Burial At Sea, April 17th 1999.


I came back from a business trip just barely in time to join Maryly in burying the ashes of her friend Patty at sea. The previous week we had tried to do a “wet run” and were washed around the bridge by the tide. Maryly had learned a bunch of lessons and was planning on dumping the ashes close to shore and staying away from the bridge. I figured we could get a little closer than that.

The weather was warm and sunny with little wind in the east bay. But as we crossed over the bay we saw fog piling up over the Marin Hills. Driving down Highway 101 we saw a river of fog pouring in through the Golden Gate. It really did look like a smooth tube of white material that came in under the bridge, crossed over to Angel Island, then collided with the island and piled up in fluffy cloud-like shapes. On both sides of this river of fog we could see sunny weather. This looked interesting, but it didn't bode well for our kayak trip. The fog was being pushed in by a strong wind from the West.

We met the well wishers and one other kayaking buddy of Maryly’s, Flicka McGurrin of Pier 23 and Sweeties' fame, at the boat ramp. The kayaks were loaded down with flowers and launched to start around Horseshoe Cove. Taking a conservative path we went under the fishing pier where the well wishers dropped some more flowers on us. Maryly wanted to go a mere 500 yards from shore and return, but her friend convinced her to keep going towards a calm looking area closer to the bridge. We never found a really calm spot out of the wind. It kept trying to blow us back to shore against the current. With the wind blowing from the west like this we probably could have bucked the tide this time even if we were out under the bridge in the middle of the current.

We dropped our load of flowers, a feather boa, and Maryly poured the ashes on the water. The ashes billowed out under the water in a white cloud and swirled away from us towards the bridge. The current under the water was ebbing out to sea but the wind pushed the flowers and then us safely back towards shore.


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All text and images Copyright © 1999 by Mike Higgins / contact