August 23, 1997
Seal Rock, Oregon, USA

The weather over the last two days has been crappy, but life has been good. I’ve been staying with some nice folks. They offered me a bed and have been feeding me like a king. Here’s how it took place...

My paddle from Devil’s Punch Bowl to here was a piece of cake. I left there around noon, had perfect conditions, saw a bunch more whales, and landed here just before dark. I landed at this spot in particular, because there was a bonfire out front. And where there’s a bonfire... there’s usually people around who can help me carry my boat up from the water(and who have lots of food). The folks at the fire were very kind, and did as I expected on both accounts.

Between filling my face with Smores(marshmallow and chocolate between two Graham crackers), I talked with them as we sat around the fire. Through a few key words that they said, it became apparent they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Curious, I took the opportunity to ask everything I ever wanted to know about JW’s.

Like the Mormons, the members of the Jehovah’s Witness spend a great deal of time and energy doing missionary work; nether church has any clergy or hierarchy. For example, they don’t have what would be considered a professional Minister, Pastor, or Priest. The leaders of their churches are members of the congregation; people who are considered their equals.

JWs and Mormons also believe that there are different levels of Heaven. JWs believe there are two levels. The first level is for the "chosen ones" - who they think number in the thousands or tens of thousands. Those are the only people they think will go to be with God in Heaven when they die. The rest, will stay in the ground until judgment day, when all people, the dead and the living, will face God for judgment. The bad folks go the hell, and the good folks party on earth(which will be made perfect again) for eternity.

The Mormons believe there are many levels of Heaven. The better person you are, the better the Heaven you will to go to. Which means, if I live a totally kick-ass life... I’ll go to a Heaven where there’s always 100 feet of visibility underwater... always a foot of fresh power on the mountains... and never any loose rocks fall off the cliffs. Or, If I mess up, but still live a good life... I’ll go to a place with 50 feet visibility... The snow is machine groomed... and occasionally a lose rock falls. Or... If I really screw-up big time... My hell would be... being locked in a lunch room with geeks, and forced to play Dungeons & Dragons for eternity.

Jehovah’s Witness don’t celebrate Christmas. They told me, "Along time ago before there was such thing as Christmas, the Pagans celebrated Winter Solstice, which is celebrated around Dec. 25th. The Christians didn’t want to be left out of the celebrations, so they just made up a holiday called Christmas - but the 25th of December really wasn’t the date Jehovah(that’s what they call Christ) was born." Before departing the bonfire, I was asked to join them for breakfast the next morning.

After getting my tent set up, I knocked on the door of a near-by house to get my email. . The woman who answered the door was very kind, and let me stay for an hour. Before leaving, I asked if I could come back in the morning. She said it would be OK.

During the night it down-poured. To keep puddles from forming under my tent, I dug ditches around the perimeter. The ditches filled up quickly and made the situation worse. My sleeping bag was inside a Gore-Tex shell. I stayed dry and slept well.

In the morning, David, the father from the family I met the night before, came and got me for breakfast. While our breakfast of bacon, sausage, and hash browns, was cooking over the fire, I continued my 20 questions routine with David. The man had all the answers. I think it’s fascinating how so many different faiths(Jews, Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Pentecostals, Lutherans, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) can read from the same Bible, and have totally different religious practices. After breakfast, I said "Thank-you" and "Good-bye" to David and his family, I then headed off to spend the rest of the day typing at Jimmie’s House.

Jimmie, and her husband, Jim, had their nephew and his wife over for supper, and I was invited. They offered me a place to sleep in their home last night. I have been typing all day. I hope to hit the water again tomorrow.