Friday, March 30, 2007

Narrow Dog to Indian River


I love boats and boat stories. This one takes place on the east coast of the US,cruising down the intracoastal waterway in an narrow canal boat shipped over form England, written by a Welshman , his wife and their dog. Fun read, it has yet to be published but I did read their last book Narrow Dog to Carcassonne so I give this one props! Tell them My Mule sent ya. You can visit their website for more information, buy their first book and then buy the next one, great fun.
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March/April 2007

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I won’t tell you how, or the way in which the natural world kept a big joke for the final voyage onto the Gulf of Mexico, or how the joke was on us, or about the vulture tree or the twelve-foot alligator, or crossing twenty-five mile Lake Okeechobee in fog, but I will tell you we made it! And in eleven hundred miles the engine needed only a pint of oil and a pint of water.

We are exhausted and fat but most happy.

Narrow Dog to Indian River is finished apart from polishing and any changes suggested by my kind manuscript readers and my publisher. The new book will be more adventurous than Carcassonne - we find it hard to believe ourselves some of the things that happened.

Among our memories will be the generosity of the Americans, the enormity of the waters, the beauty of the marshes, and the wildlife for its abundance and how often it attacked me, with many cunning and painful assaults.

We have missed our friends and family and the telly and the beer and the cool weather. We return with the news that both books have been bought by Bantam to publish in the US.

We will be in Stone on the 21st of March and the boat arrives a month later. I have had the easy bit writing the book, as Monica does all the arrangements – there could be no book without the expedition!

Many regards, (love, yip fart)

Terry, (Monica, Jim)


EXTRACT FROM NARROW DOG TO INDIAN RIVER

You look upset. I said to Monica. Something has gone wrong. Has Jim thrown up, or the gas run out, or your laptop stiffed? Share your problem with old Tel, and he will wrestle it to the floor and stamp on its fingers.

It’s Lake Okeechobee, said Monica. There is a route round the rim that is safe and I was going to do that. But I just rang the Corps of Engineers and the rim route is shut – there isn’t enough water so we have got to go across. Lake Okeechobee is seven hundred and fifty square miles. It’s wider than the English Channel by half again and it’s flat on the edges – no white cliffs, no Cap Gris Nez to steer by – just water. Do you know what Okeechobee means? It is Seminole Indian for Big Water.

You’ve got to give it to the Seminoles, I said – they get to the heart of the matter.

It’s bigger and more dangerous than anything we have seen so far, said Monica. It says in the book that if you are used to the sheltered waters of the Intracoastal Waterway you are in for a shock, and the book is written for people with proper boats.

The Intracoastal was enough of a shock for me, I said.

Lake Okeechobee is rough and it’s nasty, said Monica. It develops a short high chop that is said to be a killer, and it overflowed once, and drowned two thousand people. But most of all it’s enormous. It’s not an estuary or a sound like Albemarle or Pamlico – it’s a sea. We could never see land again.

To hell with what they are telling you, I said – we only draw two feet, we’ll go round the rim regardless. This is the amazing Phyllis May, that can sail across a wet football field. There you are – problem solved – the industrial strength mind of Tits Magee has smashed its way through.

The marinas on the rim were destroyed by the last hurricane, said Monica.

We’ll anchor out, I said, on the rim route.

You must be mad, said Monica – we have no dinghy and as soon as we set foot on shore the alligators will eat Jim.

Jim can stay on board, I said, and use the New York Times.

He won’t, he’ll burst, said Monica, or die. He’s a very clean dog.

I understand, I said, you have had a lot of disappointment. Poor Mon, you carry all the weight of management while I sit in the corner at my laptop on the log-box, with my feet on Jim, writing my little book. But fortunately due to the soundness of my overarching project design we have plenty of time. We will wait for a really calm day and set out across the lake on the direct route. We can wait for a month if we need to – lazing in this little marina, being welcomed and loved by the good ole locals, with our finger on the pulse of the weather. And when we set out who cares we will be out of sight of land – who cares when the water is like a mirror, disturbed only by the lazy splash of the pelicans and the slow dolphins passing with a smile and a sucking noise like a kiss.

They are throwing us out of this marina tomorrow, said Monica, because they are full and they need our space to lift boats out, and there isn’t another marina. We are going tomorrow, and the weather forecast is wind ten to fifteen miles an hour and there will be a killer chop and rain and thunderstorms and we could be struck by lightning and it’s too far to ask any of our friends to come down. We’re on our own, and we go tomorrow.

Don’t worry, I said, Mon dear – there will be an answer, trust me.

There is an answer already, said Monica – we go tomorrow.

16 Comments:

At 4:09 PM , Blogger Zen Wizard said...

Love boats; love the Right Coast.

(Well--south of the Mason Dixon, where nobody talks like the Kennedys.)

 
At 4:28 PM , Blogger Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Dog wash!
When I was a young dog, my humans built a house boat in the drive way. It was ply wood. It would not keep water out, only in. It was so heavy it broke the trailer twice on the way to the lake. It sank every time we turned our backs. My humans were lucky the lake was shallow. He had a bilge pump that worked like a bicycle pump and he worked like a french bicyclist trying to keep the sandwiches dry.
They fianlly abandoned it at the marina and had to move away to avoid the phone calls. I've used this tact many times in my long bilge water life.

 
At 5:49 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

zen: Where I am from nobody talks like the Kennedys unless they are dead...nevermind.

MTB: Yep I remember this boat, its kinda like mine but I did not build it from scratch, I just rebuild it piece by piece. I do remember you donating your ski boat to a marina, it was a nice boat, it floated well but the propulsion system seemed to dwell on its flaws.

 
At 6:51 PM , Blogger Mom! Toilets blogged! said...

Yes, I had forgotten about that. It just goes to prove I tell the truth when I tell my tall tales.

The Artist Formerly Known as Joshies Brother

 
At 7:37 PM , Blogger ~d said...

Researched what you posted!

**Thank you again, so much for the sweet, sweet comment over at my b-day post!
♥♥♥

 
At 2:06 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Toliet: Now is it a step up to be known as Mom the toliets blogged. Or Joshies Brother?

~d: I meant it with all my ♥ and if I knew anymore cool symbols I would use those to make me seem even more sweet and smart too!

 
At 10:26 AM , Blogger ~d said...

(emailing me...I have a secret to telling you....sshhh!)
d.blogspot@gmail.com

 
At 2:33 PM , Blogger Toby said...

I'm a boat guy! I've lived by the "sea" my whole life. I have sea legs.

sailing on the wide open Lake Michigan - http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/tobyvictory/Meonboat.jpg

Nothing better when some are getting sick while I'm rocking away towing the line.

My buddy Mike mated? on his dad's boat for years and he got sick once in a while. Never say never, right?

 
At 4:48 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

~d: Oh Yea! Now thats a secret I can keep as easy as π!

Toby: Sea sickness, arggh! I have been on the verge, but never the full monty. I remember on a fishing boat years ago, my father and I went one of those fishing boats out onto big blue to fish, or mainly to give the women folk imagine new faults in our character, thoughtful men. About half the bout was vomiting, we had chips and salsa we brought along, sitting on a wood plank seat we feasted, a man beside us watched us and then went for the rail, we contiued our feast. Not that I take it lightly, I have been at the edge and hated the feeling, horrible feeling really, another story really almost a post but I will spare you and my other reader. My Best JW

 
At 3:55 PM , Blogger ing said...

Vomiting and eating chips & salsa -- the life of a sailor, eh?

So what did the womenfolk figure out about you while you were gone? Did you rescind?

This Welshman sounds like one crazy dude. If I was his wife I'd get out, take a plane to Europe, and wish him lots of luck. Maybe he'd get it out of his system.

 
At 4:27 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

ing: Life on the high seas with out chips and salsa, well I just might feel compelled to grab the anchor and leap over board.
As for the women folk I saw a hint of sadness in their eyes upon our return.
Welshman and crazy is kinda, abit sorta redundant.Fly to London and drink beer eat crackles and maybe get roped into one of his next crack pot schemes? Nothing doing!

 
At 4:19 PM , Blogger Lee Ann said...

Oh, I would love to have a nice boat!
Great photo too!
Have a great week!
~xo

 
At 2:57 AM , Blogger Winters said...

Hello Josh. Good to see you again, dude.

My mind is now full of the sea. In part due to your fine post and in part due to yesterday's alcohol.

You choose your weapons with care as always. Thanks, and peace.

 
At 3:13 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

leeann: Why thankee

Barnes: Welcome back. Eh, a bit of the grog bit ya? That is a powerful weapon, the grog.

 
At 8:12 PM , Blogger Mone said...

reading that makes me feel like saying "kids, go pack your backpacks, we need to go"!
Whats the opposite frome homesick? Fare away sick? Well, thats what I am!

 
At 4:22 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

mone: I hear ya!

 

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