I Don’t Know Why I Remember

I don’t know why I remember him but I do. I first noticed him in the produce aisle. There was something about the way he pushed his cart – perhaps slightly unsure of himself. He was old, the kind where you can see all the veins in his wrist, and discolored blotches of skin appeared in random places along his exposed forearm. There was also frizzy, thinning white hair trying to escape from under his baseball hat.

As he picked through peppers I watched him for a few seconds; he would pick one up, study it as best he could with shaking hands and then put it back.  He’d select another, look at it inquisitively, and then place that one back on the shelf too. Picking through produce is normal, but the way he did it indicated inexperience in the exercise. After watching for a few seconds I left him to his peppers and continued on to the next item on my list.

Later, I saw him again in the transition between the hair products aisle and the one with paper stuff in it. I probably would not have recognized him again if I hadn’t been so intrigued by his pepper-picking before. I was following behind him as he pushed his cart when he and another woman passed each other going different directions. At the same moment two bottles of shampoo from a supermarket display fell to the floor. The woman was closest to the display, and she picked up one of the bottles and put it back. The old man picked up the second bottle, and with a wide grin as if to say “Ha! Isn’t this a hoot!”, handed it to the lady who was still standing in front of the display case. The lady returned his good-natured smile with a scowl, grabbed the bottle from his hand and put it back on the display. She pushed her cart off in a hurry, and left him standing there with his smile fading. Finally he turned back to his cart and continued on to the juice aisle.

As I watched him turn into his next aisle I felt I understood his story. He was inexperienced at this. Very inexperienced. He had been married for sixty years to a woman he loved. She always did this part while he was away at work. Now she was gone and he was left to fend for himself. What’s a “good pepper” look like? Who knows? He knows they tasted good when she made them, that’s for sure. Now he lives alone in the house they built together, mostly reading his favorite books or maybe watching some TV.

The only time he really gets out and has some human interaction is when he has to do the shopping, and that was the smile I saw when he handed that lady the shampoo bottle from the floor. It was interaction, it was life, it was a chance to strike up a conversation about the weather. Maybe he was about to tell her she looked a little like his wife, at least until she gave him that I’m Too Busy For This Shit snarl. Not then. Nope. She grabbed that bottle from his hand and unknowingly threw something away. He might not have a whole lot left to give the world, but he had a little bit that day, and she didn’t want it.

Dream(s) – Night of 2015-10-24

Dream 1
I was interviewing at a company and they gave us (many people were interviewing at the same time) giant transparent sheets with questions on them and you were supposed to sketch out your solutions on the transparency.

One of the questions went something like “Provide a mobile solution for caching geographic results on the unpolluted side of the moon.”

After staring at it for a while I realized the “unpolluted” part was a red herring but I was still perplexed as to how to answer the question.  Finally I decided that some sort of caching system would be required, or at least a “2 part lookup”.  So I went with a grid-based system where you would carve up the area into squares – this part could be stored on the device which would be better than server caching even.

The idea was first figure out which square the device was in, then you would ask the server for details for that square (and probably the 8 around it). It seems like it would work better than querying the large database for results between lat/lon points if you only have to ask for results in a grid number (which would index well)…dunno lol.

Dream 2
I was in my grandmothers kitchen with my mother using the oven to dry out a guitar neck for my dad.

It was an old gas oven that had burners on both the top and bottom.  We were using it more as a furnace than an oven, with the flames licking out at times to the wood of the guitar neck.  Too close I realized.

I went over to the oven to adjust the flame level.  We had found the guitar that the neck belonged to in the mud, and there was still some of the mud visible caked to the frets.  I turned to say something to my mother, as I did I looked out the window and realized time was running backwards outside because there were planes flying tail-first through the sky.  When a plane passed close enough to us to see I would try to point it out to my mother, but each time she turned around it would be too late, the plane would no longer be visible.

I was facing the window, and I knew that outside there were three airports, so I waited for a plane from the closest one to come into view, to “return from landing” so to speak.  One did arrive, some sort of straight-winged single engine prop plane.  I tried to call this one out too but the same thing happened, it had disappeared behind the trees before she had a chance to turn around and see it.

We decided to leave and go to a festival down the road (apparently time was running forwards again outside).  Upon arriving we ordered tacos from a taco shack. I saw something interesting and decided to try it.  It was a large roasted poblano pepper that was used as the wrapping.  This was stuffed with  chicken, cream cheese, onions and some other seasonings.  It was fantastic.

Dream 3
In another earlier dream I had arrived back to my parents’ house in Rhode Island after a long drive south and getting lost by missing an exit on 95.  I looked up at the sky and saw a satellite going through the sky, something that’s always cool to see.  Then I saw another, but it was moving much faster, at least twice as fast as the original.  For a while I pondered what altitude it would have to be at to be able to go that fast and maintain orbit.  Soon there were more and more of these fast-moving things in the sky.  Now I wondered if they weren’t satellites but some sort of meteors instead.  They didn’t disappear like a meteor though, so I was confused even more.

While still staring at the sky something new showed up, a steady stream of five “lines” of what looked like tracer fire, all moving in a straight pattern together across the sky.  i realized now that there was some sort of battle going on in space directly above earth.  Immediately after this another line of fire appeared at a ninety-degree angle to the first

Dream – Night of 2015-02-12

Many Worlds

  • This “world” is made up of many different ones that you jump to by going through portals.
  • Each portal is guarded by a different “animal” which you need to befriend and understand before you can go through the portal.
  • There is one girl who knows the entrances and exits to all the portals, but she is rarely seen.
  • One day this man is stuck in a world and doesn’t know how to exit it.  He sees a girl ride up on a horse.
  • He asks her, “How is it that you are able to ride that horse?”
  • She replies, “It’s easy, you just need to understand them.”
  • She turns the horse and begins riding towards a portal, it is guarded by horses (or had pictures of horses or something)…in any case, it’s clear it is the Horse Portal.
  • The man does not follow and she stops her horse, and turns around to speak to him again.
  • “Aren’t you going to follow?”
  • “I’m afraid not.”, he replies. “I have not yet conquered horses.”
  • “You don’t even know horses?  And, conquered?  Well, I can see why you haven’t.  You have much to learn.” She replies with a chuckle.
  • In the lake behind the man a giant water beast rises out of the water.  Its mouth is huge with tendrils of flesh hanging from it.  It looks like a slug crossed with a catfish, crossed with some sort of alien creature.
  • The beast makes an ear piercing roar as it moves towards the man who is currently halfway between the beast and the horse portal.
  • Meanwhile, the girl on the horse has a look of terror on her face.  Could it be that there is a creature she does not yet understand?  One that, given the chance, would consume her without a second thought?
  • She turns and motions her horse towards the portal to exit, but then reconsiders.  She takes a long whip-like thing from her side and with a long overhead arc like a fly fisherman, she snaps the tip of the whip at the beast.  There is a claw on the end of the whip which takes a sample of the flesh from the open mouth of the beast.
  • She then looks down at the man who is now only a few feet from death.  Trapped between this water monster and the portal that he does not know how to cross, there is nowhere for him to run to.
  • She takes pity on him and calls out, “You may ride with me through the portal. Quick! Run!”
  • He runs to her and she motions for him to get on the horse behind her.
  • With seconds to spare they make it through the Horse Portal, leaving the water beast to bark at them through the window of the portal.  Clearly the beast does not know how to cross, which for our two characters (and the horse they are riding) is a good thing.
  • “What was that thing?” the man asks.
  • “I don’t know.” she replies.



We leave the slip at Belle Viu Marina, in Wakefield, RI bound for Charleston, S.C,. Most likely we will pull into Chesapeake Bay for the inland route around Cape Hatteras, but if Neptune were to grant my wish for favorable wind and seas – unlikely given the forecast – we will round the Cape on the outside, something I have yet to do.

It is a cold, gray morning with an unfavorable wind and the predictions are it will go down hill from here. Joe Hitchery has “signed on” again as has Ray Xavier. Both have done a northbound leg from Tampa to Charleston. Larry and I round out Archie’s crew.

joe     Joe         021   Ray larrys office  Larry
We head out past Montauk Point and down the south shore of Long Island for the 50 hour passage and by the time we finish dinner (the first of Larry’s masterpieces) we encounter rain, increasing west/southwesterly winds and building seas. It continues to slowly build and by the time we are furthest off passing NYC and Delaware Bay we are in 5-7′ beam seas. Larry gets thrown from his windward bunk and covered with an avalanche of books from the shelf. Ray spends most of the night in the navigation station swivel chair but gets little sleep between our 4 on – 6 off watch schedule. As for me, comfortably settled in my sleeping bag on the leeward settee it is sweet dreams. To plagiarize a comment Ray made later – “It was cold, windy and rough all night but there is nowhere else I would rather be.”

008Jerry rigging the canvass seams

Friday morning’s offshore forecast for Hatteras is no better so in we go, up the Elizabeth River, past Norfolk, through the Great Bridge lock and settle in at a rear dock at Atlantic Boat Yard. These are the docks behind the marina, up a short canal where boats are stored in large sheds with metal roofs. No shore power and not much in the way of conveniences but it is quiet and the boat is not rolling. The shower facilities don’t get much in the way of reviews so I shower aboard – no sense wasting all the hot water the engine has been generating.

After a round of beers, and a couple of rums, we grab a ride to a new restaurant with the bartender they sent for us. She is a hot ticket, and gives us her suggested favorites on the way. The place is called the Court House Restaurant and the menu is formatted as a Subpoena – much to the delight of our two lawyers Archie and Joe – and also to Larry who it seems has been on the receiving end of perhaps one or two

Anyway, the food (I had fried oysters, prime rib with beans and greens) was outstanding. When our waitress Channa “You can call me Donna” asked if she could get us anything else I said “Sure, the recipe for those greens”. Five minutes later there it was nicely written out on a scrap piece of paper. So – well fed and happy we were driven back to the boat for a nightcap and a long, uninterrupted sleep – well except for Ray who can’t seem to get settled.

Saturday, 26 October

I wake up early and go on deck with my camera. The sun is just about to rise and there is fog rolling up the canal and I anticipate getting a picture Andrew will covet. As I walk to the bow I suddenly find my feet zipping out from under me. WTF?? there is ice on deck!  The old adage “one hand for you  and one for the boat”  served me well and I swing back up using my grip on the stay.   But I grabbed the shot, and several others in the ground fog as we make our way down the ICW passing some rowing teams out for practice.

009 Atlantic Yacht Basin 012 016

Referring now to my 2 year old notes it appears Joe’s Lone Ranger joke was the only excitement of the day. I don’t recall the complete telling of it but remember the Lone Ranger and Tonto make camp and Tonto wakes him up in the middle of the night and asks the meaning of what he sees. The Ranger waxes eloquently about the multitude of stars and infinite space to which Tonto replies “No dumbass, someone steal our tent”.  The other excitement is that the chart plotter decided to take the day off.


SUNDAY 27 October

My notes are really sketchy now but I assume we made it to Coinjock, N.C. The following morning we depart and take the route around Roanoke Island comforted by the information I obtained from the Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station that the channel had not silted in. Larry provided additional narrative on channel depths that he miraculously obtained from Google Earth images on his I-pad.  We anchored in Adams Creek at 0200 with a full moon rising while we dined on Larry’s Chile and a rum chaser (for me).


007 adams creek sunrise Larry makes breakfast while the sun rises over Adams Creek

We awake to a wonderful sunrise, and make our way to the Moorehead City. I text Andrew and find out he’s leaving for work in Austin, TX as we we  head out the inlet to sea.

NOTE: anyone who wants to complete this log is welcome to since I have no notes on the offshore trip to Charleston.

Goulash / American Chop Suey

  • 1 pound ground beef.
  • Almost an entire box of ziti (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1 Can Tomato Soup
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Get a nice big pot of water boiling with some salt (if it tastes like tears then it’s probably salted about right), although, the soup has plenty of salt in it too, so you could salt the water a bit less in this case if you want.
  • Brown beef in pan.
  • Around this time also put your pasta in the water (which should be good an boiling by this point)
  • When the beef is about 80% cooked, add in the garlic.  You don’t want the garlic to brown, but you do want to sweat it a bit.  Might as well throw a few grinds of black pepper in there as well.
  • When fully cooked, remove beef and drain off excess fat.  You can put the beef back into the pan to keep warm if you want while you wait for the pasta to cook.  If you’ve timed it well, it should be pretty close to done.
  • When the pasta’s done, drain it and then add back into the big boiling pot.  Add the beef mixture to this pot, as well as the entire can of tomato soup.  Season with additional black pepper if you want.
  • Mix well and serve immediately with some garlic bread of something (I like it best when it’s screaming hot).
To borrow some words from my old roommate whose father cooked meals for a firehouse, this is one of those things that can be cooked “hot and a lot” for a group of people.  Super simple, easy, and fast.

Dream – Night of 2014-11-20

Been a while since I’ve had a dream decent enough to log, woke up this morning to a pretty good one:

  • I meet a blonde-haired blue-eyed girl in a writing class, Alina.
  • She is from Russia.
  • Write a script together for an assignment.
  • We end up seeing each other more, going on dates, etc.
  • Dinner at an Italian restaurant on the patio, wine, sunset.  And afterwards we race up the stone stairs outside the restaurant.
  • Months go by.
  • We are at some park in the city, there is an outdoor event.  There is a river nearby, and a huge grassy lawn with people listening to a classical orchestra.  Everyone has blankets, coolers, etc…picnic supplies.  The music drifts over the crowd.
  • We dance together, making fools of ourselves but not caring.  At the end of the song we fall down into the grass back at our picnic spot laughing. We are, without a doubt, big time in love.
  • But then she gets a scared look on her face.
  • She starts to run away and I chase her.
  • “Alina! What’s wrong?” I yell.  But she pays no heed.
  • She reaches the water’s edge and starts to swim for the other side.  She is an amazing swimmer I realize.  There’s no way I will catch her but I try anyway.
  • I see her reach the other side and run up the hill towards some buildings.
  • I finally reach the other side, and run up the same way she did but she is gone.
  • It is a 4-way intersection with city buildings on each side.
  • She is nowhere to be seen.
  • I search for hours.  Calling her name and asking people on the street.  Nothing.
  • I return to the park and search there. Nothing.
  • I search over the next few days everywhere I can think but don’t find anything.
  • A bunch of time passes (months I guess?).  I am back at the park and see a Life Guard station (as in the main house where all the guards live, not the chair at the beach). It actually looked like a Coast Guard Station House, but I guess this was as close as my brain could get to what a Life Guard House would look like.  I decide to go ask them if they have seen Alina.
  • I walk up the steps to ask this group of people if they have seen her.  I start to describe her, “Blue eyes, blonde hair, etc..”  They all apologize saying they haven’t seen her.
  • I thank them and turn away which is when I see a towel hanging from the railing.  It is blue with white stripes and I realize it’s her towel.  I remember now that she had taken it with her when she ran! (somehow this towel is unique enough that I know without a doubt that it is hers)
  • I whirl back to the small crowd assembled on the stairs to the house. “That’s her towel!” I exclaim while pointing at the towel. “Hers!  She’s here!” I start shouting her name and one of the lifeguards in the back gets up and runs inside.  As she does I realize I was a fool, she was sitting there all along but her hair had been dyed brown instead of its normal almost-white blonde.
  • I chase after her inside and we are in a kitchen.  She backs away from me, terrified.  She ends up in the corner of the room and falls to the ground crying, trying to get further away but unable.
  • “Alina.  It’s me.” I plead as I slowly enter the room, “Don’t you remember me?”
  • She clearly doesn’t, I can see that.  How can she not remember me I think to myself, but then I realize that I didn’t immediately recognize her either.  How long has it been?
  • I start to tell her all the things from our past, writing class, the dates, dancing in the park.
  • A light of recognition enters her eyes, she looks up at me and she whispers, “The script.  We wrote a script together.”
  • “Yes!”
  • As the full set of memories comes back to her she gets up and runs to me, wrapping me up in an interlocked hug with her head in my neck and begins to weep.
  • “I was so scared.” she says.  “I saw him there and then he was after me, and the only thing I knew to do was run.”
  • “It’s ok.” I say, “He’s not here now.” I reply.
  • “No, you don’t understand.  He’s still here in the city, looking for me.  I need to leave.”
  • “Well then I’m coming with you.” I reply.
  • “To Russia?” she asks.
  • “Yes.”
  • “You would do this?  For me?”
  • “Absolutely I will.”
  • “Ok, but first we need to rescue my brother.  He is in a school here, but it has fences.”
  • I am confused at first, but then realize she means the junior detention facility (I forget what they’re really called).
  • Well, I think to myself.  This should be a snap, how hard could it be to get someone out of Juvie?
  • “Ok, ” I say, “I will get your brother and then we will all leave together”
  • “Yes, thank you!”, a look of immense relief appears on her face, and new tears, the good kind, begin to fall.  She hugs me tighter and kisses me.

The scene fades away and then fades back in with me and a police officer standing outside a huge concrete wall with razor wire on top.  Outside of this wall is a smaller chain-link fence (which is at most what I was expecting).

  • This is the wall surrounding the juvenile center? I think to myself.
  • I have somehow gotten the police officer into helping me get through the wall into the center, but I can’t remember how, or why.  I remember we both had reasons, perhaps he has someone he needs to rescue too?  In any case, I think to myself, we need to get in here.
  • [the dream is beginning to fall apart now since it is losing continuity, but I still remember pieces]
  • The officer walks up to the outer fence, in which there is a door with a number lock on it (the kind you would press the “code” to get in).  This fence is outside the big concrete wall and is just normal chain-link.
  • “We can just climb over?” I say.  But then I realize the officer is quite portly.
  • “No.” he replies and gets some sort of weird-looking gun out of his pocket.
  • He shoots it at the lock and sparks begin to fly.  Ohhh, I think to myself, a taser.  I guess that works too!
  • The officer gives me an admonishing look and walks up to it.
  • “Open it.” he says.  Pointing it the door handle, next to which is a computerized lock which has been blasted open, wires spill out and circuit boards are visible inside of the lock’s open panel.
  • I think for a second and then instead of grabbing the door handle I take a stick and lay it across the handle and the broken lock’s panel.  When the stick touches both the door and lock the electrical connection is completed, sparks fly across as the final energy from the taser is released (maybe it had been stored in the capacitors of the lock mechanism?).
  • The officer gives me a look.  Was that of approval or something else?  Had he known about the shock and was hoping I would get electrocuted instead?
  • The officer opens the door and steps through to the concrete wall ahead of us, and I follow him through.

There are bits and pieces that follow this, but I was clearly waking up at this point.  As I woke up I thought “noooooo” and immediately tried to go back to sleep (which never works of course).

My alarm hadn’t even gone off yet and I wanted to see how this dream ended.  How did I rescue the brother?  Was this cop really trying to help me or not?  And do me and Alina finally escape this man from her past that is chasing her?  So many questions!

But now it is nearly 8:10 and I have to get up and go to work…

Dream – Night of 2014-10-13

  • Paddling down river
    • Curves and loops
    • Last corner see ocean
    • Taste water – “It’s definitely the ocean, water is getting salty.”
    • Make it to beach.  Go swimming but keep accidentally getting PFD on.
  • Swimming Pool Laps
    • Race K
    • Keep losing because my arms hit stuff, or lane is too narrow and arm hits pool “gutter”
  • Band Girl Setting Up on stage
    • “Weren’t you here this morning?”
    • “Yeah, we were here to wait around to look at a house.” (which ended up turning into the river trip to the ocean.)
  • Movie Premiere
    • Couches are empty. “Journalists” out in lobby don’t take seats.  Invite to Band Girl could would have been room.
    • Fireplace has smouldering logs.
    • Joke about how journlists will review the movie as awesome without having seen it “Food was great, as was the roaring fire!  The at-capacity seating…”

Dream – Night of 2014-10-11

I Am The One

  • Two brothers in bunk beds.
  • One declares “dude…I think I am the one.” (a la Matrix).
  • As soon as he says that, a blue shimmery “force field” surrounds him.
  • Other brother says “yeah right”.
  • Brother one says “No, watch, I’ll prove it to you.  I can fly.  Push me off the balcony.”
  • They both go over to the balcony which is a wooden rickety structure like the one in Life of Brian.
  • Brother 2 pushed brother 1.  As soon as he does the blue glow transfers to the brother who pushed.  The other one tumbles off the balcony, not understanding what just happened.
  • I realize what to do.  So I touch the brother still on the balcony, and now I am The One!
  • I take off flying and bomb around the city blasting through buildings and stuff.

The Game

  • Computer game.  The mission is to protect this woman from men who are trying to assassinate her.
  • In this city where there are tons of people.  Every once in a while a man dashes out of the crowd with a gun and you have to try to shoot him.
  • After a while the security group goes faster and I can’t keep up, so I cut a corner trying to reach them, but miss.
  • I am crossing a bride trying to get back to the group when on of the assassins rushes past me.  He is too fast and I miss him.  He can also run faster then me and I am unable to pursue.
  • End Dream

Dream – Night of 2014-10-09

This was a pretty cool one:

this is new

  • In some sort of casino or possibly a mall with a Japanese girl, and we have apparently been friends for a long time.
  • She has lost her job and is crying that she’ll have no money to live.  She has to find a new job.
  • She runs away and I chase after her.  Only seeing glimpses of her as she rounds corner after corner.
  • I finally find her in a restaurant (pretty sure it was a Friendly’s).  She is kneeling on the floor in front of a booth containing a family of four.  She is pleading for a job from them.
  • I grab her to console her and walk her away and try to stop her sobbing.
  • We make our way back to the hallways of this mall and she stops where a group of five or more people have also stopped and are looking at the ceiling.
  • One of the tiles from the ceiling lifts away and a man’s head appears in its place.
  • The crowd starts throwing money at him and in return he takes down notes on a pad of paper.  The girl I am with looks at me with a mixed expression of fear and excitement and says “I have to!”  She opens up her purse which is hanging around her neck and takes out the last of her money.  She wads it up and tosses it up to the man in the ceiling.
  • The tile gets replaced and everybody stands around waiting.
  • After a short while the man returns and starts handing wads of cash to some of the people.  Aha!  I think to myself, this is some sort of strange way to gamble.
  • A gigantic wad of cash is given to the girl, hundreds of thousands of dollars!  This will set us both up for life!
  • That’s fine and dandy, but first we need to make ourselves blend in and get away because what we just did was apparently highly illegal.
  • I grab some food on a tray from a cafeteria and follow her over to some seats in an upper terrace.
  • On the way our gambling receipt blows off my tray of food.  This is not good.
  • I try to track it down only to have it blow into a pile of other papers surrounding a trash can.
  • Before I can find it someone else does. An old Japanese lady.
  • The receipt has our names on it I remember.
  • She begins pointing at the two of us and yelling.  I can’t tell what she’s saying, but I already know.  “Those two are the ones that won all that money!  Get them.  Call the police!”
  • We dash around the corner trying to find a place to hide.  We crash through some doors onto a balcony with a staircase leading down four stories to a road below.  The stairway has no corners or kinks, just one long set of steps down against the side of the building.
  • Unfortunately we can already see police starting to congregate looking for the illegal gamblers.  there is no escape down that path.
  • We turn and go back inside and see a bunch of men running into the men’s room.  We recognize some of them from the same group that we gambled with.
  • “Comon!” I say.
  • We both enter the bathroom and she runs for a stall to hide in.
  • I talk to the doorman at the front of the bathroom.  “Do you have any hair dye?” I ask.  “Something to change black hair into something else?”
  • “Sure any of these” he says while passing his hand over this odd-looking panel of buttons.  “Or you could just use the soap. That works too.”
  • I call for the girl to come over.  She exits the stall and joins me at the front of the bathroom.
  • She starts putting the soap in her hair, and it sort of works, but there are only highlights appearing, not the desired total hair color change we were looking for.
  • She asks me to do it for her, and I oblige.  But I must have used too much because her hair goes completely white and then starts to melt and fall out.  I watch in horror as her once long black hair falls in clumps to the ground and starts smoking.  “What is this stuff?” I think to myself.
  • The clumps on the floor actually start to burn from the heat of the chemical reaction happening.
  • The doorman seems unfazed, as if this happens every day (“It probably does.” I think to myself).  All he does is grab a hose to try and put the fire out, but since it is a chemical file it does little but to spread the flames around.

This is where the dream ended.  If I were to turn this into a story I would back up a bit and continue with my first thoughts after I woke up.  In this revised ending:

  • The hair dye works perfect and we get the light brown or whatever color we were looking for.  I also use a pair of scissors to cut her waist-length hair up past her shoulders.  It’s not a great haircut, but it will serve our purposes.  (Edit: I suppose I need to do something about my looks as well, perhaps I also dye my hair, or shave it off or something).
  • As soon as we finish trimming her hair we hear police closing in. We need to hide.  The doorman sweeps away the hair into a wastebasket and we both dash into one of the stalls together.  We put down the seat on the toilet and both climb on top (to hide our feet from police should they peer underneath).
  • The police start searching the stalls one by one, and we hear them check the one next to us.  When they finish (we hear the stall door closing), we silently get down, crawl under the middle divider to the stall they just checked and perform the same feat of getting up on the toilet seat cover (thankfully the seat was already down in this one).
  • Ahh, I forgot to mention, there is fairly loud music playing in the bathroom, this helps us crawl under the stalls without the police hearing.
  • The police finish their search, satisfied that “the gamblers” are not in here, and leave to search the rest of the building.
  • We wait a while, exit the stall, give the doorman a gigantic tip, and slip out into the crowded mall.


The journal for this trip really begins shortly after last year’s fall run to Charleston. Eric Baruzzi (Officer in Charge, USCG Station Point Judith) mentioned he hadn’t seen my journal (still haven’t finished it) and while talking about the trip Eric commented he’d really like to join the crew. I figured it would probably never happen but lo-and-behold June 2nd rolls around and the two of us are on a Southwest flight from RI to Baltimore and then on to Charleston, SC.

Our B 50&51 boarding passes produce two seats in the last row of the plane and the flight is uneventful. On the connecting flight we have slightly better passes and as we walk up the isle I spot a row with an attractive woman in a window seat with the isle and center seats open. “How about here Eric” I say. “Let’s just go to those same seats in the back” says he. As we settle in we realize there are a total of 5 babies/toddlers surrounding us. “Want to go back”? Eric remarks. But the seats have been grabbed so we hope for the best. Turns out not one of those kids cried, screamed, whined, coughed, needed changing or sneezed. Totally amazing.

We make it to the Betty Ann at the far end of the Charleston City Marina  Mega Dock before noon, meet Archie, stow our gear and I take Eric on a tour of the boat.  Salty Mike’s bar is closed so we have lunch at the restaurant above then return to finish preparations for getting underway the next morning. By 3 PM we are ready for liberty in Charleston and, as is our habit, start at The Blind Tiger Pub. After a couple of rounds the rest of the crew arrive (Jim Geib and his daughter Stephanie) and we finish a few more rounds along with some fried green tomatoes, fritters and artichoke dip appetizers, then head off for a quick tour of downtown.

Eric recalls a prior visit, while on liberty from a USCG cutter, and a place where the back wall of the bar was a row of slurpy machines that served up different flavor margaritas. We happen to be right in front of Wet Willies bar, look inside, and that is the place! We did a quick tour of downtown then walked back to the now open Salty Mikes for dinner and drinks.  A group of ‘locals’ provides some good eavesdropping entertainment. One guy is explaining that he can’t brush his teeth in the morning without gagging and the female in the group bursts out with some serious trash talk. All-in-all a good liberty call.


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We are underway at 0700  with a full USCG sendoff!! (well I did have this great photo sitting around so why not push the truth a bit) Our destination is Point Judith R.I. and the plan is to go well off shore for a non-stop passage. This will be my third chance to round Cape Hatteras so I am psyched. The forecast is for a hot sunny day with light southerly winds; enough to fill the sails for motor sailing but nothing more. Eric starts an hourly plot of our progress which each subsequent watch faithfully maintains. Larry is not with us this trip, nor has he provisioned us with his frozen rib, chili, chicken and lasagna entrees. So what’s for supper? Archie pops open the freezer (which is struggling to maintain 22 degrees F during the hot day)  and explains he bought a tray of chicken breasts, a bag of shrimp, a pork loin, two Willow Tree Farms chicken pot pies and some frozen mixed vegetables – the kind where you cook the bag in a microwave or pot of water. This is going to be like those cooking shows where the chefs are given a basket of ingredients and challenged to create a meal. I’m thinking Chinese chicken and vegetables on rice but there is no soy sauce. End up making a Thai type of sauce with milk, peanut butter, coconut rum and hot peppers.


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Another hot day like yesterday with variable southerly winds. Jim G. tweaks the sail trim and we maintain about an 8 knot motor sail. Archie has acquired an asymmetrical jib and we’re all dying to try it but given the forecast we’ll be using the iron jenny instead.  We dine on Archie’s sandwiches for lunch and then Eric and I break out fishing gear. There are only two lures in the tackle box so we put the small Kastmaster on the spinning rod and a tuna squid lure on the larger bait casting rod. Amid a bit of heckling we settle down behind the cockpit. Music from Eric’s phone, and even a cold beer, complete the setting.  An hour or so goes by with no fish so we switch rods to change our luck but the fish are not cooperating and the heckling intensifies a bit. Eventually we reel in the spinning rig and secure the other rod to the inflatable.

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I take the helm and while Jim and Stephanie are enjoying a dolphin show at the bow I spot a weather “super buoy” charted several miles ahead on the chart plotter. Hmmmm, a good spot for Mahi Mahi, so I alter course three degrees to port and after a bit tell Eric to man the rod. We take the buoy close aboard and after we pass Eric calls out “fish on”. I slow the boat while Eric fights the fish.


Even the doubters are on board now – they are even suggesting ways to cook it. But it is not to be. Eric gets it to within 50′ of the boat, it is a good sized Mahi, but it surfs down thebettyann2014N 040 face of the large following swell, spits out the hook and disappears.  We try again at a large abandoned light tower off Hatteras. It is an imposing structure and Archie, who is at the helm, maintains separation and I come up empty so frozen shrimp replaces fresh fish on the dinner menu. But on the bright side I have now made it around the Cape. We should have implemented some sort of recognition ritual – a minor version of King Neptune’s Court for those that cross the equator.


As dawn beaks it is apparent the NOAA’s predicted west wind  has not materialized and we continue to motor sail along our 038 M track with the same following  breeze at 7-8 knots.  A front was forecast to pass our area but we are now so far offshore the VHF weather stations are quiet. Out comes the users manual for the single side band radio.  Hmmmm – complicated stuff – multiple daytime and night time frequencies to choose from, weather only broadcast at certain times (like the system we experienced sailing off the coast of France). Lots of squealing/howling type sounds but nothing useful.

Late in the afternoon I suggest we kill the engine for at least a bit of sailing and for one hour we do glide along quietly enjoying nature’s free power. But then the front comes through. Wind goes calm, fire up the engine, reef the main, wind and seas pick up, oops – Jim and Eric deal with a parted mainsail outhaul.

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Then a truly insane experience cooking dinner. I’d planned pan seared pork loin with peach salsa and mashed potatoes and managed to pull it off. But while rocking and rolling, slipping and sliding in the galley with a pot of boiling potatoes and a sizzling frying pan next to me as I’m dicing peaches and vegetables I was thinking P&J sandwiches would have been a wiser menu. Stephanie wasn’t feeling up to a full meal but chowed down on some mashed potatoes. Jim also passed so there was more than plenty for Archie, Eric and me.

The rest of the night was reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode. When I came on watch at 0200 Eric asked me to check his last two hourly plots. I plotted the two GPS fixes on the chart and came up with near identical positions as his. “Then we have a problem” says Eric, “we’re heading straight toward Jones Beach”.  The chart plotter showed our heading parallel to the coast,  compass course was fine and we were well offshore so we weren’t concerned, just very puzzled. Throw in a couple of 180 degree wind shifts and a missing sea buoy and the hairs started rising on the back of our necks. We agrees we were too fatigued to figure out the plots so put that off to tomorrow.


My favorite way to wake up – “Anyone want egg sandwiches”? asks Stephanie.  And she delivers some excellent ones on grilled English muffins. Eric and I return to the plotting question and conclude since the only chart we could use that far offshore was the small scale chart covering Cape May to Cape Cod, our plots had been skewed.

It is obvious to all that the weather has kept us from making a hoped for stop at Block Island so we settle down motor sailing in a pleasant Northwest breeze and plan for a late arrival at Point Judith. Stephanie has had enough for one trip and makes arrangements for a pickup when we tie up. The rest of the crew celebrates another successful trip with beer, rum and whatever else is found in the Captains liquor locker.

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