February, 2014

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Friday February 28…and I can cry if I want to..

Friday, February 28th, 2014

When I opened Google this morning I was pleasantly surprised with the below header.





with : Feliz cumpleaños . Google knows my birthday but they have not tracked me down from Spain yet. If you happen to be near Haarlem come get a slice of the birthday cake I picked for my self. It looks almost to good to cut into. I am expecting mostly family to stop by this afternoon. The Dutch customs of celebrating birthdays is different from what I have become used to in the United States. Here it is the one whose birthday it is to provide the cake and beverages. At work and or for your club members you are expected to repeat this custom. In my choir there is always someone of the 60 plus members to have a birthday in the week of the rehearsals.



Sunday February 23rd. A busy week

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Monday morning I visited Marinus and Leni Hoogendoorn on the m/v “Glissando”. Glissando towed “Fleetwood” up the Rhine in 2010. They were loading in the Amsterdam harbor. Monday evening I showed two of my slide shows of part of the 9 year voyage for my friends in the Augustinus church choir. Wednesday and Thursday  I made five “house calls” with friends and family. Yesterday my twin brother and his wife made a surprise visit here from Germany.

Yesterday evening I had a delightful visit with Arjan my neighbor across the street, and with his son Quintus and his grilfriend Stevie who had just arrived the day before from Red Stick (think….???) Louisiana.

This morning I attended service at the Willibrordus church in Heiloo. My friend Cor Oost was playing the organ. The church has an exceptional good organ. A break from the book writing. The suspense is killing you, I know.


Cor Oost on the organ of the Wilibrordus Church in Heiloo

Sunday February 16th Another full moon

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

It is three moons since the full moon on November 16, when I lost my home on Tagomago. I came across the below photo of the same yellow foul weather pants which Hamid wears in the more recent picture. They were seldom worn since I have a bad record on hanging on to my female crew. Lisa, my oldest daughter, with two of her classmates who had all just graduated from Bellarmine Prep school in Tacoma helped me bring “Fleetwood” back from Hawaii, in 1982. Hamid and Moss recovered the red and yellow pants on shore near the shipwreck. I reported last Sunday that I was to sing with the Augustinus church choir this morning. Of the usual 6 to 8 tenors, there were just three of us. I only managed to attend the one rehearsal, last Wednesday evening, which left me somewhat lacking for the Missa Pontificalis of Lorenzo Perosi. This was brand new to me. O, Salutaris Hostia from Edward Elgar and a few others were more familiar. But as always, singing is my passion and it was a real treat to be able to sing with this choir which is superbly directed. Father Ambro Bakker made a pitch for the slide show I will give tomorrow evening for the choir members and any parishioners. Richard, the choir’s presider, distributed a flyer of the program.


This morning’s moonset. Hint : a new tripod?

I added a couple photos of the reed roof that is being redone for the home across the street where I live for now. DSC_0004 DSC_0002

R-L: Jamid with Lisa's 1976 foul weather pants, Angeles, Moss with Ce Ce's gear

R-L: Jamid with Lisa’s 1976 foul weather pants, Angeles, Moss with Ce Ce’s gear

Scanned Photo-13_edited-1

Lisa in 1982 on way back from Hawaii

February 15 Saturday morning. “All is not lost”

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Last night I watched the recent movie “All is lost” with Robert Redford. I do not see many movies and have not owned a t.v. since the 20th century. But I had looked forward to this movie with some anticipation since I share a few similarities with the subject and the actor. Before month’s end he and I will both be 77. The movie’s story is of him suffering a shipwreck as a solo sailor. The reviews I have read both in the U.S. and Europe for the director and actor have been full of praise. The few reactions I have heard and seen of other sailors have been less complimentary.

I found a few scenes well done and clever but for the most part lacked any link to reality in a solo sailor’s shipwreck in mid ocean. And it could have been made more real if the director would have done a little more homework on the subject. I realize that the movie is not made for the handful of solo ocean sailors and the even rarer portion who get to suffer a shipwreck. Much of the reviews’ praise go to the determination and resourcefulness in Redford’s attempts in survival; but you need an awful lot of imagination, particularly for the non-sailor, to figure out what some of those attempts portray.

The movie starts with Redford waking up in a collision with a floating container. The ocean is flat calm, a mill pond, the mainsail hangs limp, useless, yet somehow the container has managed to put a large hole in the boat. To separate the boat from the container he goes forward on the container and puts a drogue out from the container and then under sail, without wind, wildly spinning the wheel as if he is on a tugboat, manages to get loose from the container. But to the non-sailor this action would need a manual. And there are many more of this category. Example, how many movie goers would interpret, from the charts he uses in the life-raft, that he is crossing a controlled shipping lane? But then they would also know that these are not found in the middle of the ocean.

The boat’s interior looks like it seldom leaves the dock all it needs is a few potted plants and doilies. For the exterior of an ocean going sailboat it lacks a dodger, dinghy, outboard motor, wind generator or solar panels, radar dome, etc.. But he most nagging questions are that with all the fancy equipment he has at his disposal, where is the EPIRB, handheld waterproof VHF-Marifoon to call the ships that pass him within a couple hundred feet, a handheld GPS instead of the Sextant, a life vest?

The one scene in the storm where the boat turtles and Redford suffers a head injury I found credible and cleverly enacted. In the aftermath he manages to jettison the broken mast by snipping one wire, not so credible.

The ending is unexpected but thought provoking one is left with their own interpretation of what the metaphor of the outstretched hand means.

You’d need to wait till “Soloman” appears in your local movie theater to get the sailing part right. “All is not lost” yet…….

Sunday, February 9. Crossed the Rubicon.

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

It is official. We have a winner for the book title:


The further I get into the book the more it is a story of sailing alone but making many lasting friendships along the voyage.

I have registered the domain names for the Dutch version as www.Soloman.nl and the English version as www.Soloman.us

The name works in both languages. If it will ever make it into German it would be Solomann and in Spanish Solomán.

I had in mind to have little fun with the name and wordplay as:


Soloman’s Wisdom

according to

Jack van Ommen

Sailing the oceans in social solitude (or sailing solo around the world in good company)


De Hollandse versie zoiets als:


Wijsheid van Soloman


Jack van Ommen

Solo Wereldzeilen in goed gezelschap

Please, give me your honest/frank feedback. I need your help. I have tested it on just a few and the younger of them tell me that Salomo/Solomon do not register at all. So, I may need to drop that part.

But I feel reasonable good about the title. It has not been used in any other books.

I went to mass this morning at the Haarlem cathedral, Sint Bavo. There was a baptism of a lovely baby girl. The mother and her twin brother and parents had been housed in the cathedral’s rectory over twenty years ago as political refugees from Syria. Hart warming. The cathedral’s boy choir sang. Sorry girls, but they are much better than the girl choir of the previous Sunday.

Next Sunday I sing with the Augustinus church choir. They are short on tenors for this service. I will rehearse this Wednesday. The mass choral part is from Missa Pontificalis of Lorenzo Perosi. This is brand new to me. Wish me luck, please. But from what I have listened to in audio it is gorgeous and excited to do well.   For the communion we sing O, Salutaris Hostia from Edward Elgar which I have sung before. Then on Monday evening I show slides of part of the 9 year voyage and the shipwreck to my friends in the choir and possibly some of the Parishioners.

The first reading in today’s service is from Isaiah 58: 7-10

verse 7: Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? 

So, remember this when I come knocking. God, placed me homeless in your midst so that you can shelter me. But, jest aside, it was another service that makes my week. The little girl’s name was something like Lucinda or Lucera, meaning Light, and the gospel was from Matthew 5. “You are the Light of the World”.




Sunday February 2nd. Simeon’s Canticle

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

This Sunday Christians commemorate the presentation of Mary to make an offering of two doves in the temple as the Jewish ritual prescribed for women 40 days after the baby’s birth. Then the 87 year old Simeon takes the baby Jesus in his arms and sings his canticle “Nunc Dimitis servum tuum”. Now master let your servant go. Simeon is ready to die and Jesus has his short live ahead. At the end of the service at the Haarlem St. Bavo cathedral I had a very special encounter with the lady who sat next to me in the pew. Nicole from Calgary, Alberta who grew up in Montreal. Her husband has a temporary teaching assignment here for the personnel of one of the largest North American construction and defense contractors. They have traveled extensively and seen some very interesting parts of the world. And she and her husband share with me the same awe of  God’s creation. These are the encounters that make a day special.

Later in the afternoon this (almost) 77 year old got to hold the 6 months old Kai first born baby boy to my niece Jonneke, daughter of (my cousin) Gido and Riet van Ommen.