Beatitude Point ( # 4 )

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” And the earth was without form : and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep . And the Spirit of God hovered upon the face of the waters . ” Exodus 1:2

 

Dale , sitting on deck in the quiet of the night , feeling lonely at Dave’s escape , listens as the blurred sound of ” Columbo ” floats up from below . Dave is usually out here under the stars but now Dale is pinned alone to the hallucinatory pewter sky . He wants to fit in , uncomfortable like on a secluded beach . The four mates graduated together from Grand Rapids Christian High , an education based upon the Dutch Calvinist denominations strict principles and parental education , binding each of them to the other as though on a see-saw , each attached to an axis that would lift them into each others life . The taste of spray off the restless blue green sea , reminding Dale of all the warnings not to drink , swear , dance or have sex . All four of them are athletes and this too joins them like a school of powerful fish . Yet Dale , being the shortest and from a less affluent background , wonders if he is worthy … even though the others consider him the toughest , surviving two concussions on the football field and getting up to finish the game . Remembering his team mates admiration at his strength puts him in a momentary state of exaltation and he feels pride as a constricting sensation in his chest , close to pain , difficult to breath . . . this feeling overcoming the secret of his recurring headaches . He suffers one this night and grimaces with a wary painful smile , looking out to the empty cove backlit by the amber setting sun where silhouetted figures on shore break away and merge into a darker mass . The rolling waves bringing slumber … Tomorrow he will try harder , try harder to prove himself . The vibrations of Led Zepplin are heard and enter Dales spirit , opening a door to a different realm .

“Stairway to Heaven “

” There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west

And my Spirit is crying for leaving .

In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees

And the voices of those who stand looking .

ooh it makes me wonder

ooh it makes me wonder .

And it’s whispered that soon , if we all call the tune ,

then the piper will lead us to reason .

And a new day will dawn for those who stand long

And the forest will echo with laughter “.

 

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Monday , 9-18-72 ( Chris’ journal )

We’ve learned a lot today . We awoke to the alarm at 5:00 am , but Dale and Dave had to be persuaded to get up . After a fine breakfast of pancakes and milk , we tried in vain to contact the Coast Guard and raise the 6:00 am weather report while the rain continued to leak through a cabin joint on Buzz’s side and the newly drilled radio antenna hole . Dale also complained of a leak over his bunk . Dave and I seem to have the only dry corners of the boat . I called the Ludington Coast Guard with some difficulty , much to the amusement of the telephone operator . They told us to call on channel 16 and then switch to 12 , but as I found out later , we have no channel 12 . The forecast called for 20 mph winds and 2-3 foot seas which have yet to materialize . The predicted rain has also failed to fall . The day dawned gray and overcast in distinct contrast to a striking orange sunset that preceded the coming darkness last night .

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Pentwater was a small hole-in-the-wall type of town in which you could see from one end of downtown to the other . Presumably still half asleep , we cast off with great difficulty at 6:30 this morning . This difficulty can now be recorded with some amusement value , although it could have been disastrous . 

When we tied up last night , we secured our fore dock lines before our aft lines which were , as is commonly true , piles without a catwalk connection . This we perceived to be an inadequate procedure and promised each other to reverse the technique . I am about to describe something I still fail to understand completely and cannot afix guilt for the blunder for fear of disrupting corporate harmony and because both parties have expressed feelings of their own guilt . In any event , Buzz or Dave in the difficult task of casting off from our incorrect mooring , dropped a dock line in the water to attempt a rescue of the drifting dinghy . The dinghy escaped and the dock line found it’s way around the prop and rudder ( as we found out later ). Out of the slip now we discovered our problem and drifted helplessly toward the west side of the harbor . Since we couldn’t start the engine with the line around the prop for fear of damaging the line or the engine or both , I declared that someone had to strip and dive to untangle the rope . Buzz said we were gaining on the dinghy so I turned the boat to bear upon it as Dale divested his clothing . The water was bitterly cold and I suggested Dave watch Dale in case a rescue was necessary . About this time , Buzz retrieved the dinghy we had caught and asked if he should slow the boats progress by pulling it with the dinghy . I told him to go ahead and try . Buzz then suggested I try to turn the bow into the wind , but the wind caught us broadside and our speed increased ! Now less than 30 ft. From shore , Dale kicked his way down to the prop for the 6th or 7th time and un fouled the propeller . We started the engine not 20 ft . from shore . Dave had a towel ready for Dale when he climbed on board , leaving me to handle the helm and catch the dinghy line from Buzz . Dale , in his haste to reach the warm cabin , slipped and fell hard but with no apparent injury . We all breathed a sigh of relief , praised Dale for his work , and entered Lake Michigan at 7:00am.

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We cruised under power for about an hour and a half and then tried to pop the spinnaker . I watched from the stern as the others rigged the sail with some ” discussion “. It went up nicely but our wind soon failed and we took it down . It was up backwards anyway ! We saw two steamers on the horizon , but no sails until we reached Ludington around 10:00am . We docked at a gas stop called Wally’s and went to talk to the Coast Guard about our radio . In talking with the radio man we found out that our radio didn’t have the necessary crystals to communicate with the Coast Guard unless we were in an emergency situation . 

After refueling at a different gas dock , we left Ludington for Manistee , cruised under power along a changing coast  until 2:00 p.m. when we stopped at Dave’s suggestion and went snorkeling . This lifted my spirits tremendously . We pressed on an hour later to arrive at Manistee at 4:00 p.m. We ate Spam and vegetable soup for supper and had a couple beers at the Coral Gables Bar . I elected to take a shower while Dave , Dale and Buzz played pool and swiped apples . Dale’s got a date for 11:00 tonight . The alarm is set for 5:30 a.m. And Dave is sleeping outside .

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4 thoughts on “Beatitude Point ( # 4 )

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