New Year Fossil WIsh

In a moment, you’ll find out about the funny looking rock between my fingers.

It’s the age old tradition. You go to a foreign land. It’s New Years Eve. There’s a fountain in the town square. You throw in a piece of local currency. You make a wish. You go back to drinking champagne.

Or, if you’re like me, you don’t see the sense of throwing good money into the drink just because others are doing it.


Then there’s this New Year.

Okay, so it was about a week ago. While out crayfishing off the coast of Tasmania, I suddenly remembered 2011 was about to break upon us. And here I was, miles at sea, thinking about how folks throw money into pools. When it dawned on me that I was floating on a big a pool as you can get – the Southern Ocean.

So I dug out my clam.

For the past weeks, I’ve been living in the focsle aboard a crayfish boat the Southern Ocean. The focsle is the forward part of the boat.

Focsle: My lodgings for the past month

Lined with little more than berths, it’s where I kept the few possesions I travel with on my $10 bike. Sleeping bag, camera, notebook.

Clam. Clam?

In 1998, Paul Welles of Triton Yachts hauled my sailboat Sea Bird to Oriental, North Carolina, where I began my solo sailing trip around the world. The storage yard where I prepared my boat was covered in fossils from Aurora, North Carolina. Before I departed, I nicked a small fossilized clam as a souvenir and sailed most of the way around the world with it tucked away in Sea Bird’s hold. Then it went over the side – and I sailed back to Oriental.

So I figured if it worked once, I’d do it again (the lucky clam trick, that is). So before leaving Oriental this fall, I dropped by Paul’s yard and picked up another fossilized shell. (For more on that story and Oriental, North Carolina, click here.)

Close up the fossilized clam

Fast forward to last week.

We’re off the southern coast of Tasmania. I’m thinking of the New Year ahead. So out came my Oriental clam. And over the side it went.

Just like that.

Did I make a wish? Sure I did. And no I’m not going to tell you what it was. Just like I don’t expect you to tell me yours. That’s right, I’d say that old clam fossil that I chucked over the side has plenty of wishes left in it. So close your eyes, imagine you’re off the coast of Tasmania. That fossil’s in your hand. You feel the chalky grit. You’re reaching back, giving it fling – and off it flies to live with the crayfish and albatross.

Your wish lives here now. Look closely, and you’ll spot the albatross (but not the crayfish).

So what did you wish for….?

Happy 2011 all you Southern Ocean Dreamers. Now go whack a bottle of bubbly in the head…!

(PS: Yes, Melinda and Michele, your bits of home were launched as well…)

Ted Govin
2010-12-31 07:34:04

Happy New Year Bernie….. I have followed Bob the teamster since he first started. I got your web from his site and have been following you everysince. I think ,I emailed a short message a long time ago. Yes I check your site everyday and look forward to every entry. I love the adventure your site let`s me live vicariously. My wife and I live in North West Wisconsin on a hobby farm and enjoy it to the max. Our adventures have been by RV and horse back having ridden trails in at least 9 states. I just retired from 48 years of barbering and am still trying to adjust. Enough for now. Don`t want to waste your time with trite conversation. Ted Govin

2010-12-31 09:16:36

From Indiana to you, Happy New Year!!
I enjoy all your posts and pictures.
I also got your website from the wagonteamster. I think he must be snowed in in the northeast, as he hasn’t posted for a couple weeks.
Enjoy. Be safe.

2010-12-31 18:36:08

Happy New Year Ted and Doris. Dang Ted, I could have used you yesterday. You being a barber, we could have swapped a haircut for a Tasmanian crayfish. Had to settle for a Hobart clip instead… Thanks for the Indiana New Year wish Doris. Now go email Bob and tell him to get postin’! All the best in 2011.

2010-12-31 23:59:46

Looking swell Bernie. So what happens to your wish when it goes over the side? Im thinking its like a cosmic current thing – we are all so intertwined. Happy New Year luv


Carolyn Howell
2011-01-01 16:28:41

I used to go dig for fossils in the mines in Aurora. I have a few clams and other fossils from there that I have kept from my teaching days about 20 years ago.
A belated Happy New Year.
I am looking forward to your new adventures for the new year of 2011.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Current Ramble
Other Cool Reads
Follow Bernie!