Tuesday December 16. Christmas 2014

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 16th, 2014


Merry Christmas


To everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I arrived last night in Virginia to spend Christmas with daughter #3 Jeannine and her family. We will be with my granddaughter Gabrielle my two grandsons, Mark and David and their partners and my three great grandchildren on Christmas. I have a one way ticket here and plan to return to the West Coast in mid/late January.

I have posted on this web site a chapter out of the “The Mastmakers’ Daughters” en de “De Mastmakersdochters” about the Christmas our mother and her prisoner friends spent in Dachau, exactly 70 years ago. It is a story of fear, despair and hope and also of a hilarious incident and a very clever escape.

You can find it under item 9) in the index, which gives some of the background of the events leading up to it, or go directly to: www.ComeToSea.Us/albums/Christmas1944inDachau.docx en www.ComeToSea.Us/albums/Kerstmis1944inDachau.docx



Saturday November 29. First snow of the season

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 29th, 2014

I woke up this morning to the first season’s snow fall. I am staying at the home of Rose Marie and Donovan in Federal Way. They will be returning from Baker, Oregon tomorrow, where they spent Thanksgiving with Donovan’s family.

Lisa and Harry cooked my Turkey and Beef roast dinner on Thanksgiving day. My youngest son Seth came up tot Tacoma to join us accompanied by his mom, Laura. I am working hard on “Soloman”, in a nice warm home. I’ll stay here until I leave for Virginia on December 15.

Somebody, please, take a picture of “Fleetwood” covered with this snowstorm.   Don’t forget my presentation on Sunday the 14th in Gig Harbor.


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Wednesday, November 26. Thanksgiving Eve. And an invitation for you.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 26th, 2014

Wishing all a very Happy Thanksgiving Holiday. Even though  I did not grow up with this celebration, it has become my favorite family holiday.

There is no end to the long list of blessings, particularly this year. A year ago I was licking my wounds on the island of Ibiza. I had lost everything in the November 16 shipwreck.  A miraculous rescue. If the boat would have come to rest just 20 feet from the spot it did, I would not be writing this. God had a new plan for me. I walked off the boat with the clothes I wore and a week later I was the best dressed shipwreck survivor. Help came from everywhere. Thanks to people who cared and their generosity. I was homeless but soon I had an oceanfront furnished flat for $18 per day on Ibiza. Later the free use of a friend’s  luxurious condo on Mallorca. Then three months in Holland looking after a friend’s home, with the   use of a car and weekly cleaning lady. Then the unexpected opportunity to replace “Fleetwood” with  an identical boat, that happened to be well within my savings and a better boat than the one I lost. The list I put out for the items I need to continue my off shore adventure shrunk steadily with donations from dock neighbors in Gig Harbor and beyond. I have been spoiled by old friends here in Gig Harbor and made many new friends. The recent surprise to bestow honorary membership in the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. The list goes on and on.

I have mentioned it in this blog before but this happens to be the reason/season to repeat it. Knowing Who your Donor is and directing your gratitude makes the experience of Thanksgiving so much more meaningful. Thanks be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

The Invitation: go to :http://cometosea.us/albums/FleetwoodFlyer.pdf

I am giving a presentation on December 14th from 1 p.m. in the parish hall of the St. Nicholas church. Check the above link for details. You will not have any regrets that you missed the Seahawks game against the 49ers. Guaranteed. The next day I fly to Virginia to spend Christmas with daughter # 3, Jeannine and her family (three grandchildren and three great grandchildren…) I expect to be back in mid January. I will staying with Rose Marie (daughter #2) and her husband in Federal Way till my December 15 departure and celebrate Thanksgiving with Lisa (d.#1) and her family and son Seth and his mom. I look forward to share my story and slide shows with you on December 14. Spread the word!. You can print out the flyer or forward it to your friends. All are welcome!




Wednesday November 26. I lost a dear friend.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 26th, 2014

Roger Rue passed away on Monday after a long struggle with cancer. We met in 1978. The beginning of a long memorable friendship. One of the reasons for coming back to the Northwest from Holland last April was to be able to celebrate Rogers’ 80th birthday. We knew for some time that the end was near but he surprised everyone for longer than the predictions with his wit and firm handshake. But still I, apparently, was not quite prepared for the reality. He has been such a good friend. He encouraged and supported my adventure. His generous gift paid for my Monitor windvane. He made me part of the “Old Salts” crew that went out with him on “Grand Central” on Thursday evenings sails and a stop at a favorite drinking hole on the Tacoma waterfront. I crewed with Roger to sail the boat from Tacoma to San Francisco and on an other occasion we buddy boated with Larry Burcars’s “Siren” to San Francisco. I could go on with the anecdotes and adventures I have had the privilege to have shared with this man and his friends.

To know Roger read his obituary at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tribnet/obituary.aspx?n=roger-rue&pin 19id=173287595&fhid=23431

May Roger rest in peace, the winds be gentle and his final moorage be secure.

Roger the Pilot

Roger the Pilot


Sunday November 16. On my way downhill again.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 16th, 2014

I have brought my things back to the boat, with the car I have been able to use these two weeks. I’ll miss my three four legged friends and a nice warm house. The animals survived and the house did not burn down, this will be a star on my resume. Put the word out. There have to be others here in town who are going on a winter vacation. As you can see from the below picture not only did the animals survive but I trained Calley to be affectionate with Lily the white bibbed cat.

I would have made a lot more progress with the book if it were not for the frustrating loops Windows-8 makes me jump through. Went to 8.30 mass, the best place to cure my digital frustrations.

my work area for the last two weeks

my work area for the last two weeks



Friday November 14. Good Cold Morning America.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 14th, 2014

I got up early this morning. It is a cold winter’s day. My new lens for the NIKON has not arrived yet. But here is what Gig Harbor looks like this morning, from just a short walk below the house I am staying.

The storm covered the grounds here with tree branches and leaves. I got my exercise  yesterday raking, supervised by the dog and the one (good) cat.




Wednesday, November 12. Arctic blast.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 12th, 2014

The temperature has dropped to just under freezing at night and stays in the thirties Fahrenheit ( around 5 Centigrade) during the day. Accompanied by an ice cold strong wind. The driveway is covered with broken off tree branches. The power went out briefly yesterday at mid afternoon. Some parts of the state are still without electricity.

I found a simple camera here with which I took the below pictures. I expect to have a back up lens for my Nikon in the next days. Last night there were five of us at “El Pueblito” for Taco Tuesday. This evening is the monthly Gig harbor YC meeting. Every time I put my shoes or coat on Calley expects to be taken for a walk now. The cats amuse me. The sweet one “Lily” wants to jump on my lap while I am book writing. The other cat only comes in for her food and then she/he? hisses at the door to be let out again. Probably has other addresses for desert or love.

“The Mastmakers’ Daughters” is now also available in English in Kindle in Holland for € 7,21 incl. BTW :  http://www.amazon.nl/Mastmakers-Daughters-English-Jack-Ommen-ebook/dp/B00B5UGZWG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415837806&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Mastmakers%27+daughters

for the Dutch version go to: www.DeMastmakersdochters.nl 

I am working hard at trying to have the Dutch version of “Soloman” on Kindle by Christmas.

view from my workplace at the kitchen counter

view from my workplace at the kitchen counter

view from my bedroom

view from my bedroom




With a little imagination this could have been the place where Herman Melville wrote his books. The house was built in 1892 overlooking the Gig Harbor Bay where tall ships came to load lumber to ship to far away places.


Sunday Morning November 9. Life is good

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 9th, 2014

I am listening to the 11 o’clock  sermon of the irreverent reverend Garrison Keillor on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion. Father Mark Guzman and my fellow St. Nicholas parishioners filled me with the spirit at our 8.30 service. Today is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. This is considered to be the very first church of the Roman Catholic faith founded in the 4th century, after the Christians emerged from the Catacombs in the reign of the first Christian Roman emperor Constantine.

I had the privilege to sing in the Lateran Basilica in the Saturday evening mass on May 11  last year, with my church choir of the Augustinus church in Amsterdam. See: http://www.cometosea.us/?p=3828

I am house, dog and cat sitting a friends’ home, while they are vacationing in Mazatlan for two weeks. Calley is a part Rhodesian Ridgeback. Sweet dog. yesterday I took her for a long walk and a run in the park. Since it is difficult to cook dinner on my boat with the one burner stove I took the opportunity to invite my two daughters and their worse halves for dinner last night. It is cold and wet outside. The boat is covered with its full cover but this comfortable home is a refuge on a day like today. I have picked up where I left off last April writing “Soloman”. It took a while to switch back to the Dutch version but “Le goût vient en mangeant”.

WIN_20141109_104104_edited-1 ”Calley”‘s Sunday Brunch. One spoiled bitch. My Nikon broke, again. This taken with my laptop.


Sunday November 2nd. All Souls

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 2nd, 2014

The weatherman is forecasting a wet week. Let it rain. The boat is under a full cover and I am house sitting as of today for two weeks. Kristine and Mike are off for a two week vacation. I am looking after an adorable Rhodesian Ridgeback dog, and two cats. The house was built by one of the first pioneer families here in 1893. As of tomorrow I will be writing furiously to complete the Dutch version of “Soloman”. The perfect spot for it in this warm comfortable quiet setting.

The past week was also very wet and October broke the rain fall records for this area. But fortunately Friday afternoon and evening turned out sunny and mild. While I was waiting for the bus I watched the young children dressed up in costumes trick 0r treating along the main bay-front drive. The Yacht Club had their TGIF (for my overseas friends: Thank Goodness Its Friday) party and practically everyone was in a costume of some kind.

With Sheila Schultz Mordue at the GHYC

With Sheila Schultz Mordue at the GHYC




Friday Oct 24. Cabin Fever.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 24th, 2014

Wednesday we had over an inch of rain. A record.  I never set a foot outside. There is plenty to do inside this small space and I wonder when I get back in seriousness on “Soloman”. I am reading two books simultaneously while my somanieth attempt at recording my slide show DVD is burning away. The print book  I have been lent by Jack Eddy “A Higher Call” is the true story of Franz Stigler a Bavarian 2nd WW fighter pilot and Charlie Brown a U.S. Air Force bomber pilot. They meet in the German sky in December 1943. Brown is trying to limp his flak damaged bomber back, Stigler pulls up next to Brown and, instead of finishing the job, he salutes and points the way to neutral Sweden.  Brown searches and finds Stigler after the war in British Columbia. I highly recommend reading this story for it’s historical value and the ability to recognize the very fine line that separates foe from friend, hatred from compassion. And the electronic version of “First in Vietnam….” which I described in an earlier blog. An other senseless war. This is not a book that I would recommend for its literary value. But for me personally it fills in a lot of the gaps in my apparent absence of what was going on while I spent a year and a half in this helicopter company in Vietnam.

As of this morning I finally have a DVD, that can be played on a TV video player, of the slide shows made up of the 51 country 9 year voyage. It was not easy.  When I replaced my 2011 Windows-7 laptop with a Windows-8 laptop I had to repurchase MS Office and Adobe Photoshop because they no longer worked on the new software. And in order to edit the slide shows I had to start practically from scratch. Then when you are ready to burn the slide show video  to a DVD it tells you that it will only copy to a CD-R….And if you want to burn DVD’s you need to buy Photoshop Premier Elements 13. And I just installed Elements 12 in May…..  In windows-7 I could burn my video’s through MS-MovieMaker and MS WindowMaker. But, surprise-surprise, WindowMaker no longer functions in Windows-8 and MS has no fix for this. I had to down load two more free soft-wares, to finally get done with this project. Praise the Lord for technology.

A week ago today, I took the bus into Tacoma to get new fittings for the fuel lines on the boat engine and attended a memorial service at the Tacoma Yacht Club for our friend Duane Saasen. Lisa, daughter #1, picked me up and took me to my old Tacoma parish church, St. Patrick, where I met Rose Marie, daughter #2. We attended a charismatic healing service. Rose Marie was recently diagnosed with Lupus and I had high hopes that she might benefit from the special powers God is giving us in these meetings. I have a health issue as well I’d like to have healed. A long lingering digestive problem. The special powers were obviously happening to many of the supplicants. My main benefit was that I got to sing a marathon of my favorite church songs while all this was going

Driving rain, high tide on Wedesday

Driving rain, high tide on Wedesday

Low tide, we have 18 foot 5,5 mtr tidal difference

Low tide, we have 18 foot 5,5 mtr tidal difference

Morning fog at Stanich Dock

Morning fog at Stanich Dock

sunrise this week

sunrise this week


taken by Sheila Schultz on the Jack & Jill race Sept 13. "Fleetwood" and Mt.Rainier

taken by Sheila Schultz on the Jack & Jill race Sept 13. “Fleetwood” and Mt.Rainier