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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!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ship High In Transit- sailing's a gas

Manure: In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before commercial fertilizer's invention, so large shipments of manure were common..

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed alot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by product is methane gas. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen.

Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before it was determined just what was happening

After that, the bundles of manure were always stamped with the term "Ship High In Transit" on them, which meant for the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term " S.H.I.T " , (Ship High In Transport) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.

You probably did not know the true history of this word.

Neither did I.

I had always thought it was a golf term!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I thought about Something~

I love my only rock carving. It's called a Nuso"nuso. It is from the Solomon Islands! I almost got to jump ship in Honiara, " Guadalcanal "! I simply ran out of money. But I did have a ticket to fly from Cairns, Australia back to my point of origin. I loved being fought over to see who got to keep me! You see? There is an island called " Maita" in the Solomons. A couple of dreamers put their money together and built a great "Junk", on the island of Maita. This is an island that is rugged, in fact up until about 20 years before the building of this boat, built out of natural timber, indigenous to this particular island! ( If they allowed your presence to be a part of what they are about)! They were cannibals! Thats not what you think. But it is something to think about! You know there is a story here? I was and am still surprised they were allowed to build and sail their vessel to Townsville, Aus! They invited me to sail their new junk with la teen sails from Honiara to Cairns and were going to pay me. I needed the money and would have loved to sail that newly built boat to Cairns. I will cut to the chase. My skipper ordered me to continue to be his friend and to help him care for his family and boat til we got to where we were headed. A year later I ran into the owners of the junk. It sailed well. Their passage from " The Solomons" was great. The tourists loved seeing what was built without understanding what it was all about! To this day I know I would not have met my wife and would not have been blessed by the two children (adults) I have known and been known by if I had made one small (large) decision. To sail on Maita or to stay with Dave and Leslie on Guinevere. One small choice and destiny or fate forks the path or road and so we go, so it seems children. Remember that a door you open only leads to other doors that you decide to open or close. I say to you, NOW

whitsundays or Monday will be alright!

The bottom end of " The Great Barrier Reef " is the Whitsundays" If my spelling is wrong it only fits into the story! In my life at sea I have never been blessed by no wind. And yet, just North of Sydney, Australia, I was allowed to draw on a chart our headway which was nowhere! The vessel's name is "Wind-I-Go". The owner and master of the vessel's name is John Main. We had two sheila's aboard because they wanted to go home to N. Zed. Only one of them was a blond but her sister ( being a brunette ) was a blond also! If you ketch my drift? At this time, us having sailed from Yorkey's knob ( Just barely kidding )Port Douglas is for real! WE sailed to the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef, to corkscrew in a 24 hour period making " O " headway so that our chart looked like " The Mask Of Zorro ", revisited. I am telling you that we backed ourselves up losing headway in a period of time that the z'sssss on our chart were erased by us, ( Me and John ) It was embarrising!!! So we were four days outbound to New Zealand when my wife was forced to teach the blonds how to use the head! They hadn't pooped or pissed for four daze! Or eaten! They never did learn galley duties. They had never sailed before and I am sure, since! When we cleared customs on boxing day, I met their mother and father. He, at the pub,took me aside and asked me how I had managed to put up with them? I liked him immediately! We crossed the Tasman with no weather. You could have water skiied on glass conditions. The blonds wanted to know what was taking so long? Little did they realize that under normal weather formats they would be below and begging for mercy from weather conditions that prevail most days of the year.The weather hit us at the Northern tip of N.Z. Three Kings. I've got to share this story with you. We were ghosting through the Tasman when a piece of white bread drifted by with one perfect bite out of it! It was still floating on the glass ( the infamous- Tasman Sea ). We got on " the horn " to find out if any boat was near us? No boat was. Where did that floating piece of white bread come from? do de do do!!! Truth is stranger than fiction! When we arrived at the " Bay Of Islands" We had had a following sea of 15'+ our anemometer read 68 knot winds, boats had been driven ashore past Russel. We had to start our engine to come about to drop our sails! John and I couldn't bring windigo into irons without the motor. We tried twice just to see if we could. But could not and we are good. You should have heard the two blond sheilas moan! They were so happy to get off that fricken sailboat. Next time they will fly! Maybe I will fly too! After all my name is Robbin! Ha!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cairns Customs

The only time I've ever been aboard a boat that couldn't leave until customs had thoroughly gone through it was in (not California)(not Mexico)(stop trying to guess)Cairns, Australia. I know it's hard to believe, I couldn't believe it either! It was 100 degrees and the humidity was also 100% but they insisted and they had their reasons or so they had been informed! Usually customs shakes down your vessel when you enter a country but never (or rarely) when you are leaving! They held the owner/skipper John Main and my wife DOWNTOWN while they went through the boat " Windigo", a Roberts "45" foot ketch, looking ( they took the vacuum cleaner apart) for God knows what! Yea, we're going to smuggle Morioris into N.Z. to piss off the Maoris. These customs officers were serious. The reason I can say this is I am the only person aboard. They were in full dress! All three of them were soaked by their own perspiration looking for anything to indict John for wrongdoing! You see, the Australian government had made a deal with Sargent Major John Main and the men underneath his authority in Viet Nam. All were given an income if they would not go to the media and reveal any information regarding an " Incident" that occur ed that could embarrass not only Australia but some people in positions of power. Tick, tock, went the clock. I was in Port Douglas when John got his last check! I knew what happened in " The Nam"! I couldn't believe they pulled a King's X after all those years of silence! Since none of us do drugs, it took me a minute to figure out why the shakedown! I have no problem ever with customs boarding a vessel I'm on. Coast Guard cool too! Two thing's came into play in this affair. John had a friendship with a married woman whose husband was a chandler. He thought John was topping his wife and was going to run out on his bill! So he set John up and failed. He got paid in full but that is another story. I had so much fun telling my wife and John how long I kept the custom officers busy, watching their shirts turn a deeper shade of blue as the water released from sweat glands they had forgotten they possessed! I have such a warped sense of humor, I closed all breathers, hatches and basically everything I could because they were following a false lead. They ended up apologizing for any inconvenience they may have caused us. I asked , " So my wife and skipper are on there way?" They said, " Yes"! They gave us permission to leave as long as we stopped nowhere. Yea, right! We pulled up to our pre-arranged loading dock, laughing, taking on our green supplies that were refrigerated to the point of departure. The reason we were laughing is we could have been taking on anything but weren't! Only fresh vegetables for our ride to New Zealand! Ain't life grand?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Samurai, PNG---Cairns Aus......

Forget the Phillipines! We ran out of money! We headed to Australia to make money to haul "Guinevere" out of the water and go through her, heal Her from the many battles she had fought and won not only functioning as our house or exo-skeleton but as an extension of who and what we were about: who drove Her into strange harbors and filled our imaginations with truths that were the truth and not subject to whims created on "Wall Street" by think tank anal-ists! Ha! I saw You because You wern't there! The sail from Samurai was uneventful until we found the outside lead into Grafton Passage! That will be a story you need to remind me of for a future telling. For now this story is about after the green flag. When customs in Cairns took away a canned, sealed,unoperned tin of ham, manufactured in Aus, but bought in Papua, I knew we were in for some fun. It started raining so hard, if you put your hand to cover your eyes like a baseball cap you still couldn't see! We finally cleared customs without making any enemies but I had no visa so they gave me one for $ 35 for 24 hours. Dave, my skipper, paid and Royal Gage and I ran through rain that I had only experienced on Kauai, Hawaii before! Places where you measure rain in feet! We made it to the Cairns Yacht Club, laughing because this is the first, first world country we had been in for awhile and a rum and coke was not far away and the view inside "The Club" was a site to behold! We were so happy to see all these wonderful people having a great time we never realized we were being laughed at until later. At least we hadn't stepped upon the Cairns Yacht Club logo, on the floor! If we had done that we would have been forced to shout a round for the entire house! However, we did seat ourselves at the bar (never wondering why with a full house there would be three open chairs next to the service area) and were completely neglected. We finally with a few ( tongue in check) references found that we were siting in the gereiatrics section! Susan( the bartender) became my friend and many friendships spun off of Royal's and my unawareness of Yachtie behaviors. My future wife witnessed this event having no idea that we would fall in love and someday be married and have two children that are now adults! ( According to them) Guinevere got fixed! Royal and I got our rum and cokes! Customs got their's. We worked hard in Cairns and we all made it to New Zealand but that can be another story. It will be about " The Tasman" and " The Bay Of Islands"!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Truth, Embelishment Or an OutRight Lie?

All the boats with sails I have sailed kept a log. All the sailboats I have sailed on I have written or recorded my watch; as all other crew members recorded their watch. Signed/ witnessed by the " Skipper", the hourly occurrences of day by day moments of import, events that are important when your life is at sea. Some of the ships I've sailed on keep a log but it is not my business to know what is in those logs because of my position or rank on that particular vessel. Fishing boats I have sailed on keep a log and some of their logs I am party to because of my position on that vessel and some I am not. Historically, sailing logs are more accurate than even the records of the greatest historians. All good sailors are story-tellers because they have a wealth of experiences to draw upon and have had all the time in the world to shape change ( in the telling and re-telling ) of special " Happenings "! A story is good because not only his self but his shipmates experienced it also! Witnesses!! Like how many sailors have seen " St Elmo's Fire "? Mermaids? The " Green Spot " on the oceans horizon line as the sun sinks off the face of the earth? Truth or embellishment never matters when a sailor is telling tales! Read " The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner ", and tell me it couldn't have happened! Read " Moby Dick ", I know it's based on truth! But an outright lie has nothing to do with what is mentioned above. Why would a sailor lie? To impress a land lubber? I think not! A true sailor has such a vast wealth of experiences to draw upon that I am absolutely certain that if anything he must play down the wonders, (whores) horrors and majesties of what he has witnessed and been subjected to so that maybe just a few will believe that while he embellished his story it is based on truth and it was pleasant to the mind in the hearing of it! But I will tell you the truth now! If a sailor ever tells the black and white of it not only will it sound like a lie but the understanding of it will miss the mark! It will sound so unbelievable to anyone who isn't comfortable away from land that the romance and illusion you have allowed to exist in your Hollywood imagination will be forever excised from your thoughts! Remember what the movie, "Jaws " did to your relationship with sharks and the ocean? So I say now to all of you that this may concern. If anyone is within hearing distance of a story that comes out of my mouth, pay attention! I don't waste my time or yours with a lie! However, I will embellish the truth but only with anything I can use to color in the harsh realities of an uncrossed "T" or an undotted "Aye" matie! I only lie to ' Customs Officers ", I try not to! But sometimes you gotta! Tell um I said so!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What Sailing Is

August 1, 2009
What Sailing Is

Captain James Cook didn't start out as a Captain. Think about the time and the world view of his day! He loved his country and his queen. Nothing has changed. Any man or women who decides to sever for ever the tie to land because he has tasted a freedom that only comes once one has felt the release of the tensions that land locks or imprisons a sailor onto! And yet, because you are a sailor you are compelled to always search out the micro and macrocosims of a world that can only be defined by voyagers in ideas who challenge the traditional realities, tilt them, question a status quo until nothing is left but a complete anialation of social mores and taboos that have always allowed a " Gentle Society ", to thrive on the agreements and contracts that any student of history (of the world ) or Human Nature ( sociology, anthropology, psychology, etc )knows only leads to I'm out of here!!!! Captain Cook sailed from England three times and did not have the luxury of the Panama Canal so he did " The Horn"! He didn't have the charts that we have today. Duh! He and his guys created them! What's a compass rose? What is variation? What is deviation? He and the people that sailed with him not only were naming and creating the charts of places that had no names except named by the so-called indigenious peoples that were on these islands or continents at the time of his exploration! Shoot, the Maori's of New Zealand wasted the people that were there before they arrived! What is an indigenous people? England gave Israel back to who? Is a Russian Jew and a Spanish Jew and a New York Jew Isreal? I'm part Indian! Don't ask me which part! No, in all seriousness I have only a few hero's in my life. My dad is one and James Cook is another. The reason is What Sailing Is. It is not for everyone. The Oceans of this world are so vast that there is no desert that even compares to the isolation and vastness, an expanse, a view, a vista, a format of endless possibillities and probabillities. The power, force of weathers, swells so large they defy description, and yet you by the grace of God survive but also thrive on ship, captain and crew. Yes,I have seen people weep when all around was what appeared to be chaos and I also have enjoyed a beam reach with a following sea and a sunset that no painters brush or photographer's lense could have done justice with. Captain Cook defined an idea. He truly went, did and brought the best people to discover what was there to be discovered! They didn't invent what was there! They were excited about new horizons. They witnessed and recorded. I'm telling you now that nothing has changed from then to now. The world out there is as special, original and unique as it was in the day of Cook! What I am writing isn't just about sailing. It isn't for everyone because life is about exploration. I'm not a mountain climber but I sure love to hear a mountain climber tell about his hero's and the mountains he has climbed! So you all go out there! Step away just for a brief moment. Take a deep breath and find a moment where, by yourself, you can look at the moon and realize that without the sun it would be invisable to your eye. It is cold and lifeless and yet reflects in it's endless pursuit the majesty of a continual explosion without which life as we know it ceases. Can you imagine the fear of early sailors knowing that to sail beyond a certain point would sail them off of a flat Earth? I tell you nothing has changed. But it will!
Posted by Robbin

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