List of Writing Prompts

  • All my years of doing jigsaw puzzles had led me to this moment.
  • It’s too bad trees grow so slow
  • You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I need to tell you the story of when I died.
  • A waitress at an airport bar carefully scrutinizes everyone’s ID  she serves.
  • I know I shouldn’t like that sort of danger, but I do.

Maime’s Sugar Cookies

  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Soft Butter
  • 1/2 C Sour Cream
  • 1 1 /2 tsp Vanilla
  • Optional 1 tsp lemon juice and/or zest
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  1. Blend sugar and butter
  2. Add and mix in sour cream, vanilla, egg and optional lemon
  3. Combine together and sift into the wet mix: Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt
  4. Drop table spoon-sized balls onto ungreased baking sheet
  5. Sprinkle with sugar
  6. Bake at 350 until edges turn brown.

Dream – Night of 08-19-2018

I was driving through a city and a huge storm rolled in.  There were tornadoes dropping down everywhere.  I pulled my car over to the side of the road, opened up my trunk where all the camera gear was, and grabbed a camera.

I ran up the street to try to get a shot of one of the largest tornadoes that was starting to engulf an entire skyscraper.  Just as I lined up the shot the entire building exploded movie-style, with one of those blue donut-shaped shockwave rings racing out of it and towards me – the building was vaporized into thousands of pieces flying through the air.

After snapping a couple shots of it approaching I ran into a parking garage, hid behind a concrete pillar, and covered my ears just as the shock wave hit.

I checked the image n the camera and was surprised to see that it wasn’t a picture of the exploding building at all, but rather one of a woman crouching in fear of the oncoming shockwave.  Confused I checked the camera in my hands only to realize that I had grabbed an old 10 year old backup camera that was slow to take photos and had really low resolution.  The camera hadn’t taken the photo until I was half-way turned towards the refuge of the parking garage.

However, after reviewing the images on the camera again I realized there was in fact an entire series of photos taken from just when I had started turning.  They all had a movie-film, black and white kind of look and I realized they were all really good photos in their own right – just not the one I had intended to take.

Dream – Night of 2018-08-15

  • Dylan is walking down a crowded road with his family, it is nighttime.
  • They are on their way to the ferry terminal in a large European town
  • They’re trying to get on the largest, and last, ferry along with everyone else around them
  • People are panicked and confused, but still reasonable orderly
  • The attack hasn’t happened yet, but they’ve heard on the news that this is the last place on the planet that the aliens haven’t come yet
  • Dylan and his family are American, and Dylan’s father is an important government official.
  • They are able to get into the ferry, and make their way to the windows inside the large room inside the main deck.
  • They look out over the water and see other ferries, some of them sinking, capsized or something.
  • Then the attack begins as swarms of alien ships come out of the sky leaving green trails behind them.
  • The ships fire on the people on land, the ferries, everything.
  • Dylan realizes that it is hopeless, this is the last place that the aliens attacked and it’s clear that there is no escape – everyone will die.
  • There is an explosion and Dylan is knocked unconscious.
  • Dylan awakes in a bed.  He looks around the room and realizes it is his  bedroom back at home in the United States.
  • Slowly the events come back to him: seeing the news reports on TV about the first attacks, his father rounding up his family in the hotel, their crazed dash to the ferries, and the final attack.
  • How did he end up in this bed?
  • He gets up and goes downstairs to find lots of people in the house, it seems most of his extended family is here.
  • They all give him a solemn look as he walks by.
  • Finally he finds one of his cousins who runs up to him and gives him a large hug.
  • “I’m so sorry man.  I can’t believe it.” the cousin says..
  • Bewildered Dylan says nothing.
  • “I mean, it’s amazing you made it, but that everyone else in the plane crash didn’t is just crazy…” the cousin realizes that he probably should not continue on such a sensitive subject and stops talking.
  • Through a few more conversations Dylan finds out that everyone here seems to think that he and his family were in a plane crash, and that everyone on the plane but him died.  Everyone is here for a wake for his entire family, and nobody has any recollection of the alien invasion, or the major cities of the world being completely obliterated.
  • Dylan returns to his room to be alone and try to process what is going on.  Maybe he’s crazy and the entire alien story is some sort of coping mechanism by his brain.
  • He finds his camera that he brings with him everywhere and turns it on.  When he presses the play button a video begins to play.  It’s  a video of him and his family at a birthday party – in the European city where that final attack happened.
  • Dylan begins cycling through the pictures and videos and realizes they are all of this trip that he was on.  There are even a few final snapshots of the ferries being loaded, the mass confusion, and one blurry shot of an alien ship firing on a building in the distance.
  • It’s his only evidence that any of this happened.
  • He needs to find and reveal the truth.

Dream – Morning of 2018-05-17

  • In the old Country Market in the town where I grew up
  • Buy a sandwich at the deli
  • Go to pay
  • Realize I don’t have my wallet
  • Tell cashier I will be right back after checking truck
  • I know my wallet is not in the truck because I realize I am wearing new pants, not the ones I normally do, so I must have changed into them and forgot to grab my wallet
  • Decide to leave and drive to house to get wallet
  • About to leave parking lot when I remember my cash hiding spot
  • Check my “secret stash” spot in the ashtray and find cash in there.  20, 10, 5, and some 1s
  • Go back to park again
  • Have to drive around a lot looking for a spot
  • Realize there are hoards of people following me around and some of the other cars and people as well
  • They follow you kind of like a school of fish everywhere you go
  • They are homeless people trying/waiting to ask you for money

Continue reading “Dream – Morning of 2018-05-17”

Dream – Morning of 2018-05-01

Finally had another dream worthy of writing down!

Cast

  • Mother
  • Big Brother
  • Middle Brother
  • Little Sister
  • Guy on Horse

Part 1

  • Family on the beach: Mother, oldest son, middle son, youngest daughter.  From oldest to youngest the children are something like 17, 14, 12.
  • It’s the end of the day and the mother and youngest two are lounging in the sand at the boardwalk that goes back to the parking lot and exit. The day is over and other families are leaving with all their stuff.  They are waiting for the oldest son to meet them here before they can all leave together.
  • The daughter gets up and leaves to go for a walk.
  • The mother and middle son sit together for a while watching the people leave.  “I wish I was as pretty as them.” the mother says.  At first middle son thinks she was talking to him, but he realizes she is thinking out loud and daydreaming.
  • She continues to watch the people passing by so middle son decides to leave and go look for his sister.
  • As middle son is walking down the beach looking for his sister, everyone is still walking out the opposite direction and he scans each face as they go by.  Some are girls his age and he smiles at them, sometimes they smile back.  Soon the stream of people has thinned to the occasional straggler and he looks at the landscape around him more. “I wish I had a camera” he thinks as he looks at the sand dunes.  The sky is getting towards sunset, all the colors are washed out and the sky is a light lavender color.  Some sort of mist hangs in the air above the dunes which makes each dune top lighter the further away it gets. The dunes furthest away are indistinguishable from the sky. Everything looks like it’s been drawn with shades of blue, purple, and lavender pastels.
  • He finally sees his sister standing at the rocks at the end of the sandy part of the beach.
  • As he gets closer he can see she is either crying or was crying. She is wearing a blue bathing suit, and it stands out against her pale white skin and red hair which is still wet from swimming earlier. Her red hair is odd because the two brothers have black hair and their mother’s is blonde.
  • When he gets there he tells her “Big brother is probably back with mother by now, so we should head back, plus it’s going to be dark soon.”
  • She turns to him with watery eyes and says “I don’t have any friends.”
  • He knows he should say something, or give her a hug in this moment, but he can’t think of anything to say and instead looks out over the water, avoiding her gaze.
  • She continues, “Did I have any friends before?”
  • He knows what she means, before they moved here, before their father died, back when they lived on the farm.  He also knows the answer, which is that she did not, but instead he lies and says he doesn’t remember. He senses that she doesn’t quite believe him so he continues with a truth to try to reinforce the white lie, “The farm was big, there weren’t a lot of people around” he says.
  • She seems to sense this is all he is going to say and turns back towards the beach exit and their mother.
  • They walk back together in slience.

Part 2

There was some sort of flashback / other story about the older brother and the younger brother hanging out in a pool hall.  Older brother was teaching younger how to play. Someone came up and asked if they wanted to play an actual game.  Older brother lets younger play the game.  Younger gets crushed. “Maybe next time.” older says to younger.

Part 3

The mother drives the school bus in town, and because this is a small town the last stop is their house where she parks the bus for the night.  They have a chicken coop and the mother sells eggs to make extra money.  Some other children who live nearby stay on the bus until it gets to their house so they can go into the coop to pick out and buy eggs for their families.

As the town children and two younger children are in the coop they hear a commotion in the front yard. They all run around to see some guy on horseback intimidating and harassing the mother.  This guy has been harassing their mother since they moved here. The oldest son comes out of the house and confronts the man.

  • The guy turns his horse to face the oldest son and says something dumb and cliche like “This ain’t none of your concern boy.”
  • The guy on the horse had a long rifle with him.  He had been holding it balanced with the stock resting on his foot, now he raises it up with one arm and goes to shoo away the oldest son.
  • But the oldest son grabs the rifle away from the man and swings it at him like a baseball bat.
  • Since the man is on a horse the swing is mostly ineffective, but does make light contact with the mans face.
  • Emboldened by his first swing the oldest son now tries to jab at the man’s face, using the rifle like a sword now instead of a bat.
  • However the man is ready for this attack and dodges the thrusting rifle, grabs the barrel, and rips the gun out of the oldest son’s hands.

…and then I woke up

Reminder Resources:

Colors of the bathing suit, red hair, and white skin:

The Bus:

Foggy beach

Fog layer mask

Dream: Night of 2017-11-20

Dream #1:

  • Boy is being dragged by the arm by his father (or some sort of authority figure)
  • Chained to a heavy thing and thrown into a pond
  • On the way down the boy manages to free himself, but he knows it will mean death to surface right there, so he swims away underwater
  • He remembers a place he can hide
  • Almost out of breath he finally makes it to a part of the pond that the kids of the town/city know about, a place where you can surface in an air bubble under an overhang
  • He surfaces underneath the overhang
  • The hiding spot

    There are a few inches of air in this spot.  It is not quite close din and he can see out over the rest of the pond

  • He sees the upside-down mottled reflection of another man on the surface of the water peering over the edge of the pond.
  • He knows the man is looking for him
  • He thinks for sure the man will see his reflection too, but then he realizes that it is so dark in this little mini-cave that the man cannot see him.  as long as he stays quiet he should be safe.
  • The boy stays as quiet as he can
  • Eventually the man leaves, satisfied that the boy is in fact dead, still tied to the thing at the bottom of the pond
  • The boy is still scared though, and stays where he is
  • It starts to get dark
  • Bugs are crawling on his exposed shoulders from the earthen wall behind and above him (i.e. kind of like in Lord of the Rings when the Hobbits hide from the black riders)
  • The boy is finally satisfied that it is safe to exit the pond, and he is cold and shivering anyway.
  • He crawls out of the pond and finds a path that leads into the woods
  • He follows this path and comes upon a giant opening.
  • It is shaped like a colosseum.  A giant three-quarters bowl made of yellow stone.
  • Everywhere are holes and arches in the walls.
  • The boy realizes that each of these individual openings leads to a sewer drain, a street grate, or some type of drain from the city.
  • “I wonder what it’s like in here when it’s raining” the boy thinks.
  • He begins exploring, climbing up broken rocks and stuff to try to get to one of these openings
  • First tens and then hundreds of other children appear from openings all around him.
  • Tribal in looks and behavior, they start hooting and hollering.
  • “Other children who were sacrificed, or just runaways?” the boy thinks.

After this the dream did the “dream thing” and went off the rails.  All the kids broke out into song and dance like a Disney movie.

Dream #2:

  • Man is hiking through the woods
  • Has this single unwavering purpose, not even sure himself, just ‘knows’ he needs to follow this path, to go this direction, to get somewhere.
  • Ends up in a village
  • They recognize him as “the prophecy”
  • Stuff happens
  • Years go by
  • His sons leave down the same path he entered, everyone knows they will return in 60 or 70 years to start the process again.

Dream – Night of 2016-12-07

Takes place in the 80s some time in a country town.

  • Guy comes home from somewhere.  Jail / College / Army, something like that.
  • He’s always been in kind of a rowdy crowd.  He calls up his old friends to see what they’re doing.  His kid brother wants to come with him so he says ok.
  • They all meet down at some quarry overlooking a processing plant.  3 cars, 3 guys and the kid brother.
  • The third guy has this weird thing he says a lot, it’s like his catch phrase.  “Here’s to you kid” followed by something that just happened.
  • They split most of a 12 pack of beer while shooting the shit (even kid brother has one).
  • From the overlook you can see the entirety of the plant and all the machines moving stone around.  It’s nearly automated so there’s not really anyone to catch them drinking beer up on this overlook where they shouldn’t be.
  • They decide to leave and kid brother wants to ride with guy #3 – they live next door and kid brother wants to see if this guy #3’s kid brother is home (who is our kid brother’s friend and who he wants to brag to about hanging with the big guys drinking beer).  Ok, fine says big brother.
  • They all race their way out of the quarry because it’s fun on the dirt roads, you can fish tail around corners and stuff.  They are dirt roads and giant clouds of dust form which looks wicked cool but also is an advantage if you’re in the lead – not so much if you’re one of the cars behind.  Right now it’s the main character in the lead, the second car, and then the third car (with the kid brother and other guy driving) fighting to get in front of #2.
  • They go around a large corner, a small straightaway, and then are back up onto the main road.
  • Main character turns left, second car turns right, and the third car can’t be seen in the rear view.  Oh well, they must have slowed down because they couldn’t see.  He’d see them back on their home street.  He leans into the gas and accelerates onto the highway.
  • Main character gets home, takes a shower, and then is getting dressed.  He notices the other guy still hasn’t come home yet (he can see guy #3’s driveway from his bedroom window).
  • Main character calls second guy,  “Hey have you seen #3?  He’s not home yet…maybe he broke down, his car is a piece of shit you know”
  • They decide to go check.
  • It’s getting towards sunset now and they are re-tracing their path into to quarry when they see a break in the bushes and tire tracks leading to it in the dirt road.
  • They stop, get out, and walk through the bushes to emerge out on the top of a very steep hill.
  • At the bottom of the hill they see the #3’s yellow car’s taillights, trunk, and some of the roof, but the rest of the car is buried under stone, and more is slowly covering it because it had slammed into into a pile that was being built up by one of those stone conveyors.
  • They run down the hill to the car and get to the driver side first.  It is blocked from being opened, half because it is crumpled, but half because there is a large rock on the ground keeping it from opening all the way.  They move the stone and get the driver’s side open.
  • Stone chips just like the ones that are covering the car come pouring out…the inside is filled with stone. They frantically scoop with their hands but can only find a pair of feet on the driver’s seat with the legs leading towards the passenger side where the kid would have been sitting.
  • They run over to the passenger side and open that door.  This one also opens roughly but not as bad as the first one. More stone chips come pouring out and then they see the rest of guy #3’s body covering / laying on top of the kid who is still in his seat with his seat belt on.
  • Guy #3’s fingernails have stone chips embedded everywhere under them.  He had been trying to dig his way through the stone with only his hands.  His hands are raw, like he’d been digging for a long  time.  At first probably just to try to get to the door handle and get the door open, but afterwards in a vain effort to keep the ever-deepening stone away from their faces (remember, they are underneath a conveyor which is constantly pouring out more and more stone chips).
  • They see a cookie – one which kid brother had brought with him from home – and it was miraculously preserved.  It had a single bite taken out of it and was still in kid brother’s lap.
  • Big brother looks at guy #3’s face and thinks to himself it looks like he’s saying: “Here’s to you kid – I tried.”

In the actual dream it was peat moss and not stone chips but I don’t think they move peat moss on conveyor belts so I changed that, and there wasn’t beer in the dream but that seemed like a good addition.  I also couldn’t remember exactly what the “catch phrase” was that guy #3 had (i.e. “Here’s to you kid”), but I think that might be right.

NORTHBOUND 2015

“Be careful what you wish”

I advised my Daughter-in-law’s Sister Elise to consider that old saying before joining  the crew for this trip aboard BETTY ANN. But she was game to do it, so on Sunday 10 May we gather at the Southwest gate for the flight to Charleston, South Carolina. But, surprise, we learn the BETTY ANN had put in at Savannah due to tropical storm Ana so a new plan is put in play.

Larry had flown to Charleston the previous day so he rented a car, met us at the airport and we drove to the Isle of Hope Marina located on the Skidaway River portion of the Intracoastal Waterway. We picked up Archie, and with Elise navigating on her phone, headed into the Savannah Riverside Market section for lunch. We ate at Joe’s Crab shack (actually a large full service restaurant- and very good) then return to the marina. Archie and Larry take the car to go provisioning and Elise and I spend time familiarizing her with Betty Ann, stowing our gear and doing final preparations for getting underway in the morning.

The provisioning crew return with three overflowing dock carts. While they begin stowing that Elise and I take the rental car and the marina’s loaner van to National rental at the airport. We fear the worst since neither of us are listed as drivers on the agreement but the agent smiles and says, “You’re returning this for a friend, right” NICE! The two of us then head back to the marina in the van – a true beater – with labels all over the interior indicating what doesn’t work. lol most everything!  On the way back we make a quick stop at The Pirate House Bar and Restaurant to check it out, have a beer and then return to pick up Archie and Larry for dinner.  Unfortunately, the little place Archie had picked out had just closed their kitchen (9:00) , as had the second choice Japanese restaurant. The third try is open, Jalapenos Mexican food, pretty good, perhaps because we were starving by then.

MONDAY 11 MAY

Up early for showers etc. and a quick trip to Walmart for some forgotten items. We’re underway heading down the river for open ocean and have plenty of excitement as a large outbound RORO (roll-on, roll-off) ship and and incoming container ship meet with us at a narrow bend in the channel. Things get back to normal quickly and soon we’re in the Atlantic. We make our turn onto course 060 M; unfurl the main, jib and stays’l, cut the engine and bask in the glory of an 8+ knot broad reach. For Elise the thrill is short lived as she begins to succumb to seasickness. She applies a Scopolimine patch, and through the bright sunny day appears to be making a recovery. The watch bill is set with a four on: four off schedule so at 1600 I go below for a quick snooze before my watch at 2000. My eyes open at 1800, still no diesel engine noise so I lay back,  smile, and enjoy the sounds of the Betty Ann working in the seas.

One of the great things about offshore sailing is dealing with adapting to the watch schedule. You go to sleep with one set of circumstances on the boat, then awaken several hours later and your mind has to catch up to what is now going on.  I spot Elise, she is upright, a bit pale but smiling. What I had missed was her “mal-de-mer” moment of truth that occurred when Larry had handed up a big bag of garbage to stow in the dingy on the aft deck.  She relates her husband Rick’s line to sea sick boaters, “How would you like a Whoopie Pie dipped in an ashtray”? With that she lies back in her rack for some more sleep. We’ll have to wait for 2200 to see how she’s doing.

Tuesday 12 May

Over my many trips aboard the BETTY ANN I’ve come to believe she will always present the crew with a problem to test their worthiness. Our test this trip arrived at around 2 AM. I’m awakened by the sounds of a sail change. Archie and Elise are on watch and I go up to assist. When Archie pulls the throttle back to idle we hear a beeping alarm. Thinking it’s the autopilot he taps the “Auto” button, but at the same time I see the red ignition warning light – the engine has died. Attempts to restart it prove futile, it cranks but won’t fire. I check the Raycor filter bowl and it’s clear, no water. There’s a light breeze so we decide to sail through the night and figure things out in the morning. Some things you just can’t do in a powerboat! Archie and Elise go below and Larry and I take over.

0600 and Archie arrives on deck. We start the generator, make coffee and charge the batteries. The engine still doesn’t start so we ponder the possibilities. There aren’t many on a diesel – fuel, air compression. It ran perfectly immediately prior to stalling and hadn’t overheated or smoked excessively so air and compression aren’t likely issues. We check the filters again and they look fine. We change them anyway and assure there is fuel pressure leaving the secondary filter. While Archie cranks the engine I crack the forward injector nut and very little fuel comes out. Perhaps the fuel shutoff solenoid is faulty.  Larry reads the engine schematic and identifies the solenoid wire color coding. I find the white/brown wire and test it with a meter while Larry works the ignition and stop switches. There is some voltage to the solenoid but not the full 12 volts.  Larry disassembles the control panel in the cockpit, there is some minor corrosion but no major issues. Not much else we can do so we set sail for Southport, NC . With  a fresh breeze pushing us at 7 knots we plan on making the Cape Fear River entrance channel by late afternoon. I go below to get Elise out of her cabin and into the fresh air and sunshine. The news we are heading into Southport does wonders for her.

The wind holds and we have a great sail into the channel and up to buoy #15 where a Tow Boat US Captain meets us to take us into the Marina. He’s alone on the boat and hands me a ratty length of 3/4″ line to put on a bow cleat. I’m thinking “this isn’t the way the USCG has us do it” There is a strong current against us and he tells me “I’m going to tow you up to that daymark in front of the marina dock. When we get there drop the line and I’ll drift back to put you in a side tow. Besides being very skilled at what he does he also has a sense of humor. When we get to the daymark and I drop the line Betty Ann is still making about 5 knots. He drifts down the starboard side and calls up to Archie at the helm ” Slow it down Captain, you’re going way too fast”. It takes Archie a few seconds to realize the joke.  He takes us right to the dock which involved making a 180 degree turn against the current which he did by using a spring line from his boat, to the dock and back to our boat. Later, while completing paperwork he asks Archie for his name. “” Archibald Kenyon says Archie. “Now that’s a real name says the captain. “Yeah” replies Archie, “You learn to fight early growing up with it”.

While walking to the marina office a guy passing by asks us if we’re going to his weather briefing. We asked when and where it was and agreed to go later that evening. Being perhaps a bit to casual, Archie and I show up at the marina conference room  with cold Yuenglings in hand. “where’s my beer”? asks Hank, the presenter.  It turns out Hank Pomeranz is a retired US Navy meteorologist, who not only provided an excellent briefing on the upcoming weather  (pretty much guaranteed perfect 10-15 kt SW sailing winds for the next few days. He also convinced us to take the inland route to Masonboro Inlet rather than going back down the river and around Cape fear as we planned. He gave us detailed charts of the route with up-to-date comments from other boaters and explained the shoaled spots had been dredged and we would have no problem. That tip alone would save us 50 miles, or about 7 hours, and we’re anxious to put it to use.

Wednesday 13 May

At 0815 Dave, the mechanic, arrives. He is a classic “Tar Heel” and could have been Tom Hank’s voice coach in Forrest Gump. He talks constantly as he completes the exact same troubleshooting steps Larry and I had, explaining the technical steps he’s following, providing advise to us and relating personal stories as he goes. I only had time to jot down a few notes as I realized he had “good material” Excerpts from Dave’s monologue:

  • “When I was on a commercial fishing boat I had to go below and change fuel filters if I wanted to get home. All those other boys would just stand around watching, saying we don’t know nothing about that stuff”.
  • “If you ever have to go to Dosher Hospital (the local hospital), what you need to do is ask for a ride to Wilmington.”
  • “Look now boys, you came close to solving your one problem but getting yourselves into bigger one.” (he explained how cranking the engine for long time could build up water in the exhaust and back flood the engine. He showed us the drain plug in the exhaust muffler, and said to close the engine seacock to prevent that.
  • “Don’t Armstrong that plug when you put it back in” (plastic plug, steel pipe = be gentle)
  • He also had an offshore fishing boat distress flare story. Hopefully one of the crew can remember that and edit it in because I did not take note of it.

Dave gets the engine running but re-starting it is still a problem. He noticed the same low voltage we did and replaced the starting battery which was bad. (“If they’s big ole batteries I’ll need to get a couple of those yard boys to tote them down here”)  He thinks the alternator may be the problem but acknowledges ” I’m a good mechanic but electrical systems are way over my head”.  So Larry , Elise and I walk along the river into town for lunch while Archie waits for the electrician. Larry returns to the boat and Elise and I explore further having beer and wine and Rum Runner punches at the Flying Fish and Provisioning Co. bars.  Archie texts us that the electrician found a bad fuse in the main electrical panel. If course it is not a stocked item so we’ll have to wait another day. We all go to dinner at Frying Pan Restaurant even though Hank had given it an “interesting” rating. The food is good and the view over the marsh and inlet is spectacular from the 2nd floor dining room.

image-11-1

Thursday 14 May

The waiting to get underway is killing us. The winds are holding as predicted by Hank and we could be making a lot of progress. Elise has to be back to work Monday and we’re starting to run out of time . The fuse arrives via UPS and is installed by Jay, the electrician. The engine fires immediately. Larry drops the spring lines but when I pull the throttle into idle the engine stalls. OOPS! I restart it and go below and find air bubbles in the filter. “Long story short” I install new O rings, and follow all of Dave’s advice about closing the seacock, draining the muffler etc. crank the engine and it starts.  So off we go, North up the ICW to Masonboro Inlet following Hank’s guide sheets. At 1800 we depart the inlet at slack high tide, all of us packed with Larry’s secret recipe Philadelphia Lasagna. Our course of 090M will take us clear of Cape Lookout and  ESE winds at 10 Kts, 2-3′ seas and clear evening sky will make for good motor sailing. We’ll round Cape Hatteras tonight or early tomorrow morning and then decide if we can make Cape May, NJ in time for Elise to make connections home. If not, we’ll head into Norfolk, VA.

Friday 15 May

Under power and stays’l we pass Cape Lookout during the night and Cape Hatteras in the morning, a distance of 150 NM. Thank you Gulf Stream for the push! The day slips by with only one porpoise and a few flying fish for distractions. Given our progress we now think we can make it to Liberty Island Marina inside New York harbor, a good transportation hub for Elise.

Saturday 16 May

By mid morning it is apparent we can make it to Point Judith if the forecast Southwest winds proves to be true (always a crap shoot as we’ve found out on prior trips).  So we alter course to starboard, set the main with a jibe preventer and motor sail wing-on-wing making just over 8 Kts. Archie announces our decision to go for it to Larry ” Because of your wonderful cooking the crew has approved an award for you, we are sailing directly to Point Judith”.

The conditions hold all day with only one sail adjustment needed. It is warm and sunny, a perfect day for an on board shower.  Minutes later I emerge obviously refreshed and Elise decides to go for it too. She comes out with a big smile and destroys a large bowl of Larry’s chili. As we pronounce her totally cured of seasickness, as if on cue a large pod of porpoise come to the bow to welcome her to Neptune’s kingdom. She heads forward on deck with her camera and a big grin.

If we can continue at this rate we should make P.J. between 8 and 10 PM tomorrow.

Sunday 17 May

Night watches pass without incident and the morning breaks cloudy with the South wind easing to the point the sails aren’t drawing as we motor along. The GPS shows nine hours to the waypoint off Montauk so our ETA still looks good. Smoke and fumes from below indicate the galley master is active and soon a wonderful breakfast of cheese omelettes and grilled English muffins appears. We develop our final Plan-Of-The-Day: motor sail until we are within cellphone range and call Andrew, who is in R.I. for a wedding, hoping he can pick us up at Point Judith Marina, take us to the airport to pick up Larry’s and Elise’s cars, drop off his rental and head home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BETTY ANN – NORTHBOUND 2012

BRAEDONTON, FL TO CHARLESTON, SC

NOTE TO READERS:

It is 05 December 2016 and I’ve waited far to long to transcribe my scribbled journal notes into a cohesive accounting of this trip. So I will capture the highlights I can decipher.  Captain Archie’s crew for this leg include “veterans Jim and Larry, and “greenhorns” Ray and Glen.

Saturday/Sunday

0600 sunrise on Tampa bay. Winds light and variable means 30-40 hours of motoring to Key West.

  • Helm school for the new crew
  • Guiness World Record Blueberry pancakes for breakfast
  • Slab of Prime Rib for lunch
  • Ray eats mostly rice cakes but the brand/style Larry bought are not to his standard. Larry bought “a lot” of them so we spend the day brainstorming possible uses. (Life jackets is the best idea)
  • Ray’s new nickname is “Rice Cakes”

Late afternoon converstion:

Ray  “Where will be be stopping?”

Jim  “Key West”

Ray ” when will be get there?”

Jim “Tomorrow afternoon.”

Ray “I meant where will be stopping tonight?”

Jim “We aren’t”

KEY WEST

  • Michael McCloud at Schooner Wharf Bar and dinner at PEPE’s for dinner
  • Ray and Jim find good music, Jameson’s whiskey and West Virginia dance partners at the Hog’s Breath Saloon027

Ray proves to be an excellent liberty “wing man”. On the way back to the boat I tried several directions with no success but kept insisting it was only a couple of block so we should keep walking. Ray hails a cab and tells the driver the marina we’re going to. “But that’s only 2 blocks away”, says the cabbie. “That’s what this guy keeps saying but he doesn’t  know which two”.

  • The main outhaul needs replacing. With splicing, jerry rigging and patience. we manage.
    Archie and Glenn snaking line through boom
    Archie and Glenn snaking line through boom
    Larry's answer to missing boom stop.
    Larry’s answer to missing boom stop.

    Monday

  • We depart into 15-20 Kt Northeast wind with 4-5′ seas. It’s going to be a very long day and night.
  • Archie and i share a 3 on 3 off watch schedule supplemented by Ray, Glen and Larry.
  • 0230, autopilot shuts down and we do a 90 degree turn in a couple of seconds (WOW).
  • Another conversation during middle of the night watch.
Glen "So where did you grow up"?

Jim "New Jersey"

Glen "So did I, what part of the State?
Jim "East Orange, outside of Newark"

Glen "Wow, so did I. What school did you go to"?

Jim "Ashland grammar school and E.O. high"

Glenn "I went to Ashland"

Jim "Is your last name Ramsey"?

Glenn "Yes it is, Hey! You're Jim Beardsley and we were best friends in the 4th grade".


  • Tuesday

  • Another long, hot, humid day of motorsailing into big swells
  • The seas cause Larry  to do a pole dance between the two posts in the salon earning him “the stripper” nickname
  • Meat balls A-La Cockpit floor for dinner. “It’s like dog shit” says Larry to Ray, “You’ll track it all over the boat”.
  • Ray “We’re still going to Fort Pierce aren’t we”?  Archie, “No, we’re going straight to Charleston”.  Ray “You’re bullshitting me right”? Archie “No”

Wednesday

  • A perfect day. 10-10,7 Kt beam reach in the gulf stream.
  • I take my first shower while underway in an active sea. To use Andrew’s description of scuba diving “It’s a lot of work for what it is”
  • Ray proves to be a comic with great one liners. Like “I’ve never in my life been with a bunch of guys that sleep so much and drink so much water”
  • During deck rounds I find the jib furling line is nearly parted and we do a temporary repair.
  • Glen hears a US Navy transmission about a warning on the VHF. I get US Warship 42 on the radio and they say we  are 8 miles inside a 25 mile exclusion area and are sailing into a live fire exercise “firebox”. I get instructions to sail East, and coordinates where we can resume our northerly track. When we make the turn the radio comes alive. “Sailing vessel BETTY ANN, this is USN warship Predator,  is it your intention to cross my bow?” We turn to look and see a frigate steaming up our stern. “Predator gives us new instructions which we willingly follow.
  • Big plates of corned beef and cabbage for dinner.
  • Larry's Corned beef and cabbage in the works
    Larry’s Corned beef and cabbage in the works
  • Clear and hot with a 10-12 Kt port quarter wind and ETA at MEGA Dock of 1200. We’re two days early so we hope there’s a spot and there is.051
  • Larry is off to visit his son. We do some work on the boat, have dinner at Fleet Pier and a drink (or two) at Salty Dog bar and turn in for the night.

Thursday

  • I make two attempts at splicing double braided line but can’t get it right so Archie gets it done for $20 at the marina shop. I make a pledge to learn this skill and now splice all the dock lines, mooring lines for friends at our boat club.
  • I talk on the phone to Jake, son of a friend of mine, that is stationed at the USN base attending nuclear school. He’ll meet us tomorrow for dinner and recommends the Blind Tiger Pub. He suggests we try the King St. Grill Sports bar tonight. We do and the appitizers are great but the meal is mediocre. The Pop D.J. that follows drives us from the place.

Saturday

  • We do more cleaning and work on the boat and provision for the next crew.
  • Evening at the Blind Tiger Pub where we meet Jake, and are all taken by the beautiful and entertaining bar maid. It is the day of the Kentucky Derby. She stops at each patron at the bar and asks “Which horse won the race, I missed it” The answer of course is “I’ll Have Another” So she refills your drink and moves on to the next person.
  • Jim, Jake and our waiter
    Jim, Jake and our waiter. Jake can’t take his eyes off the barmaid