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My first overseas trip was a big one. The return to Sydney was via Hawaii and California. I landed at Honolulu with far too much baggage – a big lesson in the joy of traveling light in future.
A surf shop owner I met loaned me a board and a group of us paddled out at Waikiki after the shop closed and caught a few waves. What a thrill.
Later I met other Australian surfer-divers living over there who showed me the underwater world at \\Pipeline\\ on a calm day. “Wheels” Williams and Peter Clare.
There was another episode with a woman soliciting young men for her husband. I managed to talk my way out of that potential problem by making it clear I had good connections with Australian newspapers and magazines who were writing about my travels! (An exaggeration which later worked in this case).
She’d arranged for him to meet me on a street corner. He’d be driving a yellow Chev Biscayne. I’d stay for dinner and overnight at their estate at Kaneohe, complete with a 24 hour guard at the entrance.
Maybe feeling about this was wrong?
(Three years later back in Sydney at the Dee Why Mexican Restaurant a leading surfer (M.F.) confirmed my suspicion toward “DG” with a laugh. It was common knowledge amongst surfers what the older guy was into, with his wife’s apparent knowledge and assistance)!
With other surfers including an Aussie from Sydney called \\”Specks”\\ (who was working illegally and living in the city) we saw the big surf at Sunset Beach on the north shore.
The sister of a guy I’d met at Kapingamarangi (he’d had hopped off the cargo ship and was living illegally with the locals until the next ship arrived some 12 weeks later) picked me up at the airport. I slept at her place for the next week or so out near Diamond Head.
Memories of Honolulu were bullet holes in the street stop signs! The best pizza I’d ever eaten, tax **added onto** everything you purchased, (as per GST), lots of fast food, and the \\Beach Boy Cassanova’s\\ of Waikiki, who still exist there today.
These \\Beach Boys\\ were young locals who begged anything from visiting females with an almost insulting manner that was their gimmick or novelty to the girls who were used to being spoken to like royalty. It worked!
John Gentry was one such local, with his girlfriend Kim who I filmed and included in my \\Aquarius\\ documentary the following year.
Walking around town with a transistor radio plugged into an ear, the top music being played was “Soul Deep” by The Box Tops.
\\”For my love is a river running soul deep
Way down inside me it’s soul deep
Too big to hide and it can’t be denied
My love is a river running soul deep”\\
While having some 16mmm movie film processed at KGMB TV station I was able to sell them a sequence of Crown of Thorns starfish being injected with poison on Guam. The news film went international and caused a bit of trouble for me later.
Working at the station was an Australian girl, **Di Morrissey** who was most helpful in showing me around. (Today Di is a famous author living at Byron Bay).
In the street one night I met the traveling evangelist **Arthur Blesssitt**, famous at the time for chaining himself to a crucifix for days on LA’s Sunset Strip. We talked of the possibility of making a documentary together featuring his contact with motor cycle gangs – which may have become my first film, but didn’t.
Showing Arthur around the city was Eric Cavaliero, a reporter with the \\Honolulu Advertiser\\, the leading newspaper.
I had a good story for them **\\”The Unluckiest Aircraft of WW2″ \\**- a B-17 bomber brought down at Kapingamarangi by one of it’s own bombs exploding – when hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. The story got a run with a photograph.
Someone suggested I talk with local big game fisherman **Richard Boone**, the actor known as \\Palladin\\ (a TV western series \\Have Gun Will Travel).\\ Mr Boone was reclusive but helpful with suggestions over the phone.
An underwater film festival with mainly material by Californian divers was showing. It was educational in so much that it showed Australian underwater filmmakers doing it better.
Then it was on to California where I was met by friend and former Sydney model **Jackie Hickmott** at San Francisco and taken to her hideout at Sebastopol.
My memory was it was a shack in an apple orchid with very brown tap water. Jackie was married to a musician touring with his band following their worldwide hit, a song about a unicorn.
Later while walking down a street in San Francisco alone I was met by a team of young people including couple of airline hostesses – we all had a Chinese meal and later the girls suggested I might share their hotel room and even the double bed as I had nowhere planned to stay and was very short of funds.
We were very innocent in those times. Nothing happened. The next day we lunched complimentary at The Deck House restaurant in Sausalito – (I’ll include a picture separately with some notes).
I was into showing films in cinema’s back in Australia, so the girls suggested I consider the new 16mm movie \\Monterey Pop\\ that was packing the theatres out.
I phoned Leacock Pennebaker Inc. re their terms. They needed about $300K (today’s value) for the Australian rights **upfront.**
Out of my budget. It would have grossed a million or two had the idea been followed up.