Pictures from Sea Venture’s Trip North to NYC

As seen on my Facebook Author Page, including Chesapeake City Book Signing:

Woo-hoo! Sea Venture Went Roaming!

I took time off from writing and editing to play on our beloved boat! So, so much fun.

I know. Our poor darling Sea Venture sat around on the hard and then at dock for far, far too long. But Saturday dawned bright and cold, and off we went, up the ICW from Beaufort, NC, to New Bern. Now we have a vacation spot an hour away by car and a good eight hours by water.

There wasn’t much to photograph on the way up, but I decided to bore you with memory pictures.

Michael and friend, Ray Lokay, letting the autopilot steer.

Ray and Marianne Lokay own a center-cockpit version of the Force 50, which they keep at the New Bern Grand. Force 50s are not the only thing we have in common. Ray now works for my cousin. Ray and Marianne used to live on the Eastern Shore, near where my children grew up, and the four of us, along with my sailing cousin, his wife, and my mama, have discovered how much fun we’re having with good food, good conversation, and a love of the water.

Marianne Lokay, keeping warm
My little mama after her nap on deck


With no wind, they cancelled the race, and now the breeze begins.
Neuse River bank, James City
Approaching the Neuse River Bridge
On the ICW, Mama on the lookout

As you can see, Sea Venture’s mainsail is still lashed after Sandy came roaring through. We also haven’t yet reinstalled the headsails, but we couldn’t have gotten much headway under sail on a day when it barely hit five knots.

Our pitiful wake

Sea Venture’s newly painted prop must have grown a beard in the three months since she launched–she dragged along on the trip, barely making 5.5 knots. Poor girl needs a shave, so our first item of business will be to find a diver to clean the bottom. I’m sorry we’re no longer in the tropics. Michael and I used to have a grand time doing the job ourselves and feeding the local fauna. (See pictures from Mexico.)

Ray and Marianne’s boat in the background behind SV in New Bern. We can chat across the fairway!

Looking forward to the Christmas lights and parade in December!


Guests at Sleepy Creek!

With Sea Venture still land-bound, we’re playing on little boats. Step-sister Misa and her beau, Rick, came from California to visit, and we took the motor boat out to Cape Lookout. Michael, poor darling, remained tied to big-boat repairs (with a launch date looming, there’s still much to finish), so I was the designated driver and tour guide. Unlike most summer weeks in coastal Carolina, this one gave us perfect weather: sunny days and an ocean breeze in the afternoon to keep us cool and the bugs inland.

Even my 84-year-old mama came along for the boat ride and a picnic at anchor. Misa and Rick ventured over to the ocean side of the cut, but kept their snorkeling for inside after a 10-foot black-tipped shark showed up in the shallows. I’m sorry they didn’t have a camera at hand.


Here are some pictures for the family album.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse from a bouncy boat

Misa was our boat photographer, so I don’t have any shots of her from the trip. But she did discover the origin of the tri-cornered hat: you notice that’s what mine has become, and Mama’s is working its way there.


Don’t you love our hats?

This isn’t particularly flattering of Mama, but it is of Rick. Mama was game for anything and was probably giving Rick the history of the area as we zoomed out Core Sound.


Mama and Rick on the way to the Cape
Rick, the ever smiling!


I’m so glad he agreed to come. He’s a mountain man, a climber as is Misa, but I think North Carolina now claims a piece of his heart.

A shrimper at anchor


Misa and Rick show their loving smiles


What a delightful pair: witty, warm, and just plain good company. We’d dined on shrimp and corn and kale, so we were a happy bunch.

And this last is from this morning, when we had to wave good-bye. Come again soon, folks. We love you.

saying goodbye in front of the little house


Fading into Silence?

What does it mean when a cruiser’s sailing blog slips into silence?

Sometimes, the sailor is busy sailing. He can’t write, because he’s at sea. She doesn’t post, because she’s too busy living the seafaring life.

Wouldn’t it be jolly if that were my excuse?

Well, I’m sorry to say, silence reigns here because Sea Venture is still on the hard.

I know. Amazing.

But true. So, here’s the update. She looks terrible. The poor dear has her stuffing pulled out and her mizzen still off, and there’s dirt everywhere. Nothing is as dirty as a boatyard.

I’m hoping this is the storm before the calm. A mess on its way to clean. The beast about to become a beauty.


So, that’s why I’ve been silent. Not because we’ve been too busy sailing.

I will say that I’ve also been just a tad preoccupied with my writing.

Oh, didn’t you know that I write women’s fiction from a sailor’s perspective? I do. And my first Beaufort story will be released sometime toward the end of the year or the first of next year in both print and e-book format. You can keep track of that by coming by to say “Hey!” on Facebook. Or hanging out at the writing blog: Writing on Board

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Calling the Crew: Readers and Writers

I’m a sailor — temporarily land bound — and I write stories of women who sail. Some of them sail small boats, some large ones. Most love the water, though I’ve a WIP in which the protagonist is a wife who follows her husband’s dream. How’s that working out? Well, I’ve met a few wives who did the same thing. In my story? Check back with me as it evolves.

Puff is a sharpie, built for my auntie, given to me. Puff became my friend, the soother of my shattered soul, the one to whom I told my dreams. You’ll find her in various guises in many of my stories, as rescuer, as a setting for compounded messes, as an entree to love.  Here she is in Core Sound, running from those gathering clouds. It was a very wet sail.


Sailing Puff

When we took off to cruise on Sea Venture, I wanted a sailing dinghy to play around in various anchorages. Puff II came along with us, but she’s a bit hefty for deck work. Michael plans to leave her behind when we head out on our next adventures. Still, here I am, with my mother, exploring Ballandra. The dinghy may show up one day as an adjunct to the big boat, but she offers less scope for adventure. At least, so far.


Sea Venture’s dinghy

Sailing a big boat is a lot more comfortable. There’s shade, for one thing. And a seat for steering, though unless we’re headed up a channel or into an anchorage, we’ve toys that manage the helm. There are places to hide in a big boat. Places to escape. But you can’t tuck the big boat away in a barn when a storm brews. And if you’re at sea, the storm becomes your enemy, your endurance course. And a great setting for survival.

Sea Venture off Loreto, MX

Sea Venture rarely shows up as herself, but she’s the inspiration. Life on board her for those years can’t help but affect the way I write as it provides so many what-ifs.

Here’s the big boat on her way north. Such stories she holds. Secrets that she breathes as I write.


Anchored in Stillwater Cove, CA

Life on the water abounds in mystery and romance. One night, in that same peaceful anchorage pictured above under the sailing dinghy, we went on deck with a flashlight.  Suddenly, silvery fish zipped to the surface. They did not make me wish for a midnight swim. But imagine if the heroine fell off the boat (or were pushed) into water like that? What a different mood from the daytime’s turquoise shallows.

Bahia Ballandra at night

What about a glide across the water where you see the heron in the picture above?

A different mood. And here’s still another:


So many settings. So much fun.

What I’d like to know is this: Do you enjoy sailing stories? Oh, not stories about sailing so much as stories about people who sail, women who prefer wind-blown hair to high heels.

If you’re a sailor, do you write about the life in more than your blog posts? (I’ve those on Sea Venture’s Journey.)

And if you’re a writer, do you craft your stories about the world you inhabit or about ones that inhabit only your dreams?