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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!

Friday, June 17, 2011


One foggy day, 28 days out from Hawaii, becalmed for two days between Catalina and Santa Barbara Islands about 20 miles from Marina Del Rey, ghosting through several major shipping lanes with no food, no engine, no running lights but did have a flashlight, I heard an unusual noise! Was it fatigue?

I'd been worried and up for three days and had already watched, knowing I was hallucinating, a giant squid slither aboard at the bow moving towards me at the wheel. It looked so real and being bored and alone I enjoyed the company and the movie on a moonless but starry dog watch. That was three days ago The giant squid never reached the cockpit because a smaller but still huge Shibe ( ahi-yellow finned tuna) took him off the bowsprit like eating a squid kabob leaving ink and his propulsion system ( tentacles ) writhing on the deck falling harmlessly back from whence they came! My imagination. I really didn't see that coming. I've seen Mahi take flying fish out of the air but I've only seen tuna eat squid on television. I've kicked still live squid out of dying tuna I've caught on the deck of a fishing boat before but was a little depressed the giant squid got food chained before his tentacles reached me. I was so hungry I had been trying to figure out if I had anything big enough aboard to smash this giant squid into chewable calamari. I knew we still had some flour. Now, I would never know and I also would never find out if my nerves would have held when the tentacles were reaching for me hiding behind the wheel.

An hour later Shang-Gri-La, a 55 foot, Choi Lee sailed into soup so thick it felt like we had entered The Sargasso Sea. You know, boats sail into it, get tangled up and never sail out of it? The fog was so thick it was like being inside a raincloud of solid water. It was like drinking air! We sheeted in the sails but left them up in the hope that someone would have a better chance of seeing us. It was very quiet and visibility fluctuated between 5 and 20 feet. Mostly 5 to 10'.

Why this situation is so nerve wrecking is it isn't a hallucination! We are doing circles blindly, with no control what-so-ever in a major shipping lane. The California Coast itself is frightening enough but throw in the international ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach! Forget about the traffic from Panama to Alaska and points in between! Can't see but we can hear-everything! Horns, whistles, bells all sounding as if they are coming right at us and are right next to us for two days! It reminded me of " Tell-Tale Heart " by Edgar Allen Poe! You could hear the tugboat engines pulling their barges on a long tow just knowing that any minute the submerged cable which was directly under us, was going to pull a fully loaded garbage barge into our fiberglass vessel crushing us into instant flotsam and no one even knowing it had happened! See what I mean about Poe? The others could stomach no more and went below to ride out a fog that was worse than any storm I had weathered in the past!. My heart at times was pounding as hard and louder than the man heard in Poe's story who had buried a person under the floorboards and was in anguish listening to a dead man's beating heart. That's when I heard a new sound!

For some reason it was slightly musical and sent a refreshing wave of peace that washed over me and quelled my throbbing heart allowing it to resettle itself back in it's moorings, still rebellious but softening the roaring that had been in my ears and allowing me to focus and try to visualize what this new sound meant. It now sounded like a swimmer having a casual swim around the boat. Spitting out water with an exhale here and then over there. Kind of like this might sound! " pssheeu ". I'd never heard the like before and couldn't wrap my mind around what it could be. As I was looking overboard, towards the most recent sound ( they were becoming more regular and closer ) I saw gracefully, fluid lines of movement, underwater, accented streaky lines like sparklers being moved rapidly by children on the fourth of July. Because of the fog I could only see the underwater patterns of it's movement when it was close to the hull on both sides of the boat but it was leaving definitive trails and definitely flirting with me and in a playful way raising my curiosity. That's when the unbelievable fact of what it had to be hit me and I knew if I called below for a witness to come topside it would disappear. I couldn't do this. Somehow, telepathically, it communicated to me that this visitation was for me and no one else. I knew I was about to become the first sailor in quite some time to spend a few moments with a mermaid. I could not believe my good fortune. I had totally forgotten my throbbing heart, my fatigue, my hunger, my fears, my past hallucinations, my crew, and reality! I was about to see a nautical mystery, a mythology realized, that maybe no sailor of the past had ever seen ! Before I could ask," why me, Lord"? It surfaced behind me at the transom and exhaled what sounded like an attempt at " Hello"!! I knew the beautiful trails it was leaving underwater, outlining it's shape and gracefulness, was agitated plankton (seaweed to the uninitiated) but my imagination had conceived by it's own volition a shining, voluptuous, long haired, magically empowered, Aphrodite or a Venus of such beauty that to be in it's presence heightened ones awareness to celestial elevations that man has only dreamed were possible to be a part of and stand amongst!

As I starred into the water behind the transom, seeing first, concentric phosphoric rings emanating from the risen creatures chest, hearing it's breathing and then my gaze focusing on her head I realized what a great experience I am having. It was a him. A very large him yet so graceful in the water that in a way it is feminine. In the quiet of the foggy sea this amazing creature had taken the time to come and visit me in the middle of a terrible night. There was no other reason for him to be here looking up at me in the middle of nowhere than to drop by and say, " Hello". We talked for awhile. He was in no particular hurry to leave and I had no way to leave which means I was exactly where I was supposed to be. He listened. I listened. Strangely, with him there I knew we were safe. He wouldn't have lived this long going back and forth from the mainland to the islands through these shipping lanes without knowing how to get out of their way! Before he left for Catalina he told me the fog was lifting and a steady Northeasterly would allow us to sail right into our slip. He warned me about a fat, cigar smoking, scotch drinking, stink boat wanna-be captain that didn't like to give way to sailboats and tried to herd them into untenable situations. He told me the guy was a bully and really a day sailing coward that never left the marina. He'd never even taken his father's stink boat the 26 miles to Catalina.

He told me to stare him down and don't give way even if it looked like we were going to ram. Sure enough, it happened just like he said. I thought the mad skipper was going to swallow his cigar and explode when he frantically put his helm hard over! He yelled he was going to turn us in to the Harbormaster. He didn't but we did. Last I heard they had informed his father what would happen if his son was caught behind the wheel of any boat at the marina. The sea lion also informed me why they knew so much about this guy. Where ever he went they could smell him. He took pleasure in releasing his toilet directly into the ocean rather than offloading it into sanctioned holding for disposal facilities. He told me even in his world, " It takes all kinds"!

That's as close as I've ever been to a mermaid. Now St Elmo's fire is another story! ARRRGGHHHHHH, matey

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