Images from Prepare to Come About

For a brief visual tour through some of the settings and characters in my latest book, Prepare to Come About, click this link to Youtube:

If you’ve already read the book, you may spot a few familiar faces and places. Most of the images in the video are from the various vessels–but then, who wouldn’t want to see tall ships and old wooden boats?

Many thanks to all of the passengers who sent in some of these pics over the years, as well as professional photographers Aaron Saunders, Didi Miles and Peter James.


A Shipmate’s Departure

The winds of November tear past my boat. I sit inside, warm and comfortable, watching as flags and halyards beat upon each other in the fury of the gale. Mozart plays on my computer.  It is a good day for contemplation.

Today, I still grieve for my former shipmates who have passed on this month. Two larger than life, gentle men. Lovers of life, tellers of tall tales and great cooks, friends, drinkers. Both gone too soon from us–fighting battles against their respective cancers. How unfair.

I sat down a couple of days ago and wrote this poem. It is especially for Barney Higgins and Ian Relay, but also for all the good Zodiac crew–past and present, and in fact, for all sailors and lovers of the sea.

                               A Shipmate’s Departure

Zodiac rides at her moorings now, a hush is on her deck
A dock line creaks in protest as its tolerance is checked.
There is no noise, no movement here, all has come to rest
Even gulls do mute their cries, a shipmate’s passing to attest.
The ship recalls the deckhands’ who will linger here no more
Her wooden frames and planking store the memories of nine-score.
Remembrances of summers gone, of seasons long since past
Of souls who’ve raised her sails and climbed her towering masts.
The old ship knows her crews may change, new faces come and go
Yet their passion and their voices shall ring forever down below.
Each shipwright who has corked her seams, every seamstress that has sewn
Every sailor, cook or captain that the boat has ever known.
They all reside within her hull, when their time on earth ebbs low
And raise her sails anew each morn, to seek the north wind’s blow.
For lovers of the sea and ships are bound to this world they share
And Zodiac keeps many souls within her tender care.
So weep not for those who leave us, shed tears of grief no more
We will surely meet onboard again, as we sail towards heaven’s shore.

207264_10150141694351216_6569621_n       For Barney and Ian.