How I got interested in surfing and oil painting?
Before beginning I would like to say, there was an original list of surfboard shapers in Surfing Magazine in the 1990s of shapers. They did a great job, and my hat is off to the person(s) who put it together. From my perspective, I just added on to it. Along the way, I met many of the legends in this craft of surfboard building, and those not so famous. Many have been forgotten for their contribution to the process that made surfing what it is today.
Anyway, my parents like many were getting their lives back together after WWII, for them their paths crossed in Japan. My father's family had been discharged from the internment camp of Poston, Arizona and they went to Japan. My mother and her sisters were survivors of the Hiroshima A bomb and it's after-effects, making do with what was available as many of the people in that area and the country were to do. To make a long story short, they met, got married, and started a family. In the mid-1950s, they would move to Southern California where my siblings and I grew up.
I learned to surf on a Dave Sweet pop-out surfboard in 1962. Having ridden it out in the water a few times. I started to get the hang of standing up and riding the white water. There was this time when the board was on the lawn, I stood on the middle of it, pretending to be surfing. The skeg cracked at the base, and just a few pieces of fiber was holding the skeg in place. I did my first surfboard repair job before starting the 7th grade. Now taking a running leap across a few summers. We are going forward to a surf contest that is about to happen in November of 1968.
"Going Back to the 1968 World Surf Contest Rincon, Puerto Rico"
In the summer of 1968, my friend Lyle suggested going to Puerto Rico to surf. He had been there the previous year and had planned to return in the fall. The opportunity of surfing Puerto Rico did stir some intrigue and adventure. After giving it some thought, and looking over some pictures of Jobos, Crash Boat, and Rincon; I decided to go. The plan was to go to New York first and visit a friend of a friend of Lyle’s before making the trip to Puerto Rico. Before I knew it our departure date of October 7th had arrived and we were boarding our flight. Lyle waved to his girlfriend Regina and I waved to Regina’s friend Charlene. We flew out of LAX at 8:00 a.m. and arrived at JFK at 5:00 p.m.
Ray who was a friend of the friend who was supposed to pick us up did the honors. He drove us back to Long Beach, Long Island where we were taken over to Phil’s house where we stayed for a week. Surfing a couple of times in the cold Fall water of the Long Island. We did some sightseeing and partied for a few nights at a nightclub in Long Beach. The week went by fast and it was time to leave. Fast Phil took us back to JFK and we were on our way to Puerto Rico.
After arriving at San Juan Airport at 4 a.m. the plane’s door was opened and there to greet us was a blast of hot tropical humid air. We departed off the plane through the jet-bridge into the arrival/departure corridor that lead into the Main Terminal. With time to spare we sat around until 7:30 after which we took a taxi and we were off to Rincon. It was around 11:00 a.m. when our cab arrived at Rami Air Force Base. Lyle had met some people there on his last trip and thought of giving them a call, but by this time they were no longer there. After our brief stop, we decided to hitch hike the remaining distance to Rincon. A couple of rides later and a stop at Crash Boat, we made it to Rincon Point where the surf was 3 to 4 ft.
We walked down the dirt road that led to the beach. With Maria’s fence and house on one side and a field of weeds on the other, we placed our baggage near Maria’s gate. Two surfers had gotten out of the water and were drying off. They were relaxing and wondering who we were. Billy Hamilton had a cordial smile and said a few words while Mark Martinson was quietly looking around. The surf looked like fun but was going down. We needed to find a place to stay before going surfing. So we got a ride into the town of Rincon, which was a couple of miles or so away. Once into town, we got dropped off at the town square. Across the street from the town square was a cafe where we got a bite to eat and a drink. Lyle asked the bartender if he knew of any place to stay. He pointed across the street at the town square and mentioned there was a store just around the town square.
We got our stuff and in less than 5 minutes we were at the store. We talked to the store owner and he said sure, he had a room below the store. The store was located on a street that angled downhill. There was a gate at the lower corner of the building, which opened up into the side yard. We opened the gate and about 12 feet away was the door to the room, actually, it was a storage room with 8-bed frames and 5 mattresses. All that was needed was some sheets and a pillow. The beds were situated with 3 on one side with 2 empty frames and a walkway down the middle with 2 other beds and 2 empty frames on the other side. The price for the room was 5 dollars a week per person. It had a head and shower in the backyard.
While talking to the store owner Lyle found out that his cousin had a 57 Rambler station wagon for sale. He said it was run down and rusty, but it ran. The price for the station wagon was $75.00. It sounded O.K. so we took a walk with the store owner to his cousin's garage. Up main street to the outskirt of town, which was less than 75 yards from his store. After starting the car up, the deal was made. We were back at Rincon surfing the evening surf. The next day we went back again to Rincon and the surf was small going to the flat that afternoon. Our routine after that was to have lunch and dinner at the cafe. Hang around the beach near Tres Palmas during the day, swimming and lying around or reading a book. Then in the evening go to the theater to see a movie.
After a few days, more and more surfers were arriving in town. I was at Rincon Point (Maria's) having a soda and looking at the small surf (1ft. to 2 ft.). There were other people sitting around or standing, and enjoying the day. Three Hispanic surfers came to where I was and started talking to me. Hey, are you Ernie Tanaka one says, yeah Ernie Tanaka says another? No, no I said, my name is Tom and asked what their names were. “I am Gordo Barreda,” said Gordo. “My name is Fernando de Ortiz Zevallos,” said Fernando and the guy with the glasses introduced himself “I am Cholo Bouroncle,” said Cholo. “We are part of the Peruvian Surf Team,” said Gordo.
They had just pulled up in their rental VW Bug and were looking for a place to stay until the contest started, after that they would stay at the Villa Cofresi. “Do you know of any places to stay?” Gordo asked. I told them of the place where Lyle and I were staying and that it did have 3 extra beds available. “Would you guys like to see it” I continued? They looked at each other and said “Sure.” We got into their Bug and drove over to the store. I showed them around and introduced them to Lyle who had been in the Town square reading a book. The price sounded right for their schedule since they would be staying just over a week. They all went up to the store owner to discuss their stay. After making the agreement, they paid their rent and would be back the following day with their belongings.
Cholo mentioned Flaco, Gordo’s brother would arrive in a few days but would be staying elsewhere. Gordo, Fernando, and Cholo moved in the next day. The guys were on their own schedules and we would cross paths occasionally during the day. Most of the time everyone was out doing their own thing. The waves at Rincon went flat during this time period and wouldn’t come back up until the day of the Finals. A week and a half before the contest, Fernando mentions that they were going up to Jobos to see if there were some waves. I was asked to come along, so I did. Cholo would be driving, Fernando sitting shotgun with Gordo behind Fernando and I was sitting behind Cholo. We traveled north driving by the town of Aguadilla, after that it was vegetation deluxe with a few houses appearing through the landscape.
The guys talked in Spanish and English while I was viewing the scenery. About an hour later we arrived at Jobos. It was blown out and small. We looked at the surf, then at each other, and back at the surf. It didn’t appear we would be surfing since the guys were getting back into the car. We left the beach and were making our way back to the main road. About 15 minutes later we came to an intersection. We were traveling about 35 mph when we entered. Looking to my left I could see the grill and headlights of a 1957 Chevy sedan about 10 feet from us, going about 45 mph. Before you could say “Lookout” the Chevy hit the rental car.
As we spun around a few times with the tires screeching, I could hear someone say Chucha Sa Madre as we came to a stop. Getting over the shock of what had occurred, we slowly got out of the Bug through the passenger side. The driver of the Chevy says what the matter with you guys, don’t you know a stop sign when you see one, as he pointed in the direction of the street we just came from. We all looked at where the stop sign was supposed to be and all we saw was the bottom of the post without a sign. Someone had run over the sign and taken it. Being grateful that no one was hurt while looking at the side of the Bug. It was smashed in, the door and side were about a foot into the shell. The fender was up against the tire but was still drivable. After exchanging the information with the other driver, we were back on the road. The discussion on our return trip to Rincon was about who would take the car back to the San Juan rental office.
The following day, Cholo took the car back. Free and Easy was showing at the theater during the week, a film by MacGillivray and Freeman. The week went by without much surf. The contest was approaching and the contestants were getting ready to move into their contest apartments. That Saturday I saw Gordo had made a change to his hair color. He had colored his hair blonde. I recall saying “Hi Gordo” and his response with a smile was “Blondie, I turned Blondie,” said Gordo. Not sure why I thought to myself, but I figured it was a fashion statement. Meanwhile, during this flat spell, a small group of surfers would walk up the beach at Rincon and disappear into the vegetation. One group was Nat Young, Wayne Lynch, and Paul Witzig with his equipment.
They were going to another surf spot around the point called Domes. It was breaking 2 to 3 feet there while Rincon was flat. Eventually, more and more surfers would be surfing Domes. When the day of the contest was to begin. They held the quarter and semi-finals at Domes. The guys moved into their new rooms as the contest was just around the corner. I didn’t see many of the guys from Peru after the contest started. The Cantina at the Villa was the hangout.. Shaun Thompson and Gavin Rudolf the two 16-year-old South African representatives were playing pinball and waiting for the surf like the rest of the competitors.
During the evening most of the team stayed together. One evening I went over to the Hawaiian team’s apartment. Wally Froiseth and George Downing were talking in the kitchen. In the living room Fred Hemmings, Ben Aipa, and Clyde Aikau were playing poker and it looked like Fred was winning. Joey Cabell was just outside getting some evening air and Reno Abellira was at the Cantina. The contest started and the surf was still small. Rumor had it that a big swell was not too far off. The waves during the quarter-finals were increasing as the contest progressed. Some of the favorites didn’t make it through the semis, Joey Cabell, David Nuuhiiwa, Wayne Lynch, and the cast of other very hot surfers.
Coming out of the semi-finals and waiting to enter the water for the finals were Russell Hughes, Nat Young, Midget Farrelly, Reno Abellira, Mike Doyle, and Fred Hemmings. The contestant had paddled out to the lineup and was awaiting the horn to sound the beginning of the final heat. Watching them paddle out through 6 to 10 feet of white water. Flipping the board over as the white water rolls over their boards, or grabbing their nose and holding on as the white water tosses and turns their body and board.
The swells continued to build as the horn sounded the beginning of the heat. One finalist, Reno Abellira carves a bottom turn on his 6' 7" mini gun shaped by Dick Brewer. I place my left hand above my eyes to salute the hot afternoon glare. I squinted towards the Point, as another set of seven came marching in. The other finalist had longer boards compared to Reno and that was an advantage. The swell continued to get bigger. Russell Hughes catches a wave with a 15-foot face and gets a good ride. Midget does the same. Nat Young’s round tail board looked squirrelish.
On one of the bigger waves at the beginning of the heat, his board slides out of a turn. No one had leashes so that meant a long swim-in. As his board drifted along the shoreline, Ted Spencer viewing the distance Nat had to make up to get his board, grabs a board near him and plunges into the side drift along the beach and paddles after Nat's board. Ted saved Nat about 15 minutes of swimming, but the lost time and the energy spent swimming added to the lower standing. A few waves later Reno loses his edge and takes a spill. Ben Aipa grabs a board and saves time for Reno. It would be a long paddle back out with the wave getting bigger. A close-out set marches in. Fred Hemming using his experience catches one of the larger waves of the contest. Staying close to the curl and getting a long ride placed him near the top.
Midget and Russell were getting their share of the big waves and were making some critical sections. Mike Doyle’s rides weren’t as high on the judge's cards compared to Fred's, Midget's, Russell's, or Nat's. Some of his waves were closing out. Having to prone out and ride the wave in before getting out of it and paddling back out. Somebody in the crowd was mentioning Tres Palmas was breaking around 20 feet. When another set came. Fred catches another big wave, his timing and reflexes were firing on all cylinders. Powering through sections that some of the other competitors didn’t make. It looked like Fred was on his way to winning the contest after that ride.
The contest was over with 1st place going to Fred Hemmings, followed by Midget Farrelly, Russel Hughes, Nat Young, Mike Doyle, and Reno Abellira. All that was left were the awards at the banquet in Mayaguez on Sunday. I was in the parking lot at the Villa Cofresi, after having arrived from the town of Rincon, which was about 5 minutes away. I would be driving to the Mayaguez Hilton for the awards banquet that night with a few of the competitors. The arrangement to meet was planned the day before in the Cantina, the place where everyone would go and socialize within the resort. Mike Purpus showed up, a few minutes later Peter Waye, Wayne Parks, and Alan Byrnes appeared as the afternoon sun made its way towards evening.
We all got into the rusty, it won’t go over 40 mph 1957 Rambler station wagon. Mike sat shotgun, the other sat in the rear seat. With the windows down the air began flowing as the car picked speed; a welcomed relief from the afternoon heat. There was some conversation, but mostly sightseeing. The sunset filtered through the vegetation and trees as we meandered up hills and down the valleys towards Mayaguez.
We had arrived at the Mayaguez Hilton and I found a parking stall somewhere near a distant corner of the complex. Mike sees Angie Reno and Corky Carroll talking and would soon join them. Peter, Wayne, Allen, and I were getting situated at a table with some other surfers. This is where it gets fuzzy, after a few drinks and many conversations later, the awards were presented and we were returning to the parking lot.
Mike disappeared into the crowd and found another ride back. Fernando spotted us and came over to me in the lounge and said he needed a ride back. I said “Sure no problemo” I didn't know where Mike was but knew he was having a good time. It was around 12:30 a.m. and we were leaving the parking lot of the Mayaguez Hilton. Peter was still enjoying the night as was Wayne and Allen who were in good spirits themselves as I pulled out and made a left to the main highway back. Not knowing there would be a mini court with a police officer and a judge in his pajama. This took place at the front door of the judge's house after he had been awoken and the story was told to him by both parties.
We got out of town and were driving along at 40 mph. Peter had an empty champagne glass in his hand. and was sticking it out the window. Somehow the wind lifted the glass from Peter's hand, flew over the station wagon, and landed in front of a car going in the opposite direction. The motorist of that car had waved down a police officer that happened to be parked somewhere or was driving by. They caught up to us 15 minutes later. The laughter within the Rambler stopped as I pulled over.
The only person who could speak Spanish was Fernando. The officer instructs Fernando to follow him and the motorist to the Judge’s house. Once there Fernando tells me to follow them while Peter, Allan, and Wayne waited in the car. It was 2:30 in the morning and we are at the front door of the Judge’s home with the Judge in his pajamas listening to the officer, the motorist, and Fernando. It was a coin toss of going to jail or being on our way. After a good explanation by Fernando, we were back on the road again.
We were a weary bunch of revelers who pulled into the complex at Villa Cofresi at 4 a.m. I saw the guys a couple of days later as everyone was preparing to leave. I thanked Fernando for his help, and the interesting time being around him, Cholo, Sergio, and Lyle for coming up with the idea of going and being a cool friend.
Regarding oil painting and the genre I ventured into. It was at Joe's shop that was across the street from Ala Moana Beach Park behind the hotel. The shop was located on the second floor of what was a factory of some sort. There was a used stretched canvas 36"X 48", paints, and brushes in the corner of the shop. The person who owned the items had left them. Asking Bob the sander about it, he mentioned "Nobody seemed to be interested in it, if you want them, go for it." I had done a few drawings while in the service, so doing an oil painting seemed like a interesting thing to do. So, Joe had 3 boards on his glassing stand and i used that for my motif to get started.
Recalling when I was in the service. The draft lottery was in full tilt, and the number of draftees was increasing and being sent to Vietnam. I decided to join the Navy, when some of my friends were being drafted into the Army. After flying over to Clark AFB from Travis, I took the bus with others who were destined for Subic Bay. I boarded my designated ship and it wasn't long before we were cruising around the South China Seas. A contest was thought up of who could come up with a drawing that convey our situation. I had won the contest while we were cruising the coast of Vietnam. Actually, the idea for the drawing came from a Master Chief Boatswain Mate Petty Officer, and we split the prize of $50. His slogan was "Your Supermarket Host of the Vietnam Coast" with a Cornucopia as the drawing.
Back to the surf factory, while I was doing the painting the surf had come up. A big south swell hit Town and most of the spots were closing out on this Sunday morning.
"Joe's Shop " 18"X24" oil on canvas 2012-22 Takao
I was on the harbor side of Bowls and paddled out from there into the channel. The set were large and broke in the boat channel, so you had to wait for a lull to get out past the Can buoy. Even then you might get picked off by a bigger cleanup set. There were two other surfers out, Ben Aipa and Gerry Lopez, they were further out and going for the bigger waves. I was trying to catch the smaller waves that day, since I was riding a 6'0" egg single fin,
Waiting for the right wave took a while, so paddling around was what I was doing when the sets popped up. Most of them were closing out in the channel. Then there was a peak, the third wave of the set. I started paddling for it by the buoy, and began sliding down the face going pretty fast. Leaning and not putting any pressure on the turn, it was matter of a few seconds before the crest of the wave started to pitch. I was in position not to do anything but glide. In a squat position, the front of the wave became smaller until the ride ended in the channel and I came out.
Then it was a mad dash back out just in case there was another closeout set coming in. The tide was going to low and sucking out on the next wave I caught, and ate it. I went in after that. The process of going in was, with each incoming white water. I would swim down about six feet and held onto the reef as the white water turbulence passed overhead. The board was floating in front of the breakwater and I swam over to it. The photos were taken by John Severson on Magic Island.
"Black Ball" 24" X 36" oil on canvas 1978 Takao
This Period was when I was surfing Huntington Beach Pier. In the summer at a certain time the Black Ball would go up along the beach at the Lifeguard stations. Some every good looking waves went unridden. In the 1977. I started a surf shop in Westminster and made some boards and sold skateboard products for a couple of years. Moved down to Oceanside and started the painting "The Effervescent Drift Upon the Thorn" at a rented house in 1980.
Carl Hayward had shaped a few boards for me.
The location overlooked the waves from the north of the Oceanside Pier to the south jetty by the harbor. While surfing the northside of the Oceanside Pier one afternoon, I ran into Bob Hurley; figuratively. I had seen his shapes at the Hannifin Surf Shop in Newport Beach before. He was doing his own shapes and being a ghost shaper for a glassing company in San Marcos is when we met. He was in the process of starting his new venture with Billabong at that time. Some 16 years later, I would use some of his garments for a photo shoot and a Fashion Show that I was part of in Mission Viejo. Carl Hayward was the person I would be working with regarding the clothing. I knew Carl from the time he was surfing the southside of the Huntington Beach Pier and when he was shaping his own boards. We would talk about his journey in shaping from an interview we did.
"THE EFFERVESCENT DRIFT UPON THE THORN" 48"X72" 1984 OIL ON CANVAS TAKAO
Surfing Huntington Beach during the Old Pier days was interesting. On the southside, there was the 3rd St. Garage landmark to align with as a takeoff spot, which was just south of the takeoff peak by the Pier. Once in a great while a wave would pop up out of nowhere. If a surfer with the ability were there to catch it, then you would have a good view of a good ride. I recall a ride by John Davis doing just that. He took off backside from near the Garage takeoff spot and made it to the Pier.
Then he shot the Pier and made it through, but instead of the ride ending there. The wave reformed at the old lifeguard station tee, and he was off surfing again. Riding the wave for all of its worth, down the beach. By the time he kicked out of the wave, it looked like he was near the condos. It was the longest wave I have ever seen ridden from the southside of the Pier. The waves that day were fun. There was this day, when it broke way pass the end of the Pier. Where Chris Hawk and Dave Dilberg were out and I joined them for one wave. To get out you would have to wait for a lull treading water by a few pilings near the end of the Pier. The pilings would block the white water from pushing you in. After getting out, it was how to get back in, with the current pushing into the pier.
Talking about long rides, there was another time while surfing Lower Trestle's with 5 other guys out with a 6 ft. west-northwest swell. All the local beaches were good, so the reason for only a few guys out for the first hours in the morning. The rides were bottom turns and cutbacks, with an occasional round house cutbacks, the rides was from Lowers to Middles. It was a 10 minutes walk back to the paddle-out spot. Those types of Rights and Lefts were the exception in those days. The kind that lingers in one's mind. This was before the other long ride location around the planet had become known to the general surf community.
For the next few years I drove a semi truck pulling doubles and Bobtail trucks, over the "Grapevine". Traveling from Southern Cal to Northern Cal and back. I finished "The Effervescent Drift upon the Thorn" and took a break from painting. Then got a Cosmetology license and was in the realm of Hair. Went to Brooks College to learn Fashion Design and started to paint again. At the same time at night, I was taking classes at LA Trade Tech for Computerize grading and pattern making on a Gerber system, and a computer drawing class at the Art Center of Design Pasadena to become acquainted with new programs that were being used, later part of the 1980s. Then did a left turn and went to MTI college to learn AutoCAD.
Pencil, Ink and Felt markers
Fashion painting and drawing
The interior rendering was added definition for the presentation. Due to the limited time of the program, I only did two exterior elevations in AutoCAD on a 286.
"A WEEKEND SURF TRIP"
by Thomas Takao
It was 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning in June 1992. Having taken care of what needed to be done, we crossed over to Tijuana in the cover of morning’s darkness. Everything seemed black and white, the early morning black, and the headlights white. I would be doing all the driving since the other four individuals in my truck weren’t old enough to have a driver’s license.
Those young surfers were Dayton who was sitting shotgun, Bruce Irons, and Jason Bogle sitting in the extended part of the cab. Within the bed of a 1992’ Toyota king cab pickup truck with a camper shell was our surf gear. In the middle of all our stuff, was a sleeping blanket, a pillow, and some blankets, and Andy Irons, who would be resting his injured ankle. He had been finned by his board while surfing in a contest a few days earlier.
We were following the lead truck that had all the boards and additional gear. The driver of that truck was Tom Eberly, along with Tom were his son Collin, and Dave Riddle. Our destination was K 55 where Tom had a small rental house, somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 feet by 17 feet. Passing houses along the road, we could see the lights coming on as the occupants were getting ready to leave for work. We came to the toll road that connects Tijuana to Ensenada as the light from the new day rose above the mountains.
The off-ramp to our temporary abode soon followed and we got off with the ocean in view. Down the dusty road, where the security guard of the homeowners association sat, half a sleep, half who cares who these guys are sort of thing. The lead truck yelled an address number and the guard waved O.K. as we passed without stopping.
We were traveling slowly on the road that runs through the complex of houses, watching for potholes and unexpected large rocks. We reached the driveway of our destination and proceeded to unload our gear into the house as a line formed for the small bathroom. Jason, Bruce, Dayton, and Collin made the walk up to the Point followed a short time later by the rest of the group. The surf was flat, and no one had brought fishing poles, so after a brief discussion, we drove to La Fonda for another possibility.
It was better there; it was breaking one to two and a half feet with glassy conditions. The sets were mostly closed out, with the exception of an occasional shoulder, the tide was low, going to high. Andy looked over the situation and gave it rest along with his ankle. He would just watch it with Tom and Dave, while Bruce, Jason, Dayton, Collin, and I put on our wetsuits and hurried through the resort walkway to the beach.
The water was cold, but that was typical. Everyone walked out until the water was waist-high, then the paddling began. A quick backside turn by Bruce, with a couple of pumps on the face of the wave, a kick out as the wave collapsed. Jason catches a right, a top turn, and a few pumps across the face before he kicks out, Dayton does a floater some 20 yards away. Collin being a goofy-footer picked off a left that had a shoulder, as it quickly turned into a wall, but squeezed a good ride out of it.
As for me that morning, I caught a few which consisted of going to the bottom, making a turn before it broke, followed by a cutback.. No one was getting any air, just turns and cutbacks. Like a heat that didn’t matter much in anybody’s scorecard, the session lasted less than an hour. Most of the guys paddled in after catching a short ride, the tide was coming up. The sky was the typical marine layer gray with the wind picking. The guys made their way back up the beach and through the resort walkway. To me, it was a morning exercise in the category of having your cake and eating it too. The session was refreshing even though I made no mention of it as the wetsuits were tossed into the plastic bag.
Back to the house to regroup and weigh the options. Since it was close to noon, lunch was on everyone’s mind. The guys were interested in going to Ensenada to have lunch and some sightseeing. After 20 minutes of doing whatever, we got into the trucks, and off we went. Passed some popular breaks that were flat; much like the coastline on the trip down. We arrived in Ensenada and proceeded to look for parking.
After finding spots for our trucks, we went looking for a restaurant. The place of choice was a restaurant with picnic tables; the restaurants looked the same from the outside. So once in, it didn’t matter we were hungry. After the tacos, burritos, and chips a conversation about where to go next developed, and were sightseeing. Stepping into the different shops that line the street, with all the different items for sale. So the guys looked around and waited for something to catch their eye and the price was to their liking.
Jason bought a couple of wool blankets and Bruce bought a plaster dragon. Everyone else wasn’t much into buying anything, so back to where we started. Passing the shops we went by before turning around. A few taco stands, and the crowds that flowed in either direction on the same sidewalk. With Tom and Dave leading the way with the rest of the crew spaced out within this mass of people, I proceeded to bring up the rear, just in case someone got sidetracked.
From my perspective, there was a quarter block gap between Tom, Dave, Collin, and Andy to the others including myself. Jason had stepped into a shop for a look around, as Bruce and Dayton went into another shop for the same reason. Keeping an eye on all three, outside on the sidewalk while they did their sightseeing in a Mexican Port city. Bruce and Dayton popped out of the shop and were on their way. I stepped into the other shop and mentioned to Jason lets get going, and a few minutes later we caught up to Bruce and Dayton.
After five minutes we reached the corner of an intersection where the rest of the crew was waiting. We drove back up the coast to the house at K55 and the afternoon came and went. That evening we were having dinner at some restaurant 20 minutes away from where we were staying. The guys looked a little tired since they had been up since 4 am. We returned to our little abode, the sleeping bags were brought out, and we looked for a spot to fall asleep. There was one bedroom with one single-size bed, with a few of the boards placed under the bed. (They were placed there after we got back from surfing) While Tom had the bed, the rest of us made do with whatever floor space was available.
In the morning the surf wasn’t much better than the day before, in fact, smaller. So we loaded our boards back into the pickup trucks and prepared to leave. While removing the boards from under the bed a squished scorpion was found under the board bag. As we pulled away on the dusty road from an uneventful surf adventure, the scorpion crawled back into my mind. Once back on the main highway, the thought of what if that scorpion wasn’t squished faded like the weeds in my side-view mirrors.
It was around 11 a.m. when we got to the border, so we waited in line for about an hour before crossing over. Andy was sitting shotgun, while Bruce, Dayton, and Jason were sitting in the cab extension area, with two side seats and a pillow. Finally, the U.S. officials asked the customary question where are you from, while looking into the truck, I said the U.S., when Jason shouts, Hawaii, and the rest of the guys nodded a few times to indicate the same. They were a part of the Junior Hawaiian Surf Team, so it made sense to me.
Returning back to San Diego, and a drive around La Jolla on a sunny Sunday afternoon, after which a casual ride up the coast highway into Encinitas for a late lunch and the rest of the day was casual. Monday morning and the guys except Andy were surfing Oceanside Pier. Dayton, Bruce, and Jason were getting some good rides on the north side with peaks of 2 to 3 feet. This was their last day on the mainland before catching an afternoon flight back home to Hawaii.
The morning turned to noon and the rush was on. Making sure everything was packed and ready to go, the guys were running around putting their things in their bags. Instead of Baja, it was LAX. Tom, Collin, and Dave are in one truck, with Andy, Bruce, Jason, Dayton, and yours truly in the other. We made it with 10 minutes to spare. Tom, Collin, and I were discussing the rush hour traffic on the 405 Freeway and the best route to take, while Dave, Dayton, Jason, Andy, and Bruce were boarding their flight back to Hawaii. Andy, Bruce, and Jason would continue their competitive schedule and the rest became history. Jason Bogle would pass away twelve years later RIP (1978-2004) and Andy Irons RIP (1978-2010)
E-MAIL IN A BOTTLE
A voyage to the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, and Oahu
55 Fleming Trawler
Captain Ron with the life ring from Viking Serenade, which was found just outside of Oceanside. A year later while sailing back from Catalina on another trip with Captain Annette and her female crew. I would join her on a delivery of a catamaran a month after 9-11. Getting back to the life ring. We crossed path with an oil tanker named Monrovia Serenade. In the back of my mind, I had wondered what kind of ship that the above life-ring belonged too. After crossing paths with Monrovia Serenade, I knew.
E-MAIL IN A BOTTLE
By Thomas Takao
The following story of a voyage to Hawaii happened after the Worldwide Computer Crash Scare of 2000. After the non-eventful disruption to everyone's computer on the first of January, the rest of the month was like any other January. There were three individuals for this trip: Captain Ron, First mate Dave, and Myself, the crew (Skipper/Owner Johan will join the boat in Hawaii). We were aboard a fifty-five-foot Fleming powerboat that was well equipped for this passage.
Captain Ron and Dave's main purpose was to deliver the boat to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor on Oahu before February 13, 2000. My reason for going was to gain experience in making a crossing to Hawaii in a boat, as well as to surf. The February 13th deadline wasn't because of Valentine's Day, but for the reason of obtaining a boat slip. Johan had been on a waiting list for a slip in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor for some time.
His name came up when the slip became available and was given a period for his boat to occupy the slip. If the boat wasn't in the assigned slip before the designated date, then someone else would be given the opportunity. Since mid-January was the earliest for the boat to be overhauled and refitted. The departure date was set for the 22nd of January. A cushion of one week was placed into the delivery schedule, but the sense of urgency was still in place. The process for this trip started two months before the departure date in late January.
After an evening sail in November with a group of sailing enthusiasts in search of the green flash, we secured our lines at the docks of the Jolly Roger at Dana Point Harbor. Somewhat wind-blown with a hairstyle to match I pulled up a chair and started to discuss the day's sail. The conversation drifted towards Hawaii and the voyage that Captain Ron was about to make. He needed an additional member to fill the watch rotation to three. Since the original crew member that was supposed to go, couldn't, due to an unexpected circumstance. I listen and contemplated the possibility of going like some of the other adventurous souls at the table. Nobody spoke up, so I indicated that I would go and Captain Ron had a smile of one less thing to think about going into the holiday season. After committing, I took a drink from my glass of beer, and the rest became the story.
The voyage began at Oceanside Harbor on a Saturday afternoon on the 22nd of January. I was taking with me a 9'4" Eberly roundpin longboard that I had just picked up one hour before leaving on this trip. The boat had been in Oceanside Harbor for a few days after leaving a San Diego boatyard after an overhaul. We motored over to the fuel docks on this day and began taking on 1300 gallons of fuel into the fuel bladders that were on either side of the cabin along the walkway, the forward bow section, and the stern fantail. The boat's tanks had been filled in San Diego and filling the bladders was the last thing on the list. The boat had 2200 gallons of fuel for the trip. The forward fuel bladder which contained 300 gallons of fuel was held in place with a 6' X 6' cradle made with 2x 6s and lashed down with rope.
All fueled up after an hour, we left slowly out of the harbor. Looking over to the breakwater from the flybridge, there were a few surfers out on the south side of the north jetty. The waves were 2 to 3 feet, glassy, with the water temperature being 54 degrees. Having been so for some time, the thought of surfing in trunks made the departure somewhat more inviting. Captain Ron has done his homework over the Christmas break and took into consideration the fuel consumption of the twin Catapillar engines and when the refueling from the bladders should take place. The course and the amount of time it would take to get there, give or take so many days and hours.
Once past the breakwater, the throttle was pressed forward and we began cruising at 8 knots. Looking back at our wake of the boat, as the white foam returned to the color of greenish blue-gray of the coastal waters. So we were off as land disappeared behind us. A few hours out, we came across a life ring from the Viking Serenade, if it had any meaning, it was probably a hint of the low-pressure systems that awaited us and the possibility of having to use the life ring. We motored the afternoon away with Navy ships in our path. We crisscrossed our course to avoid being in their path as we headed west.
With nightfall approaching, San Clemente Island was to our starboard beam while we enjoyed dinner in the lounge. Our watches were 3 hours on and 6 hours off. We passed by the Cortes Bank by about 6 miles on my 0300 to 0600 watch. It is a submerged pinnacle with deep water all around. This is where the USS Enterprise scraped its hull a while back and caused some damage. A buoy has been placed to warn other ships of its whereabouts. Having the pinnacle there meant a Big Wave spot where surfers could ride 50 ft.+ size waves.
The next day was a peaceful Sunday with glassy seas until mid-morning. The weather fax indicated a low-pressure system in place 850 miles to the Northwest of our position and increasing in size. The weather changed from it sure was nice to what the F- c k?. So that afternoon the seas became bumpy and the weather changed from clear to cloudy. Monday had the same taste of stormy conditions from the previous afternoon, except for the seas had become bumpier. Things started falling off the galley tabletop and if it was a real good bump, things came from the upper shelves. You had to brace yourself while walking through the hallway.
Tuesday there was a break in the cold front and a day of it's not so bad, kind of. During a designated time in the mid-morning, the transfer of fuel was done using a shortened garden hose and an electric water pump. Our speed was reduced to a couple of knots and the bow pointed into the wind while the refueling from the bladders to the boat's fuel tank took place. The rear fuel bladder was first to be depleted followed by the bow bladder and then the two side bladders. The crew quarters were on the port side in front of the engine compartment. Captain Ron's quarters was the V-berth in the forward bow section. The lounge had an L-shaped sofa with a dining table located on the port side of the lounge, a stereo system cabinet, a color T.V., and a VCR on the starboard side of the lounge. The rear door located in the middle of the windowed bulkhead led onto the fantail section of the boat.
During the night watch, the stars came out and the Milky Way was insight. You could see clusters after clusters of stars pouring over the horizon. Compared to seeing just a trickle of a few stars in the city. Wednesday morning, the weather fax indicated another low-pressure system to the Northwest again. This system was quite big, Dave mentioned it was a mother of a low. Captain Ron said you mean Molow with a laugh that was on the borderline of a cough. I didn't care what they called it, it looked pretty bad compared to the last system we just went through.
Sure enough, Wednesday and the seas were rougher than before. With confused seas and an occasional elevator drop. That is where the boat's bow would plow through a wave and the entire boat would drop straight down about 4 to 6 feet. At night when you are sleeping there would be a space in between you and your bunk when that happened. The noise from the engine room was more pronounced during this period, but since sleep was at a premium, the noise didn't matter. The 0000 to 0300 and the 0300 to 0600 watches were the difficult times during the storms.
Taking a pounding during the day and waking up to the pounding of your early morning watch for 3 straight days made for a tired frame of mind. During the second night of the second low, the cradle holding the forward fuel bladder fell apart. In the morning I went forward to check on things and saw the boards were to the side of the bladder with the nails pointing straight up. We were pretty lucky considering there were still about 50 gallons of fuel left in the bladder and no punctures.
Saturday and the seas started to calm down with the trades appearing. I started to eat meals again instead of the water and crackers that suited my appetite during the stormy weather. The sun was out with Cumulus clouds softening the sky. There were rolling swells of 20 ft. going south and we were going west, I wondered how it would be if we were to surf them. The boat with its stabilizers out cruised down the back of the swell into the trough and back up the face of another swell. By the afternoon the swells had diminished and were half the size. It was quite pleasant for a change and with these types of conditions, the mood changed so let's send a message in a bottle.
Having a few empty wine bottles available, Dave began melting the paraffin wax to seal the bottle. Captain Ron placed his message into his bottle, had it sealed, and went to the flybridge. He was the first to toss his bottle overboard followed by Dave and his toss. Then it was my turn to do the same. I used my poetic license to describe the events leading to the toss. With the abbreviated paragraphs, due to being in a hurry, it was concluded with an email address. With that written, I let it go at that and the e-mail in a bottle floated away.
Super Bowl Sunday and the atmosphere felt like a bet was going to happen. During the changing of the watch, Captain Ron wanted to make a bet for the Super Bowl. Since we were out in the middle of the ocean and nothing else was happening, it sounded reasonable to me. Captain Ron bet on the Rams and I took the Titans. The wager of five dollars was made. The only way we could keep track of the game was an old radio with bad reception. We heard the kickoff before it started to sound scratchy and after a few minutes, nothing at all. The reception was hit or miss being so far out. (about 900 miles from Hawaii)
For the next couple of days during the night watches looking overboard, you could see the phosphorescence of sea life going on as the bow's wake made its way to the stern. They looked like fronts of miniature flashlights spaced out about every foot within the wake, disappearing into the night as we traveled on. The swells became smaller in the days to follow and the water temperature was rising to 70 degrees one day before reaching Hawaii. It was Wednesday and still traveling at 8 knots that day. We estimated our time of arrival into Hilo of the Big Island around 1 or 2 the next morning. Since this would be Captain Ron's first time into Hilo Bay, he thought it best to approach a new harbor by Day's light.
So we reduce our speed to 5 knots as we continued our routines. The following morning at 0530 hours we approached Hilo Bay from the northeast slowly as the morning light climbed the slopes of Mauna Kea to bring in the new day. The breakwater of Hilo Bay was to our port as we followed the marker buoys leading into our anchorage space at Radio Bay. A cruise ship was close behind with its guests ready to embark on the town of Hilo. There on the docks was Johan waiting to greet us. He had taken a flight the day before and had kept a watch from his hotel window for our arrival. Captain Ron med-moored the boat (the bow pointing away from the docks) and the longest leg of the voyage was complete, it took 13 days from Oceanside Harbor, Calif. to Hilo Bay, Hawaii.
Stepping onto land my legs felt like it was still rocking away on the boat. While making a phone call I held on to the side of a phone booth to steady the rocking sensation, it lasted for a few hours before feeling normal again. It was Thursday and the day began with breakfast at Ken's, and asking who won the Super Bowl game. Just think when someone comes up to you asking who won the Super Bowl a week later? A local bro told us of the results and finished the conversation with a smile. I lost the bet and found out that the game wasn't decided until the final play, oh well. I bought Captain Ron two coffee cups to take home. We went back to the boat to take care of various chores of cleaning up the boat and the carpets. Next on the list was to get side fins for my board at a surf shop at the Mall and after I got the fins, it was off to do some sightseeing around Hilo and the Kamakua Coast.
We headed north on Hwy 19 past the towns of Paukaa, Papaikou, and Pepe'ekeo, a quick decision was made by Johann who was doing the driving. We made a left turn onto Akaka Falls Rd into the town of Honomu. We continued on the road that led to Akaka Falls. We parked in the parking lot and took in the scenery. We followed the path that led to the waterfall and around the area. From the upper falls the water travels down the base of Mauna Kea to the lower falls and out to the sea. After leaving Akaka falls we headed back to Hwy 19, once on the highway we headed north for a short while before making a U-turn and began the return ride back. Turning off into old town Hilo, we had a late lunch, and after our minds were off food, we drove back down to Kalanianaole Ave and parked it at Carlsmith Park. The freshwater/saltwater lagoon was a refreshing way to end the day. Once back on board at Radio Bay, sleeping on the flybridge was quite nice, except for the early morning activities of the forklifts on the docks.
The next morning, Friday the 4th of February Captain Ron departed back to the mainland at 0530 and Johan the new skipper took over the duties. We departed for Hana Bay on Maui at 0630. With the sun shining its tropical warmth and the clouds drifting with the light trade winds. Captain Johan had two poles out with jigs for some fishing while on our way to Maui. About 15 minutes later about a mile off of Onomea Bay, the drag from both reels sounded off. I grab one pole, while Johann took the other. Holding the base and neck of the butt of the rod with the shaft curving in an elliptical shape. I leaned back and adjusted the drag slightly and begin reeling in the fish. The fish took another run as I lean back again letting the reel's drag do its job as I held on, taking in the slack by spontaneously leaning forward and then back while reeling in the line.
Once again the fish took off for another run. The fight lasted for about 10 minutes and after landing my Aku, also known as a Skipjack tuna, Johann landed his Aku. Both tuna was flapping around on the fantail for about 5 minutes before being out of the water took its toll. The two Aku being of the same school were of the same size, around 10 lbs. After the brief encounter with the Aku(s) things became quiet, so we put the poles and feathers away and just watched the coastline of the Big Island for another hour before entering the Aleineuhaha Channel. The Channel was calm and glassy for most of the way to Maui with Bottlenose Dolphins showing up occasionally along the crossing, these guys were a pretty good size, way bigger than the type you would see on T.V. or a Marine Show.
Playing in front of the bow, crisscrossing, under than over as more joined in. There were 3 to 5 of them at a time racing side by side next to the bow of the boat. Gradually one by one they slipped back into their day's routine and after a while, more would show up doing the same routine as their brothers and sisters had done. Lying by the bowsprit and watching them swim near the bow was relaxing. The morning soon became afternoon and Maui became larger as the day progressed. There wasn't much boating on the channel this day. We didn't see another boat during the entire crossing until we approached Maui.
It took us 10 hours to make the crossing to Hana Bay. It was around 1630 in the afternoon when we enter the bay slowly, I happen to look back and see a couple of kayakers returning from their day of whale watching. (Robin told us that after we met them) The wharf on the south end of the bay was old and rusty but still maintaining its heritage of doing its job when the boats come in. A local bro came by while we were laying anchor on the sandy bottom of the bay and offered to cleat the stern line. The wharf was 7 ft. higher than the fantail of the boat and it would have been tricky getting close enough for one of us to jump onto the wharf beam. We tossed him a line and he tied us onto the wharf cleat. He told us that the ladder was on the other side of the wharf to climb upon, and where not to step. We thanked him for his advice and his helping hand, both were very helpful.
Once on land, we took a walk past the boat ramp that was next to the wharf, about a couple of minutes later we passed the buildings that were on the opposite side of the beach, and another five minutes and we reached the road leading up to the main road. The walk up to Hasagawa General Store for supplies for dinner took about half an hour. On the way back from the store, we ran into the kayakers. They were schoolteachers in Hana, Robin a kindergarten teacher, and Marie a middle school teacher. They were kind enough to give us a ride back to the boat in Robin's truck. Robin waved to a local police officer parked along the side of the road, and he waved back. When we got back to the wharf, 'we talk story'. The wharf became our chat room while the sunset changed to nightfall. They had to go home and we returned to the boat.
At dinner that evening, it was decided that we would depart at 2200 hours that night for Honolua Bay on the other end of the island. At around 2220 hours the Harbor Master shows up to tell us we could not tie to the wharf and must move on. We thanked him for his advice and told him we were just about to leave. With the look of being at the right place for the wrong reason, he untied the stern line with a smile, we thanked him for his help and we were off. With the radar indicating the bay's entrance, we proceeded slowly into the black of night. After leaving the wharf, I went to the bow to keep a watch for fishermen in small boats. While Johan was at the helm as Dave was monitoring the radar screen. Without notice, a streak of light lit up the sky to our port bow. At first, it seemed like lightning, but the entire area in front of me, from water level to the clouds lit up for about 10 seconds. I could see to the horizon and there weren't any fishermen. As the light eventually faded back to black, I started to wonder about the magnitude of the light.
While reading an article in the Sunday paper on Oahu, things became clearer that Friday night. The article By Edwin Tanji of the Advertiser Maui County Bureau read: Haiku, Maui – A Haiku astronomer, Mike Linnolt, reported an extremely bright meteor swept across the sky northeast of Hana late Friday night. A Hana police officer said he noticed a bright light, like lightning, at about 10:33 p.m. when Linnolt said the meteor lit up the night. Linnolt said at least one other astronomer observing the sky from Oahu's North Shore reported seeing the meteor, allowing him to gauge that the light occurred about 20 miles northeast of Hana. "It was so bright, it cast a shadow from me to the ground," he said. While meteors, commonly known as shooting stars when they occur at night, are relatively common events, a meteor as bright as Linnolt described would be seen only rarely, said Jim Bedient of the Hawaii Astronomical Society. "There's only a slight chance that you'll be out there looking in the right direction when it happens," he added.
After leaving Hana Bay and the meteor experience of a lifetime, we headed for the northern end of Maui. Johann and Dave were at the helm during the seven hours that it took to get to Honolua Bay. As they made their approach to the Honolua Bay at 0530 hours, a sailboat was anchored in the middle of the Bay. After a couple of tries to hook the stern anchor we settle in and had breakfast. The sailboat that was there was weighing anchor and headed west after leaving the Bay. The surf was small this day breaking inside along the shore at 1 to 3 ft. I paddle from the boat, which was anchored in the middle of the bay.
It took about ten minutes to the line-up, the paddle over was interesting considering the usual procedure is from shore. While surfing the inside section, a mother humpback whale and her calf came into the Bay. One of the bros said to go underwater and listen to the whales communicate, so the few guys that were there and I went under. And sure enough, just like in the documentaries. After a couple of hours of getting used to my board, I paddle back to the boat. Hot and cold fresh water to wash off with on the fantail was right on after a surf session.
After lunch, Dave took the dingy and went exploring the shoreline. I got some fins, a mask, and a snorkel and went swimming around near the shoreline as well. Dave came out with his mask, fins, and snorkel. Swimming around the bay with your head down and diving, here and there, viewing the small reef fishes as they swam in and out of the reef. It was a nice Saturday, da kine you always want to last longer. That afternoon we weighed anchor and headed for Lahaina, time slipped away with Humpback whales spewing air through their blow holes in the distance while looking for shade on the flybridge as the tropical sun shined from the west. Passing Mala Wharf and the clear water beneath our way, we approach our mooring for the night.
A run into town for dinner was on the agenda. We got into the dingy and made our way to the harbor. The mooring of where we were at was at least half a mile from the harbor, passing other boats that were moored. The water level was just under a foot and a half from the top of the inflatable dingy, the ride was fun. Finding a space with the 12 other dingies on a common post was typical, so we proceeded to squeeze our way near the dock and secured a spot. We had dinner at a restaurant along Front St, with the sun setting and the tide slapping the seawall as the crowds were ebbing to and fro into the various shops. The day in Lahaina came to an end and we were back on board before 2100 hours.
Sunday morning and awakening from a peaceful sleep with the ocean surface being calm without much rocking. After having breakfast we untied our mooring and were off to Oahu, the final island of this trip. The view of a shipwreck on the northern shores of Lanai made me wonder about the day she went aground. We had just left the Auuu Channel that separated Lanai from Maui. Whale sightings on this day were many as well as course changes to avoid a possible collision with these magnificent creatures. If you were on a helicopter above us it would have looked like we were on a large slalom course on the Kalohi Channel that separated Lanai from Molokai with whales being the marker flags.
Waves were breaking within the binoculars at Lauu Point on the west end of Molokai. While the mountain ranges of Molokai disappeared behind us, 100 yards to our port beam a Humpback almost goes ballistic with just its tail in the water. All that is left from a megaton belly flop is a fifty-foot elliptical white foam liquid crater of a few seconds. We continued in the Kaiwi Channel with an ocean freighter crossing our path, about half a mile away. It must have been traveling around 20 knots because in no time they were gone from our sight.
Two hours later we were in sight of Diamond Head and the body to go with it. We rounded Diamond Head into Mamala Bay with racing canoes paddling near Waikiki. We approached the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor as a few boats were leaving the Ala Wai channel. Ala Moana (Bowls) was breaking 2 to 3 ft. and it looked like fun. Making the turn around the dock, we began looking for our slip to tie up to. There it was, the reason we made the trip.
After an hour of getting things taken care of, I got my trunks on, my bar of wax, and my board. I was paddling across the boat channel before the breakwater looking for the sandy spot to climb up on, I made it over the breakwater and was paddling again. The paddle out was very refreshing and catching a wave was fun. It was a Sunday crowd, but it was cool. After catching a few medium-length rides, I paddled back in. Taking it easy, while waiting for the evening tide, I had a late lunch and was back out once more before nightfall. Monday was a little bigger in the morning but started to drop and the crowds grew somewhat.
By Tuesday the size dropped and I made a call to my friend Captain Rusty out on the North Shore. He says the surf is coming up there and he'll be by that afternoon to pick me up. So around 3 p.m. Rusty and Dino showed up for the trip out to the country. Loading my board onto the back of his pickup truck, I thanked Johan for the opportunity to crew for him and told Dave we will meet again, I was off. We headed out of town, passing Pearl City and out to the country. Rusty and Dino talked story, as we passed the reddish-brown open fields outside of Wahiawa. The North Shore appears with its white water background and its tropical breeze. The drive down to Haleiwa and the three-quarter spin around Weed Circle before getting situated. I had dinner at Cholo's with friends that evening. I described my trip from Oceanside Harbor to Hilo, Hana, over to Honolua, then docking it at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.
It was Wednesday morning and I was checking the surf with Rusty. We parked it at Chun's with the waves breaking 6 to 8 ft. After a minute of deliberation we were paddling out. There were about six people out, so the crowd wasn't an issue. Still getting used to my board, I was cautious in my turns after catching the waves. The thought of not getting picked off by a close outset was always in the back of my mind. Thursday and the surf were getting bigger, surf check, and the decision was Haleiwa. It was 10 to 12 ft. and had fair to good shape. Rusty decided to video the waves as I proceeded to paddle out through the Toilet bowl and into the channel. I made it out into the lineup and caught a couple of waves.
Thursday arrived and it was time to leave Hawaii and return to the mainland. I was in my assigned airline seat with the rumbling of the wheels rolling across the runway, then the sound of the landing gear being locked into place after the rubber left the road. I looked out the window of the plane and reflected on the events that had occurred. The evening sail when the trip was in the early stage. The trades with its blue water days after the storms, the trip between the islands, and surfing good size waves. We entered the clouds towards our cruising altitude.
Akaka Falls, Big Island
"AN EVENING ON THE HILL" ENCINITAS, CALIF.
This was after the Email in a Bottle, later that year.
By Thomas Takao
On an October evening at the turn of the century, when the headlights on I 5 were coming on and the parking lot on the Hill in Encinitas reflected the colors of day’s end. Most of the regulars have gone home with just a few of the local shapers still around. Pulling up in a van were Wayne Lynch, Joel Fritzgerald, Andrew, and Bo, They had stopped by to check on some boards being glassed at West Coast Glassing.
As I entered the shop with the sunset behind me, Andrew, Joel, and Alex were talking board design in the hallway. The hallway that separated the shaping room from the glassing room and no wider than 5 feet and no longer than 10 feet. In this Dali like a rectangular hourglass, the imaginary grains of sand flowed by those who were there.
Within a moment’s notice Eberly walks in from the parking lot, Bo went over to Jim Phillips's shaping room and Lynchie walks in from the glassing room. Our paths had crossed before in 1968. Wayne along with Nat Young and Paul Witzig, were walking up the beach to Domes, preparing for the 1968 World Surfing Championship to begin. I had just purchased a bottle of grape soda from Maria and was taking a sip when they walked by. Returning to the hallway, Hank Byzak one of the shapers still around that evening came from his shaping room.
Da’vid, who after having a practice jam session with Steve Clark in his shaping room appears at the entrance with his guitar in hand after Hank. The Righteous Brother they were not, but brothers on the hill they were. Andrew asked if he could see the guitar and Da’vid obliged with a smile. Andrew greeted the guitar with a strum and a minor adjustment. Being in the moment Andrew strummed another cord which developed into a rift that took the mood to the next level.
Instead of the music stopping and having everyone look for a chair. The guys stood in place or just sat where they were on the hallway floor as Andrew kept playing. “Hey, life is full of pleasant surprises,” I said to myself listening to what was happening. So I spotted a box of masking tape and proceeded to wrap my thoughts on that particular spot. Eberly was in his shaping room doorway leaning forward as if he were about to leave. But instead took the lead and made up a song as Andrew kept playing. The song would last for about 7 minutes.
It was a modified Blues song about the woes of a shaper. The song could have been about any shaper, but since Tom was looking at Hank, he became part of the song. A couple of verses go by and an ooh yah was Lynchie's response, who was standing along the same wall as Hank but was about 7 feet away. He joins in and adds to the song. Having plenty of blues to sing about also, Hank kneeling in the opposite corner of the hallway joins in with verses of his own.
The Trio was creating verses that filled the hallway with their blues. The setting had a campfire type of atmosphere with a slight polyester resin smell blended with a shopping bag full of empty beer cans. There was a laugh here and a laugh there and the background vocals bounced off the wall and added to the tune.
Andrew kept on playing for just a while longer knowing it was downhill from where he was sitting. The song faded to an expected end and the guitar was returned to Da'vid. Everyone sitting got up and preceded to gather their thoughts. Like the end of a concert, the guys one by one went through the door and out into the night, like the notes from the song about the “Blues of a Shaper”. As time would have it, a year later I was asked to help in a delivery of a catamaran.
"SURFING THE GULF STREAM"
Entering Charleston Harbor after waiting for the fog to lift, then a fogbow appeared. There are two breakwaters on either side of the entrance channel. Just before going under the fogbow, it disappeared and a freighter came out of the fog 100 meters to our port side.
Pam on top of cabin top, at the fuel docks
Leaving the Gulf Stream, as a 15 ft. wave breaks in the distance.
SURFING THE GULF STREAM
By Thomas Takao
Walking back up the side road after having surfed Upper Trestles, I was thinking about the trip I was about to take to the East Coast. It was an afternoon flight to Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) in Maryland for a delivery of a catamaran to St. Petersburg, Florida. The anticipation of this trip had grown since first being asked to go. The catamaran we would be delivering had won a few awards from Cruising World for Boat of the Year, overall Cruising Boat of the Year, and another award for a cruising Multi-hull. There were four of us on this trip, Annette who was in charge, Tom, Pam, and Myself.
Three of us would rendezvous at Dana Point Harbor to go in one car that Tom's friend would be driving, Pam would take an earlier flight out of San Diego and meet us in Maryland. It had been a month and 8 days since the 9-11 tragedy in New York and security was still tight as we entered the terminal at John Wayne Airport in Costa Mesa, California. The boarding process was long due to the high state of alert. We checked in our baggage for the flight to BWI with a layover in Houston. Before boarding the flight, we went through three screening processes. As I pulled out my boarding pass for the final screening, three-quarters fell out of my pocket and onto the carpet.
While looking down, it seemed odd, even though they were all heads. As if it were some sort of sign. The line that I was in started to move forward, so I picked up the quarters and proceeded with the boarding process. Once onboard and sitting in my assigned seat the thought of the three quarter floated back up to the surface. I still wasn't quite sure what the quarters meant. We took off over the ocean, climbed to our cruising altitude, then descended back down to earth. We landed in Houston and got off for a layover. While sitting at the boarding terminal, a lady came up to me and asked if I was from Hawaii. She explained that she use to live in Maui and that I reminded her of someone that she knew. To the west lies Hawaii, to the east lies Maryland, and here we were in Texas balancing out the moment.
We boarded the flight for Maryland and I didn't see her again until we were picking up our baggage. Annette, Tom, and I had just met up with Pam when she stopped by to say good luck and have a safe trip. I waved goodbye, as she disappeared into the crowd. Annette was looking around for Dave, who was in charge of picking us up. Tom was asking Pam how her flight over was, while most of the other passengers were picking up their baggage. I noticed someone approaching us, so I figured it was Dave. It was just past 2:15 a.m. when we left the parking lot at the Airport. The ride out to Warehouse Creek took about 30 minutes. Once off the main road, we meandered along the driveway to the docks. The Creek is part of the South River and is located west-southwest of Annapolis. We unloaded our bags, and then followed Dave to the catamaran.
Dave gave a brief introduction of the catamaran and would go into detail later that morning. There were four staterooms and all had a double berth, a head, and a shower. Captain Annette had the forward port side berth, Pam had the stern port, Tom had the stern starboard and I had the forward starboard. It was close to 4:30 a.m. by the time I fell asleep. Dave was back by 7 a.m. to take us to the market in Riva to get our supplies for the journey. With our shopping carts and the list of items to locate, we were off to the four corners of the store and the isles in between. Tom was mentioning that his left leg was starting to bother him while in the store.
He had injured it the week before while getting off a dingy and stepping onto the docks at Newport Beach. He didn't think much of it and assumed that it would heal itself. Tom was retired and enjoyed sailing on his 28 ft. sloop whenever he had the chance. The opportunity of crewing with Annette came along and he had the time to make this delivery. Once back from the market, we unloaded the supplies and I took a stroll around the docks and the shoreline. The morning dew sparkled on the autumn-colored leaves. The wooden boat sheds along the shore, and the white masts and shrouds stood reflected as Warehouse Creek greeted the day with its inventory. Back on the docks, a black lab named Max came up to me with a happy face, he was with Darma, Dave's wife. She was there to give additional information to Annette before the departure.
We were just about to depart when Ian the owner of the company that built the catamaran shows up. He goes over a few other things with Annette, while members of his staff looked on. Just around 1020 hours on October 20th I untied the bowline from the piling and got on board, Annette presses the throttle slowly forward, and we were off. We waved so long to Ian, Dave, Richard, Darma, and Max. Leaving Warehouse Creek, the current of the South River greeted the hulls of the catamaran as she made the turn around the marker buoy. On a sunny day with no clouds in the sky, the air temperature was in the high 50s as the winds increased to 10 knots from the northeast. We passed by lobster traps with their marker buoys in 10 to 15 ft. of water. Leaving South River we entered the Chesapeake Bay at 1130 hours, we came across a tug and her barge loaded with her bulk cargo heading northwest to Baltimore.
There were a few lighthouses with their distinct look that were placed in particular spots in the Bay. The stories of the rivers, the creeks, the wildlife, the people, and the towns of Chesapeake Bay have filled pages after pages in books and magazines. We did not have the time to view all that and more, but I will say it's one beautiful place to see and a special place in one's memory to think about. Annette and Pam were going over the charts of Chesapeake Bay. Annette met Pam by way of these charts. Needing charts for the Eastern seaboard and the Chesapeake Bay, Annette contacted a bookstore in San Diego that specialized in nautical materials. Pam having cruised the area, a couple of years before, had decided to sell her charts by consignment since a trip back wasn't likely. Annette contacted Pam and to make a long story short, Pam a retired teacher and a sailboat owner decided to join the group.
The first nightfall of the trip was on the Chesapeake Bay. Traffic this Saturday night on the Bay was minimal, and dinner was served on the cockpit dining table. The seating for the table was built into the inner part of the port hull. The helm was on the other side next to the starboard hull. Between the dining table and the helm was a 4 ft. wide sliding glass door that was the entrance into the lounge. The cockpit was roomy with about 6 ft. of open area that separated the table from the helm. A canvas canopy was connected to the overhead spoiler, where the traveler was. The dodger configuration had a vinyl windshield for added spray protection along the cabin top. The cockpit area was covered from above, with the sides and rear open. The catamaran motored along on autopilot, as the running lights of other vessels passed us during the night from afar. Our watches were in pairs, Captain Annette and I, Pam and Tom, the watches were 4 hours on and 4 hours off.
Around 0500 hours we would go over the tunnel part of the Chesapeake Bridge and Tunnel, with the green light of the buoy a quarter of a mile away to our starboard. Watching the few headlights disappear into the tunnel and pop up on the bridge to the northeast some minutes later. By mid-morning, we were motoring along at 9 knots with both engines, and the mainsail up. No land in sight and it was a very pleasant Sunday, the sun shining, with a slight breeze. We had just passed Virginia, with Kitty Hawk, North Carolina somewhere to our west.
Jackson Browne was singing Late for the Sky on the stereo system as I made a turkey sandwich. The afternoon was like the morning but with more glare and warmth. Around sunset, I was in the lounge working on my laptop when I heard an excited "Oh wow" and then heard "it's a long one" from one of the ladies in the cockpit area. Tom rushes into the lounge with an excited smile. They had just seen a green flash from the direction of Cape Hatteras. Oh well, so close, but yet so far in seeing a green flash. Back to the laptop and a project that I was working on. Nightfall entered the picture and the routine of the watches continued.
Monday the 22nd was just like the day before, except we had the jib and main up for the first time. Looking at the chart we were passing Fry Pan Shoals, Latitude 33 degrees 29'.with longitude around 40 miles from the coast. At 1600 hours while looking through the binoculars out in the distance, a unique object appears. The Horn as it is called out on the charts. With its four legs above the waterline by 129 feet, it is part of the South Atlantic Bight Synoptic Offshore Observational Network (SABSOON). There are seven other platforms, like the one we had just passed. They are operated by the Navy and provide a range of oceanographic and meteorological observations on a continuous real-time basis.
Having passed Cape Fear during the morning of the 23rd the winds were light turning to calm as the day progressed. We were 12 miles from Charleston when we called the Harbor Master for directions. We were informed that the harbor was fogged in and it was best to approach the entrance in the morning. So we stayed out of the shipping lanes and waited till morning. On the morning of the 24th at 0630 hours, with visibility at 30 ft. Annette decided to motor out of the fog. We went east for 30 minutes then turned around after everyone noticed the fog had started to lift. We then headed towards the two breakwaters that serve as the entrance into Charleston Harbor. Motoring along at five knots, we pass a freighter by some 100 yards coming out of the fog. It was leaving while we were entering.
At 0900 hours something, none of us have ever seen before. It was a fogbow arching in front of us. The same shape as a rainbow but just fog instead of colors, and behind it was more fog. Our course took us toward the center of the arch. By the time we reached where the center was, the arch had evaporated and the shoreline could be seen. The breakwaters that were on the chart, were now only a couple of miles away. If you were to come in at a different angle, other than the one everyone uses, it could mean running aground on the submerged rocks that are part of the breakwater. It took 20 minutes from the end of the breakwater to pass Fort Sumter. And another 20 minutes before we were at the fuel dock. The retired aircraft carrier Yorktown was moored about a quarter-mile away from the fuel docks
Tom's daughter and her children were on the fuel dock waiting anxiously for his arrival. She lives in Charleston, and Tom had given her a call the day before, during our arrival outside of Charleston Harbor. The reunion was a happy one and the kids were curious about the boat. After a quick tour describing the insides and out of a catamaran, a few pictures and we were off into town for some supplies. Pam stayed on the boat while the catamaran was being refueled and to catch up on a few chores. Annette and I went to the market, while Tom and his daughter, and his grandchildren were going to lunch. We got into Tom's daughter's van when Tom's grandson happened to bump his left leg. The slight bump produced a painful remark. His leg was getting worse instead of better. We were dropped off at the market as Tom, his daughter and her children went off to lunch to spend some quality time together.
We returned to the fuel dock after about an hour and a half with our supplies and prepared to leave. We said our goodbyes and motored into the channel. We were off again, making a right-hand turn at the breakwater entrance. It was 1700 hours and we were beam reaching down the coast of South Carolina at 9 knots. Just before nightfall we change directions and headed east 50 miles, before resuming the cruise down the coast. Thursday, October 25th at 0800 hours two jet fighters circle the catamaran once and flew back from where they came; my guess was Georgia. The clouds were changing and the winds were picking up. We sailed all day on a close reach with choppy seas. We were making good time, still traveling around nine knots with the main and jib. In the afternoon a tug about half a mile away was traveling parallel to us, pulling a barge of lumber. After an hour it veered away and we continued on our way, as sunset became nightfall.
During the 2000 to 2400 watch, Annette was at the helm from 2000 to 2200 with full sails up, as the catamaran was still traveling at 9 knots, at 2200 hours I took over the helm with the catamaran doing the same. Just before we were to switch watches with Tom and Pam, the catamaran was suddenly picking up speed from 9 knots to 14 then 17 knots. I called to Annette, who was in the galley, and told her the wind has increased and we were picking up speed. Pam and Tom were ready to take the next watch when Annette quickly decided to take the jib and main down. As conditions changed from normal to stormy confusion in a matter of 10 minutes it seemed. October 26th 0000 to about 0030 the jib was furled. Now the difficult part, the mainsail. With the wind swirling around from different directions with a gust of over 35 knots, and the seas rising and falling without rhyme or reason.
With all that going for her, Captain Annette was directing us to our stations as loud as possible, since the winds made it hard to hear. The traveler sheet had gotten stuck within the spoiler when the tossing and turning began and had to be unstuck. I wrestled with the traveler sheets for about a half-hour. After getting the sheet loose the next thing was to center the boom. A sudden gust out of nowhere and the boom follows. The sheet takes off and the friction burns through my left-hand glove, letting go before it cuts my hand. Regaining control of the line after the surge, the boom was centered. We were ready to let the main down into the lazy jacks. I went forward and transferred my lifeline from the deck line to the base of the mast as I awaited the mainsail to drop. It was a matter of timing, letting go of the halyard at the wrong time meant major damage to the sail and battens. Tom was at the halyard cleat block while Annette steered the boat into position. Pam was helping Annette with an extra pair of hands on the steering and handling the lines that needed to be adjusted.
After a couple of failed attempts to drop the mainsail into place, due to the sudden wind shift and the boat rocking. It was very difficult to position the catamaran, when she would drop into a trough at the same time 3 to 5 waves pushed the hulls around (During those attempts, two upper battens had been broken and would be replaced in Fort Lauderdale). The mainsail was lifted and dropped for the third attempt, which proved to be successful. It was around 0330 hours when our level of anxiety came down with the lowering of the mainsail. A check around to make sure things were secure and in their place, as we returned to the lounge. During this time Pam was in contact with the Coast Guard and giving updates on our position and condition. The seas were rough, but the winds weren't as bad. Around 0530 hours another boat was in our vicinity, it looked like a fisherman out early. Still, in contact with the Coast Guard, we proceeded to Port Canaveral following their direction.
Coffee and breakfast were next on the agenda. It was about 0800 hours when Annette went to her bunk exhausted, after deciding the configuration of the sails. Pam was in charge of our position to the Coast Guard, while Tom was resting his left leg in the lounge. He had fallen backward during the mainsail lowering and landed on his left leg. I was at the helm of maintaining the course to Port Canaveral. From where we were at to where we were going, took us through the Gulf Stream. The swell from the storm was 5 to 8 feet going in one direction, as the Gulf Stream moved along at 5 to 7 knots in the opposite direction. The two forces met and created swells of 12 to18 feet with an occasional larger swell. We were motoring at 2000 RPMs, with the mainsail down and the jib set at 50%.
The course that the catamaran was on had the swell to our stern. By 0830 hours the catamaran started surfing. Tom came out to view the waves. After a few minutes of looking at the ominous waves behind us, he felt safer inside. I wasn't in a talking mood since my main concern at the time was pitch poling. I was getting the hang of surfing on the catamaran. After the first few waves, the jib on a port tack didn't seem to be in the way. I would take off and slide down the face and angle slightly right each time since the shoulder was to the right. On the larger waves, I made more of an adjustment since the freeboard on the bow area was about a foot at times due to the added lift from the wave. By steering more to the right, away from the bottom of the trough, the weight of the port side lifted the starboard bow. After the starboard bow lifted, I steered back down slightly as the port bow glided down the face of the wave.
Occasionally the slide down the larger wave would produce a very loud pounding sound under the wing area below the galley. Pam happened to come out once during the surfing, to see what was making all that noise. The waves were the biggest during this time, and when she saw those swells behind us, I think she was surprised at the size and returned to the lounge. After a ride of about 20 seconds, I would steer back on course until the next swell caught up to us again. Each ride was about the same, watching the bows and freeboard. My main concern was pitch poling and turning turtle. Using my surfing experience for each moment proved to be very helpful. Looking out at the stormy seas with its white caps dancing on top of the swells. The catamaran surfed on while a grayish-black overcast sky loomed overhead. A painting by Winslow Homer came to mind during the surfing, the title of the painting was "The Gulf Stream"; an appropriate setting to have such a thought. With my life vest on over my jacket, I continued surfing the course.
It was near 1000 hours when we were out of the wave zone and into calmer waters. Tom took over the helm and I was kicking back in the lounge. Annette had awoken from her nap and we were in between Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral. Heading towards Port Canaveral Marina. A Shrimp trawler with its net out kept a safe distance from us as it traveled going in the opposite direction. Off in the distance, the gantries of Cape Canaveral Space Center stood like monuments pointing toward space as we approached the Port. Entering the channel, a Cruise ship leaves on her voyage of leisure, so it seems. It was 1700 hours and when we tied up to the docks at the Marina. We would be leaving in the morning so it was a good time to catch up on the laundry. So I was off to the laundry room next to the docks. The cost to operate the washer was three quarters, and another three quarters to get the dryer spinning.
Walking back to the boat with the clean clothes, the three-quarters scenario popped back up in my mind. Back on board we had dinner and relaxed for a couple of hours before calling it a day. After a night like the one we just went through, a peaceful night's sleep in the harbor is a very comfortable state of mind. Saturday the 27th the sun was shining with cirrus clouds overhead. The winds were 20 to 24 knots out at sea, so the decision to go by the way of the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) was chosen. Before leaving the marina, a check of the mainsail for damages that might have occurred the day before. After the checkout, the first and second top battens had been broken and needed to be replaced. A sailmaker near Fort Lauderdale would have the battens for us, once we were in the area.
Leaving Port Canaveral by way of ICW, we passed our first bascule bridge on our way to the lock that separated Banana River from the Port. The catamaran would pass through many bascule bridges before the next morning. With the winds gusting around us, we slowly entered the lock. To our right in the middle of the lock were 3 pilings to secure too while the lock's doors closed behind us and the water raised to the level of Banana River. The process took about 20 minutes before the locked door opened and the water from the river mixed with the water of the lock. Crossing Banana River we headed towards the barge canal that connected the Banana with the Indian River. Once on the Indian River, we came upon our first fixed bridge. The bridge height indicator marked the water level to the bottom of the bridge. With the current tide placed just above the 63 feet marker our sights focused on our mast of 62 feet plus the antenna.
Annette was hesitant about going under, trying to figure out a safe way without committing the mast to any damages. About fifteen minutes later a monohull of around forty feet came by, it was going under the bridge. We told them of our situation and asked what their mast height was. Their mast was 61 feet and we suggested if they could go slowly under while we viewed their mast to the bottom of the steel beam as they made their way to the other side. We all watched and they had a couple of feet clearance. So, with our fingers crossed, we slowly made our way to the other side. Tom on the port bow looking up, Pam at the starboard mid-ship looking up, while I kept an eye out for the bridge footing (the beam on the Cat was over 25 feet) as we proceeded forward. The antenna started to scrape the bottom of the first part of the bridge. That lasted for a few seconds and as we were passed the steel beams of the first part. The middle was empty and we came to the second part of the bridge. Again the antenna started to scrape the bottom of the bridge for a few seconds.
The mast had cleared the bridge without anything being broken. With a sigh of relief, we waved goodbye and said our thanks to the Orient Express as she motored on her way. With our thought back to normal, we motored south, down the Indian River. The afternoon was spent cruising down the Indian River, which wasn't very deep. Take care to read the charts and view all the shallow areas that lurk beyond the channel markers. The winds were about the same as the morning with the palm trees swaying as the fronds flapped away. It was a casual Saturday afternoon with not much activity on the water. Occasionally you would see a boater speeding along at 15 knots as they pass the sign that read: Manatees area, proceed at 5 knots. There were small islands along the way, some even had homes on them. The afternoon turned into evening, the evening turned to night and another situation developed.
There weren't any channel lights to go by, just the reflective channel markers. At first, we were using the GPS and the compass. That proved to be cumbersome. So another alternative was needed. There was a handheld lamp onboard and someone suggested using it. It proved to be the ticket, by knowing where the marker was on the charts, the light with its range of about a quarter of a mile was shinned in the direction of the marker. Everyone took turns holding the lamp while someone would be at the helm. This was done in two hours shifts, occasionally someone would stay on a little longer. While the two members were on watch, the other two would take a nap or have some coffee. Sunday the 28th, town after town, passing bascule bridge after bascule bridge, leaving behind pink tick marks on the charts as morning's light finds us in Palm Beach. After passing the Royal Palm bascule bridge we came up to the fixed bridge before Peanut Island. The water level was 62 feet and the tide rising. It was time to anchor, have breakfast and wait for the tide.
1230 hours we weighed anchor, and off to the bridge we went. It seemed another close call as we motored past the bridge towards Peanut Island. Once around the island, we passed the bascule bridges of West Palm Beach, South Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton. We tied up to the docks at the Cove, a small marina with a restaurant next to a bascule bridge, south of Deerfield Island Park. That evening at the restaurant, while a calypso band played, we had dinner. It was an enjoyable evening, with conversation and laughter. The next morning, the 29th we were preparing to depart, having returned from the store with more film for the final leg of the trip. Tom comes up to me and says Annette is leaving and going out to sea.
I knew why he was telling me this, his left leg was getting worse and he was having a hard time walking on it. He didn't say his leg was hurting, so I left it at that. I figured it was time for me to depart from the boat and I told Annette I was getting off in Fort Lauderdale. Tom had decided to get off as well. An International Boat Show was going on as we entered the Fort Lauderdale marina area. With boats in the price range exceeding millions of dollars, all we could do is say wow. While at the docks at Fort Lauderdale Annette found another person to take our position. John the new crewmember had just finished working the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and was able to help Annette and Pam in taking the catamaran to St. Petersburg. After saying our goodbyes, they slowly motored away past the last bascule of the trip on 17th Ave. They rounded the Keys and reached the St. Petersburg Boat Show three days later and the catamaran received the awards on time.
I had only gone three-quarters of the way in delivering the boat, and the trip to the Boat Show came to an end at the docks of Fort Lauderdale. After leaving the docks Tom and I traveled in a rental car to Tampa. The plane tickets to return were only good at Tampa International Airport. We proceeded down the Everglades Parkway to Tampa, a very blank sort of place to drive on during the night. By the time we got to Tampa from Fort Lauderdale, it was 2:30 in the morning. Not knowing the area and thinking safe instead of something else happening, we stayed in a nationally known hotel for the rest of the night. After having breakfast, it took 10 minutes to get to the Airport. I knew Tom was glad to be getting on a flight to go back home 3 days sooner. His intentions were good, his humor funny, but the docks of misfortune were against him on this trip. As he gingerly took each step through the parking lot, then to the departure terminal and the long flight back.
At the boarding terminal for the flight to Detroit Michigan then to Orange County California a lady came up to us and asked if this was the flight to so and so. Somehow she had mistaken her flight departure and missed the previous flight. She was a little shaken about the mishap but got her ticket changed to our flight and would continue from Detroit. After talking to her for a short while we went over to the snack bar and order some drinks. Eleanor was from Canada and she had finished some work on her vacation house in Tampa. Tom and I told her about the trip from Chesapeake Bay to Fort Lauderdale on a 45-foot catamaran. Going into detail about certain things and locations, after a short time we finished our drinks and left tips. I left a dollar, and Tom followed with the same, Eleanor was conservative, she dropped 3 quarters onto the table. I looked down and to my surprise, three eagles were looking back at me. Walking to the boarding area I concluded about the quarters. In a roundabout way the trip was a coin toss; Heads I go, Tails I leave.
After surfing the Gulf Stream, I started a website called “The Shapers Tree” and did that in my free time. The main body of the site was a list of surfboard builders from around the world and stories from a few of them. There was a name change to the site after about 7 years and was renamed to “Cadamaran” and that is basically how the website got started. There have been some good times since starting the website, and some rough times lately. I thank God to have made it this far, and just have to accept there will be good days and not so good days during stormy weather. Hoping for better times after the "Economic Storm", watch over those you care for, it's going to get rough.