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book depository, Lee Harvey Oswald, or the grassy knoll. We only heard that President Kennedy was shot in the back of the head and that he didn’t make it. We kept hoping it was just a rumor. “Te first thing I thought of was I gotta call

home,” remembers Robert. “But you couldn’t make an international phone call back then. Tere were only so many lines so there was no communication except what we heard on that radio. I kept thinking, what’s gonna happen? Tere was nobody to talk to. Tere was no news. I was pretty worried about it, like, okay, our vice president’s a cowboy, I mean, what’s he all about? I didn’t know a thing about him. I was pretty concerned for about three days.” We were all feeling far from home when

Kennedy was assassinated. Absolutely noth- ing was going to take that feeling away, well, except maybe time. I definitely needed some space away from all the craziness, which was exactly why I brought along my stash. Whenever I got the chance to wander off

by myself I looked around for marijuana and mushrooms. I even walked into some of the smaller villages asking about a common root that a cab driver told me about. He said it’d get you really loaded, blow your mind, and keep

Robert August and Mike Hynson meet Terrance, South Africa

the table. Take my advice, never trust a woman who drinks more than you. She’s probably got diet pills stashed in her purse. I swear our stay in Cape Town was non-

stop. John Whitmore introduced us to so many people I couldn’t keep up. I’d forget their names five minutes later. Terrence Bullen was one of the few who stood out. A retired British soldier, he was a real personality around town who spoke seven or eight native languages. He was so weathered from the sun you couldn’t tell if he was thirty or fiſty years old. He was also a big-game hunter who captured African animals for zoos and did work for the game preserves. Terence was the sixties version of the Crocodile Hunter. “Right around the same time that we met

Terence,” says Robert, “Bruce was thinking about buying a car to drive up to Durban. No- body had ever driven the entire eastern coast- line of South Africa before.” Bruce really wanted to explore for surf.

Tere were about eight to ten guys up in Dur- ban who had just barely learned. Tey weren’t thinking about surf trips. Tey were more fo- cused on staying up on their boards. So Bruce and Terrence made a deal. Terrence would drive us north if we let his fourteen year-old

Ghana Fishermen

you awake for weeks. All I needed to know about that black-seeded bush was that it kept your eyes open and I was on it! Unfortunately, nothing’s as good as it seems. Te locals who’d been chewing it for years all had red lips and bleeding gums. I also couldn’t get past the sour taste and it was hard to chew, worse than tar. God should grow that shit with a disclaimer. Bruce and Robert didn’t have a clue where I

went when I disappeared downwind. At least they didn’t say anything if they did. I actu- ally respected the fact that neither of them did drugs. Tey would not have been cool with it if they knew. So it was a good idea to keep them in the dark. I never thought that I was hold- ing them up. I was a loner. Tat’s just what I did. When I went off “exploring” it was usually when I was at my breaking point and had to get away to keep my sanity. Before I even leſt home I decided I’d need

some smoke for moments of confusion, stress, and the general boredom of traveling, and a roll of bennies to keep alert. Whenever I was tripped out on the herb I played it off by drinking them down. If you know anything about drugs, some keep you from getting drunk, others help you drink people under

Robert August, Cape St. Francis

nephew, James come along. In return, Bruce paid for their expenses and the kid learned how to surf. With the map Whitmore gave us leading to

a seven-mile point called Cape St. Francis, we hit the road in Terrence’s beat up two-seater panel truck with wild game animals painted on the side. If we came across a dirt road we’d drive toward the coast to check out the waves. If there weren’t any waves we’d go back to the highway and head north. When we came to a cliff, same thing, go back to the highway and keep going. Tat doesn’t mean nothing happened unless

we found surf. Bruce was ready for any op- portunity. When we saw how huge the sunsets were in South Africa, it felt like we were closer to the sun than at home. Driving on flat land affects the horizon and causes a shiny, water- like effect, like a mirage. It happens all the time in India. Bruce stayed behind and filmed Ter- rence driving inland. It turned out to be one of the many great pieces of footage in the film. Bruce’s ideas didn’t always make sense. Get-

Mike and Robert’s surfoards stowed African style

ting a shot of me sitting in the passenger seat of the panel truck holding a transistor radio up to my ear was a good one. I just laughed.

The Ocean Magazine • February/March 2012 7

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