To The Island by Sam Younghans

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THE ISLAND
by Sam Younghans
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The Island

June 28, 2006
Tales From an Island

 

This is a story in progress (First draft) there are typos and errors. Also, there are numerous side stories that may be withdrawn form this story for stories of their own. I have much editing to do.

“Hello! Anyone out there?  Hello! If any one reads me, please answer.”
“Hello! I read you, what are your call letters?”
“I don’t have any call letters. I am alone on an island in the Pacific. This radio was in some crates that washed up on the beach a few days ago, and I just got it working. My name is Sam.”

Synopsis:

Sam is washed up on a desert island after being blown out to sea in a storm. He was sailing off of the coast of Hawaii Near Kona. A heavy storms hits and after four days at sea he lands on one of three small islands that form a triangle. He is a survivor, and makes the best of his plight. In fact, he is happy to be there, and makes it his home. Occasionally debris, and lost crates are washed ashore, he drags them to high ground. One of the crates contains a ham radio outfit with a small hand powered generator. After a number of tries he manages to operate the radio to both receive and transmit.

Santa Barbara radio talk show host (Alvin) has a ham radio, he picks up Sam’s call. Sam tells him his story of how he came on the island, what he has done to survive, about the animals, Josephine & Napoleon, two wart hogs that are his companions, the snake, monkeys, etc.

He talks about the cargo from shipwrecks that he has found around the islands (There are three small islands that form a triangle, all three have small mountains or high mounds. He lives on the one he landed on, but visits the others. One is larger than the one he is on and the other island is the smallest of the three. He drags most of the cargo to his island, but has a cache on the large one as well.

He talks about the caves found near the top of the mountain and how there is an inner chamber that had been occupied by an older civilization; there is an inner stairway to a chamber almost to the top of the mountain. At the end of the stairway there is another chamber with an opening that leads out to a level space like a large patio. He can view the other islands from there. There are more steps that lead to the very top of the mountain, where there is a 360 degree view

Alvin tells Sam that he tapes his ham contacts and plays some of them on his radio show. He asks Sam for permission to play the tapes from their conversation. Sam agrees. They set up a schedule and they talk for about a half an hour once a week. The response was so great from his audience that they talked 3 times a week with no time limit. Then Alvin started a live show with Sam and taped it for syndication.

The show gets syndicated, based on the stories Sam tells about his life on the island and his past experiences in the varied things he did in his life. His life story is something his children had been asking him to do for a long time. Among the many things he did, was to write a book called CANCEL CHRISTMAS. Because of his tales on the air, his book came into demand and his children accepted an offer from a publisher. It got on the best seller list and later became an animated film. His children tried to persuade Sam to return, but Sam was very happy on the island and did not want to return.

His Son, charted a (schooner/plane/helicopter) and went in search of his Dad. After months of sailing/flying in the area, they spotted three small islands that fit the description.

 

 
 

CHAPTER I - THE VACATION

Sam was vacationing in Maui. He was retired from computers and theatre, he just wanted to find a place where he would be comfortable and have some peace from the world. A world he saw being destroyed because of the desire for power, although many people on this planet were trying to save it, the ones who were causing it, were blinded by the gleam of riches. Sam had faith that one day, before the planet is totally destroyed, those people would open their eyes and awaken to love of your fellow man. To someday realize, that as long as one person on this planet suffers, the whole planet suffers.

So, Sam is looking for a place where he can see only beauty and love. He realizes the odds against that happening, but felt he must give it a try. Seek and yee shall find, ask and it is given, are two phrases that have been part of his life. A lot of his life was hard learning experiences. Now he wanted to write some stories based on those experiences.

He, rented a 30-foot ketch, called Marta, to sail around the islands. He had done a lot of sailing in his earlier days in Florida, so was familiar with sail. The ketch he rented was similar to one he owned in Miami years ago. He packed enough food and water for a couple of days. Sailing out of Maalaea Bay, he planned to stay close to the islands, anchor or heave to at night, and do a little fishing. It felt good to be on the sea again. It was a brisk breeze and he moved on a southerly course. He felt happy and content - connected to his source.

The first day brought him off the coast of Mekena, where he hove to for the night. The next day he set a course for the island of Kahoolawe and into Kanapou Bay. He anchored and went ashore in a little dinghy that was on board, walked around the area, bought some fruit and paddled back to his ketch. It was so peaceful there; he decided to stay an extra day. He packed some pads and pencils to write on while enjoying the sail. The next day he dove for some lobsters and sea urchins - had a wonderful fresh seafood dinner that night.

The next day, he stowed his dingy and set sail for Mekena. He planned to follow the same course back. The Southeast trade winds were blowing, he would have to do some tacking to the South, below Mekena, then he could run on a broad reach till he got to Maalaea Bay with a close haul into the bay. The sun was shining; it was a grand day. He lashed down the tiller and dropped a line off the stern, hoping to hook a mahi mahi. In Florida they called them dolphin, and dorado in Mexico. No matter what you called them they were very tasty, fresh out of the water.

About an hour later he got a strike. He took off the drag and let the line run out. After about fifteen seconds he threw on the drag and set the hook. A large dolphin (mahi mahi) broke the water on his stern. He had hooked a big one. He had a fight on his hands, and with the pull of the sails he was afraid he would break the line. He slacked off on the drag and grabbed the tiller and headed into the wind, sheeting in the sail as it started to luff. When he got the sail sheeted tight he lashed the tiller to the port side and hove to. Now he could concentrate on the fish.

He slowly started to tighten the drag. A lot of line had been played out while he was setting the sail. Slowly but surely he was bringing it in. It broke the water many times trying to shake off the hook. He could see the beautiful colors as it flashed in the sun. When you first land a dolphin, all of the colors of the rainbow can be seen. The colors fade as the fish dies. He was using a light line so he had to play the fish and wear him down before he could attempt to land him. He knew it was a male by the shape of its head. The profile of the front of the head was flat, as if it had ran into a brick wall, on the females it slopes back from the mouth, like most fish.

In the beginning, he reeled in thirty feet and the fish would pull out forty feet, but soon the procedure was changing and he was bringing it closer to the boat. The more it jumped and pulled the sooner it would wear down. Sometimes it would go deep and then surface and break water. These were exciting moments. Sam was enjoying every minute of it. He was so into the fish that he didn’t notice the change in the wind or see the dark clouds scudding down from the North.

The fish was being brought closer to the boat. He had his gaff ready and when he got the line reeled into the leader, ten feet of stainless steel, he would grab the leader and gaff the fish. He wasn’t there yet and he took his time. Sam, landed quite a few of these in the Bahamas and off the coast of Florida, so he knew what he was doing. He would land this fish.
 
 

CHAPTER II - THE FISH AND THE STORM

Sam noticed the wind picking up, but was so close to landing the fish that he ignored it. Twenty minutes longer and the dolphin was alongside of the ketch. He grabbed the gaff and in the blink of an eye the dolphin landed on the deck, flopping around, trying to get back into the sea. Sam stowed his fishing gear below in the small cabin. When he came back on deck he realized that he was in for some big winds. He immediately slacked off on the sheet lines and brought the sloop off the wind.

He would try and make Maui before the wind hit. Because of the wind change to the Northwest, he was able to set a direct course to Maui. He was plowing through the waves, but realized that he couldn’t beat the wind. He lashed down the tiller and closed the ports and the hatch. The sail was not rigged for reefing, so he kept it flying as long as he could. Finally it was too much. He came into the wind, which by now had shifted to the Northeast, dropped the sail, tightened the sheet, then lashed the sail to the boom. The dark clouds were almost on him as he finished tying the last gasket.

He had lashed the tiller midship and was going forward to drop the anchor over board, in order to keep the bow into the wind. He was making his way forward on the starboard side, when the sloop lifted and lurched to port, throwing him overboard. He landed in the sea and as he descended in the water, started to laugh. All of his years of sailing, he had never fallen overboard, and here he was in the water. He choked a little as he kicked to the surface, still laughing.

He had his arms extended over his head as he surfaced. They hit the hull and as he kicked harder, caught the rail and hauled himself back aboard. He couldn’t stop laughing. He dragged himself forward and got the anchor overboard. He also rigged a sea anchor from the large plastic bucket he had brought for the fish. Between the two anchors the sloop stayed into the wind. If the seas became to rough he would tie the sea anchor off of the stern and pull in the anchor.

By now the mahi mahi was no longer flopping about and the beautiful colors were almost gone. He stowed it in the compartment under the port side seat. Now there was nothing to do but weather the storm. He went below, closed the hatch, changed into some dry clothes and put on his life jacket. The ketch was only thirty feet long. It had a small galley as you entered through the hatch so the cabin was mostly the two bunks on either side with a collapsible table in the middle. He was tired, but not sleepy. He peered through the small porthole and watched the seas building and the foam whipping off the top of the waves.

This reminded him of his first sailing experience: He was eighteen and had signed on to an eighty-foot schooner that was taking a charter to Nassau in the Bahamas. This was his first experience on a sailboat. He had been working as a fish guide off of Pier 5 in Miami. Pier 5 was famous for it’s sport fishing in the Gulf Stream and the Bahamas. Charter boats were lined up on both sides of the pier, with their sterns to the pier. Sam lived onboard one of them.

In the late afternoon the tourist would gather to see the fish brought in for the day. The fishermen posed in front of the photo-stand with their fish hanging from the hooks and the sign over head saying “Pier 5 Miami, Florida." After the pictures, the fish were cleaned and the fishermen took what they wanted - there was always fish left over. The captains and the fish guides split the money made from selling the rest of the fish. While this was being done, they were also booking the boat for the next day. It was a long day. After the fish were sold and the boat hosed down for the night, they took some of the catch to the restaurant at the beginning of the pier. The chef cooked it for their dinner.

Sam, was remembering his friend, Don, who was a captain on a private yacht at the next pier. Sam and Don were dating a Mother and Daughter who lived in Miami. One day Don took them fishing in the keys. There were some other people along and it was a grand day. Sam played the fish guide. They hooked a large shark. Don asked Sam if he knew how to shoot a forty-five automatic. Sam said, “Sure.” Don told him to look in the top drawer in the forward cabin. Sam had shot revolvers, and was a fairly good shot with a rifle, but only shot a thirty-two automatic once, and that was when the automatic accidently discharged into the floor of his bedroom.

He went forward, found the automatic and pulled back the mechanism to load it. He walked on deck with the automatic pointed in the air. By this time the line had been reeled in enough that you could see the swivel holding the leader. That meant that ten feet further out was the shark. As Sam started to lower the automatic, pointing it at the water, the shark surfaced and the gun went off. It had a hair trigger, so it surprised Sam. It also surprised everyone in the boat, because the shot went into the mouth of the shark and killed it dead. It bellied over and started to sink. Evidently the bullet hit the hook because it was no longer attached to the line. They watched it sink, and saw the other sharks gathering around for a feast.

When the automatic fired, it bucked up into the air. Sam immediately took his finger off of the trigger. Everyone looked at the shark and then at Sam, who blew on the end of the automatic, turned and laughed to himself, as he returned it to the drawer. He was a celebrity for the rest of the trip.
 
 

CHAPTER III - MORE MEMORIES

Sam’s thoughts stopped, he smiled to himself, and once again looked out at the storm. By this time he was being bounced around in the cabin. Because the ketch was small it held its own pretty good - as long as the anchors held. He was getting a mattress ready to use as a sea anchor if needed. By now the sky was dark and there wasn’t much to see. His thoughts went back to that schooner. Don got him the berth - the crew consisted of Captain Bill, his wife Joan and Sam. Sam remembered Don, asking him to promise not to mess around with the captain’s wife, a voluptuous red head. Sam meant to keep his promise.

The sail across the Gulf Stream was a little rough but it got rougher, sailing to Nassau from the Berry Islands. The captain had run aground crossing the Bahama Banks once before, so decided to go North towards the Berry Islands and then down to Nassau. The prevalent winds are from the Southeast, so they had to beat down to Nassau - the seas were rough. There were five men on board, who had chartered the boat to Nassau. They were very happy when they hit the Nassau Harbor.

After they anchored and everything was secured, Sam climbed up the ratlines and dove into the water. The guys liked that, so Sam did it a few more time to entertain them. It became a daily request. At the end of the week, the five men got on a plane and flew to Jamaica. The schooner and crew stayed in Nassau for ten weeks, before sailing to Morehead City, North Carolina.

Outside of the cabin, the storm was wailing away, and Sam was deep in memories. Those ten weeks were a blast for him. He learned to drink rum, met pretty ladies, danced and had a grand time. The Schooner was anchored in the Nassau Harbor across from the Nassau Yacht Club. Whenever they went ashore in the dinghy, they tied up at the yacht club. The people thought Sam was the owners son, and treated him royally. Sam didn’t complain. Time on board was spent sanding, painting and splicing. They went ashore for groceries, walked through the market place and had drinks in one of the popular bars. Growing up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sam learned to drink beer and whiskey at an early age - rum was new to him.

One family, living on a ketch, had a pretty daughter about Sam’s age. They hit it off and Sam was living it up. One night everyone on both yachts plus friends from a third yacht, went ashore, and then took a cab “over the hill” to the native section, to a big club that had a floorshow and a band. Sam loved dancing, they were having a great time. The MC announced a jitterbug contest, the winners to receive two pounds sterling. The group encouraged Sam and his girl to enter the contest.

When the music stopped, Sam and his girl started off of the dance floor, but some girls from the club ran up and said, “No, no, Mon, you are still to dance.” It was an elimination contest. The music stopped five or six times and they were held on the floor - Sam drinking gulps of rum between dances. Finally it was down to two couples - the other couple, were two of the headline dancers from the show. Now the showdown - Sam and his girl threw caution to the wind and did things they didn’t know they could do - won the contest. The other couple was furious. The girls dragged Sam and his girl up to the bandstand and were presented with two pounds sterling.

He remembered his first heavy bout with the demon rum. The Captain, his wife, Joan and Sam took turns doing the galley chores. One would cook and do the dishes one day and then change off. When it was Sam’s turn in the galley, Joan started coming into the galley to help. Usually after taking a shower, and with only a silk handkerchief wrapped around her ample bosom. The galley was tiny, so there was a bit of rubbing going on. It was not easy for Sam. As Sam thought about that, he remembered it was very hard - but he managed.

One evening a man and wife from another schooner, anchored near by, came over for dinner. Their schooner was called the “Skipjack” and was a miniature replica of a larger schooner. The owner was the son of a famous shipbuilder and he built this mini schooner to scale. It was beautiful. They were friends of the captain and his wife. Sam picked them up in the dinghy and later that night returned them. There was a strong tide running out of the harbor and the wind was also blowing out of the harbor. He got them to their yacht, and on the return trip to his schooner, the outboard motor quit. While trying to restart it, the wind and tide were taking him out to sea. When he drifted pass his yacht he decided he better row back, quick. He grabbed the oars - on his first pull, the oarlocks gave and he fell backward into the bottom of the dinghy - lost both oars overboard. He grabbed one of them as it floated by, but the other one was gone. This meant he would have to scull.

Most of the natives, sculled their dinghies. They used one long oar off of the stern, and moved it back and forth, to propel them forward. Sam tried, but it wasn’t working, and he was dangerously near the mouth of the harbor, with tide pushing him out into the sea. He reverted to paddling. His semi-pro football coach, two other players and he, paddled canoes from Olean, New York to Pittsburgh. He knew how to paddle. With the wind and the current, he was not making any progress to get back to the schooner. The wind pushed the bow towards the city, so he changed course and paddled for the shore near the city.

When he made shore, he discovered he was out of gas. It was late, plus his wallet and money were onboard the schooner. He was near a pier, where there were some lights on one of the yachts. He knocked on the hull and told his story. He was given some gas and was now headed out for the schooner. He could see the anchor light. What he didn’t see was a small spit of land between him and the Schooner. He ran hard aground and tore up the prop. So, there he was, back in the bay without a motor. He grabbed the oar and paddled back to Nassau.

 
 

CHAPTER IV - NASSAU

He decided to walk into town and bide his time till morning. He walked the streets of Nassau, looking in the windows of the shops along the main street. Two girls walked past him, they looked at him and then said, “You’re the man what won the dance contest at the Junkanoo the other night.” Sam had something to do! They walked down the main street and then stopped at a park near the waterfront.

Sam asked them what word did they use for sex, using signs for the word he wanted to know. They laughed and said, “That’s grinding, Mon, why you ask ” Sam wanted a demonstration, so one girl helped the other girl grind Sam, then they changed places. Sam loved Nassau. The girls had to go home, so they said, “Goodnight, Dancing Mon.” Sam continued wandering around Nassau town. It was getting late and he wanted to get some rest. He walked over to the Nassau police station and told the man in charge of his problem. He was given a room with a bed

In the morning the winds had died down and the tide was coming in, so, he went back to the dinghy and paddled out to the schooner. A few days later, while taking his turn in the galley, the captain’s wife asked him if he was going ashore. It was Saturday night; she called it “date night.” Sam said he thought he would. This time he would take his wallet.

He went into the salon to gather the last of the dishes. The couple from the other schooner, were visiting with Bill and Joan. Joan said, “Let’s all go into town, this is Saturday night, Sam is going, let’s join him. The couple weren’t interested and neither was the captain.

When his galley choirs were done, he went forward to his quarters and changed into some “date night” clothes. As he was combing his hair, Joan asked him to wait a minute, she was getting dressed and would go with him. When they passed through the salon, the captain said, “Wait a minute. Your not going, and if Sam goes, he will be looking for a new berth.” Sam didn’t like being told that and he said so - said he would be back for his clothes in the morning. As he was going on deck, the captain told Sam not to worry, he still had his berth.

Sam pulled the dinghy alongside and was climbing in as Joan came on deck and said, “I’m going with you. Wait for me.” She climbed in the dinghy and Sam started to row to Nassau. The prop hadn’t been replaced on the outboard, and the oar locks didn’t hold the oars very well. Sam carefully rowed them ashore. He tied up the dinghy and they caught a cab to a club over the hill. Inside, they were seated at a table in the balcony that surrounded the dance floor - they ordered rum and ginger ale, a drink he had learned from some British sailors in one of the clubs in Nassau.

There was a band, so after a few drinks, they started dancing. More drinks and more dancing. Soon they were kissing and dancing like newlyweds. Back at the table, they were still kissing. All of a sudden their chairs fell over backwards as they were kissing. It made a big crash.

A British couple, who lived in Nassau, had been enjoying watching this honeymoon couple. While kissing at the table their chairs slowly went backwards and they fell. The Nassau couple rushed over to help them. The honeymooners were totally drunk. So the Nassau couple did the decent thing. They took them home and put them to bed. In their drunken stupor, they consummated the wedding and passed out.

They awoke early in the morning, not knowing where they were, got dressed and slipped out of the house. They rushed back to the dinghy and started to row out to the schooner. Sam was still feeling the rum and couldn’t keep the oars in the oarlocks. They decide she would row and Sam would hold the oars in the oarlocks. The oars continually pinched Sam’s hands - he moaned and said, “That’s okay, Baby. I love you.” After some time they made it back to the schooner, changed into work clothes and started sanding the rails. It was Easter Sunday. Everything was okay.

Sam Looked out of the port hole at the storm and went back into his reverie. Two other events happened at that time. Joan was sanding the rails aft and Sam was sanding on the bow. He wasn’t feeling the greatest so he climbed out on the bowsprit and lowered himself into the net below it. He was comfortably relaxing and he noticed a pretty girl water skiing in the harbor. When they were near him she skied close by him. Sam’s reactions being good, he managed to flop out of the net and into the water. Of course the girl came to his rescue. Her name was Gail and She was lovely. They arranged a meeting at the yacht club, which lead to another adventure.

Gail invited Sam to accompany her to Hobby Horse Hill, a racetrack out side of the city of Nassau. Gail had been invited by Lady Oaks, who lived on the island. Her horse was racing that day. It was a race with only two horses. Lady Oaks’ horse won. Sam and Gail were with her when she received the trophy.

Now, Sam was meeting royalty. He had his photo taken beside the trophy. Lady Oaks had been married to the late Sir Harry Oaks, whose mysterious murder has never been solved. Sir Harry Oaks was one of the most powerful men on the islands at that time, and he was a close friend of the Duke of Windsor.

The other side event happened about a year later; when Sam was talking with a well know Captain who had been anchored in the Nassau Harbor at the time of the honeymoon. Sam first met him in a bar in Nassau. This is the story he told Sam. “I was making some coffee when I heard voices and moans. I looked out of the port and saw you holding the oars while Joan was rowing. It was funny. You rowed around me about three times before you finally got back to your yacht.”

Sam smiled as he munched on some graham crackers. Ah, Memories. The storm raged on. His mind went back to the Bahamas. One night, about a week later, the couple from the other yacht had been over for dinner, and after some heavy drinking on board, they all decided to go to town for some dancing

By this time the outboard was running and the other couple had their dinghy. When they reached the club Joan was well in her cups. Sam went to the lower level to shoot pool and stay out of harms way.

Another couple from another yacht had joined the party and one of the men came down and told Sam to come up to the ballroom, said Joan was looking for him, said she wanted to dance. Reluctantly he went, not that he didn’t want to dance with Joan, but he was afraid of what she might do in her condition.

He was right. While they were dancing, she reverted to the last time they were dancing. She started to hug and kiss him as if they were alone and were honeymooners again. This was noted by some of the party, who called it to the attention of Captain Bill. That was the straw... The party was over, they were headed back to the schooner - Sam, in the dinghy with Captain Bill, Joan in another dinghy - they were separated. Sam went to bed.

Early the next morning, Sam was awakened, when Joan came in through the hatch of the fo’c’sle (forecastle). She told Sam everything was okay, and then said, “Bill, said he was going to send you back to the States. I told him, that if he did, I was going with you.”
Sam freaked, “Why did you tell him that?”

She said, “Because it was true.” She would go back with him. Sam, freaked again
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 



CHAPTER X - THE ISLAND
It was a dream island, no doubt. The little bay protected by the reefs and large rocks enclosing the small inlet was perfect. He noticed the rocks jutting out on both sides of the beach. And was curious about the island beyond those points. This would be his objective for the day. When he finished his sandwich, he jumped into the raft and went ashore.
He started walking south towards the jutting rocks where he had caught the fish. Once past the rocks, he encountered a very rough shoreline with large boulders and reefs jutting out of the water. As he continued, the shoreline curved around to the other side of the island and when he was headed north the rocks seemed to diminish in size. Now he could see the other islands - he was on the opposite side of his island. He figured the island ran northwest by southeast. This side was protected from the northerly winds by the other two islands, and the beach he landed on, was protected from prevalent southeastern winds by the mountain and reefs. This was an ideal location.
As he looked out towards the other islands he could see rocks jutting out of the water. The water was calm and from the looks of the beach area it must have been high tide. He would come back to see what the shoreline was like at low tide. He was hoping to be able to walk out on the rocks and get mussels and crabs. He was planning on a long stay.
He continued up the shoreline and a round some more curves. He discovered two small inlets that went deeper into the island on the West side of the island. One looked like an ideal spot to tie up the Marta. It would be protected from the elements and could not be seen from the sea. He had already decided to live here. He continued walking and soon returned to the beach. He sat down to rest and ponder the situation. He felt happily content.
The sand was warm, he felt comfortable with his situation. He saw that food would not be a problem, there was fresh water and there were no people. He figured if he hid the sloop in that small inlet, it would not only be hidden, but also protected from the elements. First, he must build a shelter and move the remaining supplies off of the Marta. He had plenty to do,
He found a small clearing not too far from the pond. The only trees, other than palm trees, were on the slopes of the small mountain. He would bring some canvas for covering. He climbed the slope to get some trees for supports for the canvas. He was about to drag some fallen branches down to the clearing, when he noticed some strange rock formations. He made a note to himself to check them out later. After dragging the branches down, he gathered fallen palm fronds. He had a nice pile of fronds and enough branches to start building. It was getting near lunchtime and he was feeling it. He needed his ax and canvas, so decided to go back to the Marta for lunch and then start bringing the supplies ashore.
Onboard the Marta, he brought his axe, canvas, and a few other small items on deck and then went below to fix some lunch. He brought his lunch topside and leisurely ate as he surveyed his beautiful island. He was feeling very happy and content. He ran through his options; he could try to sail back - but back to where and to what? He could light signal fires at night and smoke fires by day to possibly be discovered and rescued - rescued from what? He smiled to himself as he saw the option he was going to take. It was unanimous! The island would be his new home. A wonderful thrill of happiness rushed through him.
He was looking up, about midway on the mountain, near the rock formations he had noticed earlier. As he scanned the area he could see more rocks that seemed to be forming a walkway or a ridge. He would definitely go back to investigate that area. He was excited, not only would he be peaceful, but also he would have things to investigate. As he looked at that area, he thought he noticed some movement in the brush a little lower on the mountain. He kept watching, but didn’t see the movement again. Finishing his lunch, he stowed his supplies in the raft and paddled back to shore.
Back at the clearing he trimmed the small branches off of the larger ones to create a couple of six or seven foot poles. He had brought some small line ashore, which he tied to some nearby palms and then to his poles. He draped his canvas over the line and then stacked the palm fronds over and around the structure. His new home was started. He laughed to himself as he thought of other structures he had built.
His senior year in high school he went to work in a steel foundry near Pittsburgh. Then the summer following his graduation, he worked for a month at the foundry, then went to work for his uncle who was a brick layer and a an artist. First he was a hod carrier, then, he became a bricklayer’s apprentice. He and his uncle built houses and worked on tall buildings in Pittsburgh. When winter came and the work stopped, Sam drove to Florida for a visit. He loved it and stayed. First, working in a gas station, then a big hotel and finally on the sport fishing boats. He always returned home for football season. He played left guard on a semi pro team in the Pittsburgh heavyweight football league. More memories. He paddled back to the Marta, cooked some fish, and then turned in early, so he could get an early start with his new life.
CHAPTER XI - The Mountain
He awoke as the sky brightened before the sunrise. He quickly ate some leftover fish, loaded the raft with more supplies and paddled ashore. He dragged his supplies to his new home and then decided to investigate the rocks on the mountain. He followed the same course he took when he went for the branches. As he neared the area, he saw some movement in the bushes. He paused and kept very still. The bushes rattled some more, but he could not see anything. Then all was quiet. What ever was there had moved on.
He soon reached the rocks. He was right they looked as if they had been placed there. What did that mean? He followed the formation until it dropped off near a steep slope on the Northeastern side of the mountain. It looked as though the land had slide away a long time ago. It was all grown over on the slope and he could see more rocks at the bottom that were just barely showing. This slide happened a long time ago.
He decided to go around to the other side of the slope to see if this path continued. As he hiked along the ridges and into some small valleys he ran across a waterfall that thundered from the stream above it and led down the mountain to the pond. He decided to follow the stream to its source and investigate the pathway another time. He had to climb a steep ridge to get up to the top of the waterfall. Looking back he saw a wide vista of the Western side of his island and the large island to the Northwest. He sat on a boulder near the stream and took in the vista below.
He could barely see the two small inlets that were on that end of the island. They were almost totally concealed - it would be a good harbor for the Marta. He once again thought he saw something move near the pond. What ever it was was staying clear of him, so he wasn’t too concerned, just curious to know what or who is sharing the island with him.
After fifteen or twenty minutes he started following the stream up the mountainside. At various places small streams were entering the main stream and as he went further the main stream became much smaller until he reached a fork where three small streams joined. He chose the middle one and continued on. At one point he saw part of the stream disappear down a hole between some boulders. That meant that there was also an underground stream. Not far above that hole he came upon a small pond with water bubbling out of the rocks. This must be the spring, the source of the middle stream. He would check the other streams at another time. He had plenty of time. There was no hurry. He bent down for a refreshing drink of water and noticed a freshly broken twig. Something had been here recently.
Since he had gone this far, he decided to circle around to the South side of the mountain. He tried to stay at about the same level or even going higher as he circled around. The going got easier as he neared the south side. From there he saw a wide expanse of ocean, nothing but ocean. No ships, smoke or anything. He continued on until he came to the slide he had seen from the Northeastern side. There were no rocks that looked like a path; he must be above the continuation, if there was one. He decided to descend, moving back towards the South and his beach. He rounded a jutting ridge; the bay, with the Marta laying at anchor, came into view. It was beautiful. He plopped down on the rock to drink it all in. He felt wonderful.
He slid down the slope to the base of the ridge to a group of large boulders that looked like they had fallen from above. He was about midway up the mountain. Rather than go around them he decided to pass through them. He was on top of one of the boulder, getting ready to leap to the one below him when he noticed something at the base of the boulder that was closest to the mountain side. He slid down the boulder to get a better look. He had to weave among the rocks to get to the place he saw from the top of the rocks. It was an opening in the side of the mountain. This was exciting.
He approached the entrance with a feeling of delight. His own little cave! He peered into the dark opening then took one step into the cave. He stood there as his eyes become accustom to the darkness. The reflections from the rocks outside the entrance threw some light into the cave. He was greeted with a view of a small alcove with another tunnel at the other side. He quickly crossed and started to enter the tunnel. He stumbled over something that caused him to fall forward over the object. The object was alive and it scurried out of the tunnel, across the alcove, out of the entrance and into the brush beyond the rocks. Sam, sat up, turned, and caught a glimpse of a furry object passing through the entrance. What ever it was, it was not hostile. He decided to come back with a torch to light his way.
It was late when he got back to the Marta. He cooked some beans and rice, had a glass of Chianti and climbed into his bunk. He could hardly sleep that night, thinking of his discovery. The alcove was large enough to store all of his supplies from the Marta. It would also be a great shelter in tropical storms. The rocks that surrounded the entrance were not only a good barrier from any winds, but hid the entrance from casual view. He grabbed a flashlight, some line from the rope bin and paddled ashore. He grabbed his axe and headed back up the side of the mountain to the rocks hiding the cave. This time he beamed the flashlight into the cave before entering. All was clear.
He was able to look at the walls that appeared to be hand chipped. Were there people who inhabited these islands at one time? He would look for clues. He always thought he would like to be an archeologist. It seemed as if many of his long time dreams were coming to the fore. He gripped his axe and headed for the tunnel. This time he didn’t fall over anything. He walked forward and up a slight incline. It continued on until he came to a pile of rocks that formed a stairway going upward and curving into the mountain. It was man made.
At the top of the stairway he sat down to get his breath. He turned off the flashlight to save his batteries. As he sat there, doing deep breathing, he thought he heard a rustle below. He sat still and listened. There was definitely movement below, he could hear grunting and shuffling in the lower chamber. Rather than go back to investigate, he went forward and upward, to continue what he had started. What ever was below would still be around, he wanted to know where the tunnel ended. Back on an incline up, he was suddenly turned in the other direction. The tunnel sloped down, and after a short distance down the tunnel, opened into a large chamber - much larger than the alcove below. The chamber was dimly lit by light coming from the other side of the chamber.
What more could an archeologist desire? A hidden entrance to a cave that led to a large hidden room that clearly showed that it had been inhabited. Well. There was more. The light proved to be coming from a narrow passageway that led to a small room and an opening in the mountain that presented a panoramic view from the South side of the mountain. A vast expanse of ocean opened up to him. He was in awe. This was indeed, a dream island.
CHAPTER XII - Upward
There was a lot more to this island, than meets the eye. He was in heaven. His beliefs were such that, because he was cosmically connected to the source of creation, as were all things, heaven was here on earth for those who wanted it. He wanted it, and it was given. He knew that the wonderful feelings rippling through his body were feelings of rapture, similar to knowing God. He sat and meditated on this for a while. He was in no rush to discover everything and he was in no rush to leave this paradise. On the contrary, he was here to stay.
He further examined the large chamber and the alcove that opened onto the view. He saw many signs of life. There was a high area that contained dark marks as if a fire had burned there. There were pieces of old cocoanut shells that might have been used as containers many years ago. Some marks on the walls looked interesting. He rubbed one spot and under the crust were designs. Yes, People lived here many years ago. He had no idea how long, but knew he would be investigating it until he found some answers. But now it was time to return to the beach.
He climbed up and then down to the rock steps. Remembering the sounds he had heard earlier he crept quietly down until he was almost to the entrance to the alcove. He turned on his flashlight and directed the light down the steps to the entrance. Just inside the entrance to the alcove, the tunnel widened and he saw something lying in the corner. It stirred, looked up, and then dashed out into the alcove and out of the main entrance into the brush. It was about the size of a Labrador Retrieve or a large pig. He only saw the eyes and then it’s back before it was gone. He was not alone.
He continued down, then through the alcove and out into light. The warmth of the sun reminded him of the coolness of the cave. He always liked hot climates, but a little coolness was also welcome. Now he had both. With the cave, fresh water, a pond, cocoanuts, mangos, and fresh fish, what more could he ask for? Well, he liked scotch and he loved martinis, but he knew he could survive without them. He laughed. He remembered thinking that he was always planning on quitting alcohol. Although he only had one or two drinks in an evening, he felt he should give his liver a rest. Now, after his bottle of gin ran out, he would indeed be a teetotaler.
He saw smudges in the dirt and sand that were probably the footprints of his island-mate. He followed them into the brush. They led to a winding path that led him down to a narrow rocky ledge that put him at the bottom, near the pond. He would remember that path so that he could get back to the caves. He waded into the pond and sat down and soaked in the water. Tomorrow he would revise his plans.
He walked back to the beach and his construction project. It didn’t look like he would be building any shelter on the beach for a while. The caves seemed to be a better option. He decided to drag his supplies and the palm fronds and poles up to the caves and construct a comfortable bedroom in the caves. That way, if anyone came to the island, there would be no trace of him on the beach. He paddled out to the Marta to bring in all of the rest of his supplies. Once the Marta was unloaded, he would sail her around to the inlets on the southerly tip. Once that was accomplished he could take his time getting settled. He was home.
On board the Marta, he began collecting things out of the cabin that would be of use to him on the beach. He discovered a pair of binoculars in one of the drawers in the main cabin. He definitely would use those. There were a number of drawers and storage areas that he had not investigated. He would do that when he got her secured on the other side. Meanwhile it was time to cook a little fish before calling it a night. Tomorrow would be soon enough to start his project. Once in bed his mind started to return to his memories.
He was in Panama paddling up a river in a Panamanian dugout called a cayuca. He had his girl with him and they were having a grand time. They were on the Rio de Piedras, River of rocks that flowed into the Atlantic Ocean. The water was clear and you could see the bottom, which was full of smooth round rocks. There were large fish swimming by and the Panama jungle hung over the banks. The current was mild and they were able to paddle up the stream. Sam was always going on excursions into the interior of Panama, both on the Atlantic and on the Pacific side. He spoke a little Spanish, but most Panamanians spoke English, so he had no problems. He had many good memories of Panama and the people he met who lived there.
Some of the men on the base went into town on the ferry, but they did not want to accompany Sam on his excursions, they were more interested in the bars. Places Sam visited were off limits to army personnel. Most of Cristobel and Colon on the Atlantic side, and Panama City on the Pacific side were off limits. It was off limits to leave the ground floor of any buildings in Panama, except the Panama Hotel in Balboa on the Pacific side. That didn’t deter Sam. He became friends with the people and was often invited to their apartments or to parties, which were mostly on the second floor. Many a time he hid from the MPs when they were making their rounds.
Through one of the girls he dated, he was introduced to the large Chinese community that was in Panama. He loved their food and was always treated like one of them. It was the same with the Panamanians. He was taken on land crab hunts in the swamps and treated to the foods that tourists never tasted. Land crabs were large crabs that traveled on land. He remembered the land crabs in Florida that used to get crushed on the roads by the tourists traveling to Miami. Not many people ate them in Florida they looked so ugly. In Panama they were a delicacy.
There were street venders who sold large bags of them. One afternoon, before entering one of the many bars on the main street of Cristobel, Sam bought a bag full. He sat at one of the booths and it wasn’t long before all of the girls, who worked as B-girls, were sitting at his table sharing the crabs. This became a practice with him - he always had a couple of girls. The rest of the guys could not figure out Sam’s charm. Nor did they like his popularity. So much for crabs. Sam fell asleep.
The next morning, after a hot cup of coffee and a mango, Sam loaded the raft and paddled onto the beach. His first objective was to establish beach residency, so, he constructed a temporary sleeping room and a shelter for his supplies. This took most of the morning and part of the afternoon.
He returned to the Marta, finished up his leftovers and brought the rest of his things ashore. He decided to wait until morning to move the Marta. Instead, he walked toward the inlet where he intended to store her.
He walked along the beach looking to see if there were any hidden reefs or obstacles that might cause a problem in the move. He noted a few reefs that he should be aware of, but in all it looked pretty clear. The entrance was a little tricky, but he liked that - it would make it difficult for other ships to enter and would probably deter them. At the little harbor, he circled to the other side and found the perfect spot for the Marta. Some trees were branched over the water and almost hid the entrance to a small deep cove. He would be able to bring it close enough to shore so that he could tie it to the trees and be able to board her easily.
The perimeter of the little harbor was mostly rocky with a small beach inland. The water was clear and he could see it was deep. Then he noticed something that excited him. Black spots on the bottom. He went to the edge of the water to an overhanging rock to get a better look. He was delighted to see sea urchins all over the bottom. He had first encountered sea urchins in Bimini in his early sailing days. At that time he saw them as dangerous black sea animals with long black needles sticking out of a round black body, that would stick you if you brushed against one; a thing to be avoided. Years later when he was managing a Japanese singer and was introduced to sushi, he discovered uni. It was one of his favorite items on the sushi list. When he learned that uni was sea urchin he couldn’t believe it. All of those sea urchins in Bimini were uni. If he had only known then. But that is the way of life. Now he had his own supply. He never caught or opened one, but he would learn.
He returned to the Marta, took in the anchor and hoisted the sails. He moved toward the point on the northern side, clearing the rocks and then keeping fairly close to the shore, moved around to the entrance into the little harbor. Once inside the wind slacked off, but there was enough to put him alongside of the bank by the trees. He threw a bow line and a stern line onto the bank, then jumped ashore and secured the Marta to the trees. Then he put the dinghy over the side, set the anchor in it. He then rowed out about twenty-five feet from the Marta and dropped the anchor. This kept the Marta off of the bank and secure if a big blow came along.
While he was getting the Marta docked his thoughts went back to Miami when he ran a forty-two foot yawl up and down Miami Beach, advertising Coppertone on the sails. The owner and a friend of his came with him on his first run, a run that developed into a catastrophe. It was an old yawl that had been in a shipyard for some time, so when they hit some strong winds and when they were heeled over, the pressure opened the garboards, the planking next to the keel. She took on a lot of water and they managed to sail her into an inlet in the northern part of Miami Beach. They were able to get the engine running in order to dock, but the water kept coming in and almost covered the engine. They got her secured and the owner and his friend took a cab back to Miami. Sam stayed on the yacht and then sailed it back to Miami without the use of the engine, which was totally ruined by the seawater. For about six months he sailed the yawl advertising Cooper Tone without an engine.
Once the Marta was secured, he walked back to the pond by way of the north beach. He wanted to get a few mussels for his lunch. As he stepped into the clearing to the beach he saw his neighbor. It was large and furry with tusks. He had never seen a wart hog, except in photos, but he was sure this was a wart hog. He was delighted to see another living being on the island. The thought of killing it for food never entered his mind. He had grown up with animals and was always able to communicate with them. This could be his companion, as so many dogs and horses had been in the past. He stood very still and quietly focused on it.
The wart hog sensed his presences and looked toward him. Sam stood still and sent out good vibrations. They stood and stared at each other.  Sam smiled and said, “Hello.” They continued to stare at each other. Sam held out his hand and took a step forward. The wart hog grunted. Sam softly said, “It’s okay” and sat down on the sand. Sam proceeded to send out good vibes, commenting on the pretty fur, its beauty, etc. The wart hog grunted and then started to walk towards the jungle, while Sam called complimentary phrases after it. The wart hog disappeared into the brush. Sam made a point to mark this spot. He would bring some food to leave for him. He was going to make friends with it. Once the wart hog felt that there was no threat from this intruder, they would get to know each other.
He gathered some mussels from the reefs that were close to shore, and then opened a few for his new friend. Back at his shelter, he opened some of the mussels and ate them raw; the rest he would steam for his dinner along with some fish he intended to catch later in the afternoon. He took stock of his food supplies. He had the essentials that would last for a while, but the perishables would have to be eaten. He had a large bag of coffee beans that he could grind as he needed them. He decided to make coffee a special occasion drink; like on a weekend, or if he caught a big fish, or anything that made him feel special.   ( more to come)
NOTES:

  1. About meditation.
  2. About storms on the island.
  3. Napoleon and Josephine
  4. Visitors to the island. (Good and bad)
  5. Learning about the old civilization on the island.
  6. Fishing, clamming, crabbing, and sea urchins.
  7.  

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