In the spring of 1957 Tokyo-based American journalist Boyé Lafayette De Mente joined Australian adventurer Ben Carlin on an amphibious jeep called “HALF-SAFE” (named after a deodorant slogan “Don’t Be Half-Safe!”) on a journey from Japan to Alaska via the North Pacific, the Bering Sea and Shelikof Strait—an incredible adventure that made the Guinness Book of World Records.
De Mente was working for The Japan Times when Carlin arrived in Japan. During an interview, Carlin invited De Mente to join him on the last leg of the amazing odyssey. Despite warnings from his friends, and some unpleasant incidents with Carlin, De Mente agreed to join him on Half-Safe. (The unpleasant experiences were to multiply many times over!)
The two left Tokyo on May 1 and arrived in Anchorage, Alaska on September 1, precisely four months later. This is De Mente’s account of his experiences on Half-Safe—experiences that included one life-threatening encounter after another…not to mention the personal encounters with Carlin that came close to murder!
During the voyage the two encountered a Russian ship, seas of kelp, Japanese fishing nets, a great wall of water, sea lions, the raging waters of Shelikof Strait and an anchor-bending tide that carried the jeep more than 15 miles off-course.
The departure of Half-Safe from Japan and its arrival in Alaska was widely covered by the international press, including Life Magazine.
If you have an adventurous spirit, or have ever dreamed about an ultimate travel adventure, Once A Fool will convince you that an amphibious jeep is not the ideal way to go.