Written by Jack van Ommen on April 17th, 2014
I am just too excited to keep this under my hat till Easter. “Fleetwood” is resurrected. I have just purchased her twin. Coincidence, I am a twin and “Fleetwood”‘s predecessor a Ranger-29 was called “Gemini”. This NAJA is named “Mariah” but that does not fit my profile. “Phoenix” would work but that might ruffle my last wife’s feathers, her given name is May Fung 冯美华 beautiful Phoenix. So you just will have to be here for the re-launch and christening. The boat is sound but it has been a bit neglected and I will get to cleaning her up and a new coat of paint and varnish. The boat was built from one of the three kits that I imported from Whisstocks Boat Yard in England in 1980. Todd Dhabolt did an exceptional fine job on putting the boat together. It has a masthead rig instead of the fractional rig I had. The masthead rig is easier to handle. The mast is keel stepped instead of stepped on top of the cabin. This is also a structural advantage. Another plus is that my boat was the last to have the plywood planking (ringshank) nailed, from then on they have been screwed which is a much better way of fastening. I was continuously epoxying the recessed exposed nail surfaces. It has a decent sail inventory and a nearly new main. The engine is a 1 cylinder 10 HP discontinued Italian (Ducati?) diesel. Seems to work fine but might need something a little more powerful eventually. I will need a list of new gear for off shore use.
So, I am pleased. For the price I paid I could not have found a similar quality replacement on the Atlantic coast. I am totally sold on the chined plywood construction. I know this boat inside out. I checked into shipping the boat to Thunder Bay on lake Ontario from here. I would have loved to sail the Great Lakes and visit a number of Canadian friends I met along the way and then descend the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. But the cost is out of the question. I plan to get the boat ready to sail south from here to the Panama Canal this summer and from there pick up where I left off in 2007 in the Eastern Caribbean and then spend time in Cartagena to land travel the South American Pacific Coast.
Here is a picture of her back in 1990 together with “Fleetwood”:
Mariah on left Fleetwood center
Written by Jack van Ommen on April 13th, 2014
Today it is “Hosanna!”, followed on Friday with “Crucify Him!” and the glorious finale of this Holy Week with our “Alleluia!”.
Last night was Lisa’s 50th birthday party. You started hearing about this on this blog already a year ago. I had planned to fly from South America for the occasion. Lisa had organized this with the help of her younger sister Rose Marie and many of her friends. She rented a hall in Tacoma Old town overlooking the Puget Sound. It was a beautiful summer-like evening. The moon was nearly full. We played a bingo game and Lisa had set up 10 pictures of items we had to guess the prices for in 1964. Like first class postage 5 cents and interesting enough the price of a loaf of bread and a gallon of gasoline stayed just about the same. Then 38,5 cents now $3.50. I ran a 100 slides, of Lisa growing up, on an antique slide projector I borrowed from a friend. My oldest son John (1971) and his fiancee Jennifer (I don’t ask) flew up from San Diego, Seth (1980) drove up from Portland. Lisa’s youngest sister could not make it from Virginia. But she will complete the picture to be taken of the whole clan on John and Jennifer’s wedding in Yucaipa, Calif. on May 3rd.
Thursday was the 80th birthday of my long time friend Roger Rue. And I was able to be there and add to his collection of rail road memorabilia with a Dutch NS conductor’s hat. His sailboats had names like “Union Depot”, “Grand Central”, etc.
I may have some exciting news to share with you in the next week or so about a possible replacement of “Fleetwood”, here on this coast, after all. But I need to do a little more research on the consequences. As you might have read I was expected to look on the Atlantic side because I’d like to pick up again on my plans to spend more time in the Southern Caribbean and tour the West Coast of South America. But this opportunity appears too good to pass up. Stay tuned….
Lisa and Rose Marie
John and Seth
Written by Jack van Ommen on April 9th, 2014
It was a little over two years ago when I visited here the last time. The biggest change is in the grand children. The two youngest were then 15 now they are 17 and 18 and driving their own cars. Cars have new license plates. But with the economic slowdown of the previous years the neighborhood has not changed much. The last time when I had been away for a similar period, between my 2005 departure from the West Coast and my 2007 arrival in Virginia, the changes were more pronounced. Much bigger homes, trash cans, more obesity and the culture shock coming from spending two years in the South Pacific, S.E. Asia, Indian Ocean and South America.
Last Sunday I attended the 8.30 mass at my parish in Gig Harbor and met a number of my old friends there. Saturday is the big party for Lisa’s 50th birthday. She has rented a hall in Tacoma for the evening. All her siblings will be there except her youngest sister Jeannine, who lives in Virginia. But she will complete my family on May 3rd for the wedding of my oldest son, John.
I booked my flight for the wedding, arriving in Long Beach on May 2nd and returning to Seattle on May 13. And in that period I intend to visit with friends in Palm Springs, the San Diego area, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
Mt.Rainier from Lisa’s home.
My new work area at my Daughter #2 in Federal Way.
Written by Jack van Ommen on April 4th, 2014
I write home with a question mark because there appears to be some confusion on this in me. But, for sure, I am very happy to be greeted by two of my daughters, grandchildren and friends. As of January 9th I was an “illegal” in the Schengen countries since my 90 day plus a 30 day extension had expired and several versions of the penalties of my transgression were going through my mind: being led away in handcuffs at passport control, missing my flight, having to pay a hefty fine, etc. But when I had gone through security and mingled with the duty free shoppers I realized that there was no pass control at all at the Schiphol airport. But when I transferred to my connecting flight in Reykjavik, Iceland there was pass control. The police officer checked every 30 pages of my passport and I had visions of doing time in an Iceland jail. What if they’d find out that I knew how to knit? Instead of having to feed an old useless illegal they could make me knit these Iceland $500 sweaters I saw in the duty free shop. The officer questioned where I had been all the time since my last entry and I answered in my best Dutch accented English that I had visited family in Holland. Good thing the knitting never came up, then she solved our problem by saying: “Oh, then you must have used your Dutch passport…” I nodded, she stamped me out.
After I recover from jet lag and have my new Dutch cell phone number I’ll write more.
Written by Jack van Ommen on April 1st, 2014
This morning I met Willy Kerkhoven, one of my former high school classmates, in Haarlem. We took a tour of the old St. Bavo church. As you can see from the below pictures it is no wonder that the organ made a big impression on Herman Melville when he visited here a century and a half ago. In “Moby Dick” describing the size of the mouth of a baleen (Fin?) whale Melville compares it as follows: “ Seeing all these colonnades of bone so methodically ranged about, would you not think you were inside of the great Haarlem organ, and gazing upon its thousand pipes?”
Melville wrote “Moby Dick” on the Marquesas island of Nuka Hiva in Comptrollers Bay, after he jumped a whaler ship. I anchored in the very same spot in May 2005. I had never been inside this church. I quote some more from the Wikepedia page: “Upon completion in 1738 it was the largest organ in the world with 60 voices and 32-feet pedal-towers.”
This afternoon I said goodbye to my oldest cousin, Willy, 82 years old. She and her husband Herbert live just 10 minutes by bicycle from here. Tomorrow I am scheduled for another 3 to 4 visits.
The old St. Bavo, Haarlem
The St.Bavo organ
Written by Jack van Ommen on March 31st, 2014
Just to show you what four years in (mostly) and out of Holland did to me. I went back to the Noorder Markt after I discovered that the market there last Saturday is more of a farmers market, whereas as the one today is more a flea market. I hear my name being called in this busy crowded market, it was Astrid Verhoog from “de Schinkel”. A while later when I am walking back to the Central station, right in front of the 16th century building on Singel 2A, where my mother has lived, I see Pim Schregel in a sloop showing the city to foreign guests. Pim is also a member at “de Schinkel”.
It was t-shirt weather, this afternoon. Last night we ate dinner outside in the garden for the 14th birthday of Lukas, my nephew’s son.
I went to mass at the Augustinus church. The church was twice as full as what I have become used to. This alone was a welcome surprise for the last time visit. The choir I was a member of sang the mass and I was able to say goodbye to most members. They sang the Advent mass of Michael Haydn, “O Salutaris Hostia” from Edward Elgar, “Du bist dem Ruhm und Ehre Gebueret” from Joseph Haydn and “O Strength and Stay” from Eric Thiman. I have been spoiled for life because it will be nearly impossible to find this kind of liturgical support in a worship service where I am returning to.
Written by Jack van Ommen on March 29th, 2014
We are having fabulous sunny warm Spring weather. Yesterday I made a short trip north of Amsterdam. A long time business friend, Peter Karreman, also a sailor, reconnected with me through the article I wrote for the April issue of “Zeilen”. We have both worked for the first employer I had in my forest products career, in Amsterdam and till my retirement we did business together. We had lots to catch up on and we visited my friend Astrid at her bakery ” ‘t Spelthuys” www.spelthuys.nl in Enkhuizen. Astrid was the very first friend I made, when making my first landfall from California, on Hiva Oa in May 2005. She was then the first mate on the three mast schooner brig “SØREN LARSEN”.
Today I took the bus into Amsterdam to go to the Saturday market on the Noordermarkt and to meet Henny de Ruijter an old class mate I had last seen in 1954 when we graduated. She immigrated to Canada around the same period I arrived in California. Again lots to reminisce. Amsterdam was at its best. I will miss it more than Amsterdam will miss me, there are a lot more of my kind but there is just one Amsterdam.
Later this afternoon my friend Ernie and his friend Titia and his son Zoe stopped to see me in Haarlem. Ernie was my generous host last spring and summer when I worked on replacing Fleetwood’s deck.
Peter and Astrid at ‘t Spelthuys
1e Egelantiersdwarsstraat and Westertoren
parking at Central Station
Titia, Ernie and Zoe.
Written by Jack van Ommen on March 26th, 2014
I purchased a large back pack, similar to the one that went down with the ship. My earthly possessions have outgrown the shopping bag I arrived with from Mallorca. I found the bag on the Dutch equivalent of E-Bay in Lisse, a town in the bulb growing area. It was a beautiful sunny day and I decided to take the bicycle for the 22 mile roundtrip. On the way back I stopped at my cousin in Heemstede and rode back in the dark, against a stiff northerly and the light being generated with a “dynamo” on the front tire. Sort of like climbing a hill with a load of bricks. I needed the work out. Gone is my gorgeous teen age body, I had last summer, with sitting behind the laptop most of the day.
Written by Jack van Ommen on March 24th, 2014
The visiting heads of state with their entourages, fleets of aircraft and body guards have overrun this small country. I don’t know how you find time to visit this blog with the Malaysian Airline disappearance. Krim crisis, the Oso slide, etc.
Only 9 days left till I head for the airport on my way home to the Pacific Northwest. Still lots of last minute jobs and goodbyes. Yesterday was my last service in the St. Bavo cathedral in Haarlem. Next Sunday I plan to attend service at the Augustinus church were the choir, I sang with last year, sings.
Last night Dirk Jan, my oldest nephew, cooked dinner. Fresh Asparagus with smoked salmon… He now lives just a 15 minute bike ride from where I am. I placed the 2nd moonset picture on Face Book, asking: “what is wrong with the picture?” No one saw anything wrong. Or maybe they were too busy wit the rest of the news.
Saturday moonset from living room
St. Bavo Cathedral
L.R. Lukas son of Dirk Jan, Marieken my oldest Niece, Dirk Jan my oldest nephew.
Written by Jack van Ommen on March 22nd, 2014
Zuid Friesland March 19 .14
In yesterday’s post you might have wondered about this photo in the article in the Frisian news paper. For those who have not read “The Mastmakers’ Daughters”. It was taken in May 1945 in Gruenwald, Bavaria at the U.S. War Press HQ which was set up to, for one, document the Dachau atrocities. In the picture L.R. Nel Niemandsverdriet, Harry Cowe, my mother Rennie van Ommen, Sergt. Nathan Asch. Nel and mother were intercepted by the US 12th Army on their Death March out of Dachau. They worked a few weeks for the Americans before being repatriated. I met Harry Cowe in 1999. He was a Seattle Times reporter. Nathan Asch is the son on Sholem Asch, Polish-American Jew, author of “The Nazarene”. As I write this a German teenage student, Henriette Schulze is preparing to present her contribution this afternoon at Dachau about our mother in a program called “Namen statt Nummern” (Names in place of Numbers) referring to the prison numbers the political numbers wore and the Jews were tattooed with.
http://gedaechtnisbuch.de/namen-statt-nummern/english/index-engl.html .Today is exactly 81 years since Dachau was opened for business on March 22 1933. The first SS concentration camp to incarcerate political prisoners of the NAZI regime. It is estimated that about 188,000 prisoners passed through its gate during the 2nd WW and that about 28,000 never again read the “Arbeit macht Frei”, over the gate, for the second time.