When OMO withheld her gift of surf, her subjects would spend days in the hot sun, looking forlornly at the sea, waiting. Some were paid, and some were loyal disciples. After many days without surf and baking in the hot sun, their minds would grow dizzy, and eventually, they determined to make a sacrifice to OMO to appease her anger
It was a primitive rite. A sailing craft would be fashioned from old surfboards, one board in the middle and one cut in half lengthwise, and affixed on edge on either side to form pontoons. A mast cut from an old sunfish would be erected on the center board, a cross-jack affixed to the top, and a square sail bent. Then the devoted would wait for an off-shore wind, which was the only time the sacrifice could be sent to sea.
Finally, one August night, a north wind arose. The true believers would then gather by the edge of the sea with their sacrifice, some clad in their Speedos, some naked. Many individual offerings were placed on the craft. Some gave a lock of hair; others, like Derf, placed a business card on the craft. Fires were lit on the craft, and the disciples would carry their sacrifice into the sea amid much chanting and drum beating.
The one time this primitive rite was caught on film, OMO apparently was not appeased by the sacrifice. It was cast back, out of the sea, not just on the ocean’s edge, but clear across the island to the bay side. OMO worked in strange ways. In this instance, she acted through the Coast Guard, who phoned Derf at the number on the card he had left. The Coast Guard went on to ask if there had been any human sacrifices onboard the craft, and later returned their sacrifice, placing
My memory of that night is somewhat clouded. I now seem to recall a long and heavy night of drinking at the Yacht Club, followed by a procession up Broadway. Everyone was chanting "OMO", which woke most everbody on Broadway. I remeber them all coming out to witness the spectacle (as opposed to yelling at us for waking them up).
I'm not sure if it was the year these pictures were taken or one of the others (we did this at least 2 years) but the procession up Broadway - at around midnight - not only awoke half the town, but also brought out the Secret Service. You see, that August Mrs Zaccaro (Geraldine Ferraro) was running for Vice President and happened to be at Saltaire. I'm not sure what the Secret Service agents must have thought, but we were all surprised that they left us alone to our ritual sacrifice, maybe deciding that to tangle with agents of OMO - especially while on an Island barely 5' above sea level - was not in the best interests of the country.....