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64ft. Australian Cutter sailing into Kaui, "Nirvana" late August, 1958. A voyage Pat Curren called a "Ship wreck going to happen!" Nirvana was a powerful sailing cutter, a well designed back yard boat of native Australian wood. She had come up from the South Seas on a long, hard voyage to Honolulu. Most of the crew had gone home and did not want to sail the last leg of the three thousand mile Great Circle Route into Northern waters to the US. Pat Curren and I completed a winter on the North Shore surfing and a summer at Waikiki, and were broke and needed to return to the coast. They needed a crew and we needed a free ride back and signed on with three Aussies and an Englishman. Tom Keck accompanied us to Kauai and jumped ship after an ill-fated departure, luckily to escape with his life. The voyage took 25 days, and on fast legs we made over 200 miles a day. Both radios were out, the decks leaked, batteries dead, with no lights, and the captain had no charts for the Pacific Coast saying, "We will just run into land and can't miss it… Mates!"
Baja California, called "The Frontera," only had paved roads to Ensenada, and from there unmapped dirt roads and trails. The first roads were made for wagons and burros, then Model T, and Model A Fords that had high clearance and you could drive on sand if you deflated the tires. We used surplus WWII jeeps later and also panel trucks like the one picture to camp and surf. The conditions were pristine for skin diving in very cold water and we often sacked up on abalone and lobsters for beach feasts. We took shot guns for quail hunting and for unlucky rattle snakes that wandered into our camps. We had the place all to ourselves and only encountered other Gringos in the late 50's and early 60's. Then Mexican Laws finally prohibited the taking of abalone and lobsters by non-Mexican nationals. The paved road to Cabo San Lucas was completed in the late 1960's and VW's were modified into dune buggies to explore and race this rugged land. We indeed had it good being some of the first into Baja for surfing and diving.
We all went to the Honolulu airport to send off Linda Benson who had won the Women's World Surfing Championship. Pat Curren in the foreground with Tom Keck, Tom Carlin, in the back ground watching the plane getting ready to take 15 year old Linda back to California. It was a rousing send off and party. Unable to afford flower leis, the raucous group grabbed toilet seat cover papers out of the restroom and wore them like Leis shocking the tourists coming and going. We always had a good time with behavior not usually to the norm.