Photo: Renaming Saila-V
We walked down the dock to the rhythmic thumping of Steve's drum, Steve in his northwest native hat and wearing his copper pendant, I with my west-wind charm and my wild woman T-shirt carrying a carved bowl of blueberries. It was Saturday noon and boaters out working on their boats dropped paintbrushes and tools to watch us.
"What's the occasion?" one of them asked us.
"Oh, sounds like fun." He went back to his work. Apparently, it wasn't too outrageous to do a renaming ceremony in Northwest Native garb.
When our friends Rob Fox and Karen Laemme invited us to the renaming ceremony of their Cal 39 - and asked Steve to officiate - we were honored. But then, Rob asked if there was anything we needed for priestly garb. Priestly garb? I was mystified. A Neptune outfit perhaps, but we didn't have anything like that.
The morning of the ceremony, Steve announced he'd figured it out. "I consulted with Neptune, Jupiter and Poseidon," he told me. "They said their jurisdiction extended only to the Mediterranean. Then I asked Odin, father of the Norse gods, Thor and Njord. He assured me they only controlled the north Atlantic. Then I talked to the Northwest spirits, who agreed they controlled the north Pacific, but since they didn't have a written language, I could do it in English." With Steve wearing a Haida hat and copper pendant and carrying a Tsimshian drum and me wearing a Nuu-chah-nulth west-wind charm and a Kwakwaka'wakw wild woman T-shirt and carrying a Tlingit bowl we had a good representation of Northwest spirits.
We reached Karen and Rob's boat to find an altar set up on the dock. A silk cloth was draped over a box and on top a burning candle, incense, and other trinkets surrounded a photo. Rob explained that the name of the boat when they purchased it, Saila-V
, just didn't suit them. The new name would be Kathleen
, named for Rob's great aunt. Kathleen had never married, by choice. She'd been a store owner in Australia but every so often, she closed the store and went traveling - to Indonesia, New Zealand, you name it. Whenever Rob talked about traveling, his family would say, "Oh, you're just like Kathleen." Now Rob and Karen planned to set off on adventures on their own: in a boat named for Kathleen.
The ceremony began. Karen stood on the bow, the rest of us on the dock.
"Have you expunged all evidence of Saila-V
? asked Steve.
"Then sprinkle champagne to the east, the west, the north and south."
"With the permission of Neptune, Jupiter, Poseidon and Odon, and in honor of the northwest spirits, I name you Kathleen
," declared Steve as Karen poured champagne in four directions.
"Now a toast!" said Rob.
Rob poured four glasses from another, more expensive bottle of Champagne. "To Kathleen
!" we all cried as we sipped our champagne.
Then we all repaired to Kathleen
's cabin for a delicious lunch and more champagne.