Not sure where to start with this one.

For years now body art has become common place and dare I say very much acceptable. In fact, you can’t go to a beach, a park, coffee shop or even an office or basically anywhere without seeing some cool tattoos on people young and old alike.

Some are small and simple and others are big and intricate. Some are in color and shaded and others are black and white. You look at some tattoos and you know instantly know the meaning, others you have to think about it and others you just think…what the heck! What I do know is that each tattoo means something special to the person who wears the art. After all, isn’t that all that matters?

For years I have toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo. Where would I get it? It would have to be somewhere it wont sag and stretch out when I get older. That rules out a big part of the body canvas!

Perhaps, even the bigger question what symbol, drawing or picture is meaningful enough to get inked to my body? I’ve struggled with this aspect. Is it a meaningful word or phrase like “persistence”, “captain of my soul” or “Shannon”😉? Or perhaps an animal like a “fish” or “otter” or a symbol like an “evil eye” or a “hamsa”?

Being the 256th person in the history of the world to complete the Triple Crown of swimming (👑 Catalina Channel 👑) I had found my inspiration. I needed some body art to commemorate this lifetime swimming achievement.

The choice of non sagging body parts was growing slim so I decided on the high inner ankle of my left foot was a safe spot. When that sags I figured I would be really old and nobody will see it.

My creative type son, Sean with some “experience” in these things helped with early design elements. Nephew Spencer, also very “experienced” in these matters sourced a studio for me in Bend called Monolith Tattoo Studio.


I know this sounds bad however, surprisingly the whole process with the studio was very professional from the pre-consultation appointment, the electronic release form to the semi-high tech scheduling and communications with the studio.

The day finally came and Ryan joined me to hold my hand just in case I cried. My artist, Heather was also clearly “very experienced” in this art form so I knew I was in good hands. Initial stenciling with a felt tip pen was done allowing me to determine if the sizing and placement was in-line with my expectations. After a few minor modifications and looks in a mirror we were good to go with the real “ink”.

I must admit the process started off with some mild discomfort and worked up to some well…semi-meaningful pain. I didn’t cry. I guess where I chose to get a tattoo there are a fair amount of exposed nerve endings. I guess few of the most painful spots to get a tattoo are the sternum, rib area and parts in the nether regions.

The whole process from stenciling, sizing up the location and the actual tattooing was problem just under an hour. I am happy with it? Sure, I think so, it is still growing on me. I found a body part that I was comfortable having a tattoo on and importantly I found something I thought was meaningful enough to me to commemorate it with a tattoo. You only live once!

The finished product

At this point very few people have seen it, well…at least commented on it. Honestly, I think it is the former. I guess, I need to get out more or get ready for spring and summer and shorts and swim suit weather.

Is getting a tattoo like eating potato chips, you can’t only eat one? I don’t know…yet!

Makau~Strength & Good fortune

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