“THE JOURNEY ACROSS TIME”
By Thomas Takao
By Thomas Takao
EPISODE 5 "To the Village and Beyond"
Kai’ike, Leonardo and Lieutenant Hermano are discussing what to do concerning the food and water collection. “We will get the food at the nearby village and then the water from the stream close to here” said Kai’ike. Lt. Hermano walks over to his men and tells them what is going to happen. Kai’ike looks at the waves rolling in then out of the blue he tells Leonardo “I know where the cave is where Vincenzo left his box. I cannot go in for I am not the chosen one to do so. Alohi Hoku wanted the person who would make the journey to find it. I respect his spirit and his wisdom to for-see what will be. But I can accompany you to the location where the box is, but only you can go in where the box is. Would you be interested in seeing the cave and see what Vincenzo wrote about in his books.”
A stunned Leonardo says “Yes I would like to go, this have been on my mind ever since I read the diaries.” “I thought you might, we will go in a few days it is on the other side of the island” said Kai’ike. “How long will it take to get there” asked Leonardo. “It should take 2 days to get there and 2 days to get back. We will take my double hull canoe, it is a very fast boat” said Kai’ike. “I will inform Florencia and the Captain when we return later” said Leonardo. Kai’ike nodded his head to agree. The group would follow Kai’ike and after about twenty minutes they are nearing the village. Walking along the path of low lying grass with dense shrubs and trees around them, they come to a clearing and the ocean appears. Kai’ike says to Leonardo “Look out in the water it’s Wa’a Kea.” “Who is Wa’a Kea” asked Leonardo. He is the Chief of the village where we are going” said Kai’ike.
Wa’a Kea was out surfing and is looking down through the crystal clear water to the reef below. He is thinking of the cycle of a wave; how the grains of sand along the beach were drawn out by the receding waters of a wave. As it drift along in the current and being deposited into various crevices in the coral reef. Creating a raised floor for the swell to push upon and create the shape of the wave. Following the contour of the bottom the top portion of the wave pitches out with white water following the movement of the top edge. Then as it nears the shoreline the wave slows and becomes smaller before turning into a surge that washes onto the beach and recedes back into the ocean with its grains of sand.
As Wa’a Kea looks out towards the horizon, he sees the tops of a set of waves coming in. He also looks toward shore and sees a group of people approaching the village. He waits and let the first wave pass, then begins to paddle for the second wave. The front of his board begins to spray water back and the board is moving by itself. He stands up as his board begins to drop into the wave. With the white water breaking behind him Wa’a kea lays down in a prone position on his surfboard and is riding the white water in on his belly while watching the men walk along the beach. He guides his surfboard toward the channel. Once in the channel he paddles in and drags his board up onto the beach and leaves it there. He walks over to the group of men and sees Kai’ike in the middle of the group and remembers the arrangement that was made. “Aloha Kai’ike” says Wa’a Kea “Aloha Wa’a Kea, we come to get the supplies for the Haoles” says Kai’ike. “Oh yes the taro, sweet potato, breadfruit, Coconut and some dried fish” replied Wa’a Kea. “We have it in the Canoe Hale and they can go there and get it. I will have one of my men show them the way” continued Wa’a Kea.
“That will be good” commented Kai’ike as he continued “How’s your papa he’e nalu (surfboard) riding”. “I like it, but I want to switch to a wiliwili surfboard. Like the one that you are making currently” said Wa’a kea. “No worries, you can have that one if you like. It has a special lift in the front, so as not to nosedive in hollower waves” said Kai’ike. “Mahalo, there are surfboard builders and then there is you Kai’ike. The islands No ka ‘Oi (the Best)” remarked Wa’a Kea. “Also, is there another swell coming in the for-seeable future” he asked. “Yes there is, it will be coming from the South-east” answered Kai’ike. A smile could be seen on Wa’a Kea face. Looking around Wa’a Kea see one of his villagers “Makani come” waving his hand towards himself. Makani walks over from the coconut tree he was standing by. “Show these Haoles where the Canoe Hale is and help them get the food ready for travel” ordered Wa’a Kea. Kai’ike tells Leonardo through telepathic means what Wa’a Kea has told Makani. Leonardo relays that information to Lieutenant Hermano by saying “follow this man (pointing to Makani) to get the supplies” as the group sees Makani walking away and they begin following him.
Leonardo asks “Should I follow the group.” “No, you will stay with us. We are going to Wa’a Kea’s Hale” answered Kai’ike. So the threesome started walking to the other end of the village. Wa’a Kea shows them into his Hale and has them sit on the mat in the center of the room. Wa’a Kea and Kai’ike discuss what is happening in the village and the latest bit of information. Wa’a Kea asked what are you thinking Kai’ike “I am communicating with Leonardo by the way of thought” said Kai’ike. “I remember you mentioned the same process with the Haole who disappeared a few years ago” said Wa’a Kea. “Yes, I remember telling you that” said Kai’ike. Wa’a Kea changes the subject and asked “Has Leonardo tried surfing”. Kai’ike spoke “No he has not, but I will teach him”.
Leonardo was wondering what Wa’a Kea had asked and looked at Kai’ike and conveyed his thoughts. Kai’ike smiled and said “He asked if you have surfed. Why he asked is that He’e Nalu (surfing) is a way of life and we on these islands believe that surfing nourish the mana”. “The mana” asked Leonardo. “The power within you” replied Kai’ike and continued “It is within us all, the warrior, the farmer, the fisherman, the ruling class and for those who surf. For the surfer they feel their mana is nourished by riding the wave. The young feel the thrill of making the wave and the old feel young again. It is something that generations before had enjoyed with no thought of it ever disappearing from their lifestyle.” Kai’ike then looks over to Wa’a Kea and tell him what he said to Leonardo. “My son is like that" said Wa'a Kea "all he thinks about is surfing. Last winter he and a bunch of his friends went open ocean surfing. They took out the double hull canoe and they took their surfboards with them. They went out about a few miles and rode the big swells. It takes skill to leap with your surfboard onto the rolling swell and ride the wave.”
Makani appears at the entrance of the hale “What is it Makani” asked Wa’a Kea. “The haoles are finished loading up and are ready to return back to their ship” answered Makani. “Very well” said Wa’a Kea turning to Kai’ike. “We shall be going now, Mahalo for the supplies and your hospitality” said Kai’ike. Leonardo had gotten up and thanked Wa’a Kea and followed Kai’ike. It was near noon when Kai’ike, Leonardo, Lieutenant Hermano and the crew returned to the row boats. Hokuao and Florencia were outside and notice everyone had returned. They walked down to the beach to greet them. “Hi Flo, it was an interesting walk over to the village” said Leonardo. “Yes Leo, I learned a lot here as well” replied Florencia. “Will you and Florencia join us tomorrow and go surf” asked Kai’ike. “Yes, we will be here tomorrow” answered Leonardo. Lt. Hermano had the two crews load the food onto the rowboats to take back to the ship, then return for the water that had to be gathered and placed in the barrels. “We are going to the cave where Vincenzo mentioned in his books” said Leonardo to Florencia.
“I’m going too, I wouldn’t want to miss that moment” said Florencia. Leonardo shook his head to say yes and told her “it will be in a few days from now and we will be taking Kai’ike’s double hull canoe”. Florencia began wondering about surfing as everyone got into the rowboat. Kai’ike and Hokuao waved to Leonardo and Florencia, as they returned the wave while sitting on bags of sweet potato. Once back on board the officer on deck told Leonardo that the Captain would like to see him. Florencia went to their quarters while Leonardo went over to the Captain’s cabin. The Captain asked how everything went and Leonardo said “Everything went according to plan and that they met Wa’a Kea the Chief of the village.” He continued to debrief the Captain about the day and the trip he was going to take with Kai’ike to the other side of the island. After an hour the Captain said “You look tired Leonardo, go and get some rest.” “Yes sir” replied Leonardo.
The following day Leonardo was watching Kai’ike and how he made surfboards while Florencia was with Hokuao learning how to make dyes, patterns and did some sewing. Kai’ike concentrated on the thickness of the shape before drawing an outline on the wiliwili blank with a knife. Using his adze he would chip away from the outline by a half inch. That one procedure took time and after one and a half hours he had chipped out both side of the outline. Using another adze that was a little sharper, he got closer to the line. Using his coral stone he would rub the excess wood to the outline. This specific blank piece had a warp front end that had a kick to the front. Kai’ike mentions to Leonardo “I was really lucky finding this wood, it had this flair up and I thought about what a straight surfboard does on steep takeoff.”
Leonardo asks “how many adze do you have.” Kai’ike answers “At least 30 of them” stopping his work at that point as he takes a break from his shaping. “Wa’a Kea will be happy with this surfboard” said Kai’ike as he sat down then asked “Shall we go surf.” “Yes” replied Leonardo as both went to change into their swim wear. Kai’ike went to Hokuao to let her know that they were going surfing. Hokuao had mention to Florencia that she would teach her how to surf, so all four were getting ready. The ocean surface was smooth since the winds hadn’t come up yet.
Kai’ike got out three wiliwili surfboards and one koa surfboard for himself. Kai’ike and Leonardo started to paddle out as Hokuao was on the beach showing Florencia where to paddle from, how to stand up after catching a wave and balancing herself with her arms. Side by side Kai’ike and Leonardo are talking as they paddle out. “Are you getting the feel for surfing” asked Kai’ike. “Yes I am” remarked Leonardo as they paddles over to the oncoming wave. Reaching the takeoff spot Kai’ike stopped and sat up. Looking around he see a wave coming and grabs a rail and starts to lean while rotating his legs like a propeller and faces shore. He begins paddling for the wave and the surfboard starts to glide and he stands up. Leonardo continues to paddle out further and see a larger wave approaching him.
He does the same as Kai’ike and starts paddling hard. He catches the wave and glide down to the bottom of the wave at an angle. Remembering to place his leg into the water to steer and he begins climbing up the face of the wave. He then adjusts his weight back to the outer rail and the surfboard begins to go back down in the wave. Kai’ike is paddling back out and watching Leonardo. He gives a loud yell “Aaa Hoo” and could see a big smile on Leonardo face. Losing his concentration he falls off the back end of the surfboard. The surfboard shoots forward and is tumbling in the white water to shore. It pops out of the white water and Hokuao paddles over and places her foot on the front part of the surfboard and continues to paddle out with Florencia behind her. Leonardo swims over and says mahalo with a smile. Leonardo sees Florencia approaching and says “Where have you been all my life” jokingly. He gets on his surfboard and paddles back out with her.
Sitting out in the lineup Florencia seems nervous at first, but with Leo by her side she starts to loosen up and starts talking. Hokuao says “Here comes a wave for you Florencia” as Leonardo back paddles to get slightly to her rear as she starts paddling for the wave. With an extra push from Leonardo on the rear of the surfboard Florencia has caught the wave. Remembering what Hokuao had told her, she places her hands on the deck and pushes off and stands, then adjusts her upper body back then forward and is riding the white water with her arms out to her side. Yelling “Leo, Leo I’m surfing.” After a few more wave Florencia is confident and relax while sitting with the group. Hokuao sees a wave coming and paddles further out and turns around and begins paddling. She catches the wave and all three are watching. Like a swan beginning her flight she gracefully stands and places her rear foot on the right side of the surfboard and in the water. The surfboard turns in that direction of her move. She moves across the wave without effort. Kai’ike is mesmerized by her flow and watches her to the end of the ride. Leonardo was watching and his expression was “whew” as if he was whistling the word “She is one graceful surfer” said Leonardo. “I know” said Kai’ike.
After an hour Kai’ike paddles over to everyone and begins a serious conversation “Your ship will be returning back in one week’s time. Only you and Florencia will remember what has happen, everyone else will have a spell placed on them and will not remember their stay in these islands. I want to these islands to be kept a secret as long as possible. I know one day others will find us and many will die from the disease that they will bring” said Kai’ike. “Those who came ashore today did they have anything that could affect the villagers” asked Leonardo. “No, I made sure a barrier was placed around them when they were here” said Kai’ike. Both Hokuao and Florencia kept quiet as Kai’ike continued.
“I will teach you as much as possible of surfboarding building before you leave. Regarding the powers that I am about to give you, there are consequences if you break the promise so be aware and take care” said Kai’ike. “I will Kai’ike. I know how important this is to you” said Leonardo”. “I wish you and Florencia to have a long and lasting life together like Hokuao and I said Kai’ike. With that Kai’ike sees a wave and paddles for it and catches it, a few moments later Leonardo catches the fifth wave of the set. After riding the wave Leonardo sees Kai’ike paddling in, he does the same. Dragging his surfboard in the sand, he walks up to Kai’ike who is watching the surf. “That was a fun out there” said Leonardo catching his breath.
“There is no other place I would like to be than here, for life is short and these Islands have been my home as long as I can remember and it will stay that way for me” said Kai’ike pausing again for a moment before saying “ I chose you Leonardo to carry on with this special power of seeing into the future because your mana is very special and you were chosen by Alohi Hoku through Vincenzo books” said Kai’ike. “I still don’t know why it was my destiny, but since I’m here and appreciate your knowledge of surfing and surfboard building. I will do as you say and accept this gift that you offered” said Leonardo with a look of ambivalence.
With that said Kai’ike walks over to Leonardo and place his hands on his shoulders and with his head bowed begins a chant. Leonardo closes his eyes and feels the power of Kai’ike flowing into him. His mind is spinning like a whirlwind seeing people and their stories being pulled from the future into the symbiotic vortex swirling into the clouds of the moment and presenting the vision, one after another. After a few minutes Kai’ike concludes with his chant and slowly moves back with his arms still extended. “It has been done and I welcome you into this realm of seeing into the future. ”You will feel the power in your vision hence forth”. “I think I will sit down on that rock and gather my thoughts” said Leonardo while feeling drained of his energy. Slowly he regains his strength and looks around. “I will go over to Florencia when she comes in and tell her about what has happen to me” said Leonardo standing to his feet. “She will understand since Hokuao has told Florencia about the special powers you will be receiving from me” said Kai’ike.
The two women came in and Leonardo looked into Florencia’s eye and she into his and they both knew their lives had changed. “I feel a little different Flo” said Leonardo. “I know Leo, Hokuao told me out in the water what was going to happen and that you were going to receive special powers. Also she mentioned what I must do to understand and to comfort you” said Florencia. The two went off to a secluded waterfall and swam around the cool waters of the pool and after their swim they would sit on the grass and talk about many things as mid-morning turned to afternoon. Kai’ike is next to his surfboard hut when he sees Leonardo and Florencia returning from the waterfall. “How are you feeling Leoanardo” asked Kai’ike. “I’m feeling much better. I wasn’t use to the overwhelming energy that came over me” said Leonardo. “I felt the same way when I received my powers” said Kai’ike. Come Hokuao has something for you two to eat, after that it will be time to return to your ship.
The next day Leonardo and Florencia were walking with Kai’ike to his double hull boat with a few of their belongings for the trip to the other side. The boat had a enlarged flared curved at the bows with two masts and sails on each. Kai’ike points to it and explains “In the future they will call these types of boats catamarans.” Walking on the beach side where the double hull canoe is situated, surrounded by a manmade breakwater that was constructed to create a stall for the boat. After going on board Kai’ike tells Leonardo and Florencia to put away their belongings in one of the hulls. While a few of the men grabbed hold of the lines that were connected to the front, middle and rear of the double hull canoe.
As they walked it out along the beach from its protective barrier to where four canoes were waiting to pull it out to the channel. Each canoe had six men ready to pull the larger boat out pass the beach. The forty-five foot catamaran was called Lua O Ano and was fast and seaworthy. After the lines were released and Lua O Ano started to move in the mid-morning breeze, two smaller double hull canoe were following the larger boat. She began to move faster and Leonardo was amazed at the speed in which she was traveling. With the wind blowing at 15 miles per hour the catamaran was sailing at 15 mph. Kai’ike had designed a rudder system that one person could handle. Sailing south for one hour before swinging west along the coast the catamaran was making good time. Occasionally the two smaller boats would pull up beside Lua O Ano and tie up alongside for her crew to rest and eat.
Kai’ike takes over the helm and he pull the helm more into the wind and the port hull begins to lift. Kai’ike tells everyone to move over to the left side. Now Lua O Ano is flying at 20 knots and Kai’ike has a big smile on his face. The crew is hooting and howling as Leonardo is doing the same. This would last for a couple of minutes before Kai’ike ease off on the helm and the port side glided down onto the water and Lua O Ano returns to doing 12 knots. By mid-afternoon they had turned the corner at La Kae and were sailing north near the coast before lowering one sail and going into a bay. Throwing an anchor made of stone and koa onto a sandy location Lua O Ano came to rest. With a few hours of daylight left Kai’ike looked at the location of the cave from the bay from where the Sun was in the sky and decided to wait for the next day to go to the cave.
With the sails down, a rope is tied to each mast and a tarp is placed over the rope to make a canopy over the deck. This is where most of the crew will sleep. Some will sleep under the open area. The two smaller canoes that had been on the sides of Lua O Ano was untied. A crew of 3 men would board each of the smaller craft and would go fish and dive for dinner. Leonardo and Florencia asked Kai’ike if they could go too and he said “yes”. The two went into the canoe storage room and change into his trunks and her swimming suit. After that they got into the canoe the crew paddled over to the reef for a dive, while the other canoe had their poles out and were fishing.
Leonardo and Florencia took a deep breath and dove down ten feet and looked at the colorful reef fish that were swimming around before coming up for air and swimming back down. They could see the others at a distance with their spears poking into a cave and bringing out some lobsters. Leonardo taps Florencia by the arm, she looked at him and he pointed in a direction and started to swim, she would follow. They reach the spot where the guys were catching the lobster and Florencia went up and was wading on the surface looking down through the water. Leonardo swam down to get a closer look as the guys who were catching lobster. Out of a crevice came a moray eel swimming towards him. He concentrated on the eel and it stop, as if it were paralyzed and then turned around. Leonardo wasn’t sure, but maybe there was more to his powers than he thought as he swam back up.
Florencia swam over to him and says “are you alright I was worried when I saw that eel swimming towards you”. “I was scared at first, then I concentrated on the eel and my special powers kicked in and I could sense it. Just like the shark the other day when Kai’ike did the same thing” replied Leonardo. Florencia didn’t say anything for a moment, then looked at Leonardo said “unreal”. The canoe with the fishermen came over and picked them up and took them back to Lua O Ano. That evening everyone would have fish and lobster with an assortment of other foods for dinner. Then the story telling began of the menehunes and their building projects. One story had them building a temple in one night another had them building a wall and a road in one night. After the stories everyone pulled out their mats and went to sleep. As Florencia was sleeping Leonardo laid face up and was lightly tapping the deck with both his hands unable to fall asleep.
Early in the morning Kai’ike is getting ready to go ashore, he in one canoe with a few of his men and Leonardo and Florencia in the other with four paddlers. The rest of the crew stayed aboard and waited for their return. The two canoes landed on the beach and Kai’ike, Leonardo, Florencia and four members of the crew would go to the cave while the other men would watch the canoes. They walked up the beach toward the mountain side and reach the cave in an hour. Vegetation had grown over the entrance and unless you knew where it was, you would never know it was there. Leonardo reading from one of the diaries said out loud “it should be fifteen paces in from a piled rock on the right side of the entrance.
Then move to the opposite wall where two rocks will be and dig two feet down, that is where the box is buried. So Kai’ike had one of his men bring a torch that they had brought with them and he lit it by using two stones that created a spark on dry grass treated with a special oil. While everybody else waited outside Leonardo went inside. With the torch lit he could see where to go. Having walked the fifteen paces he came to the two rocks on the left side. Kai’ike who could sense that he was near the box began a chant outside “Oh Kane we come here to retrieve a message by the one who left it here for us and with respect we will dig it up and to bring it back with us, for it to see the light of day”. After hearing that Leonardo began digging and found the box. “Here it is “said Leonardo. He takes it out of the cave and places the box on the ground where everyone was at. The sturdy box had a key hole and everyone began to wonder what to do.
With diary in hand Leonardo began reading from the diary “At the entrance go four steps to the right measures two arm length up from the ground and look for a wedged stone on the side of the mountain”. He sees it and pulls it out. Inside the cavity was a small key. He grabs it and takes it over to the box and is kneeling over it and inserts the key and twisted it, he then pulls the top of the box open. As Kai’ike and his men watch Leonardo sees a note and documents along with another key. The top note read: If you are reading this then I have perished. I leave behind my deeds and business partnerships with a signed affidavit bequeathing the possessions to the bearer on this document, leaving the name of the bearer blank. The items that I leave are my properties which are a 10 miles square parcel in the mountain region of Fresnillo, Mexico in accordance by the Viceroy of Mexico (with the wax seal), where I believe to be a silver deposit and another deed to another area 10 mile square parcel in Yanacocha mountains region in Peru by the accordance of the Viceroy of Peru (with the wax seal), where I believe to be a gold deposit.
I also give my part ownership to the bearer of this note a Chinese Silk company in Aynan (Hainan island off of China and Vietnam). After looking at the papers and the one key, Leonardo looked at Florencia and Kai’ike and said “He sure was a busy man with connections in the orient and the New World.” Kai’ike tell his crew “We are going back to the boat.” Leonardo is explaining to Florencia the deeds and paper work while holding the box under his arm, “I spent many hours trying to decipher what Vincenzo wrote in his books and all I had to do was just follow Kai’ike to where it is located. Exhaling as to express he finally accomplished his objective, he says “I inherited a treasure” as he looked at Kai’ike who was thinking of Vincenzo prized possession was paper and shaking his head sideways in disagreement, but with a smile.
Once back on board Lua O Ano they weighed anchor and sailed over to the village of Lokahi. Kai’ike beaches his catamaran and walks over to the village to visit the Ali’i Na’auao with Leonardo and Florencia. Kai’ike is greeted by Kahuna Lau’a and they talk for a while. The Kahuna Lau’a goes to get the Ali’I and he soon returns with him. “Kai’ike how are you, what brings you here” asked the Ali’i. ”We were in the area and stopped by a cave where Vincenzo had left his paper belongings. I thought of stopping by to pay our respects” said Kai’ike. “Oh, I haven’t thought about Vincenzo for a very long time. Actually he never came back and we sent scouts to find out what had happen.
They told me that you told them he and Nani Pua had been taken by the sea” said the Ali’i. “Yes, I can tell you the story” said Kai’ike as he pointed towards the direction of his Hale. After a couple of hours Kai’ike comes out and tells Leonardo and Florencia to follow him. They went to a hut on the out skirt of the village and went inside. It was Nani Pua hut and the two luggage trunks were still there. As they got closer and the trunks had key holes. Leonardo reached into his pocket and pulled out the key that was in the box. He places it in one of the trunk and unlocks it. He open the lid and there was clothes on top and he looks further into it. On the bottom were eight smaller cases and opening them up he sees 10 gold coins in each case. The other trunk had writing materials and the same amount of cases of silver.
“Shall we go” Kai’ike said to Leonardo. “But, what about these luggage” said Leonardo. “The Ali’I told me to take them and do as I please with them. He couldn’t open them and thought it was a sign not to bother it. I will have my men come and get it” said Kai’ike. After the four men retrieved the trunks and place them on deck. The crew pushes off from the beach and Lua O Ano bows begin to drift toward the open ocean. The sails are in place and Lua O Ano begins to pick up speed. They are moving along at 8 knots and Kai’ike is near the bow holding on to a side line that is holding up the first mast. Leonardo walks up to him and starts a conversation of what he thinking. Kai’ike turns and says “Leonardo your mind is full of questions. I can see you will go to the mountains of Mexico and Peru in your pursuit of those papers that you have found” said Kai’ike with a smile. Leonardo said “You are right, I’m fascinated by those two locations.” Looking at the bow Kai’ike said “hold on” as the bow of the catamaran plow through a swell and everyone on board gets a slight jolt from the encounter. “Any more stories of surfboard building you would like to share” asked Leonardo.
“Oh I have many, these islands will bring many to these shores in the future to surf and they will want to share that experience with others in their own lands. Since you are going to Peru when you get back, there is this story in the future about a man from Peru who came here and took home a few surfboards to his land. He would start a club and spread the word and experiences of surfing to others in Peru. His name is Carlos Dogny and surfing would grow under his vision in Peru”. Leonardo looked ahead and sees another swell about to hit the bow and grabs a hold of the line. His body gets pushed back while holding on as Kai’ike continues. “It will be few decades after that Peru would go into its golden era of surfing and many would become interested in the sport of surfing. Kai’ike sees that they are drifting off course and needs to go the helm. Leonardo returns to Florencia sitting next to the rear mast contemplating her house to be. “I thought of sketching some ideas for our house when we get back” said Florencia. “I have a surprise for you, before we left I had Vector draw up plans for our new hacienda with house, warehouse and docks. I wanted to surprise you with it. I told him I would keep it a secret as long as possible, but this is a good time to mention it. The plans will be waiting for us when we get back” said Leonardo.
A couple hours later nightfall and Lua O Ano is traveling along, but has slowed to 7 knots, then 3 knots an hour as the winds became light. A crew of four would keep watch and steer the course into the night and switch with another crew of four as the night continued. The following afternoon Lua O Ano pulls up along-side La Buscador and Leonardo and Florencia were back on board and wave to Kai’ike and his crew. They would see him and Hokuao later the next day. Captain Vargas comes on deck and greets the two back. “So how did it go, find anything” asked Captain Vargas. “We found papers and one key” said Leonardo. “What was the papers about and do you know what the keys is for” asked the Captain. “Yes, they were deeds to the person of the diaries. He left behind properties and companies that he has a share in and the key was to a luggage trunk” Leonardo explained. “I will look at it later today and return them to you since you are in charge of bringing it back to the Crown court” said Captain Vargas. “We are going to our quarters. It’s been a tiring trip” said Leonardo. “Yes I can imagine” said the Captain. After reading the papers later that day Captain Vargas returned the box to Leonardo and didn’t think much about it.
The week came and went and it was getting near the time when La Buscador would be departing from the islands. Leonardo was with Kai’ike in his workshop when Kai’ike said “I have not told you about my other boat shed where I am making my next boat, it is near the village. it is bigger, but slightly slower than my current boat Lua O Ano. We shall go see it tomorrow” said Kai’ike. “Yes, that would be great” said Leonardo excited about the thought like a kid going to a toy store. No one was at the canoe hut which was a very large open ended hale. Inside was two big hulls of sixty six feet in lengths. They were finished and looked impressive, the four beams connecting the two hulls had been done and the inner areas of the hulls were being worked on. “She is a beauty” said Leonardo gliding his hand over one of the outer hull being careful not to get a splinter in his hand. Viewing the catamaran Leonardo imagination took off and started thinking about a double hull canoe two times the size . “I can hardly wait to get back home and build a boat of my own” said Leonardo. Kai’ike smile knowing what Leonardo was thinking. After the boat hale they went back to Kai’ike hale and met up with their wives and talked story.
Many stories were shared among Kai’ike, Leonardo, Florencia and Hokuao. It was time to leave and Leonardo and Florencia said “Aloha, we will always be with you in mind and spirit.” “Leonardo what about the luggage trunks” asked Kai’ike. “You keep them until I return” said Leonardo with a smile. “Aloha my son” said Kai’ike as Leonardo and Florencia walked down to the beach and got on the rowboat and waved goodbye as they returned back to the ship. The sails were unfurled after the command of weigh anchor was given. La Buscador slowly leaves her anchorage with the outgoing tide and the breeze filling her sails. After returning to their hale Hokuao looked at Kai’ike and said “It was nice to have Leonardo and Florencia with us”. “They will be back” said Kai’ike smiling at Hokuao. Back on board the La Buscador Leonardo says to Florencia “We will return someday looking back at the Bay. As La Buscador enters the open ocean, a cloud drifts overhead and a light rain begins to drizzle down upon the ship as land disappeared.
Leonardo met with Captain Machado and began to discuss what they are going to do. But before he could mention what he was going to say, Captain Machado says to Leonardo ”We must return, we haven’t located an island on the map that you have and we have enough provisions to make it back. The next trip we will go further South to find those lands”. “Yes, you are right Captain. The next trip may be the one when we find what we are looking for” said Leonardo knowing what Kai’ike’s had said before they left the island.
After his meeting with the Captain, Leonardo notices everyone having the same demeanor before the islands were discovered. “How did the meeting go” says Lieutenant Hermano “It looks like we are heading back, too bad we didn’t find what we were looking for” said Leonardo as he look at Lieutenant Hermano who nodded his head in agreement. Back at their quarter’s Leonardo is in conversation with Florencia. “Little did we know that this trip would turn out the way that it did” said Leonardo. Florencia answers back “It is our destiny my Love and a power even greater than Kai’ike is watching over us”. Leonardo hesitated before commenting “I thank God that we met and you are my wife. I’m beginning to see things in a different light" as he moved towards her and gave her a hug and a kiss. Settling in the days became routine and before they knew it they had returned to Panama as husband and wife and soul mates.
Anchored off shore of Panama City Leonardo and Florencia are viewing the sunset after a life changing experience. Morning would find them at the Governor’s office in Panama City. Going over their experience of not finding the islands on the map, Captain Vargas had signs off on the expedition and the exploration had come to an end. Leonardo and Florencia were on their way back to Portobello. There are some ideas I was thinking about regarding security and future developments” Leonardo said while jotting down some notes. “We will be home soon and we will meet with father” said Florencia. “Yes we will” Leonard said in a reassuring tone with a smile.
“I will make a surfboard shop at our new house and assemble the tools” said Leonardo. Also I been thinking about the canoes hulls that Kai’ike was making and the ones he had already made. I’m really excited about that too!” said Leonardo with a passionate look on his face. Sensing Leonardo mind was racing with ideas Florencia moves next to him and stares into his eyes without saying a word to calm him down. Leonardo was going to say something with his mouth half open and tilted his head slightly toward her but kept quiet and looked into her eyes. He put his arm around her shoulder and she rests her head on his shoulder. The coach pulled into the Hacienda at nightfall, Leonardo lightly wakes Florencia and says “Were home”. Getting out of the coach they walk over to their room and had the servants take their luggage in and would have a cup of wine and go to bed.
The Governor was in the kitchen talking to Leonardo when Florencia came in and said “Good Morning father”, He returned the greeting with “Good Morning Florencia”. “What do you have planned for today dear” said the Governor to Florencia. “Leonardo and I are going over the plans Vector had done for our new house by the bay” said Florencia. “That will be fine, but tomorrow we need to go over the other issues that have developed while you two were gone” said the Governor. “Alright father” as the two left the room and went to the stable to get their horses for a ride out to the Bay.
Back at the Bay the two walked along the beach from one Point to the other with their horses in tow. Both walking barefooted in the sand and water, Leonardo looking out at both points and sees waves breaking. It brought memories of Kai’ike and surfing. “I never paid any mind but the water here is like the islands. The waves were wrapping around both points and are longer compare to the bay where Kai’ike surfs. Breaking all the way to where the sandy beach was. I can picture us out there and surfing to our hearts content” said Leonardo with surfboards on his mind. “After you make us some surfboards that is” said Florencia.
They continued their walk noticing everything around them. After their walk, they rode around the area getting ideas of what would be nice to have. Florencia had a different perspective about the terrain and crops. Thinking back when Florencia walked with Hokuao; it had a lasting effect on how she sees and feels about the land. Though much larger in scale Florencia would approach it with Hokuao in mind. To preserve the beauty of the land for future generations by approaching each project to its surroundings. “It is time we return” said Leonardo looking out at the ocean and then at Florencia.
While riding back and thinking of surfing, surfboards and Kai’ike, Leonardo went off in a tangent and said “If something is changed in the past, the future will be altered and what we knew was true has been completely erased”. “What did you say dear” asked Florencia. “I was thinking to myself about events happening in the past and of the future. You know with this knowledge I am able to access quite of bit information” Leonard said to Florencia. Florencia looked at Leonardo with a curious look and said “We have a very special relationship and I love you”. Leonardo turned and looked at her and said “Yes the future cannot change the past”.
Returning home to the hacienda that evening, Leonardo, Florencia and the governor were talking about what was going to happen in the near future. “The shipment schedules of the galleons and pirates are something that needs to be top priority” said the governor. Leonardo had the answers but kept quiet for most of the meeting. “You’ve been quiet most of this time Leonardo is there something on your mind” asked the governor. “I can’t explain it but I think my father is ill and I must return home to see if he is alright” said Leonardo. Florencia turns quickly to Leonardo after what he had said and says “I will go with you”. Somewhat surprised Juan says “if you really feel that way go if you must, I know Florencia would do the same for me. I will arrange for the both of you to leave on the next available ship out”. “We will begin to pack our luggage tomorrow” said Florencia` “I appreciate your insight as a father Sir and I will always remember your concern you have for me and my feeling towards my father” said Leonardo.
Leonardo went to see Vector and was amazed at the transformation that had taken place to his residence while he and Florencia had been gone. There was a 3 story structure of wood, adobe, marble, and brass trim with four hardwood pillars at the entrance to the house. The design had an airy spacious look to it with open areas where the afternoon breeze flows through the structure. This was where the old wooden farm house stood. The main gate was open with an adobe wall encircled the house and a large warehouse type building off to the side a couple hundred feet away. Looking at a new road that led from the house to the open fields of crops, the river and the forest beyond, Leonardo rode in and dismounted. There to greet him was Vector who had come out after noticing his arrival.
“Leonardo how was your trip” asked Vector. “We went, but didn’t find the islands” said Leonardo. “Next time” said Vector. “You have done a lot around here Vector and around the governor’s hacienda, one busy guy” complemented Leonardo. “Yes and I started an Export- Import business and doing well with that I must say” replied Vector looking around at his accomplishments. “Did you finish those plans for Florencia house” asked Leonardo. “Why yes I did, since both of you are back I can bring over tomorrow and go over it with you and Florencia. I know she will like it and so will you” said Vector. What is it that you export import Vector” questioned Leonardo. “Different fabrics, from cotton to burlap, velvet and lace, canvas and ropes. I’m also going into purchasing land and strike it rich” said Vector with a laugh. “I must say you are one bright person with so many skills” remarked Leonardo looking at the warehouse. “Are you using the warehouse for your inventory” asked Leonardo. “Yes, but I will outgrow it in a few months. So I’m planning on making a larger warehouse and start construction next month”
“What are plans since being back” asked Vector. “Florencia and I are planning on going to Italy and see my father, I think he is ill” mentioned Leonardo. “Sad to hear, I wish him well” said Vector. Taking one of the galleons back” questioned Vector. “Maybe, not sure right now, I will go down to the harbor and see what is available” answered Leonardo. “Let go inside and talk about your trip and what you might do different the next time you go and I think Artamesia would like to know how Florencia mind the sailing” said Vector. “Yes, that will be fine” said Leonardo walking towards the entrance of the house with Vector. They went in and Leonardo view the marble walls inside the entrance and the tile flooring leading to the rooms downstairs and the unique stairway that spiral around to the second and third floors from the main lounge.
“Wow, this place is terrific. I hope our place is just like this” said Leonardo still looking around. “There you are Vector and we have a guest, how are you Leonardo” said Artamesia. “I’m good” said Leonardo as he approached Artamesia and gave her a hug. “I was just telling Vector how much I like your new home and I hope ours is the same, maybe just a little different” mentioned Leonardo. “I love our house and so do the kids. Come lets go into the kitchen and have some lemon aid that I made from our lemon tree” said Artamesia. Vector and Leonardo followed Artamesia to the kitchen where they talked about the trip to Acapulco and the two months at sea looking for the islands in the Pacific.
“You, Vector and your children must come over and have dinner with us and the governor. I’m sure he would be delighted having you over” mentioned Leonardo. “What about this Friday” said Artamesia looking at Vector who was nodding his head to say yes. “Fine, I will let Florencia know and she will make the arrangements. I have to be going to the harbor and see what boats are in harbor” said Leonardo. “Going on a trip” questioned Artamesia. “Yes, my father is ill and we plan on seeing him” said Leonardo as he finished his drink and said “Thank you, I must be going.”
After checking out the ships that are in port, Leonardo was having a cup of coffee at an outdoor local café near the harbor. “Hey Leonardo how you doing” said Pedro the retired fisherman who had lent him the use of his small boat to go sailing in when he first met Florencia. “Pedro you old son of a gun, you are a sight for sore eyes” said Leonardo getting up and shaking his hand. “What brings you here” Pedro asked. “I was looking at the ships at anchor and was going down to the Port Office to find out who was returning to Spain. I think my father is ill and I wanted to go see him” said Leonardo knowing that he was. “Sorry to hear that Leonardo” said Pedro.
“I don’t know if you can afford it, but there is a boat at Ruben’s Boatyard that is up for sale. She is 120 ft. in length and has a beam of 27 ft. she looks very seaworthy” said Pedro. “You know Pedro I might just do that” said Leonardo. The two friends talked about the weather and Pedro mentioned what was happening with some of the fishermen that he knew. “I’m going down to Ruben’s and look at that boat you were mentioning. It was good seeing you again my old friend”. “Good to see you too, Leonardo” said Pedro.Riding his horse over to the yard
Leonardo sees the boat Pedro was talking about tied up next to the dock. Walking back and forth while looking at the boat a man walks up to Leonardo and says “My name is Amelio, can I help you. Say you look familiar do I know you”. “Yes Amelio, I’m Leonardo the one who had La Flecha built here” said Leonardo. “That’s right, now I remember. How are you sir” said Amelio. “I’m doing well” said Leonardo. “So, I see you are looking at this boat. The owner of this boat is a merchant who got into financial trouble when his shipment of goods from Portugal was hijacked at sea by English pirates. To pay for his losses he has to sell his boat which you see here” said Amelio gesturing with his arm and open hand to go onboard and take a look.
Leonardo grabs a hold of stroud line that is connect to the mast and hops over the guardrail. Amelio walks over to the opening in the guardrail and comes aboard and says “She will accommodate 20 people comfortably and it has an aft stateroom that is roomy, well ventilated and has adequate portholes for lighting. In the main cabin there is a well-designed galley with the lounge area well thought out and the forward compartment berths well organized. The bow section has the sail compartments and forward of that is the anchor locker. Would you like to take her for a sail, I can arrange it if you like?”. “Why yes, what about this afternoon” said Leonardo. “Say three o’clock this afternoon” said Amelio. “That will be good. I will see you at three o’clock with my wife” confirmed Leonardo.
Returning to the governor’s hacienda Leonardo looks for Florencia and finds her in the study. “I have found a boat that we might purchase for the trip back to see my father” said Leonardo. “That was fast. Where is this boat you talk of” asked Florencia. “It is at Ruben’s Boatyard” said Leonardo. “Isn’t that where La Flecha was built” said Florencia. “Yes that’s the place. I arranged a sail on her tomorrow” said Leonardo. “Ok, I just need to reschedule a few things” said Florencia as she stepped out of the room and told her maid to let everyone know who had made appointments for tomorrow to reschedule.
Just then Vector shows up with the plans to Florencia and Leonardo’s new house, another servant comes in and tell Florencia that Vector had arrived. Leonardo hearing the servant from the other room comes out and goes to the main Living room where Vector was seated. “Hey Vector, how are you. I’m anxious to see the plans” said Leonardo as Florencia walks in and greets Vector “Hi Vector, it nice to see you here today and this coming Friday with your family. Now, I too am curious of our plans” said Florencia. “Nice to see you Florencia and yes, let me unroll these plans” said Vector as he went to a table to unroll his drawings.
Vector started his presentation with the elevation plans of what the house will look like. Both Leonardo and Florencia zoomed into the drawing with their mouth open at the eye catching design that had them excited and wanting to see more. The house was 2 story with a third level patio entertainment area. After going through the floor plans and structural plans Florencia was in love with the design and couldn’t wait to start building it. “Well how do like it” asked Vector. “Like it?, I love it. When can we start” asked Florencia. “What about in two weeks, I will need to get the labor and materials situated. After that we can start” said Vector. “Great” said Leonardo who was just as anxious as Florencia. After Vector left Florencia and Vector were talking about all the different things that they could do to furnish it and other items to add to the house making it very special. “When we go to Italy let get some statues” said Florencia. “Yes and other things that we might think of” said Leonardo. “I will show father these plans, he will be delighted I’m sure” said Florencia of her new house.
It was three o’clock and Leonardo and Florencia were at the dock looking over the boat. Her first impression was that she liked it and wanted to know how she handled and sailed. Amelio had a crew of eight walking with him as they approached the dock. “Good afternoon Leonardo, this must be your wife. I recall meeting her during the construction of La Fleca” said Amelio. “Yes, she remembers that time, too. Are we ready for a sail” asked Leonardo. “Yes, I had gone over the boat two hours previously and made sure she was ready” said Amelio. He had the four crew members release the dock lines as they hopped on board while the others were getting the sails ready.
They adjusted the lines as the afternoon winds pushed her away from the dock. The breeze has been steady and two crew members are hoisting the headsail while the other four are preparing to hoist the large forward lateen sail. The smaller stern Lateen sail will be hoisted after leaving the harbor. Amelio is at the helm and the other crew member is assisting Leonardo and Florencia with their needs before going forward and helping out. Amelio is at the steering wheel as Lady Luck the name the previous owner had given the boat drifts out. The forward lateen sail is hoisted half way and she begins to move through the channel and out of the harbor.
“Take her up all the way and go back to the stern and help the other guys out” shouted Amelio to his crew as the front lateen is lifted all the way up, as the stern sail is being hoisted. Lady Luck moving and picking up speed, Amelio calls Leonardo over to take the helm. With Amelio by his side suggesting what to do, Leonardo steers toward the main channel. Passing a few anchored ships along the way before he is in open waters and getting the feel of the boat. Florencia is nearby and walks over to Leonardo. He says “What do think Flo” and she replies “So far, so good”. They are picking up more speed and traveling at 12 knots. “What is her top speed” asked Leonardo to Amelio. “She had done 18 knots before, but I know she can do better” said Amelio. “Florencia take over the helm and see how she feels to you” said Leonardo as he held on to the wheel until she took hold.
With the wind flowing through her shoulder length hair she says “It feel alright”. Leonardo moves to the rear of the boat and looks over the side to the rudder. And tells Florencia to “steer a little to the left” pause“ then to the right”. Leonardo asks Amelio “Is the tiller rope adjustable or is it in place”. “It is in place” said Amelio as Lucky Lady moved on. Going forward he asks the crew if hoisting was easy or difficult and they said “its not bad, but could be better”. Lucky Lady went out a few miles before turning around and headed back.
Leonardo and Florencia went down into the main salon and looked around, then went into the crew berths. Taking down notes of what they saw and how they felt. Reappearing from the main cabin they walked over to the aft cabin and went in. They looked at the bed, the cabinets, storage compartment and the chart table before going back to the helm. “Well, what do you think” asked Amelio. “She nice” said Leonardo looking at Florencia who had a smile on her face. Entering the harbor Amelio had the crew lower the front sails and steer wide of the dock and turned hard on the wheel as the crew lower the aft sail to halfway down the mast, then a quarter.
Lucky Lady glided her way towards the dock traveling a few miles an hour as four of the crew members jumped onto the docks with the dock lines and walked her along as the stern lines were cleated first, then the bow and mid-ship lines after. Amelio let out a slight sigh and looked at Leonardo and Florencia and said “Shall we go over to the office and close the deal. The crew will clean things up, while we start the paper work on it”. “Yes, shall we take care of the paper work that needs to be done” mentioned Amelio as he; Leonardo and Florencia started walking over to the office.
That evening Vector, Artamesia and their family was over for dinner. The topic at the dinner table was the new boat that Leonardo and Florencia had just purchased and their new house. Leonardo and Florencia had let her father know of the purchase before the Vanguards had arrived. “What did you name her” ask Juan. “Her name previously was “Lady Luck” but we change it to “Espiritu de Libertad” (Spirt of Freedom) said Florencia. Leonardo mentioned “It will take a week to get her ready and they will most likely be-gone a few months”. Juan expressed his concern, but gave them his well wishes in a safe return.
The following day they began to put together a crew of 16 not including them, there was a cook, a navigator and a twelve man crew. After the interviews they chose Carlos de Lopez as the Captain, Franco the cook and the crew consisting of Nicolas and Diego, two brothers in their twenties from Portobello, Martin, Lucas, Jose and Andres from a merchant ship from Spain that was going to Brasil. Then there was Pablo, Alonso, Maximo, Hugo, Diego and Edurado all from Panama City and wanting to go to Europe to see what it is like and be paid for it.
There was a lot to be done by the boatyard with the steering and a few other items on the list. The crew was informed in what was expected from them, doing dry runs on sails, anchoring and general maintenance around the boat. Franco got familiar with the galley and cooked a few meals for the crew while they did the dry run of the sail procedures. Afterwards Leonardo and Carlos went over the charts and how Carlos did things. It was a busy week for Leonardo with the work load that he had with the Governor’s office and Florencia’s house planning.
Within the week the general routine was familiarized and they were ready for the trip. Leonardo and Carlos had laid out the course that they would travel and the estimated time it would take to get to Livorno, Italy. After departing they would sail with the Gulf Stream current around Cuba pass the pan handle of Florida, then sail on a northeast course across to a general area where in his vision indicated a brisk winds from a storm out of the Northwest would be approaching. From there the plan was to be in front of it and use the calmer waters as a ramp and the steady winds as the fuel to make a fast sail toward Europe.
Twelve days later after departing they were at the location on the map where the steady winds began blowing from astern. The boat started to pick up speed and Leonardo yells to the helmsman “steady as she goes” while ordering the crew who were handling the sails to reef down on the forward lateen sail a couple of notches and get ready for a sudden speed increase. In front of the leading edge of the storm Espiritu de Libertad cuts through the water as she was designed to do.
“Leonardo I do not know how you knew when and where to be, but this is perfect timing, we were very lucky or you possess special knowledge. I have never sailed like this in all my travels” said Carlos. Leonardo replied ”My guess was very lucky to have gotten these winds” looking back and then at Carlos. Every morning and evening Florencia and Leonardo would be on deck and talking about whatever was on their minds. Leonardo would describe his childhood and the things that he did while growing up and she would do the same. In the afternoon she would design the interior furnishing for their house and he would meet with Carlos and plot their location by using the sextant and make adjustment on the course.
They would calculate the miles that they made good from noon to noon. Franco was a good cook and kept the crew happy with the food that he prepared. The sailors would take turns on the watches. The watch rotation consisted of three men on three hour shifts until noon. Then Leonardo and Carlos would go on watch from 12 to 2 in the afternoon every day to offset the timing where the crew would have different watch hours on a daily basis.
Espiritu de Libertad is doing 20 knots days and nights and on the 4th day of sailing fast, the forward lateen sail begins to come apart at the seam.
Still making 10 knot with the forward lateen sail down, the crew made the repairs within a half a day and they are off and sailing with all sails again. Nearing the continent of Europe, Espiritu de Libertad slows as she enters the Mediterranean. Traveling at 10 knots they pass Spain and France as they swing up by Sardinia and round Corsica. Two days later during mid-day a few sailing vessel pass by as they near the harbor at Livorno. After docking the men are given liberty with a different watch schedule in place. The rotation of those going ashore and those on watch were posted on a daily bulletin board. The person in charge of the boat while Leonardo and Florencia were away was Carlos.
On arrival to Livorno a banking crisis was underway and the banks were having a holiday. Leonardo and Florencia had gold and silver coins with them and were prepared to deal with negotiating a transaction. The couple went to the coach house where Leonardo had been before with Captain Montoya and Maria. By chance Leonardo sees Angelo getting his team of horses ready to return to Florence. “Hey Angelo how are you” said Leonardo. Angelo looks over his shoulder and stares at Leonardo, then realizes the young man from a few years back. A smile appears on Angelo face and says “Fred, ah Frederico”. “No my friend it’s Leonardo”. “Now I remember, how you been. How was the New World” said Angelo. “It has been quite the adventure. Oh let me introduce you to my wife Florencia” said Leonardo. “How do you do Florencia” said Angelo. “Fine, thank you Angelo” said Florencia. “We will need a ride to Florence” said Leonardo. “Yes go inside and see the clerk. You came at the right time. I’m going back without a guest” replied Angelo.
They were off to Florence and with a stop at Empoli. They were having a late lunch and stretching their feet. “Leonardo my feet feels wobbly still as if I’m still on the boat” said Florencia. “That is natural, I felt the same thing when I came ashore at Portobello” said Leonardo taking a drink of wine that was produce there in Empoli. “This wine is very good” said Florencia. “The Tuscany region is known for its wine” said Leonardo taking another sip. They would arrive later that day and go to his family’s house from the coach station. With their two hand held baggage they walk over to the apartment house. Arriving at the apartment house Leonardo sees his mother Margaret and the relatives in the living room. He gives a hug to his mother and is greeted by his uncle and aunts and while introducing his wife. “Everyone I would like to introduce my wife Florencia” said Leonardo. “She is very beautiful” one aunts says to Leonardo. “You are a lucky boy” says another.
Uncle Mario walks over to Leonardo and gives him a hand shake and a hug. “It’s good to see you again Leonardo” says Mario. “It has been a while Uncle” said Leonardo. “Your father fell ill six months ago and his health has been getting worse. How is it that you knew of his illness when we only written to you one month ago” said Mario. “I can’t explain it but I had a strange feeling that something was not right” Leonardo said and continued “Excuse me I’m going in to see father” while Florencia stayed and talked to the relatives. “What is it that you do Florencia” asked one of the aunts. “I help my father around his hacienda” replied Florencia. “What does your father do” asked another aunt. He is the governor of Portobello, Panama” Florencia answered. “Oh” was the response the aunt who had asked the question. Then there was a silence before everyone started asking questions about their wealth. Florencia looked at everyone politely and said she did not want to talk about her family matters and she was here with Leonardo to see his father. So Margaret changed the subject and asked if she had been to Italy before.
Leonardo had quietly walked into his father bedroom and pulled up a chair to sit beside him. Holding his hand, Guido opened his eyes. A smile came to him and said “I never thought I would see you again my son”. With a tear in his eye Leonardo responded with “It is good to see you again father”. In a soft voice Guido asks “did you find the islands on the map”. “Yes I did father and I made a promise not to tell anyone. But the person whom I made the promise to will understand and this will be the only time I will reveal that I did” Leonardo said. “I’m proud of son. I knew you could do it” as Guido squeezed his hand gently conveying his pride “I knew you would accomplish what you set out to do”. “I have a surprise for you father. Florencia could you come here” said Leonardo with a loud voice”. She walks in and stands next to Leonardo. “Father this is my wife Florencia. We met in Panama” said Leonardo. A big smile came over Guido as he slowly reached out to her without letting go of Leonardo’s hand. She extended her hand and all three held hands and Guido said “It is nice to have met you Florencia.
I will never forget that day on the bridge with you Leonardo when you tossed the stone into the river. I can see that your wish came true” as Guido closed his eyes with a silent smile and let go of Leonardo and Florencia’s hands. Leonardo rested his head on his shoulder and began to cry. Regaining his composure he walked out slowly with Florencia by his side, told everyone in the living room that “Father has gone to Heaven”. Leonardo’s mother and aunts all began to cry. Uncle Mario stood in silences with a blank look on his face while he held back his tears. After Guido’s funeral Leonardo wanted to show Florencia the city to take their minds off of the passing of his father.
They walked across the Ponte alla Carraia bridge holding hands, Leonardo said to Florencia “This is the bridge my father was talking about when he passed away”. She pulls his hand and Leo turn towards her and she moves closer and give him a kiss and says “Being with you is like a dream come true for me, now so than before”. Blinking his eyes and being struck with emotion. He gives her a long hug and says “This feeling of love that I have for you, where words wait for me to return from the bliss, is beyond any place that I have been before”. She stood there and looked at him and felt the moment was engraved into her heart. He placed his arm around her shoulder and began walking and mentioned “Shall we go see some of the statues around the city, marvelous works of art” said Leonardo. “That reminds me I would like to get a sculpture for our house Leo. Not too big and not too small. Any suggestion where we should go” asked Florencia. “Let try the house of San Gallo first and then the house of Rovezzano for starters.
Leonardo would take Florencia to places he remembered while growing up. “These are the streets that Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and many other artist once walked” said Leonardo as they arrived at the studio of San Gallo the sculptor. As they looked around Florencia noticed a marble sculpture of doves flying in the clouds. “Let’s get this sculpture. It will remind us of this time we were here” said Florencia. Nodding to say yes Leonardo would walk over to the person in charge and arranged the Doves in the Clouds sculpture to be picked up when they departed Florence. Leonardo and Florencia were returning to Espiritu de Libertad with their sculpture that they will exhibit at their front entrance of their new house. But before they did Florencia wanted to go to Pisa and view the leaning Tower of Pisa before returning to Livorno. They made the detour and arrived in the town of Pisa. Walking over to the tower where Leonardo made some sketches, then they went site seeing around the town of Pisa before returning to Livorno.
After departing from Livorno they would sail up the coast to visit Genoa. The plan was to stay a week before leaving Italy and return home to Panama. It was a weekend when they arrived in the seaport of Genoa and a few of the local day sailors were out in the harbor as they tied up to the dock. A single mast mainsail and fore jib caught the eye of Leonardo, asking around the docks he found out that it belong to a local merchant and was Dutch built. Near the harbor was a boat builder from the Netherlands whose yard had a few boats under construction. Leonardo got to talking with the owner Hans Christensen about the rigging and became very interested in converting Espiritu de Libertad into a sloop sailboat.
Florencia was all for it and it wasn’t long before arrangements were being made to have Espiritu de Libertad converted to a sloop rig configuration.Hans mentioned that he had received a shipment of fine spruce from Russia for the mast and there was one in particular that would fit the Espiritu de Libertad length to ratio just fine. Hans also said that since the mast height is taller than the boats that he has been working on the rigging would be made for wire stranded together and would be covered with a special resin from Austria. Work began on the following Monday and completed 40 days later. During the construction Florencia and Leonardo went to a sail maker there in Genoa suggested by Hans. The sailmaker was telling Leonardo because of the size of the main sail, linen was stronger but heavier. The mainsail that they had in mind would be heavy. Not impossible to handle but heavy. Then he went on to say that a Swiss inventor had coated cotton with a special mixture which made it stronger. Having a strong and lightweight material was the answer the Vi’s were looking for.
The mail sail was a standard shape and the head sails were more custom for the different angle of sail. The sailmaker said to Leonardo and Florencia “if you don’t mind I would like to call the head sails “Genoa” since they will be the first of its kind”. They made duplicates of both the main and head sails and stow them away for safe keeping in the sail locker. The crew had been preparing for the day when they would sail a sloop rig by sailing on smaller sailboats with the single mast and jib setup. Weekly meeting on what to do and when to do were discussed. On her first day of trials Espiritu de Libertad’s sails took to the wind like it was made for her and sailed smoothly. Changing direction went well for the helmsman as the crew became accustomed to the tacking. “So much easier and less effort compared to having the guy go aloft to adjust the lateen rig” said Carlos.
Leonardo felt ready to depart and made plans with Carlos on the course they would take. The evening before departure Florencia and Leonardo would dine out at a small restaurant near the harbor. At the front of the restaurant was a plaque mentioning Christopher Columbus as a native son who discovered the Americas. The owner of the restaurant seated the two with a view of the harbor. Leonardo says to Florencia “Somewhere I came across in my visions about a Lief Ericson who traveled to the Northern Americas some four centuries earlier” Florencia nodded her head to say yes and took a drink from her cup of wine. The conversation turned to the design of their house and details that Vetra had incorporated. “I can hardly wait on our return trip back and see how our new sail configuration will work. We will sail further south and pick up favorable winds at the half way mark” said Leonardo and continued with the lifting of his cup “a toast to Christopher Columbus for opening the door” the two touched cups and sipped their wine.
They left Genoa with the new sail arrangement and the crew was getting use to the simpler procedure of raising the mainsail with a block and tackle and the same with the head sail. The first few hours were spent tacking the head sail from one direction, then to the other. They had done this on the smaller sailboat when they were waiting for the new mast to be placed. Now on a larger scale the two lines that are attached to the head sail’s clew, one for the port side and the other for the starboard side are being walked around the stay line that is holding up the front of the mast, in combination with the mainsail being moved to one side or the other of the helm. It wasn’t long before they had the maneuver down and were sailing smoothly at 9 to 12 knots all the way to the Greater Antilles. There was a speed increase when Espiritu de Libertad entered the Caribbean. They had made it home in a few weeks and arriving at the wharf by mid-day, there to greet them was the Governor. He was informed an hour earlier from the lookout post located on a hill nearby. As he hugged his daughter he said “The lookout wasn’t sure of the boat because of the sails, but they knew of her hull. Welcome back my dear.”
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Thomas Takao COPYRIGHT 2019