Days Sailing Across the Pacific Ocean – Kelly the Cook and the Concept of “Bobness”, Pacific Ocean, 1982
November 4th, 1982 0815
Lat: 30° 58.52’
Long: 128° 33.14’
Report from the Sugar Bear…
Yesterday, Kelly tells me, Boysie commented that if things don’t pick up, “our garbage is going to arrive in Hawaii before us.” Incidentally, all garbage goes into the water.
Good morning. 8am and Kelly is cooking breakfast. I just had a cup of hot coffee and a 5-day-old sweet roll – delicious. Kelly is cooking corned beef hash and eggs, toast; apple juice, milk, etc., to go along.
Last night, we missed dinner (one of my joys). I was almost upset! Kelly made me a sandwich and Kool-Aid for my 9pm-12am watch – our watch, Kelly and I.
Everyone said that Kelly would start looking better sometime out at sea. How right they were. We were only 3 days out to sea when I was overwhelmed with the need and desire to (you know what). I’m sort of restraining myself however.
It might be the end of the trip for me if Boysie found out.
I’m trying my best to play it according to Boysie’s wishes. That’s why I didn’t bring any pot on board. I don’t think he wants his crew, ahem, messing with his cook. I respect Boysie’s wishes.
If I started things with the cook (Kelly), it might present relational difficulties of any one of a variety of kinds.
My motives for wanting to go for it are simple – as of, for example, right now while I’m writing this, I’m ready to spring on her and ___. I can’t explain why I’m so restlessly horny towards her.
I figure it like this – if I’m going to, I want to start now. There is no sense in foregoing all that pleasure for months, only to discover I could have had it. Secondly, I have an opportunity to approach right now. Kelly and I stand watch once a night and everyone is asleep. Once we get to Hawaii, Joe will come aboard. There may be a change in watches, etc. If I could get something going with her now, I could possibly secure the pleasure for the rest of the trip. Pregnancy could be a problem. There’s another problem. Privacy. But I think I know how we could get by that.
Kelly has the forward cabin to herself. The door opens from the forward locker and shuts off her cabin from the main cabin. If we were on watch, and everyone was asleep, Kelly could close off her cabin. I could go into the head and into her cabin. It would have to be discreet. Even now as I write this, the idea seems somewhat impractical, if only because, here I am, planning for both of us before I even ask her if she’d like to.
The final consideration. Kelly. I don’t know her very well. I don’t know if it’s the furthest thing from her mind, or if she’s entertained a thought or two herself. I’m not asking for a romance or a commitment – what I am asking for is more like a business arrangement – simply, would she like me and, if so, can we get on to it ASAP.
The plan: I don’t know if I’ll go through with it, but the plan is to ask her. The only thing is, our relationship, which has started off as a good one. I don’t want to feel awkward – I just want us to enjoy our trip, if she’s up for it. If she’s not, I want her to take it for what it’s worth – an offer, and a perfectly normal and natural inquiry and desire.
She’s 31. God, I hope she doesn’t blow it with a big reaction. I’ll have to feel my way (this is sounding sexual for some reason). It would certainly add a little intrigue to the trip. Tonight we have the midnight to 3am shift, following Brad and followed by Boysie and Connie. The plan is: if we’re talking as usual tonight to ask, and to put it simply, “Kelly, can I ask a simple question? Do you want to make it with me?” I’ll feel better if I ask, as long as that by asking, I don’t blow the trip for myself or Kelly. I’ll feel even better if, well… I’ll wait and see what happens tonight. I suspect that Kelly is in love (with Hymie, her boyfriend) but, maybe, just maybe…
I’ve had some bizarre dreams on the ship – I mean, on the boat. One night I dreamt that two of the crew members – Joe and Frank – had died on the boat but it was before we left port (you know how dreams go). The crisis in the dream was to decide whether I should still go or not. Well, in real life, I would most certainly pull out.
Then, last night, I dreamt of Hockridge and a band. They were really stuck up.
I had another dream. In this one, I had two offers from two women within a few hours. I was outside and there was some hullabaloo with the police or something. I kept finding money – $1’s, $5’s, $10’s and $20’s all over the ground. Now, Freud, tell me what it means!
I feel that out at sea, I should be writing profound thoughts or something, but I seem to be writing the most mundane thoughts. Nevertheless, it is pretty wonderful out here.
I started writing this in the morning, but now it’s almost 4pm. I’m laying down in the cockpit in my favorite spot, with my feet over the coaming.
It’s sort of beautiful out – thick scattering of clouds. The sun is almost set. The boat is surfing on the blue waters. Red scatters among the clouds – a nebulous puff of a cloud off to our right nearly all red, with a silver lining. Across it stream two white, small puffballs. The boat rocks in and out of swells whose small tops are 80-120 yards apart. It is a very serene setting. So far, the whole trip has been serene.
We’re cruising at about 6 knots. There is another ½ knot or maybe 1 of tidal current helping us on our way.
By Sunday, we should be well into the trade winds.
Occasionally, I think of Mandy. She was, is, so beautiful. Odd how events go. I am glad to have known her. God, she is beautiful. I seldom ever even see a women as pretty as she is. What a great thing it would be if I saw her again someday.
It is almost a shame to scheme on Kelly, when my last kiss (and a good one at that) was from Mandy.
Today, I was promoted in Boysie Day’s Navy to Assistant Engineer, now acting Chief Engineer in Joe’s absence.
The sky is changing constantly.
The more Boysie talks about the tropics that we’re head for, the more I want to go. It sounds like a very interesting locale.
I am learning a lot about sailing. Boysie and Brad are good teachers and pleasant to work with.
OMOSHIROY – spelled wrong to be sure. Kelly says it’s one of the most-used words in Japan. (She’s lived there for 10 years.) It means ‘interesting.’ I like the way it rolls off the tongue. Signing out, getting dark.
November 5th, 1982 0740
Lat: 28° 53’
Long: 130° 5’
Good morning. We have crossed over the 130th parallel. We have also crossed below the 30th latitude.
Last night, about 2 hours and 10 minutes into our watch, I said, “Kelly can I ask you a straightforward question?” She made a joke out of it. I said, “Do you want to do it with me?” “What, the thermos?” (She had been talking about a thermos.) “No, do it.” “I don’t understand what you mean.” Putting my hands over my eyes, “Good, just forget it, I’m glad you don’t understand… use your imagination!” “Oh, now you’re getting heavy!” “No, not getting heavy… just asking a straightforward question.” Pause. “Not particularly… God, I don’t believe it! You Americans are so direct! A Japanese man wouldn’t think of saying that! He’d die!”
We then exchanged stories about what people had said about her being on the boat – she told me that Connie had told her that sometimes – at night, for e.g., or during drills – not to wear a negligee. I said that if Boysie knew what I’d said to her, he’d probably kick me off the boat. She said, “Really?” I said, “He’d make me walk the plank!” and we laughed.
From there we went on talking as if nothing had been said. Unless my deeper assessment was wrong, I almost felt it opened up a new layer of friendship between us – just because I had been so straightforward and cool about it afterwards – no I am, again imagining. It’s Kelly who’s so straightforward and cool about things.
We rambled on until Boysie and Connie took over the watch, and even then we kept talking for 10 minutes or so. I hope that what I said will in no way detract from the voyage, or my part in it, or my relationship with Kelly or anyone else. Personally, I am glad I asked. At least now I won’t spend time wondering about it. I like to know. I like to have as complete information as possible. I hope that one (my overture) just gets tucked away – if it doesn’t, I guess I’ll accept that too.
Kelly told me about how Hymie (and she) had made money in Japan from selling prints. She told me about the superstitions in Bali, and about food and strict customs in Burma. On and on we go. Our conversations are very interesting to me.
I’m reading “Great Dialogue’s of Plato” now. It is fairly interesting. I’ll probably end up finishing it.
December 15th, 1982
circa 1900 hours leaving Tarawa Atoll
Interesting, interesting days.
Saturday we arrived. We sat on the boat until 4:10pm. Causoona, the customs man, introduced me to David Wilder, the young Betio man with a tropical fish business who had dive gear. This was prompted by the losing of the flopper-stopper.
Sunday, we could not find the buoy marking the spot for the flopper-stopper, so the anchor was lost as well.
Sunday afternoon was stupendous. Kelly and I spent it together at the sandbar on the east end of the island. She and I made love in the water. We took pictures of each other’s naked bodies. We laughed and talked. We made shell decorations on her privates. The sunset was spectacular. We smoked a few joints during the afternoon. We spent considerable time gathering shells, discussing their suitability to our various purposes (pipes, necklaces) etc.
In the evening, Kelly took me to a restaurant where we met Peter. The three of us went to the dance, put on by the Gilbertese people who migrated to the Solomon Islands. Their voices were brilliant.
December 18th, 1982 1530
Lat: 2° 4’ S
Long: 169° 26’ E
Yesterday, we stopped the boat to go swimming in the late afternoon. I put on my diving mask and went overboard. Mind you, we are in the proverbial middle of the ocean. I swam away from the boat, noticing a small jellyfish-like creature floating a few feet below the surface. About 40 or 50 feet from the boat, I watched as Kelly dove into the water. It looks surreal, every detail visible, the water immaculately clear, the boat hovering in the background.
December 28th, 1982
Yesterday at 10am we anchored at Honiara, we having just come up to the coast a few miles from the anchorage of the night before, just east of Koli Pt. Brilliant blue: the blues, the puffy white clouds and clouds of slate blue. Everything melts together, and at once every grain in the scene is distinct and alive. A painter’s pallet full of green hues: the trees on the coast. That cloud hovering over Savo Island some 22 miles distant… (I try to calculate its height. I take chart in hand – Savo is 22 miles away. I look in Bowditch; at 22 miles, 370 feet of the island is hidden. If the top of Savo Peak is 1673 feet above sea level, then the height of the island showing amounts to about 1300 feet. I assume the curvature of the earth amounts to a negligible difference between the vertical sight perpendicular and the tangent to the earth’s center. The top of the cloud is maybe 4 island-heights above the water, or about 5200 feet. I am surprised because I had the impression from Boysie that clouds that look like that were 20,000 feet in the air.)
December 29th, 1982 11:22am
My first duty is to my own “bobness.” (Etymology: A concept my friends and I dreamt up… an imaginary character named Bob Bitchin. In essence, the coolest of dudes, hence, something “Bob” is something great.) I can’t account for whether or not other people are Bob. For example, if someone else yells at me or says strange things to me, I cannot account for their misbehavior – and my first duty is to be on guard for my own actions, to preserve my Bobness. Bobness, shall we say, is a state of grace, a state where one feels good or great or feels strength in combating ills – a godly air, a surveyor of kingdoms, the trace of all these things. There are varying degrees of Bobness – people can be Bob but be ordinary. But, back to the main point, maintaining integrity is maintaining one’s own sense of Bobness. If I allow myself to react to another’s misbehavior, I run the risk of losing my presence of mind and my ability to perceive a situation at optimal clearness (my best clarity) and to act in such a way so as to maintain equilibrium and thrust.