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4 July 2009

© Franklin J. Viola, Viola Photography and Viola Photo Solutions. 2008  All Rights Reserved.

Steel Beach / T/S Texas Clipper, circa 1979

Thirty years ago this summer my 'journey'
around the planet began as a humble laundryman
washing clothes for 100+ maritime cadets.

Knowing the three month 'cruise' would visit the ports of
Dry Tortugas, Bermuda, Aruba, Barbados and Vera Cruz,
I purchased an underwater Nikonos III ... my first camera.

 With no clue of apertures or shutter-speeds,
I exhausted bottom time and Kodachrome on every reef
my meager salary would allow.

At sea, I hung out with classmates on the Clipper's
"steel beach" where sailor stories became lifelong friends.
Karl Haupt (in red) is currently Captain of Texas Maritime Academy.

Enlisting in the academy the following fall, I sailed
'deep sea' five years as a merchant mariner upon graduation.

Time between ships allowed me to hone rudimentary
photography skills, eventually shedding my water-wings
for a passion of sub-aquatic forays.

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely
in a well preserved body, but rather to slide in sideways
totally worn out, shouting
"Holy Shit, what a Ride!"

Thanks Mom and Dad


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