! Mine was the minor malaria and completely curable. Phil still gets knocked down once or twice a year, sweats, weakness and fatigue. So people, please start taking Malaprin early on before you enter malarial territories! When possible anchor your vessel 200 yards from shore. Mosquitoes have a limited flying range. Use mosquito nets and repellent when possible. I didn't realize I had contracted malaria until I stopped taking Malaprin and was in a first world country!! So be very careful to watch for early malarial symptoms once you have ceased from taking your malaprin. I thought I was home free!! God!!! Was I sadly disappointed!!? The only part of the malaria encounter I don't find unpleasant is while I was hallucinating with deadly high temperature I visited with friends I have known throughout my life. Many of them had passed away! It was great getting to speak with them again. Never could figure out how it seemed so real that 30 people could fit in the forpeak of Guinevere all at the same time!! Seemed quite natural while it was happening! Admittedly Guinevere is 60 ft but but.....Ah! Who knows what is possible/impossible with Sailors, Sailboats and an Infinitely vast Reality called " Mother Ocean"?

A Man With A Disease.....

Where am I? I'm so hot! I'm freezing! So Thirsty, bring me water!!! Who am I and why does it stink of vomit so strongly here? Don't hand me water! Can't you understand it won't stay put? Who are all these old friends visiting me -all at once? How did I get here? How long has it been? I don't know!!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Malaria Makes Me Sick!!!

I thought a lot of things. Yes. I had heard of a disease I thought was extinct. I also had a youthful, very strong opinion that I was immortal. Put these thoughts in your mind and then do exactly what you feel like after you hear this story! My friend Phil, fell into my arms in the cockpit of " Guinevere " in the Solomon Islands! I caught him as he passed out of a waking existence! He said to me " Robbie I don't feel very--y-y go-- " and I literally caught him in my arms and yelled "Dave "! Dave Laurie is master of the vessel! He comes topside and we go ashore to a doctor's office to assess the degree of Phil's illness. We are in the Solomon Islands. Dirt floor doctor's office with a bunson burner diagnosed malaria. Wow I was impressed! The " Church of England " has missionaries " like the " Mormons " everywhere! Is this the best they can do? Well, Dave and myself had been doing nothing as far as taking preventitive medicine until Phil fell. Dave Laurie was sailing on Guinivere with his beautiful wife Leslie ( Legslie ) and his two children Amanda and Andrew. All were taking the pill of the day, malaprin, except the manly men! We don't need no stinking pills! Yea, right!! Phil, my friend, from Adelaide, Aus. had contracted cerebral malaria!! We put him on a plane from Gizo, Solomon Island. Dave and I, from the moment Phil fell started on a strict regimen of malaprin because we realized we are vulnerable. I visited Phil several years later with my wife and he still suffers from the disease. My next segment will explain how I contracted malaria! Remember! I started taking " The Pill"! So how could I come down with that infernal disease? Tune in next week for the continuing saga of " A Man With A Disease " !!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Answer before question!

So here is what we did! After everything was given to Davey! Joe and I went "what the f#%k over, and placed two round, elongated fenders down the slot ( of the main mast ) to the foot ( you know? Where the mast is stepped? )Hey I found a real silver dollar! Then placed our spinnaker pole in the sleeve ( that the missing mast had provided for us) which gave us a new mast which was ten feet above deck! So we rigged two sails. Both were storm diappers which was way cool! I've sailed on boats which were short of engines and sails ! We returned to the Ala Wai heroically! We were all quickly dismissed. So much for glory! But I had the honor of introducing said boat to my connections in Hawaii. They shipped Montgomery Street back on a Matson Container ship! Hello Oakland! The sound I heard, like a shotgun blast was a starboard shroud letting go! The force of the wind on a normal " trade wind " day sounded like a " 12" guage shotgun blast and then in slow motion, everything fell to water! Thank God, this has only happened once to me! Phew!

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