Danau Toba: "Captain Jack"

 

Pulau Samosir
Danau Toba
Sumatra Utara
Republik Indonesia

June 30, 2008

Dear Jack,

(cc: Friends and Family)

Seven years ago, when I began writing my Travel Letters, I only considered three "E's." I thought I could Entertain my readers with stories from my destinations. I also wanted to Educate myself and others just a little. Finally, I hoped that I would Encourage my family and cautious friends to be more adventurous as they made their own travel plans.

One of the unexpected and wholly positive unintended consequences of my letters is that they have reminded other travelers of their own adventures to exotic and remote locations.

Your response to my Sumatra "Islands and Lakes" letter is the most recent example:

Jan, you do know how to make one dizzy. But, being one of those who thrives on trivia, I enjoyed the summary of the islands and lakes. And, I was thrilled to recognize one of the islands - Manitoulin, on the northern end of Lake Huron.

I have sailed around Manitoulin and also docked there. I crossed into Canadian waters and had to register my boat and passengers with Canadian Immigration. The Customs shed also served as the Post Office and the island's general store. A piece of trivia back at you.

Jack, sometimes I wonder if my skeptical friends think that I exaggerate or maybe even make things up: all that business about islands on lakes and lakes on islands. And certainly it never occurred to me that anyone actually visited those isolated places.

What a surprise to learn that you sailed to Manitoulin on Lake Huron! What a happy result that my "Islands and Lakes" letter reminded you of what must have been a splendid cruise to a delightful refuge.

At the moment I am on the island of Samosir, on Lake Toba in the north of Sumatra - the largest island on a lake on an island. Needless to say, my hotel room has a "view."

Do you agree that there is something special about islands on lakes? They are so tranquil, so cool, so charming, and so rejuvenating after days of strenuous sailing or, as in my case, driving across wavy, bone-rattling roads.

Please let me know when you will weigh anchor and shove off again on The Great Lakes. I'd be happy to sign on. I have often thought that the drive around Lake Superior would be special. But to sail across? Now that would be . . . superior.

Mind you, I cannot sail a boat or read a navigation chart. But surely I can swab a deck or prepare an omelet. I promise to entertain your crew and passengers with my travel stories. Some of them may even be true.

Thank you again, Captain Jack, for sharing the recollections of your adventures. I hope you will haul in many more great memories.

Cheers,

Deck Hand Jan

PS . . . Dear Friends, Captain Jack is my high school classmate, Jack Calabro. For most of his adult life he has lived in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on the shores of Lake Michigan. He wrote to tell me that I encouraged him to consider a trip to Turkey. Turkey is a fascinating country with welcoming people and tasty food. And a few islands to explore?

PPS . . . There are five great lakes on the border of the United States and Canada. What is the mnemonic device to remember all The Great Lakes? It's "HOMES."

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