A couple of weeks ago I was enjoying my morning coffee with Iris, my son’s girlfriend. We were looking out over the ocean when a mega boat appeared on the horizon. For a moment I thought the Queen Mary might have broken away from its moorings in Long Beach. As the boat approached the Malibu Coast, I realized that I was not looking at a resurrected Queen Mary, but rather a magnificent, sleek, black yacht.

It was hard for me to keep my eyes off this extraordinary boat. Within minutes of its anchoring not very far from Nobu, a helicopter started to circle the boat.  I assumed that this was another attempt by the paparazzi to invade the life of the rich and famous. The helicopter continued to circle the yacht in ever smaller circles and finally landed on the rear of the boat. No paparazzi was this, but possibly the owner of the craft himself.

I started to ask out loud all the usual questions most people might ask under a similar circumstance-whose boat was it, what did it cost, how long was it, how many bedrooms were on it, and how many crew lived on board. It was idle chatter on my part, and it never dawned on me that Iris would be answering these questions in a matter of seconds.

She hit some buttons on her cell phone and before I knew it, she told me the name of the yacht and who owned it (I have decided to keep this information to myself). The boat is over a football field long, can accommodate 28 guests in 14 cabins, (I don’t have 28 friends), and a crew of 21 who live in 10 cabins. The boat was bought in 1999 for a mere $150 million (I don’t know whether the cost of the helicopter was included).

I looked at Iris with awe. “How were you able to find all this out?,” I asked incredulously. Apparently there is an app, and Iris has it on her phone, which tells us where most yachts are at any given time, and all the other information we the curious could possibly want to know about the boat including the net worth of the owner. We live in strange times. The book “1984” is starting to seem rather quaint.

As I was contemplating this black magic, Iris nonchalantly pointed out that there is an app which tracks sharks, turtles and seals. She frequently follows the travels of a seal also named Iris, who is currently swimming off the coast of San Diego. I thought you would want to know that!

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