My father was never too close to his kids, but when his fishing trawler mysteriously disappeared in a storm to the South of Guam, his wife and her three sons felt the loss deeply. I, more than my brothers, felt compelled to investigate what the Navy and NOAA wouldn't. A week later, I arrived in Guam and found the marina at which my father's boat had last been docked. Here I interrogated the manager, Vormen Klinkers. He mentioned that the South Equatorial Current would likely wash up any remnants in Halmahera, of the Maluku Islands, based on the ship's last radioed position.
So, I scoured the 160 kilometers of Halmahera coastline until at last I found a clue. His logbook, nearly ruined, had washed up near a village. The first pages crumbled in my fingers, and the last ones were all blank. However, I managed to extract the last 4 pages with writing on them.
My hope dwindled as I stared at the strange collection of symbols arranged on the papers. My father often used codes and ciphers for private information, but he never explained any of them to us.
Determined to uncover the truth, I took pictures and brought them home. These are the exact symbols which were on each page:
For three weeks I tirelessly studied them. At last, their meaning became clear. I hitched up the boat trailer to my pickup truck and floored it to the nearest highway.
Where was I going, and what had I discovered in my father's notes?
One night I stared into the sky, hoping, watching the small pinpoints of light twinkle in the vastness of space. And that gave me an idea—but it had nothing to do with stars.