On a cold day more than three years ago, Jacoby Angleton was working as a roustabout on a dock at the Tesoro plant in Nikiski when a gust of wind lifted his favorite hard hat off his head and tossed into the icy Inlet waters below.
He watched it drift away, upside down, in the dark water, lost at sea. That was late 2005 or early 2006.
Then, long after he'd forgotten all about his lucky hat, the now 23-year-old oil-services worker based on the North Slope got a recent e-mail on his MySpace account from a California woman whose curiosity was piqued when she found the hat, still bearing his name, while she was walking on a beach near San Francisco.
"There's something about the mystery of finding stuff and you always wonder where it came from," said Sparrow Baranyai, a 47-year-old employee at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel in Pescadero, Calif., roughly 55 miles south of San Francisco. "It just was such an unusual thing to find that I had to dig further."
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