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!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Ventures, Dick Dale And The Dell-Tones, Jan And Dean, Beach Balls

      I'm twelve years old in Berdoo.  San Bernardino, California..  New Port Beach, San Clemente, Dana Point, Doheney , San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Beach, Trestles all at my finger tips!  If I had a car and could drive.  So there I am with a string tied to my wrist, running out my bedroom window, waiting for my older friends to yank it at 4 o'clock in the morning, waking me up for dawn patrol!  Boards stuffed into the back of my friends "54" Ford stationwagon.  I think one of the reasons God created racks was to save us young children from the noxious vapers our boards sticking out the rear of the stationwagon would draw back in upon us.  Mu lepo!
     In the early sixties there were only three waves in California  that I knew of that could handle anything over twelve feet.  I only got to surf two of them. Lunada Bay, Dana Point  and Steamer Lane are the three.  You may know of others but remember I am 12- 17 years young at the time.  I ended up in Sacramento and got to surf Santa Cruz before I moved to Hawaii. 
      Dana Point ( Killer Dana)  could handle massive swells.  On a large day there was a table rock that set the wave up for an outside take-off.  Position.  The ride, when Dana was huge, would take you through the pier if you allowed it to.  The lifeguards used to warn you off with bull horns because they knew you were going for it!  They never warned me off at Huntington.  Go figure.  When they were building the boat harbour that is there now Dana broke big three days before the new breakwall jetty was finished and Dana Point had a grand farewell.  I was fortunate to be there and say, " Good-Bye"
       At the time I wasn't a sailor but I had read, " Two Years Before The Mast", by Richard Henry Dana.  So I knew that just below the lookout Gazebo near Hobie Alters Surfboard Shop was a break called" A Thousand Steps"!  They used to load animal skins there to take back around " The Horn".  On the other side of that breakwall was a left called" Nepee's".  Then you moved on to Doheney.  That's where the beautiful boat harbour is today and the breaks I mentioned are gone.......
       I don't miss Killer Dana as I thought I would at the time.  I'm older now and have taken a liking to sailing.  I really think they did a good job with the Doheney Marina.  I've actually sailed there from Hawaii but I think it has another name.  Dana Point Marina! But it's really knot!  It's Doheney
       Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz is a better wave than the Point but the water is really cold!  What I especially like about " The Lane" is that being a goofy foot, I can go left there.  It can be a little hairy but nothing near Hanalua, Maui. Or Kaliiwhi, Kauai.  When Steamers gets really large it's fun to see if you can turn the corner into "Killer Cowells"  Heh!  Cowells is a great wave to teach your keikes how to surf.  It's cold but it is user friendly.
       Never did surf Lunada Bay up by Palos Verdes.  Heard good reports.  Why should I go up there when I could sneak in to Cottons and Trestles B.A. a train and out paddle marines whose only purpose of the day was to bust this little blond haired gremmie, take my board away and fine me for tresspassing.  It NEVER happened.  Life has it's small pleasures and an occasional disappointment
      I can still see the cliffs of Dana Point in my minds eye as if it was yesterday. I wouldn't mind talking to some of the people who rode that wave in the day.  Corky Carroll and Phil Edwards are still around somewhere.  Remember Joyce Hoffman?  Greg Noll worked with Hobie up the hill!  I'm wondering if Hobie ever made it right with Phil for the cat design?  I've sailed different sized Hobie Cats and they rip! 
     Oh yea to finish this surf story.  I move to Oahu in "67' and destroyed my 9'9" Hobie nose-rider at Haleiwa.  My next board lasted a day.  It was a 8'Bing Nuihiwa light-weight that Pipeline said", Robbie, you aren't going to make this take-off"!  Pipeline was right!  Three pieces!  $80 down the tube.  After that I went to Dick's.  He is still shaping and he is the greatest shaper I have ever had the pleasure to ride for/with.  I have never ridden a Brewer mistake.  But each board challenged me as I feel I challenged it.  I loved being able to use different fins in a slot.  Mike Diffendurfer is the only other shaper that is close to Richard.  Gerry learned how to shape from Brewer and is loved by Dick so he is #3.  I like surfing with Gerry but it has been quite a few years.  I like surfing with Margo to and thats been awhile.
       You know, at this stage of my life, just to be able, physically, to paddle out to Impossibles, and sit in the line-up as if I was going to take off would bring me a measure of peace and culminate the years I have spent pursueing and finding an uncrowded perfect wave shared with a few of my die hard surfing friends.  You know who you are.  Cowabunga!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Accidental feather in their cap-footnote

A cannon, from the 18th-century sailing ship voyage to the Pacific Ocean, by British Captain James Cook. When one of Cook's ships ran aground in Australia's Great Barrier Reef in June 1770, its cannon lay unrecovered for nearly two centuries.

That is, until the Academy of Natural Sciences, in the 1960s, was collecting fish in the Reef, and discovered several of Cook's cannon. The Australian government donated one of the cannon to the Academy, where it resides on the second floor.

Was it an accident?  Or a successful exploritive fishing expedition?  Ask the fish!

Captain Cook aground-Australia..... 6/10/1770

Cook charted the coast of Australia, until the ship ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

In 1969 an American expedition from the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science was successful in locating the six guns jettisoned on the night of 10 June 1770. Captain Vince Vlassof with his 'Tropic Seas' was of vital local assistance in recovering the six cannons which were transported to Defence Standards Laboratories in Melbourne for reconditioning

Endeavour Reef

Just before 11pm on the evening of 10 June 1770 the ship struck a reef, today called Endeavour Reef, within the Great Barrier Reef. The part they struck stands up steeply from the seabed, so casting the lead had shown 20 fathoms (36 metres) of water right up to the point of striking.

With the sails immediately taken down, the coasting anchor was set out and an attempt made to pull the ship back off the reef, unsuccessfully. Because it was already around high tide the only option was to lighten the ship to float her off, so iron and stone ballast, spoiled stores, and the ships guns were thrown overboard, and the ship's water (drinking water) pumped out. The guns were not simply discarded; Sydney Parkinson records[2] buoys were attached with the intention of retrieving them later, but that proved impractical. (The guns and ballast were found in 1969, see recoveries below.) Parkinson also notes that every man on board took turns on the pumps, including Cook, Banks, and the officers.

With about 40 or 50 tons lightened, by Cook's reckoning, on the high tide the next morning a further attempt was made to pull the ship free, but again unsuccessfully. In the afternoon the longboat carried out the two large bower anchors, and block and tackles were put on a total 5 anchors now set, ready to try again on the evening high tide. The ship started to take on water through the damage from the reef, and though the leak would certainly increase once off the reef Cook decided to risk that. At about 10:20pm the ship floated with the tide and was successfully drawn off. The anchors were retrieved, except for the small bower which could not be freed. (It too was found in 1969; see below).

The leak increased with the ship off the reef, and the three working pumps were manned. A mistake happened in sounding the depth of water in the hold when a new man took over and measured from the outside plank where his predecessor had used the ceiling (the top of the cross-beams of the hull). The difference was about 18 inches so the new man's call made it seem the leak had gained on the pumps that much in just a short time, sending a wave of fear through the ship. As soon as the mistake was realized the relief acted like a charm and with redoubled efforts the pumps kept ahead of the leak.

The prospects if the ship sank were grim. The typical understatement in the journals of the seamen make it easy to underestimate the danger, only in Banks is there a taste of it. For a start the ship was miles from shore and the boats could not carry everyone (being made for work, not as lifeboats) so many would surely drown. And those who survived would be left unarmed and without food in an unknown land. Banks noted the calm efficiency of the crew in the face of danger, contrary to stories he'd heard of seamen turning to plunder and refusing command in such circumstances.

Midshipman Jonathon Munkhouse proposed fothering the ship, having been on a merchant ship which used the technique successfully. He was entrusted with supervising the task, sewing bits of oakum and wool into an old sail which was drawn under the ship, the theory being suction would draw those material to the leak and plug it. This worked better than any hoped and soon the pumps could be stopped and very little water came in.

They proceeded north looking for a harbour to make repairs and on the afternoon of 13 June came to Endeavour River, as Cook later named it. Strong winds prevented the ship getting across the bar until the afternoon of 17 June. There they careened her and made repairs to the hull. A piece of coral the size of a man's fist had sliced clean through the planks of the hull, and broken off, wedged there. It was fortunate it stuck, because (on Parkinson's reckoning at least) an open hole that size would in all probability have sunk the ship.

With repairs made and after a delay waiting for the wind they were able to set off again on the afternoon of 3 August. The careening hadn't got the ship completely out of the water, so only a limited examination of the very bottom had been possible, but it seemed sound enough. When they later reached Batavia (9 November) it turned out some planks were damaged to within 1/8 inch (3 millimetres) of being cut through. It was a "surprise to every one who saw her bottom how we had kept her above water" as Cook said (though doing more at Endeavour River may not have been practical anyway).

Personal note:  I sailed into Grafton Passage from Samurai, PNG to Cairns, Aus.  Even with modern day equipment it was difficult to find the entrance (one of the few) through the Great Barrier Reef.  Later on, different boats I sailed to Port Douglas and Cooktown.  I visited the Captain Cook Musuem in Cooktown (impressed) and was very surprised that the artifacts I was interested in were so recently freed from the reef herself!  One would think that the father of true navigation would have left (as he tried with buoys) (didn't work) a longitude/latitude reference that would be applicable today.  The reef is alive.  I believe it hid what it took from Captain Cook until it was time.  Many people have searched for the ballast James was compelled to remove from " Endeavor ", to survive!  When it was located and brought to the surface, Cooktown itself and a few remaining buildings from a great period, needed help in order to maintain it's status as a city. Possibly the town  (named after the greatest sailor and the river named after a his vessel) without the timing of the find of  Endeavor's treasure searched for by many but only found in 1969 would be a ghost town today!  It's not!  At one time Cooktown had a population of 30.000 people.  After the gold rush/ and over a period of time it was reduced to 1500 people.  With the boost of tourism in North Queensland I believe the population of Cooktown is 2000 souls today.  What was retrieved from the Endeavor Reef in 1969 revitalised Cooktown itself, re-establishing it's importance, historically, as part of the life and travels of the greatest sailor the world has ever known.  Captain James Cook.        

Friday, September 17, 2010

Choices at infinities Kauai-Pakala

         Great wave to ride but how does one get there?  When I was young I surfed Trestles.  It was a hard place to get to.but a great place to ride.  Ask the marines.  They studied and tried to catch us at Camp Pendelton.  Could only catch a few grimmies.
        I don't really mean that but I do mean this.  On the island of Kauai ia a wave that's kind of like Doheney or " Killer Cowells" Ha! in Santa Cruz.  It is a great place to learn how to move a surfboard and at the same time express yourself..
        How many wave riding locations are blocked by private property. A surfer is a trespasser.  What if you are a star? Or rich? 
       Pakala, Kauai.  was part of the Robinson (sugar cane) plantation.  To ride Pakala. one had two choices for an entry point.  A two mile legal walk-with your board from the Waimea River or a very quick run from the road through his land to the beach.  You can see the break from the road.  It isn't even a quarter mile!  So here is the story.
        Kieth Robinson and his paniolos actually roped some of my friends as they ran through that short pasture.  This means they didn't get to surf that day because they had to go to the Lihue police dept. and pay $25 dollars and in certain cases they didn't get their surfboards returned.
        Can you imagine being lassoed by a cowboy on horseback or in his jeep on your way to 6' Pakala's?
I could add that it might be really depressing if you were under the influence of psychedelics!  Never happened to me.  But I was there...
         Lumahai Valley, KalalauValley, and the island of Niihau are still owned by a Robinson.  Not many people have been to these places but I have.  I think they, like all founding haole missionary, business oriented possessers of the land, have given most of what they stold back to the people.  No more agriculture!
Tourism. #1.........
         So it comes down to this...  To surf Pakala;;  Do you walk from the Waimea River OR Do you take the chance?   Your call......

Thursday, September 9, 2010

letter-incarcerated son

Well Son,
     What can I say?  " You are there and I am here"!  No matter where you go, there you are.
It kind of keeps you in the moment doesn't it?
     I look at life like a boat moving through the water.  I am the boat.  The bow of the boat divides
the water in front of it as it moves towards a destination.  I know where the boat is going because I am driving.  I know it will arrive but I can't tell you exactly where or when!  In front of the boat are to many intangibles; weather, swells, people, physical obstacles, random events interfere with my plotted course.
My heading sometimes is changed or affected by the bombardment of random, unplanned events. 
However, the boat continues with course changes which means the destination changes also....
     The boat leaves a wake.  Kind of like a record of it's passage.  This wake has a ripple or butterfly effect.
When it arrives on shore it is like a breaking wave that little ants paddle out to on their surf boards and
either rip or wipe out, according to their abillity.
      The wake of the boat is actually more important than the boat's destination.  The wake of a good sized
stink boat is large enough to damage other vessels at anchor or slipped because of it's desire for speed.
If a stink boat follows-the Rules of the Road-, Maritime Law, No one gets hurt and no boats are damaged.
For instance:  Sailboats under sail have right of way over any motor driven  vessel.  But and this is a big but!
One must always remember that even though one has right of way- the real Law of the Ocean is--
MIGHT IS RIGHT.............Never forget this son.
      When my sailboat is 1,000 miles from anywhere and I am sailing through major shipping lines and
a Matsun container ship is screaming along at 25 to 34 knots intersecting with my course heading, who gives
way?  Navigation 101-duh!  Thus might is right.  With emphasis!
     As it turns out, even though I am the boat that has chosen a destination and I have the appearance
of knowing where I am going, I don't!
     The wake of my vessel effects people, places and things of which I do not have an awareness of.
My hope (really) is that the ants enjoyed the ride but I can't and will not be responsible for ants in my wake!
If they didn't like the big surf at least they know it now.  Ride smaller waves!
      What sailing comes down to my son is-you are the boat!  It's not where the boat is going and it's not
where the boat has been!  It's where the boat is!

                                 " The Journey Is The Destination" son...................

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