Sailing into a hurricane

Why I write about boating

When we were a bit younger, my hus­band and I were into boat­ing on Chesa­peake Bay and beyond. Our first boat was Cloud Nine, a sail­boat. We end­ed up sail­ing, then pow­er-boat­ing for many years. We met oth­er boaters and trav­eled in groups. One of our ear­li­er trips was part way down the Intra­coastal Water­way. Of course, when you are trav­el­ing at a rate of three to five nau­ti­cal miles an hour, it does take a while to reach your des­ti­na­tion. We all, of course, brought our liv­ing space with us, kitchen, bed­room, sit­ting room, and, if you will excuse the men­tion, the facil­i­ties. (That did neces­si­tate an occa­sion­al vis­it to a pump-out sta­tion.)

A few days out we heard an ear­ly hur­ri­cane was head­ed our way. We stopped at a small mari­na and pre­pared. We took all sails down, laid them out on the lawn to fold them, and stored them inside our boats. At the mari­na operator’s insis­tence, we anchored out in the cove with at least two anchors each. Then he came around to each boat, picked up every­one who want­ed to go ashore, and brought us to the bed and break­fast he also oper­at­ed. How­ev­er, since his wife was away, there was no break­fast. But he did loan us his truck to go to the store for a few sup­plies. A cou­ple of the hus­bands stayed on their boats. For­tu­nate­ly, my hus­band wasn’t one of them.

Also for­tu­nate­ly, the hur­ri­cane turned west a few miles before it reached us and nev­er hit us. It was dou­bly for­tu­nate, since the house had lots of win­dows that the own­er didn’t cov­er them in the least.

The next day we trav­eled a few miles south and came to a mari­na where one boat had sunk in its slip after hav­ing rubbed a hole in the prow as the waves bounced and shook it vio­lent­ly against the pier.

All our trav­el­ing inspired my mys­ter­ies. I do men­tion a hur­ri­cane in one of my books, but the char­ac­ters involved are most­ly on land. So, although where I live is in the midst of Amish ter­ri­to­ry, and those sto­ries do well, I was much more inter­est­ed in set­ting my mys­ter­ies on Chesa­peake Bay. We no longer go boat­ing, but I can still enjoy the water­front in my imag­i­na­tion.

A side note: Often boaters have dogs aboard, some even have cats or birds. One cou­ple we knew well had a large dog. Some­times, when the shore was lined with tall grass, find­ing a spot for Wat­son (the dog’s name, the couple’s last name was Holmes) to do his busi­ness was dif­fi­cult (like in the pic­ture seen here).

Hmm, maybe I should put Wat­son into a book. What do you think?

 

Five Stars For JUST ADD WATER

I didn’t have to dig very deeply into my favorites list to come up with 5 star A Just Add Water by Jinx Schwartyz. I under­stand that this author is as at-home on boats as she is in front of her com­put­er writ­ing about Het­ta Cof­fey.

Het­ta doesn’t have a boat as the book starts. She has women friends, an ex fiancé, and a dog named RJ. Let’s just say, boy friends come and go, and their com­ing isn’t always good. Could be fatal, as a mat­ter of fact. But, oh, that does make for good read­ing!

The dead body doesn’t appear right away, but the action is non-stop. Het­ta is after a man, any man. Per­haps buy­ing a boat is the way to go. Then, again, per­haps not. But Het­ta has a boat, and she is intends to learn how to use it. (That’s a quote, more or less, from the author’s tweets, “Het­ta has a boat and she’s not afraid to use it.”)

This is my first Het­ta Cof­fey Mys­tery and won’t be the last! I read Jinx Schwartyz’ Land of Moun­tains before giv­ing it to a grand­daugh­ter and absolute­ly loved it. It is semi-auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal. I don’t think Just Add Water is, but it cer­tain­ly could be, if the child in the ear­li­er book grew up to get involved in mur­der instead of just into boats.

I’d like to quote from a few oth­ers who liked this book:

First, I must say this book was a chuck­le a minute—except for the parts not designed to elic­it chuck­les, of course.”

Whether you’re a fan of mys­tery, chick lit, or humor, you’ll be a fan of Het­ta Cof­fey and author Jinx Schwartz.”

Het­ta is brash and bold with a mouth that doesn’t have much of a fil­ter.”

There are many more reviews, but that gives you an idea. Almost all of them are pos­i­tive.

Just Add Water is avail­able here.

Cloud Nine

Cloud Nine

Of course, I know a lit­tle some­thing about boats as well. Just for kicks, I’ll add a pic­ture of the boat my hus­band and I sailed for a good many years. We didn’t find any killers, but we did run into a few killer storms. And, know­ing a lit­tle bit about boats myself, only made me appre­ci­ate Just Add Water even more.

Does knowl­edge of the sub­ject affect your read­ing? I know, if an author doesn’t get some­thing right that I do know about, that does affects my read­ing plea­sure. It down-right destroys it.

Saving Dogs

Dogs on a plane. A mer­cy flight for ani­mals fac­ing death in over­crowd­ed shel­ters.

Recent­ly our news­pa­per told the sto­ry of the Pitts­burgh Avi­a­tion Ani­mal Res­cue Team when they brought fif­teen dogs to the Lan­cast­er Coun­ty SPCA shel­ter. The PAART began when a cou­ple of new pilots want­ed a mis­sion oth­er than just fly­ing around Pitts­burgh. After one trans­port­ed a dog for a friend, the idea took hold. When the group hears of an over­crowd­ed shel­ter about to euth­a­nize dogs, they fly in and col­lect up to one thou­sand pounds of ani­mals and take them to a shel­ter that has room and peo­ple who want to adopt dogs.

Since 2006, they’ve moved more than 600 dogs. They’ve also shift­ed cats, ducks, even pigs and a python. Some­times the dogs are in crates, oth­er times they are loose. The alti­tude makes them sleepy. The only prob­lem has been when an affec­tion­ate dog wants to sit on the pilot’s lap. (The only dam­age to a plane was when one Great Dane chewed up the co-pilot’s seat.) Many of the dogs are pup­pies.

The team of pilots has gone out near­ly every week­end for the last two years. On occa­sion a pilot will adopt one of the dogs. But they know the dogs face a bright future. Local­ly, the Lan­cast­er shel­ter had pre­vi­ous­ly tak­en twen­ty-eight dogs from the same over­crowd­ed shel­ter in anoth­er state, but these were the first that came by plane. All of those those tak­en ear­li­er have been adopt­ed.

Our turnover has been phe­nom­e­nal,” said Lancaster’s Susan Mar­tin. “We live in such a great coun­ty. There are so many dog lovers.”

The full arti­cle with pic­tures is here.