I feel extremely lucky to have been led to artist Paul Loh, at the 407 Tatto Studio. Paul combined the two pictures I gave him with what I described and his own talent, experience, and intuition to create a design far more beautiful than I imagined. It is as if Paul knew what I wanted, even more than I did.
Also important is the environment that Paul has designed and cultivated. This was my first tattoo studio experience, so I felt a little apprehension, but that evaporated the moment I walked in the door. Paul made me feel very comfortable and it immediately became apparent that this was the right place.
Though I had joked about going traditional and getting drunk before the tattoo session, that is not my way, and I decided that, if it was really painful, I would just think about the sailing and sea stories behind this milestone. There was, of course, The Bridge Incident, as well as many happier sailing hours with Sea Scout Ship 7916 and with the “Sea Nanners” of Ship 100, helping to bring the SV Benjamin Chase down for her very special christening ceremony, being captain of that boat for her and her scouts’ first race, various other races and cruises, participating in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race aboard a 125′ schooner and going on to sail Cape Hatteras with the same vessel, cruising the Exumas, transiting from Nassau to Charleston, two cruises when I was the “Sailing Angel” for a vet who is battling leukemia, numerous lessons taught at Woodbridge Sailing School, a bit of single-handing, rocking the Cherry Blossom Regatta, a wicked sail on the Chesapeake Bay, cutting whitecaps on the Potomac River, and much more. The pain was never unbearable, but I ended up telling a few sea stories during the process, to pass the time and to mark the occasion while Paul quietly worked on his permanent addition to my skin.
The experience and result were so positive that I look forward to obtaining my second tattoo, which will likely be the twin to this one, on the opposite shoulder, to commemorate my 10,000 mile mark. Or, perhaps, a turtle to mark my sailing across the equator. We shall see!