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Vasudeva

And once again, when the river had just increased its flow in the rainy season and made a powerful noise, then said Siddhartha: “Isn’t it so, oh friend, the river has many voices, very many voices? Hasn’t it the voice of a king, and of a warrior, and of a bull, and of a bird of the night, and of a woman giving birth, and of a sighing man, and a thousand other voices more?”
“So it is,” Vasudeva nodded, “all voices of the creatures are in its voice.”
“And do you know,” Siddhartha continued, “what word it speaks, when you succeed in hearing all of its ten thousand voices at once?”
Happily, Vasudeva’s face was smiling, he bent over to Siddhartha and spoke the holy Om into his ear. And this had been the very thing which Siddhartha had also been hearing.

Siddhartha

Interior Decorating

After two years in the water, I have gotten around to hanging my first interior decoration. Here it is. (double click on it to read)

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This is the final order on a list of instructions to his fleet that was drawn up by the slave trader John Hawkins in 1564, prior to his second voyage to the New World.

He stopped in at Fort Caroline, near here, on his way back to England

Hilaria Resurrected

Hilaria, a local classic, found her “default position” this week on the bottom of the harbor in Brunswick. A cohort once nodded at my old sloop and said, “she’s just sitting there trying to sink, you know”. This fact is well known among boaters but like a death, when it happens it is always a bit of a shock.

click photos for larger. click again to zoom

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Fortunately, this was no death. We have Sea Tow.

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The salvage crew first had to call in two cranes and place lifting straps on each end to stabilize the hull and lift her up till the decks were at water level. Two divers positioned the straps. Then the pumps were started.

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Three lifting forces were at play here: pumping the water out of the interior, pumping air into bladders placed beneath the keel, and the cranes lifting and taking up the slack to keep her from rolling.

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Like it never happened. Well… not really, but the owners seemed unfazed. They intend to go ahead with the refit. According to wikipedia, The term hilaria seems originally to have been a name which was given to any day or season of rejoicing. It was a joy to see her revived today, and it will be an even greater thrill to see her under sail again.

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Voices

Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.
But out of all secrets of the river, he today only saw one, this one touched his soul. He saw: this water ran and ran, incessantly it ran, and was nevertheless always there, was always at all times the same and yet new in every moment! Great be he who would grasp this, understand this! He understood and grasped it not, only felt some idea of it stirring, a distant memory, divine voices.

Siddhartha

River of No Return

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The anchorage in Cocoa is tucked in on the south side of the causeway, close up to the town. It is shallow with no current, good holding, and protection from all points North and West.
That morning there were a handful transients in there, some that had stopped for the night to watch the Orion rocket launch up at Canaveral, a few locals on moorings, and the usual derelict or two. I was there with the Spirit of St Simons and her brand new mast to meet with the local sailmaker, Scott Morgan, and get measured up for a new suit. I tiptoed through the crowd till I found a spot, and eased down the plow. As we rounded up, I took a look around and wondered what my daddy would think.

Seventy five years ago, my folks lived straight across this river on Merritt Island. They rented a farm house right down on the water. It was known as the Winslow place. Dad had an uncle- the bridge tender, who helped him get a construction job over at Patrick AFB. They lived in a shack right out on the bridge. Mamma always told the story about how they would go out there on Sundays and do their laundry, hanging the wet clothes out on the line to dry in the breeze as the traffic rattled past. As I was growing up I heard many stories about this place. Tales of fishing, snakes, mosquitos, oranges, the heat, the diphtheria…

My daddy’s favorite story was about how he rowed all the way across the river to town on Thanksgiving day, and bought a pork loin for dinner. My mother was beside herself. She was terrified of the water, but he loved it. He was fascinated with everything about it -the colors of the open sky, the herons and ibis, the pink clouds of spoonbills.

I was born a few years later, and in a different place. When I was little, my favorite spot was in his lap. He would tell me stories about times past, when he was young and alive, and then he’d serenade me to sleep. He was a big Tennessee Ernie Ford fan:

“ Loaded sixteen Tons, and what do you get… another day older and deeper in debt…”
I could feel the notes as they formed and rose up out of his chest.
“St Peter don’t you ask me cause I cant go…I owe my soul to the company stoooooow….”

My favorite song was what I called “wederee”, or actually, River of No Return. There are a couple of you tube clips of it online, so you can still listen to it if you like. Marilyn Monroe sang it in the movie of the same name, but when I hear Tennessee Ernie Ford sing it I can see my father.

“There is a river, called the river of no return… sometimes its peaceful, sometimes wild and free…I lost my lover, on the River of No return… Waileree Wail erreeheehee. [no return no return].”

Late in the night sometimes I drift into this special place. It is a sanctuary of sorts, that we must all dream of from time to time. It is a place of images where one can re- taste that long dormant sensation of love, security and the blissful ignorance that comes with childhood. When I imagine heaven, it is always some variation of this place. Usually this vision involves water, cypress trees, soda crackers and Vianna sausages, campfires, boats and fish, the smell of spent shotgun shells and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Its hard to mess up a pork loin. On the boat, I like to keep it simple. I just sear it up a little in my old friend, the cast iron skillet, drop the heat, and cover it. Let it simmer. It doesn’t take long. Put in some vegetables. Anything. Onions of course, but whatever you have. Carrots and potatoes might need par boiling first, unless you cut them up small. It doesn’t matter! If you are anchored up in the Indian River in late November, it is going to be good. A bottle of red wine will make it even better.

The old causeway bridge and the tender’s shack are long gone. The town has changed. The island has changed. The world has changed. But a pork loin with caramelized onions and carrots and red wine under a free and open sky is still as just as good as it ever was.

“ Wail-er -ree Wail-er-reeeeeee. [no return no return no return]”