Down the memory line

General banter about diving and why we love it.
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airsix
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby airsix » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:40 am

Jan, this is the best NWDC thread ever. :notworthy: =D>
"The place looked like a washing machine full of Josh's carharts. I was not into it." --Sockmonkey

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Jan K
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Jan K » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:26 am

Some rainy and cold days passed through Whidbey, so I decided to finish the maiden voyage
of the Christian Rose saga :smt024
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Jan K
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Jan K » Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:05 am

Well, to keep the story going, we did manage to find Hawaii, although the arrival was not what I have envisioned, we didn't see the green island appear on the horizon, no towering volcano and sounds of ukuleles. It was creeping upon us , first we started to pick up local radio stations, then one of the clouds on horizon did not change shape, it was sliver of coastline already abeam of us! The Big Island, as the island of Hawaii is also known was smack ahead of us hiding in clouds. The 13,796 fee of the Mauna Kea somewhere there, still a mystery.
Then the wind died and we were becalmed right in front of our goal, Hilo. Sugar cane debris floating on the surface, the beautiful blue color of the ocean acquired more earthy color. Land was definitely near. Twenty four days of rolling, heaving and diet of can stew, Spam, tortillas and beans was coming to end, we were ready for the Terra Firma :)
Of course, when our source of energy died down into a total calm and the night coming upon us, all we could do to hoist our kerosene lamp up the mast to warn off other ship traffic and wait for daylight, adding another day to our crossing. But we did it !
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Aloha Hawaii, my very first tropical island. Anchored in Reed's Bay it didn't take long to secure and hit the beach. Enjoy meal prepared from fresh ingredients. Paramount Grill: pork with rice, ice cream and beer. My first meal prepared by a stranger.
As we settled in, we made friends with some of the locals, my favorite was Vicente, small old man who every morning rowed his skiff past the Christian Rose, setting his net. We invited him aboard and I was introduced to pidgin, it took me a while to make sense out of some of the worlds, since my language skills are not that great to begin with. Soon we were part of his morning routine, helping him out ( rowing). It paid off, he loaned us his rickety car so we able to explore the island. My regrets are, that because of lack of riches, I did not have much of color slide film for my camera, instead, I was reloading B&W Tri-X film from 100f bulk roll into reusable cartridges. I developed the film aboard, rinsing it the after fix in salt water. Then final bath in fresh before hanging it to dry. (All this useless info for people who still remember the pre-digital days pale: :)
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The lava entering ocean, the waterfalls, the tropics do look better in color... But so be it. This was a low budget adventure, as is my whole life ;)

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Tubesnout23
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Tubesnout23 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:46 pm

Jan, I always wondered what that home made scuba gear looked like since you have told me about . What fascinating stories and collages! Bravo!

ciao

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Tom Nic
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Tom Nic » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:29 am

Wow Wow Wow... I am spellbound - what an awesome story.
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"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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Jan K
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Jan K » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:48 am

John Rawlings wrote:How did Helena make it out of the CSSR? Did she swim to Italy from Yugoslavia as you did, or did she have her own wonderful "escape" adventure? How did all of you manage to link up later? - John


OK, here we go :)
Once we were in the refugee camp, we learned that there are easier ways to cross the border from Yugoslavia to Italy.
There is town of Gorica, which was half Yugoslavia and the other half (Gorizia) in Italy. The train station was right at the border. All one had to do was to exit the train on "wrong" side of the tracks, climb over little fence and one was in Italy.
The reason while this border was not as closely watched was that the Yugoslav communism model, was little different from the rest of the Eastern block countries. Marshall Tito was pursuing his own vision of socialism and citizens of Yugoslavia could work in western European countries. So we mailed Helena a letter with the instructions written with milk between lines of banal correspondence. (This kind of communication was agreed on before we parted ways). On the day we agreed on, we waited for her on the Italian side, when the train arrived at the Gorica station, she opened the west facing door and run the few feet to the fence, threw her luggage over it, followed before anyone could even notice what was happening. (The view was obscured by the train). And she was free ... Joining us in the refugee camp... :)

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John Rawlings
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby John Rawlings » Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:09 am

How did Helena make it out of the CSSR? Did she swim to Italy from Yugoslavia as you did, or did she have her own wonderful "escape" adventure? How did all of you manage to link up later?

- John
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

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Jan K
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Jan K » Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:47 am

dwashbur wrote:Okay, tell us more about the mermaid....

Well, she was a member of our diving club from the tender age of 15 and her enthusiasm for diving and her wonderful personality and willingness to be part of the group and do more then her share of hard work in and out of water, made
her the perfect buddy. You could always bet your life on Helena. Not only a great diver, but good cook too :)
Even after getting married and starting family we are still best friends and although living on opposite coasts of USA, we manage to keep in touch. Matter of fact, she made it to the Historical Dive Show in the Czech Republic this September. Pictures of the displays started this thread..
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dwashbur
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby dwashbur » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:18 pm

Okay, tell us more about the mermaid....
Dave

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sambolino44
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby sambolino44 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 9:13 pm

Thank you, Jan!
"Relax and enjoy life!"

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Jan K
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Jan K » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:34 am

Thanks , but as you can see from these pages, it is always a team effort -
the credit goes to lot of other people ....
I just happen to be in the right place at the right time ....
I did carry my scuba gear aboard the Christian Rose ( and every other boat I have been on)
so it was only natural to jump in in the middle of the Pacific :nutty:
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Dashrynn
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Dashrynn » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:29 am

haha i couldn't help myself.

Jan you are by far the most interesting individual i have ever met.
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Tangfish
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Tangfish » Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:31 am

As with so many of your posts, this blows me away, Jan. Truly one to keep for the ages!

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Tom Nic
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Tom Nic » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:27 am

Wow. Love it Jan! Thanks for using NWDC as the place to tell your story - for now!
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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Jan K
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Jan K » Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:18 am

Well thank you, I didn't realize there was such interest in "old man's ramblings".
Here are few snapshot from my first taste of seafaring on low budget. I was lucky to
find an experienced sailor who was not afraid to take three total greenhorns on
a sea voyage for exchange for work on his boat. Nick was hard core sailor who did
not believe that "stinky" engines belong on a sailboat. And we didn't know any better :)
So begins a story of Christian Rose which was built on the surplus Navy buoy tender
hull.
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When the boat was declared seaworthy, although not totally finished, we cast off
from San Pedro, California, our goal the tropical islands of Hawaii, some 2000 miles
away. We did run into some wet and stormy weather in the first five days ...
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Once we reached the trade winds and we could hoist the square sails and continue on
with the wind in our backs, life became wonderful, the wet and dreary, rolling days
were quickly forgotten.
On the 15th day of the trip - we saw first human beings - cargo ship actually changed
course and came by to check on us. This would not probably happen today :(
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We did not need anything, but it was nice to get confirmation of our position, since our
navigation depended a lot on dead reckoning and sights taken with a cheap $13 plastic
sextant...

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dwashbur
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby dwashbur » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:39 am

I can think of many words to describe your story, and "boring" is DEFINITELY not one of them! Don't stop!
Dave

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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Diver Doug » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:13 pm

An amazing story, we want more. I have never met you but thankyou for allowing me to hear your story.
Doug
If only I had Gills

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Blaiz
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Blaiz » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:18 pm

holy crap jan, that swim to freedom from the iron curtain would make a movie producer drool all by itself!
The student was ready.


it's nice to have low expectations, sometimes - lcf

I said keep going, not start whining -airsix

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Re: Down the memory line

Postby kagey747 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:33 pm

Jan, having talked with you a bit, I know the perfect title for your autobiography:

"No One Wants to Listen to an Old Man, But I Remember..."

Your quiet, self-depreciating manner hides a talent and a treasure of life experience that REALLY should be preserved. You have obviously had the blessing/curse of "living in interesting times" and I count myself fortunate to have the opportunity to dive with you. I'd stand in line to buy the book.

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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Scubak » Mon Oct 25, 2010 6:32 pm

Jan,
You never cease to amaze me! With your pictures and stories and how you put them together and now this! It is incredible!!!
I should have let you know that Tim and I were coming up to Whidbey anyways this weekend. We did not dive but met Pat at the dive shop and got to tour around Whidbey for a couple of days.
I will give you a heads up when we come up that way again.
Kirsten
"Let's go diving!"

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dwashbur
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby dwashbur » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:32 pm

Tom Nic wrote:Wow Wow Wow....

Jan, thank you so much for telling some of your story. What a fascinating and amazing life.

Sorry to resurrect an old drumbeat, but... We've always thought you should publish a book of your PNW diving pics, and we still do, but now we've got to add request for an autobiography! Posterity demands it! ...and we humbly encourage it.


+1 most enthusiastically!
Dave

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Tom Nic
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Tom Nic » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:47 pm

Wow Wow Wow....

Jan, thank you so much for telling some of your story. What a fascinating and amazing life.

Sorry to resurrect an old drumbeat, but... We've always thought you should publish a book of your PNW diving pics, and we still do, but now we've got to add request for an autobiography! Posterity demands it! ...and we humbly encourage it.
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman

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spatman
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby spatman » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:45 pm

Joshua Smith wrote:Oh, Jan- please believe me when I tell you that this is FAR from "boring!" What an amazing story!


i couldn't agree more! jan, i hope you don't get tired of telling us about your experiences.
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Joshua Smith
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby Joshua Smith » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:40 pm

Jan K wrote:
spatman wrote:
airsix wrote:Jan, you have to tell us your stories!!!!!!!

hear, hear! we want details, man, details!


Once upon a time ...:)
I know it sounds corny, but it was the little book called "The Silent World" which is responsible for my
obsession with diving. Unfortunately, growing up behind the Iron Curtain in a country without a single
mile of coastline connected to any sea, it was not exactly the most conductive place to realize dreams
of swimming with sharks, diving wrecks... But I dreamed, we dreamed. There were enough of people
who did not take the disadvantages too seriously and we tried to do as much diving as we could. With
what we had. To give you some idea about availability of dive gear, look to Cuba. Same political system.
Some of the gear is pictured in previous panels. In 1968 there was a brief period of time, when some travel
was possible, and my brother another club member and I got permit to vacation in Yugoslavia. So one
dark night, we put some of our training to use and swam around the border to Italy. We had our wetsuits,
masks, snorkels. The patrol boat's search light was looking for boats, not swimmers, as we went far from
shore. And we made it across. Refugee camp was our new home. The food was not that great, so we
walked down to seashore to spear some fish. That was when a boat run over me and I spent two months
in a hospital ( my jaw was cut by the prop in two places, lost more then half of my teeth). Waiting
for paperwork and recovering, left Italy on passport for refugees, landed in New York in the Land
of the Free at last ! :notworthy:
So that story behind this panel:
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I hope this is not boring you, not much diving story in this one ...



Oh, Jan- please believe me when I tell you that this is FAR from "boring!" What an amazing story!
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LCF
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Re: Down the memory line

Postby LCF » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:36 pm

Wow, what an adventure! Jan, your story reads like an adventure book (although most of those are not nearly so well illustrated!)
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames


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