Thursday, November 5. Sleeping in a real bed.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 5th, 2015

I winterized “Fleetwood” and left Gig Harbor last Tuesday for a stay with Rose Marie and Donovan in Federal Way. The three cats will look after me while my daughter and son in law are on a 10 day vacation, next week. I am busy setting up the web sites for the Dutch and English version of Soloman.

My waterfront view is replaced by the neighbors back yards. Squirrels instead of harbor seals.




Saturday October 10. Never a dull day/night in my marina.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 10th, 2015

Yesterday, on the dock in Arabella’s Landing Marina, I heard a bunch of agitated crows. They were trying to annoy a Bald Eagle, perched on top of the tallest mast in the marina, on “Jam”. This is as close I have been able to take a shot of a Bald Eagle. Magnificent birds.

I have a nocturnal companion, this young Harbor Seal. Just when I am barely asleep he/she climbs on the sugar scoop. I have to tried to chase it off but it keeps coming back and once I leave it alone it must do the same as I do at night. In the morning it is gone. Last week I kept being woken up by, what has to be a larger seal, who keeps whacking the hull with its tail while squeezed between the boat and the dock. Right on starboard where I sleep. Most likely feeding on the same mussels I had for dinner.

This afternoon the owners of Finholm Market and Deli, Monte Hester and Teddy Finholm-Hester gave a reception on the occasion of the completion of the historical mural on the Finholm Market building. I was very glad to be there with quite a few long time acquaintances. Ron Finholm, second generation of the two Finholm brothers, is a good friend and a member of a small church group we belong to. He has had a serious battle with cancer and was able to be present. His youngest cousin Becky Finholm-Lester who I used to see regularly when she worked across the street from me in Tacoma, in the mid seventies  and I had not seen her for nearly forty years was there. John Lantz, even longer, he was a teacher in my sales training at Weyerhauser in 1964. I would run into his wife, Pat, at the Post Office in the nineties.


Friday sunrise

Friday sunrise


Thursday night Dorotich Str and Stanich Dock, from my back porch

Thursday night Dorotich Str and Stanich Dock, from my back porch

Thursday night mussel dinner, home-grown, Arabella's Special.

Thursday night mussel dinner, home-grown, Arabella’s Special.





Tuesday October 6. On the Sound.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 7th, 2015

It took me nearly three hours to get from Gig Harbor to my lunch with Rose Marie at Johnny’s Dock in Tacoma, because of the strong flood tide. “Adventuress” was already out on the Sound and too far out of my way. But here are a few shots of her.

On the way back I had company again of a Pacific White Sided Dolphin, like the one I posted on August 24.



A Pacific White Sided Dolphin vague outline underwater.

A Pacific White Sided Dolphin vague outline underwater


Monday October 5th. An adventurous visitor.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 5th, 2015

The 133 foot schooner “Adventuress” put into Gig Harbor this afternoon. She took on water at the “Arabella’s Landing Marina” and is now at the Gig Harbor public dock.

I went out on “Fleetwood” to take some pictures of her coming in. Tomorrow I might have some pictures to show of her under sail. She will try to sail, if wind permits, to Tacoma. I plan sail to Tacoma tomorrow where I have a lunch date with Rose Marie, daughter #2, so,  check in again tomorrow for possible sailing pictures.

You can check her web site for more details and program in Tacoma.:

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Saturday October 3rd. Sailors and the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front)

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 3rd, 2015

This week a Canadian sailor was kidnapped in the Southern Philippines. Read the story at:


I had a scary encounter on July 5th 2006 on the island of Tawi-Tawi, one of the most southern Philippines islands, while on my way from Borneo to Bali. Here is that part in “Soloman”, soon to be published:

The next evening I stop at one of the most southernmost Philippine islands of Tawi-Tawi and its adjacent island, Bongao.

Technically I need another visa and entry clearance for the Philippines. But I was not questioned. Tawi Tawi is a small paradise of simplicity, beauty and harmony. It has a beautiful tree lined university campus, a branch of the University of Mindanao. The city on Bongao reminds me of Surigao on Northern Mindanao. A very busy port with fishing boats, small commercial vessels and inter-island ferries. I came to do some re-supplying, including the $1.00 a fifth excellent Tandui rum. In the Muslim country of Malaysia it is hard to find any alcohol at all.

A young man insists on being my guide. A bit creepy looking character with a dark long beard and dressed in typical Middle Eastern Muslim garb, dark glasses. I try to tell him that I do not need a guide. When I walk into a barbershop, I figured that he would go his way. He sits across from me on a stool while I get my haircut. It is still early and I feel like a cup of coffee. I invite him and figure that after that he will leave me alone.

When I ask him for his name, he pulls out an ID card. It has his picture and it tells me that Mohammed such and such is a member in Good Standing with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of the Philippines.

The ones that are fighting the Filipino army in Zamboanga and ransom the occasional American. So far I have not seen another white person here.

How am I going to get away from this man?

There are three tickets on the table, for the two coffees and one Danish roll. I pull out the change for it to pay at the cashier. He takes the three tickets and the money and motions that he will pay. But when he gets to the cash register he only produces the two tickets for the coffees. I tell him that he needs to also pay for the Danish roll. He acts as if he does not know what I am talking about. After a back and forth the owner and his wife, shrug their shoulders and do not seem to want to make an issue of it. They probably know this character.

Now what next?

He still tags along. When we pass through an alley, he stops at a vendor’s stall and buys a couple of loose cigarettes from the lady. But when he shortchanges her (with the Danish roll money) she screams at him and quickly a crowd forms. I run for cover.

I have often wondered if that might have hurt his “Good Standing” in the NLF.


Thursday October 1st. A short cruise in the South Sound.

Written by Jack van Ommen on October 1st, 2015

Because of the work on the book, I kept postponing a summer cruise. With the actual writing of the English version of “Soloman”done, two weeks ago, I took advantage of the favorable weather forecast. I left Tuesday afternoon and had planned to return tomorrow. There was wind about half of the way to Long Branch. Yesterday I turned around from my planned destination, Jarrell Cove on Hartstene Island. I sailed the first hour or so and then when the sun came through the fog the wind disappeared. I motored back through Pitt Passage and spent the night at anchor in Shaw’s Cove, near Green Point. Right in front of the gorgeous beach home I built there in 1983. I used to moor “Fleetwood” at a float in the cove. I sold the house in 1986 after my second divorce. Feelings of nostalgia and loss, seeing the lights burning in the dining room, but then it would have been difficult to travel the last ten years to 51 countries taking that home along with me. Or even on this short wonderful trip to familiar scenery on the water.  And it made me decide to make these short trips more often when the weather and wind permits. From the Narrows Bridge onward I had a very nice sail and I managed to get the Monitor wind vane to steer the boat, even in fluky winds. I had a problem getting the vane to work on the Jack and Jill race. There is still a learning process to become acquainted with the way this boat is set up. Waiting for the fog to clear yesterday morning in Long Branch, at anchor, I managed to review a chunk of “Soloman”.



Because of homeowner assoc. rules I had to build flat roof but apparently the rules changed since, judging from newer home.

Surf Scoters in Shaw's cove

Surf Scoters in Shaw’s cove


Can anyone identify? Murrelets?

Can anyone identify? Murrelets?

Spit at high tide in Shaw's Cove looking at Fox Island SW corner.

Spit at high tide in Shaw’s Cove looking at Fox Island SW corner.







A log boom to Olympia

A log boom to Olympia


Sunday September 27th. The Blood Moon

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 29th, 2015

This turned out quite different than I had expected. I, and many others, were positioned on the high knoll above the entrance to the Gig Harbor Bay. Expecting it to come up over the Cascade Mountains. But we did not discover the sliver of the moon until the sky darkened and it was already a ways up over the horizon.

Here first two shots taken Saturday evening to test the location where it was to rise over the Cascades. I had hoped to be able to get Mt.Rainier in with the moon, but by the time the moon rose high enough, the mountain would be dark on Sunday.

over Browns Point, Tacoma, Pt. Defiance

over Browns Point, Tacoma, Pt. Defiance

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over Pt. Defiance

And the Eclipse:

Time exposure.

Time exposure.


L.R.: Vashon Isl, Browns Point, Pt. Defiance, Salmon Beach

L.R.: Vashon Isl, Browns Point, Pt. Defiance, Salmon Beach







Richard Gillette, who had his set up right next to me did a full video of the Eclipse at:

You can find his e-mail address in the comment on yesterday’s blog. He does superb drone videos/photos, good for your events or real estate pictures.


Thursday September 24th. The Mural is done.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 24th, 2015

Sunday Sept 27: If you are visiting this blog for the first time because of today’s Face Book post, and you have an interest in the Croatian Gig Harbor connection, you might like to follow my two week sailing trip through the islands in Croatia, finding Gig Harbor roots. Go to June 2012 on this web site:


Today Lita Dawn and Bob Henry signed their Jane and John Henry to this impressive project.

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Last weekend was the annual Jack&Jill informal sailboat race of the Gig Harbor YC. My Jill stood me up, so I sailed a Jack& Nil race. We had great wind conditions. It took around 2 hours to sail on Saturday, mostly down wind to Des Moines. And against the wind back on Sunday from three to four hours.

Just about 200 yards from the entrance to the Gig Harbor Bay a Humpback Whale surfaced and then showed his large fluked tail. I did not have my camera in the cockpit because of the rough conditions and I could not leave the helm. It spouted a few times. Then I heard that this whale has been seen in the area off and on for the last 2 weeks. But a search for it on Monday did not turn up any sighting for me.

getting ready to start on Saturday, picture by Sheila Schultz

getting ready to start on Saturday, picture by Sheila Schultz

Mark Lindeman making Margaritas with his two cycle gas engine driven blender

Mark Lindeman making Margaritas with his two cycle gas engine driven blender









I harvested my first, for the season, Porcini mushrooms (Boletus), at least I think they are. If this is the last blog you read, it might have something else. They grow on the church property, that might be my saving grace.



Monday September 14. A geography lesson on Refugees crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 14th, 2015

This morning I listened to my NPR station on morning addition on my today’s subject. Contributed by Peter Kenyon and Joannna Kakissis:


Greece counts about 6,000 islands of which about 275 are uninhabited. I cannot find a count of the Turkish   islands but besides a few in the Turkish Sea of Marmara  and two or three Turkish islands at the the Greek  side of the Dardanelles Strait and half of Cyprus, plus a few uninhabited rocks of the Turkish coast there are no Turkish islands on the Mediterranean Coast. The about 600 mile Turkish Black Sea coast has no islands,  and for that matter, practically, neither has the Georgian, Ukrainian, Romanian or Bulgarian Black sea  coast.In the Greek War of Independence between 8121 and 1832 the Ottoman Empire was pushed back to the  Turkish mainland. Before the advance of the Roman Empire the Greeks had colonized most of coastal Turkish territory in the Mediterranean. Ephesus, Antioch, Colossus, Myrna, Tarsus, Philadelphia, etc. were all familiar names in the New Testament they were all part of the Greek sphere on the now Turkish mainland.

I did not know this when I sailed in October 2011 from the Greek Island of Samos, which at its closest point to Turkey is only separated by less than one mile…, via the Turkish mainland harbor of Gümüşlük to the island of Symi, on my way to the Turkish resort town and popular snow bird marina of Marmaris. Symi is surrounded by the Turkish mainland.

I thought to my self, after I had put the anchor down in the small bay on Symi: “These two week charter boat sailors don’t have a clue on the proper display of the courtesy flag”. They were all flying the Greek courtesy flag. But then I discovered that I had once more illegally entered Greek territory. The Greek Orthodox monastery on shore woke me up. I had been kicked out of Greece on the island of Mitilini on my way from Istanbul, because I was unable to show proof of liability insurance. See previous blogs at:

You can get a feel of the wind and sea conditions the refugees face, reading through this period from Istanbul to Marmaris and back to Chios in October/November 2011 and then again from Chios to Leros via Samos in April 2012. In the summertime there is a steady strong northerly blowing and in the fall strong storms kept me in port for weeks. The Mediterranean threw more nasty storms at me than the Atlantic, Pacific or Indian Oceans I have crossed and in the end managed to wreck “Fleetwood” on November 16, 2013 near Ibiza.

Now, after sharing my geography and history lessons, I want to abuse you from my soap box. When the whole Charlie Hebdo story enfolded, I commented that I was relieved that our president was not in that picture of all the “who is who” of the European Community. The below picture reflects my reaction to the same, overly spontaneous, reaction to the refugee problem. Particularly by Merkel and Hollande. It sounds so good, but how do you control the flood gates and the perils of this journey?


I believe the new British approach to bring the refugees directly from the holding areas on the Syrian Turkish border, Jordan and Lebanon makes much more sense. And I hope that the Unites States will do better than the current 10,000 suggested visas.

One of my FB friends posted a FB link that makes me sick and wanting to cut the land lines and sail away as far away from these shores as I can. Particularly when you read the venomous and ignorant comments. The picture shows the destruction of the Twin Towers and accuses the President of wanting to admit 10,000 potential terrorists. If anything showed us how easy it is for a foreigner to enter the United States to learn how to fly an airplane, it was 9-11, why would you bother to apply for a refugee visa? How did the couple million illegal immigrants make it into this country?

For a little more positive news: I am done with the English version of “Soloman”, I just have to do a thorough check through the 385 pages and then make the call for the volunteer editors.



Thursday Sept. 10. Another gorgeous day in Gig Harbor.

Written by Jack van Ommen on September 10th, 2015

But the down side of all this sunshine is that I get too  distracted. But yet, I’m now in “Soloman” in the summer of 2013 with just the trip down the Rhone and then to “Fleetwood’s” resting place on November 16, 2013. Stay tuned. When this is done I hope to spend a few weeks sailing in the late summer quiet. I have not had any offers yet for a ride to Port Townsend this Saturday. I had planned to go there as part of a cruise, by boat, but the book and a couple other dates in the next two weeks nixed that.

Here are a few more pictures on the Finholm Market Mural project.

Just 105 days until Christmas.....

Just 105 days until Christmas…..

Lita Dawn Ancich

Lita Dawn Ancich


Tonight's in the Harbor Race

Tonight’s in the Harbor Race