nautical almanac

Uncommon Mariners Not Just For Pirates

KEYS SUNRISE, PELICANS, TARPONS AT ROBBIES JUNE 8 152 #2_ed

 

“Welcome to the World of Pirates, Mariners, and the Eternal Sea.” Like billowing sails on a three-masted schooner, these words greet every visitor to my site. I put them front and center because I want everyone who comes to my page to know exactly what they can expect.

Like my upcoming book, Uncommon Mariners, you’ll find lots of information on pirates, ancient and modern, though my site isn’t just about pirates. It belongs just as much to mariners- those lusty, able-bodied men and women who for years have worked and played and sailed on high seas and in harbors all around the world.

Moreover, my site is also about the sea and the creatures that live there. The drama that plays out in the oceans every day as thousands of species struggle for survival is both riveting and shocking.

As I mention elsewhere on my webpage, I don’t propose to be the final word on any of these topics. Other sites do a fine job keeping you abreast of pirates and threats to mariners and the sea.

When you come to Uncommon Mariners, bring a pirate’s heart, playful and rebellious, but bring an inquisitive and probing mind too.  Do this and I promise you an entertaining, inspiring, and informative voyage.

I want to put a smile on your face with curious facts and amazing stories about mariners and the sea, but I also want to incense and anger you by making you aware of events and trends that are impacting mariners, the ocean, and its creatures in terrible ways.

Because the news isn’t all bad, I want to tell you about key players making a positive difference in mariners lives, the ocean environment, and the fight against piracy. And I want to provide you with links so you can learn more about these issues and act in ways big and small to make a difference. Continue reading →

Chase Pirates; live your dreams

    Uncommon Mariners: A Nautical Almanac 

A Voyage in a Book

    How would you like to chase pirates and mariners across the seven seas? I’ve written a book Uncommon Mariners, and if you like the sea, and things of the sea, and stories about men and women who have lived and died on it, I think you’re going to love this book. But let’s forget the book for now, and let me tell you a little something about my birth into the world of the sea, pirates, and mariners.

Maybe it was one of those day trips to the Jersey Shore as a kid. My oldest sister Sandi and my brother-in-law Larry Molinaro arrived at the curb of my home in their maroon Lincoln, and they piled my sisters and me into the back seat along with my mother and off we went barreling down Black Horse Pike. The pungent salt air that rose from the marshes outside Atlantic City  and the sand castles I built at the edge of that miraculous sea were bliss itself.

It was with a deep sense of loss that I packed up my sand bucket and shovel and headed for the local bathhouse as the sun lowered in the sky. Weeks later back in Philly, I could still feel the rise and fall of the sea as surely as those white curling breakers hurled themselves relentlessly towards my sandcastle that hot August day.

Or maybe it was that auspicious birthday years later, when my daughter Maureen and her husband Jason Olsen gave me the legendary gift box of Jimmy Buffett’s four CD’s Beaches, Boats, Bars, and Ballads. There was something about that mix of songs on the Boats CD that awakened the sleeping pirate in me. Suddenly, a black flag snapped somewhere in my brain, and I realized Jimmy vocalized what I had been feeling for years.

My first trip to the Florida Keys only further inflamed those pirate aspirations. Less than fifty yards down the isolation of Card Sound Road, civilization was replaced by the stark beauty of a paradise I could only guess at, and I knew I was home. Anyone who ever set foot on a ship and lost sight of land knows what I‘m talking about. I stood on the edge of the Universe and my whole soul opened up and I was swept into eternity.

Soon after, I experienced another event that insured I would never sleep again without the Jolly Roger wrapped tightly around my soul. One crisp October afternoon, while doing yard work, I disturbed a nest of hornets. I was stung on my ankle as the machine rattled and snarled at the aggravated bees. Armed with a can of wasp killer in each hand, the scene quickly deteriorated into hand to hand combat. Eventually I was able to slip in between the fragmented cloud of bees and turn the machine off. I left the wasps that were left to deal with their dying and dead.

Continue reading →