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Hand Painted silk scarves from this Magic Sea

Charting This Magic Sea

Asau Harbor on the North Western tip of Savaii, Western Samoa.

Moira leaps high into the air and the ITCZ Serpent lashes out and smacks her hard with a 35 knot blast of sizzling hot air. She ducks and rolls with the punch only to be surprised by a flat wall of water right on the nose. Blue Pacific rolls over the deck as Moira vibrates like she has been hit by a photon torpedo.

"Anything?" Freddy calls.

"Maybe," I peer out into the gloom under the seething, twisting grey coils of the great angry sky serpent. My sextant is tucked up under the dodger waiting for a glimpse of the sun to determine where we are. I don't see any breaks in the belly clouds of the ITCZ but off to the southeast I do see some odd looking, rounded black clouds. They have been staying right there, smooth and oily looking, while the rest of the sky slithers off towards Wallis. "I think I see the island clouds of Savaii."

"Where?" She comes up into the cockpit and peers out into the howling wind. Just as she pokes her head around the dodger, another wave explodes on the starboard bow and she rebounds a second too late, soaked to the skin. "Oh SHIT!"

"Come on, let's tack," I hand her a sea-soaked towel. "There is a small harbor on the northwest coast of Savaii. Maybe we can get in there and hide."

"Anything to get out of this." She dries her face and holds on as another big wave heaves Moira on her side.

We come about with a great banging of sails and slam into the seas towards the what I hope are the clouds of Savaii. Freddy goes below to get into dry clothes and I watch her struggle to undress as Moira is flung violently about. Walter cat comes out of hiding, walking with exaggerated care on the slanting deck.

We have not slept more than a few minutes for two days and I find my thoughts shifting and turning with each wave. There is still something missing from This Magic Sea, something lacking. What is it? I lay back on the cockpit seat and close my eyes, exhaustion dropping me down into a brief sleep even as Moira drops down the slope of a long ocean swell. When I awake seconds or minutes later, I have an idea. Not about what is missing, but an idea about ideas themselves.

Ebony kaleidoscope inlaid with nautilus shell and fitted into a cedar driftwood box.

Words are like boxes for our thoughts. Each concept, every clear, communicable idea, has a word-box which is built with a certain design to form-fit the shape of the memory we wish to put inside. I am thinking about the hand carved ebony kaleidoscope I sold to Reg. I made the cedar box from a beautiful piece of driftwood. It hinged open to reveal the intricately carved ebony kaleidoscope nested in the grain of the white cedar.

When the kaleidoscope was removed, there was a hole in the wood exactly matching the carved design of cells transforming into tropical reef fish. The kaleidoscope could only be put back into the box one way. The kaleidoscope and the box were a wonderful whole. They fit. The way a quotable phrase beautifully encases a particular idea.

I look below and see Freddy stretched out on the settee with Walter crammed in between her and the leeboard. "Everything OK?" she calls out, sensing me watching her.

"OK." I reply.

The series of poetic phrases of This Magic Sea is like that. An attempt to build a word box for the kaleidoscopic idea of the changing shifting being of a living planet. But there is something still missing, pieces still sticking out of the container. Not another idea about the living planet or what it does, but something physical about the way the box is built.

It's like a box built of words is not enough. Like, we have a pilot book that describes Asau harbor, but no detailed chart. All the words in the world are no substitute for a good map. I need a more visual representation of This Magic Sea. A nautical chart to show the concept clearly and easily.

The double vortex map of This Magic Sea. Click for the full mapI close my eyes again and try to visualize such a chart. I see a churning amorphous sea of energy - the plasma of the big bang perhaps - it coalesces into strings and nets of interacting particles and these swirl and move together to form a giant ball of atoms which compress and pack inward until they explode into radiant light. The creation of a star. And by the light of the star I look outward and see millions of other stars rushing outward into the void in a great expanding universe. The star is like a hurricane, forming from great interacting forces and, once formed, changing everything in the bath of spreading radiation.

Overlaid on this vision I see the map of the process of creation, a double-cone shape funneling non-random behavior into the creation of a new being. When the new being is created, there is an expansion of non-random events from this new being out into the surrounding universe. The hour-glass shape flickers over and over in my mind, merging with just about every aspect of This Magic Sea. This is the shape of it. This is the map.

"Everything OK?" Freddy calls.

"As well as can be expected," I open my eyes and watch another wave burst over us. There is a loud crash as the staysail halyard lets go and the small, but essential sail collapses onto the foredeck. Freddy is in the cockpit quick as a scalded cat. The sail fell on deck but if it washes over it will be a hell of a job getting it back aboard.

"Keep her downwind till I finish," I yell, swinging the wheel to starboard to bring us to a downwind heading. I rush out on deck and gather up the sail.

The serpent lashes at Moira all the way to Savaii. Even in the lee of the giant volcano the seas heave and buck, throwing white surf onto the barrier reef closing off the entrance to the small harbor of Asau. There are some sticks in the reef indicating the pass. On the east side of the calm interior I can see an absolutely enormous cement wharf. Clearly big ships get into this harbor so the entrance must be plenty deep for Moira, even with swells like these. I hope.

I stand in the bow and Moira heads proudly in towards the reef. "OK?," Freddy shouts every ten seconds? "OK!" I scream back as I begin to make out the narrow blue line of the pass. It looks shallow. As we come in, Freddy starts shouting off the depths. Her voice is rich with warning and fear.

A calm, protected anchorage at sunset can be the greatest thing in the world.It is, after all, an easy entrance and the harbor is calm as a lake. After three days of beating hard into thirty knot winds, the delight of calm, protected water makes us deliriously happy. In the gathering dusk we drop the hook just off the big wharf and collapse.

Moira has made the upwind nasty beat with few problems. The staysail halyard is almost frayed through and needs to be fixed and some of the main slides have come loose. She looks like you'd expect after being violently shaken up and down about 10,000 times. Freddy's kidney's hurt, I have a splitting headache. Walter, however, is delighted to be out of rough water into the calm.We sleep like the dead.

20 November.

"Asau is not a legal port of entry in to Western Samoa so, for the record, this has to be an emergency repair stop. OK, up." Freddy cranks on the mainsail winch and the Avon lifts slowly off the deck.

Actually, the main emergency was that Freddy and I were totally exhausted by the storm and needed to get into shelter to rest. I put the outboard, anchor, fuel tank, tools and shoes into the dingy and roar over the flat calm bay to the ship's wharf. There is a ship tied up to the wharf this morning and trucks arrive with veneer bound for Sydney.

I walk up the dirt road leading from the big wharf, heading for the nearest habitation to declare our presence here to the officials. Not far along the road I come upon a low wooden building with a crudely painted sign saying 'Police'. Exactly what I need. I walk in.

The building is empty. Nobody home. I go outside and find a comfortable log to sit down on. There is not much to see as small trees obscure the view. So I think about the chart to This Magic Sea. The shape is everywhere - an hour-glass shape - representing coming together, creating something new, and then splitting apart, expanding outward. Subatomic particles combining to form hydrogen crushing together to form a star and then stars forming galaxies, galaxies forming an ever expanding universe.

A butterfly flitting over yellow flowers, as the elements of the planet flit through it.

A butterfly flits by and settles on a small yellow flower. Molecules of air, water, and organic material come together from a very broad area and focus in that butterfly. The butterfly reproduces and, in a few generations, becomes thousands of butterflies in an ever expanding universe of butterflies.

At the narrow waist of the hourglass, the creation of the single entity creates something new and different. The sun generates omnidirectional radiation - sunlight. It also makes elements which later form planets. The butterfly creates awareness and a behavior zone. It creates a behavior web of signals. The signals, such as organic molecules called pheneromes, create a behavior zone in which the butterfly influences the world of Savaii.

Someone is snoring inside the copshop. I get up and look inside, thinking maybe they have a prisoner in a lock up in the back. Through an open door I see a pair of gargantuan feet, toes pointed up at the ceiling. That must be the local fuzz. I knock on the door, but the snoring goes on comfortably. I cough loudly. Finally, I shout, "Hello? Anybody home?" The snoring stops and then resumes. I clomp around on the wood floor making lots of noise. "Anybody here?" Snore, snore, snore. Maybe I should set the place afire. Or at least yell fire. Instead I go outside again and sit down on my log.

My thoughts come from here and there, from thousands of perceptions over years and years. They come together to form an idea, a concept, and the new concept expands outward, opens up new areas where other concepts bud from mine to form an ever expanding and evolving school of thought.

This is the shape of To Be, To Change, To Have Direction. It is how the system of becoming works, a pattern of behavior which creates new behavior and, at the same time, unexpectedly creates something brand new and unexpected. The butterfly carries pollen from one flower to the next and becomes an unexpected link in the ecology of plants of Savaii. A new idea creates businesses and, linking up with other ideas, changes the behavior patterns of thousands, perhaps billions of humans.

The snoring abruptly stops and I call out, "Anybody HOME?"

That does it. I hear shuffling sounds and a huge Samoan man with a big pot belly comes out of the back room rubbing his eyes and arranging his skirt. He looks at me for a moment, trying to decide if he needs a shirt or not and decides he does. He goes back into the back room and returns buttoning an impressive uniform shirt.

"Sorry to disturb you. Uh... I know Asau is not a port of entry but we had trouble with our boat late yesterday afternoon and were forced to come into your harbor to make repairs. We'll be on our way to Apia as soon as we're finished."

He stands there, 250 pounds of Samoan, well over six feet tall, and glares at me. Maybe he didn't understand. Maybe I'm in deep doodoo. His expression is fierce. And then he yawns and shakes his head, puts on a quizzical expression and says, "Huh?"

I repeat our problem, this time slowly, in special English.

"You are from the yacht?" he must still be half asleep.


"Well, come into my office," he leads me inside and into another room in the rear of the building. He sits down, smiles, says, "You have a paper for me from Prime Minister's Office?"

I shake my head no.

"No? NO?"

"No. We have not been to Apia. We came from Wallis Island. We were in a big storm. Big waves broke our sail, damaged our steering system. We had to come here to fix the boat. When it is finished, we leave."

"During this little presentation, the policeman's attitude shifts from aggression to politeness to suspicion to confusion to acceptance to confusion to apathy to resignation and finally to friendliness.

"OK. You must stay on your yacht. Then go to Apia." He thinks a minute longer - a full minute at least. "If you want to come back you must get a permit from the Prime Ministers office. I will call Prime Minister. Maybe phone works today. I go to hospital, get doctor, and we come to have a look at your boat."

Eventually he sends me back to Moira. I walk back down the road admiring the butterflies which are out in full force, roar over the calm lagoon, wondering all the while about the complexities of life which require a permit from a Prime Minister to visit Asau harbor.

Freddy has sorted out the worst of the mess below decks. I help her get the sail ready to mend and while she sits in the sun working on it, I repair the toilet, fix the auto pilot, seal a forward porthole, fix the plugged sink, put a new bulb in the light over the nav station, remove the staysail roller furling gear, and splice together a new staysail halyard.

It's hot. At dusk, Freddy and I dive over the side to cool off. After a brief swim we rinse off. Two young men, Pelou and Tapu, come paddling by in a dug-out canoe. They stop along side and put a big pineapple and a basket of husked green drinking coconuts on our deck.

"Where from?" Pelou asks as he puts the basket on deck. Tapu, the older man, can't speak English.

"America," I reply.

"What do you want in return?" Freddy asks.

"No. Nothing. We are friendly people. Just come by to say hello, welcome to Savaii." He smiles, sits back down in the canoe and gives a little wave.

"Hey, wait." This is the first time any islander has given us a gift without expecting anything back. Freddy goes below and comes back with a bag full of goodies for them, including some fish hooks and fishing line and some Women's Day magazines. They come aboard and oohh and ahhh at everything.

Pelou tells us the cop flew to Apia today. Big doings. They paddle off into the early evening.

At 7 PM, I turn on the radio and listen to the news from Apia. "A foreign yacht has made an illegal entry into Savaii." says the woman's voice. "Officials have not yet learned the purpose of its illegal entry. The yacht is flying no flag and is believed to be anchored in Asau Harbor. A special team of investigators will fly to Savaii in the morning to look into the matter."

"Oh no," Freddy moans, "Lets get out of here."

"Too late. We can't make that pass at night. Anyway, we'll have to speak with them in Apia, so why not get it over with now?"

All evening I work on the map of This Magic Sea. It's like a treasure map. Nobody can really understand it, or find the treasure, unless they know what the symbols mean. But still, it helps illustrate how the process of becoming works. That's the treasure. Knowledge of how creation, becoming, evolution, learning works. How behavior nests together, changes everything into a new level of being and then nests again.

Looking at the map, one realizes every part of it is interaction of behavior patterns. To be changing in a direction. We start from a universe of hydrogen forming stars and galaxies in which there is only inertia, momentum and reaction. At the point of formation of stars, with the generation of sunlight and elements, we shift. The creation of elements results in planets. The planets receive the omnidirectional radiation of the stars and create a new environment. The whole map of behavior shifts into another level of being when the interaction of stellar radiation forms complex associations of molecules into DNA.

At this level, To Be, To Change, to Have Direction becomes Perception, Memory, Reaction. This is Mind. Mind is what awareness does. The formation of bacteria then expands out into all the different forms of behavior on the planet we perceive as the world of life. An ever expanding universe of galaxies of multicellular beings, each made up of trillions and trillions of bacteria in exactly the same way galaxies are made of trillions of stars.

The creation of life results in something brand new and totally different. Awareness, a radiation of perception built upon the error of expectations. And, at the same time, the beings generate pulsed signals which are sent out into the world around them. The pulsed signals change the awareness patterns of other living beings and become something brand new and different.

Eventually, the signals formed words. Written words. These became very complex until they became books and were printed and distributed widely over the planet. The books are like planets receiving the sunlight, only the elements which grow in complexity are words and the sunlight becomes the awareness of hominids which reflect from the words and thus change the behavior of the beings of Planet Earth.

The books expanded into galaxies of books to create multicellular organisms of thought - science, religion, economics, politics, history - in an ever expanding civilization. This shift in the hour-glass of behavior lifts To Be, To Change, To Have

Direction to still another level. Perception, Memory, Reaction, becomes Understanding, Knowledge, Learning. And at the narrow focal point of creation there developed something brand new and different - Electronic pulses in elaborate networks of elements. These have formed an entirely new level of being. A Global Electronic Interacting Awareness. GEIA. A network of behavior which communicates around Earth at the speed of light, wrapping all beings in an electronic web of commands.

The shift from one level to the next depends on the existence and maintenance of the previous level. Each level controls the other. All aspects of each level appear as manifestations of the whole web of interactions.

"Bed time," Freddy sits up and stretches. Have to get ready for the boarding party in the morning.

"You want to see my chart?" I show her my scribbling.

"Looks like scribbling," She says and goes aft to get the towels.


storm at sea




24 November.

"Jesus all mighty Christ," I shout.

"What?" Freddy shouts. I know she said 'what' but I can't hear her voice at all. The wind shrieks and howls and moans. Rain lashes us with fury. Seas are blinding white froth cascading over Moira's bow. The engine roars at full throttle.

"I can't see a thing! I know the entrance to Apia Harbor must be off to starboard, but I can't head that way cause I can't see anything at all."


"What was that?" A loud crack and shudder wracks Moira. I have a bad feeling about this. I stick my head out from under the dodger cover and look up. I see the mainsail in shreds - the rain a solid blanket of water blowing off the jagged edges, seas whipping over the deck. It's like a painting I once saw of a ship being torn apart in a vicious storm. All at once I feel calm but alert. No longer tired, not the least worried or upset. The force of the wind must be well over 50 knots.

"What is it?" Freddy screams in my ear.

"Main tore. Take the wheel. Bring her more into the wind."

"The main's blown?" part of me notices the way the pupils of her eyes widen - registers alarm on her face - sees a reflection of my own state of mind settle over her. All business, now, she heads Moira more into the wind as I scramble outside, snap on my life-line and hang on as a wave of blue water crashes over me. Sputtering, I slosh forward and release the mainsail halyard. The sail is stuck and won't come down. Of course not, why should it come down easily when everything else is screwing up? I grab handfuls of the cracking, bucking sail and haul it down to the deck. Then I lash the remnants of the sail to the boom. Freddy has hauled in the sheetline tight so the boom is locked to the boom crutch. Just as I secure the last tie another wave whacks our port bows and cascades blue water over me.

My foot slips and I go down on deck hard, the water a terrible force as it pulls me towards Sea. I hang onto the handle on the cabin top, holding my breath, keeping my head down, streamlining my body, kicking for a foothold on deck. Just as suddenly the water is gone and I scramble aft and back into the protection of the cockpit.

"Are you OK?" Freddy screams. I can't hear her words but I know what they are. I nod and take the wheel. Son of a Bitch! The ITCZ serpent has got Moira in its fangs and is giving us one hell of a ride. "What are you laughing at?" Freddy shouts.

"Ain't sailing fun? This is real adventure." My mind visualizes the thundering surf somewhere off to starboard.

"You're crazy," she punches me hard in the arm.

An hour later, the serpent lets go. Just like that, it's gone. The rain quits, the wind quits, the sea subsides. In 15 minutes we are motoring along in light winds with Apia Harbor about 5 miles ahead. I'm glad the squall didn't hit us when we were nearer to the reefs. As it is, we were a bit too close for comfort.

We come along side the concrete wharf to clear customs and immigrations. The official delegation from Apia never managed to get to Asau. The cop showed up the next morning with the doctor and simply told us to make our repairs and head on to Apia. We don't know what to expect this morning. The customs officials are business as usual, however. We fill out all the forms and ease out to a rolly-poly anchorage. I fall into bed, exhausted and vanish from the world.

"Sweetheart," Click. A lightning bolt of alertness jolts through me. All muscles galvanize to leap out of bed and race on deck. My body muscles shift to brace myself against the lurching sea.

"No, no, its all right. Not like that, it's OK," Freddy murmurs, holding my head, kissing me lightly. My mind wakes up. My body trembles, relaxes, fatigue returns. "Come on, I fixed you a goodie," she whispers. "Then you can take a shower and go back to sleep."

In the brightness of the early afternoon the sail fragments take on a new dimension. "It's finished," I finger the torn and battered sail. "We need new sails." As we eat we talk about ways of finding the money for the sails. My tooth hurts like hell and the gum around it is black and filled with pus. Not pretty. It will have to come out.


25 November.


"Don't take your dingy over there. Better tie it up on the customs wharf," Says Gary, off the New Zealand yacht Heartbeat. He tells us they recently played a film called The Warriors at the local theater. It was about gang warfare in the U.S. "It showed how the gangs were organized and how they terrorized everyone. So the kids here have started to form gangs organized like the American ones. Even the cops are afraid of them. Better stay aboard at night."

With this jolly bit of introduction, we secure the dingy at the custom's wharf and walk up the road, looking for anything from massive hoards of marauding teenagers to trolls under the bridge next to Aggie Gray's hotel.

There is a long line of people on the road ahead as we approach the main town of Apia. But they are just standing there, in something resembling a line. It turns out they are waiting to get into the immigration office. Everybody, it seems, wants to get off the island and go somewhere else. The government, it seems, is applying the good old administrative sponge technique to slow down the exodus.

We stop in the library and I look up a Samoan dictionary. I want to find out what Samoan's think of the word Mana. Here's what I find. "Mana. Noun. (Supernatural) Power. All powerful, all mighty." Not much different from Webster's definition but then, what do you want, the dictionary was translated by missionaries. But here's something interesting. Mana Mana, a verb, means consider, give thought to, dream. Now that's more like it. and Mana-tu means to think out a plan, to reason. I'll be damned. It also means to be of one MIND!

Mano'o means to want or desire. Mana tunatuga means memories. Manatua means remember. Manatu means to think, or thought. Mana fa'ataulaiut means magic. This is hot stuff. Perfect.

"Come ON," Freddy pulls me outside. Libraries are not, for unknown reasons, one of her favorite places.

"It's just like I thought," I grin at Freddy. "The original Samoan use of the word Mana was for the mental link between an individual and the world around the individual."

"No wonder the missionaries couldn't understand it," Freddy replies, heading over towards to native market. The market is large and well stocked with fresh vegetables and fruits. I follow Freddy as she selects what she wants. I stop to talk to a young man who turns out to be Bob Lowe and his wife, Cindy. They are both with the Peace Corps and are hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast for Americans. Would Freddy and I join them? Whyever not? I had no idea it was Thanksgiving Day.

In the late afternoon, stuffed with turkey, I pay a quick visit to the yacht Heartbeat. Gary astounds me by saying he was on McIntire's Peterson 44. The sistership to Moira which sank in a Typhoon off Japan while Moira was being built! Coral, his wife, was actually sitting with McIntire when he wrote the letter to the Taiwan shipyard - the letter which alerted me to the deadly fault in Moira's rudder system. Coral brings out a book, called "Eye of Satan" relating the experiences of Gary and McIntire. Coral is enthused about the astounding coincidences of our threads of fate tying up here in Apia six years after the catastrophy.

McIntire's misfortune with the Typhoon brings back our own weather problems and the memory of the Solomon Island witch doctor exorcising Moira's evil Chinese spirit. As I leaf through McIntire's book, Coral remarks that the weather was delightful until a few hours before Moira arrived. It has been nice for the past month. The realization that evil weather is again tracking Moira and the terror of Gary's tale of the sinking of McIntire's boat forces me into a deep, black depression.

I return to Moira totally wiped out. We need new sails, we've got a lot of work to do on the boat, we are out of money, have no prospects for kaleidoscope sales in Pago Pago, nothing on the horizon. My tooth has responded to a hot-mouth treatment with baking soda but will still need to be pulled out. I feel weak and miserable and lost. Even the remarkable coincidence of meeting Gary and Coral leaves me cold; if this is the Moirae's intended path it leaves a lot to be desired. Just one last beat to windward and we will be in American Samoa. The middle of the South Pacific.

Gary and Coral loathe American Samoa.


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