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Author Topic: SoCal spearo in need  (Read 367 times)

Offline Saltynuts

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SoCal spearo in need
« on: March 11, 2019, 04:03:50 PM »
This posting is a call to help for a friend of a friend (Mike Pender)who’s been recently diagnosed with terminal Cancer.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yNqx1dPCu163RwoyH3hTXcr3CIHBBj1iKojRjlfxDk0/edit?usp=sharing

Below is text and link in case above google doc doesn’t work.
Thank you and give it share on FB if you can’t spare the dough please.




This story is a tribute to my friend Mike Pender. I like to tell the story of how I met him because of how unusual it is to meet someone like Mike in such a chance way and how and because I think, it’s a great story. I tell it to the best of my recollection (with the aid of Google maps to remind me of some of the geographical locations), but this is how it happened. Mike is 54 years old (as of this writing March 2019) and was recently diagnosed with cancer in an advanced stage. Barred a miracle, it doesn’t look like he has long to live. He can use some financial help too, so if you can pitch in a few bucks to help him out during this time, please find the GoFundMe.com link at the bottom of this piece. Either way, I hope you enjoy the story. If you do, give it a like in my Facebook page (link below) or his GoFundMe page and share it.

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HOW I MET MIKE

About 15 years ago I took a few days off from work and drove to Southern California from the Bay Area with all my diving and spear fishing gear in the back of my Trooper. Spent the night in San Fernando Valley with a friend and the next day early before dawn, started driving slowly North along the coast from Santa Monica though Malibu, Oxnard, Santa Barbara and so on, looking for good places to jump in the Pacific Ocean's waters and go get me some fish. Nothing. Bad visibility, milky water and windy all the way. I remember arriving at Gaviota State Park where Highway 1 turns North and inland, one of the spots I had selected and again feeling quite disappointed. The park was kind of ugly and conditions had not improved there either. I pulled out my 30-page Atlas with a detailed map of California (No Google maps then), looking for other spots to go check along the coast and selected a place called Point Sal, West of Santa Maria, South of San Luis Obispo and North of Vanderberg Air Force base. Looked just right, a nice point jutting out to sea protecting a good portion of coast facing South from the Northerly winds and waves.
My map showed a solitary road to Point Sal, named obviously enough Point Sal Road, through a town called Casmalia. The only road that goes there. Easy. Take that road and stay on it. With a full tank of gas, what can go wrong... right? I arrive at Casmalia - I am sure one of the smallest towns in California, a single street, maybe a dozen houses and a one-room part time Post Office - and drive slowly through it past three guys standing and talking on the street off to one side. I look at them they look at me and I keep going for about two minutes. Shit! The road is cut by a big metal fence and signs that read "Do Not Trespass - Vanderberg Air Force Base". That I didn't expect. After a few minutes of cursing my luck, I turn the Trooper around and as I am driving back through town, I see the three suspicious looking guys still standing there and talking in front of that one-room lonely post office. I approach them slowly thinking to myself, should I ask these guys how to get to Point Sal or should I keep going? At the risk of life and limb, I roll down my window, come to a stop and ask "Hey, you guys know how to get to Point Sal?"
This chatty very fit and very friendly guy with a prominent mustache looking to be in his thirties, very enthusiastically starts describing the way to get there. I do remember him instructing me to get back out to Highway 1, driving almost all the way up to San Luis Obispo, and taking this other road South or West to some beach or park (probably Rancho Guadalupe Preserve), leaving my car there and walking about three miles South along the coast up and down these pretty steep bluffs to get there. As he elaborates his detailed and very eloquent explanation, my heart is the only thing that goes diving that day as it sinks deeper in my chest. Once he is done explaining and after a couple of seconds of silence he goes "Why do you want to go there?" I tell him that I love spear fishing and I am looking for good spear fishing spots along the Central California coast. His eyes light up and happily orders me "Pull over, come here, I want to show you something!" as he gestures with his hand to follow him. So I do, I pull over, get out of the car and follow him into his small apartment thinking "What am I getting myself into?" hoping not to see a fillet knife on this guy's hand. He opens a closet door full of spear guns, more than a dozen of them, each with a story and several modified to his liking. He shows me gear he made himself to make things easier in the water when hunting fish, his kayaks and paddle boats in the back, every one of theses things with great and funny stories and we become fast friends. He then tells me about the Channel Islands and asks me if I've ever been there. I say 'No', not wanting to admit I didn't even really know they existed. And he goes, "Can you stay until tomorrow?" to which I say "Sure! I have a few days off." This fellow picks up his cell phone, goes to the middle of the street to call one of his buddies, proposes to take a trip to the Channel Islands the following day with this stranger he just met - me - on tow. I end up crashing in his couch and at 4:00 am next day we are up and on our way to Oxnard to meet up with his buddy and his big Diesel boat.
Next thing I know I am spear fishing on the South side of Anacapa Island, one of the most beautiful and magical places in California, 11 miles offshore from Oxnard. During that dive I happen to see, barely 7 or 8 feet down, a majestic Black Sea Bass gently swimming through the water like a submarine. . The only one I've ever seen in the wild. It must have been about four feet long and probably close to 200 pounds. That fish was thick and was huge. Being a protected species I knew I couldn't shoot it, but just the same, I wouldn't have shot at him anyway. I didn't stand a chance. My speargun felt like a toothpick in my hand as I watched that beast swim by impassively while it kept an eye on me. This was one of the best times of my life. A weekend that I remember as if yesterday. I smile each and every time I think of it. All because of Mike.
I ended up going to the Channel Islands probably a dozen times over the next few years with Mike and other friends of his, some of whom became good friends of mine too. Mike made this happen. He opened up his house, his arms and his heart to me, just because. It didn't have to be our love of the sea and the sport. It could have been honey (he is a beekeeper), tacos (he loves Mexican food) or a flat tire by the side of the road as he was passing by. That's Mike.

Ah Mike, what a beautiful man you are!

 GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/we-like-mike
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rick.maida.7/posts/10217048050545924

Offline TheKeeneroo

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Re: SoCal spearo in need
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 04:20:41 PM »
Cancer is such a bummer. I'm super sorry to hear about Mike. My pops passed in 2009 from it.

Have you tried some of the forums from down south as well? Norcalkayakanglers.com have a lot of experience in fundraising for members of the community with cancer as well, you might consider reaching out to some of the "Pay it forward" guys. The one that comes to mind is Patrick Khul (SinCoast). Look him up for pointers too.
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

Eric, Pacific Grove
Instagram - @thekeeneroo    Facebook - @Ekeener1
Century Free diver, Level 1 Free Dive Cert, EANx
DOTY 2018 - 3rd Place
Bring the Ling 2018 - 1st Place (=P)

Offline bythog

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Re: SoCal spearo in need
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2019, 05:42:14 PM »
I had cancer a little over two years ago; luckily mine was caught very early on and I've been in the clear for a while. I know how much of a physical, emotional, and financial toll that can take. I wish Mike all the luck in the world, and kudos to you for doing what you can to help him and his family out. I can't offer much but I'll do what I can.

From someone in his shoes I'll offer one suggestion: do something to take his mind off of things for a short time. The only thing I wanted was for a friend to sit down and play co-op Gears of War. Find something he enjoys, do it with him, and don't mention the cancer a single time. Let him really enjoy a few hours because that's what he'll think of when things get shitty.

Offline Mike n

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Re: SoCal spearo in need
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2019, 09:05:46 PM »
Salty,

Sorry to hear about your buddy.  :-(

Check your PM.

MN

Offline Saltynuts

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Re: SoCal spearo in need
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 10:08:53 PM »
Cancer is such a bummer. I'm super sorry to hear about Mike. My pops passed in 2009 from it.

Have you tried some of the forums from down south as well? Norcalkayakanglers.com have a lot of experience in fundraising for members of the community with cancer as well, you might consider reaching out to some of the "Pay it forward" guys. The one that comes to mind is Patrick Khul (SinCoast). Look him up for pointers too.
Hey Eric,
Sorry to hear about your father.
Yes, posted on NCKA and will reach out to SinCoast.
Thanks bro!

I had cancer a little over two years ago; luckily mine was caught very early on and I've been in the clear for a while. I know how much of a physical, emotional, and financial toll that can take. I wish Mike all the luck in the world, and kudos to you for doing what you can to help him and his family out. I can't offer much but I'll do what I can.

From someone in his shoes I'll offer one suggestion: do something to take his mind off of things for a short time. The only thing I wanted was for a friend to sit down and play co-op Gears of War. Find something he enjoys, do it with him, and don't mention the cancer a single time. Let him really enjoy a few hours because that's what he'll think of when things get shitty.
Glad to hear that you beat it Og and thanks for the advise on keeping moral up!
Every little bit helps, as you know.
S

Salty,

Sorry to hear about your buddy.  :-(

Check your PM.

MN

YES Received!
Super kind offer! 🙏 thank you and I’ll work on best way to get the biggest bang for our friend in need.
Your a generous man!


Offline TheKeeneroo

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Re: SoCal spearo in need
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2019, 09:40:34 AM »
I had cancer a little over two years ago; luckily mine was caught very early on and I've been in the clear for a while. I know how much of a physical, emotional, and financial toll that can take. I wish Mike all the luck in the world, and kudos to you for doing what you can to help him and his family out. I can't offer much but I'll do what I can.

From someone in his shoes I'll offer one suggestion: do something to take his mind off of things for a short time. The only thing I wanted was for a friend to sit down and play co-op Gears of War. Find something he enjoys, do it with him, and don't mention the cancer a single time. Let him really enjoy a few hours because that's what he'll think of when things get shitty.

Wow bro. Didn't know this about you. Excellent news on catching it early. Sorry you had to go through it.
"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

Eric, Pacific Grove
Instagram - @thekeeneroo    Facebook - @Ekeener1
Century Free diver, Level 1 Free Dive Cert, EANx
DOTY 2018 - 3rd Place
Bring the Ling 2018 - 1st Place (=P)

 

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