Writing Styles: Active Voice

Another writing exercise using an active voice.

Learning the craft of writing includes lots of reading, and as an aspiring writer, I read several novels over the holidays. One of my favorites was Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews.

A husband-wife team co-authored Magic Bites using the pseudonym Ilona Andrews. Published on March 27, 2007, it is the first book in the Kate Daniels series. There are twelve books from Kate’s point of view and a number of novels from the other characters’ point of view. I aspire to be as prolific as this writing team.

The urban fantasy takes place in Atlanta, where magic and technology vie for superiority. Set in 2040, Kate’s sole-surviving family member, her guardian, Greg Feldman is murdered. During her investigation, she interacts with rival factions, each with their own agenda, and an ancient supernatural being.

Kate earns her living as a mercenary in a world of shapeshifters, necromancers, and vampires. In the simplest terms, she’s badass. Obstinate and sarcastic, she wields a magic sword, named Slayer, which she carries in a sheath on her back. When looking for the leader of the Pack faction, Curran Lennart, a lion shapeshifter, she calls out, “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.” The undercurrent of a developing romantic relationship between Kate and Curran flowing throughout the tale is palpable and enticing.

The created world is well developed. But I’m not sure the book would have been as enjoyable if not for the bonus material including FAQ, character bios, and descriptions of the factions. I love speculative fiction, but the worlds in even well-written books boggle my mind sometimes. In this case, reading the supplemental information beforehand kept me engaged through the entire 366 pages.

For me, Magic Bites was a great case study since I’m in the process of writing an urban fantasy from a first-person point of view. I’m looking forward to diving into the prequel soon.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1968, Part 1

The North Channel in Ontario, Canada
July 27 – August 8, 1968

The first seven days (days 1-7) of our 1968 summer vacation on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. Accompanying us on this voyage was the Playmate II with the Phillips family – Ron (captain), Joyce (first mate) and Carolyn (crew in training) along with their friends John and Lois. I don’t recall the boat type and size of the Playmate II, but it is in several of the photos.

The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

SHIP’S LOG – Saturday, July 27 (day 1)
Awoke this morning to the beautiful sound of rain on the roof. Rolled over and went back to sleep. Everyone got up about 9:30 am. Got dressed and went up to the (Indian Trail) motel for breakfast. Ron and Joyce and their company came in. Had a northern-type meal and came back to the boat and started to put things away. Meanwhile Nick installed the radio and changed oil. Went up into town for a few last minute items, gassed up, put the bike on board, and finally left the marina at 3:40 pm. Skies over cast with the sun coming out periodically. Winds picking up from the northwest. Got as far as Cheboygan. Only a couple of boats docked. Tied up and settle down for the night. Went out and had a nice dinner at Step In. Turned cool while we were in there. Took the dogs for their walk in bedded down for the night.

Indian River Marina ~ Indian River, Michigan

SHIP’S LOG – Sunday, July 28 (day 2)
Left Cheboygan at 7:20 am. Skies clear, winds seemed to have dropped. By the time we got to Poe Reef, the waves were rolling pretty big. Had a little relief after we past the light, but got hit again from Spectacle light and all the way into Detour. Everyone was really happy to put a shaky foot on solid ground. Had breakfast up at the motel. Suzie (that’s me!) caught the first fish, a nice perch. Gassed up and left detour around 10:45 am. Had a rockin and rolling ride again. Started up the downstream channel, so we had to backtrack a little way and cut over into the right channel. Coast Guard registered our number and name with binoculars as we passed the first checkpoint.    

The further north we got, the harder the winds blew. Tried calling the cruising club but they didn’t answer. So we decided to spend the night at the Municipal Dock. Had a terrible time getting into the slip. The winds kept pushing us around. Ron made 3 or 4 trips before he got in. We caught a piece of molding on our way in and bent it off. Have to put a couple of screws in before we leave. Got Ron settled and then made some sandwiches. All of a sudden the wheels of the bike appeared on the dock. Somehow the fellas got it off without dropping it in the drink.   

The wind has begun to blow harder. Overheard the Flying Gull talking to another boat. They were coming in from Superior. Waves running 16 feet. The other boat was in Lake George. Winds blowing 35 steadily with gusts near 40 miles per hour.    

Nick went exploring. The town is about 3 ½ miles. Just a short walk. Decided to settle down for the night. Joyce came over and soon Ron strolled in. Decided to play cards. Us girls got beat 4 in a roll. Finally won the 5th game. Going to sleep in a bit tomorrow.

SHIP’S LOG – Monday, July 29 (day 3)
Got up at 9:30 am. Skies clear but still windy. Had breakfast and we all decided to go into town. Rented 2 taxi cabs and off we went. Started out at the Soo Locks. Boy, what an operation. Watched the Alva C Dinkey lock down. From there we walked across the street to the Old Town. All sorts of antiques. Took the train ride around town. It took us across the International Peace Bridge. What a sight: the locks, St Mary’s rapids, and a real good view of Superior. Had lunch at the Lamplighter. From there we walked down to the freighter Valley Camp. That was quite a tour, from stem to stern, on deck and below. Called for a cab in the Captain’s quarters.

All very glad to be back. Winds have died right down. Checked over the charts and big black book and decided to gas up and head for Dead Boy Cove in the St. Joseph Channel. Had a beautiful ride from the Soo but when we finally found it, there was a sailboat at anchor in the middle. Decided to poke our noses around the corner. Found a nice rock wall to tie up to. Much better than Dead Boy Cove. Explored the rocks, watched chipmunks, picked blueberries and tried the fishing. Ron sailed around in his little boat. Had dinner about 10:00 pm and settled down for the night. Temperature in the forties. Weather clear and winds 0.

I couldn’t find any links about Old Town and the Lamplighter. Also, Dead Boy Cove is referred to as Dead Boy’s Bay on the maps, etc. However, Great Lakes Cruising Club boaters still call it Dead Boy Cove.

SHIP’S LOG – Tuesday, July 30 (day 4)
Awoke to very grey clouds. Started to rain even before we actually got out of bed. Had breakfast and took the dogs out on the rocks for a walk before we left. The girls picked another batch of blueberries. Can’t really recall exactly when we left but it must have been around 11:00 am. St. Joseph Channel wasn’t bad at all. A little choppy. We really started to take a beating about halfway across the North Channel. We hit one wave so hard that the dingy broke loose on one end. Had to turn the boat and take the waves on the stern (at an idle) and Nick went out to fix it. Suzie about this time was completely hysterical. Liz was able to get her a Dramamine tablet.

I have vivid memories of incident. In my child’s mind, my dad was going to die! The boat was violently tossed about especially at an idle. I was certain he was going to get knocked off the davit, and he was going to drowned before we could get him. Or the boat would get pushed over him when we tried to pick him up.

Please note that Dramamine includes the word “drama” and there was definitely drama on board.

We were real lucky we didn’t lose the motor. Had to cut our speed because of the banging. One time took green water right over the windshield. Nick headed for the shore of Cockburn Island to get some relief. Then we could pick up speed again. Pulled into Meldrum Bay and it was jammed. Had to wait in the bay for about ½ hour before we could get in for gas. Tied up across from the Normac ramp. Seeing no one was leaving and the Normac was due in at 7:00 pm (this about 5:00 pm) decided to try anchoring at the end of the bay. Maybe we can get some relief from the wind. Tried a couple of spots but the anchor wouldn’t hold. Finally after the 3rd try, success. Playmate II tied alongside. Everyone completely beat out especially me. Wind really picking up again, but out of the south this time. Nick made one more trip to shore. Dog run this time.

SHIP’S LOG – Wednesday, July 31 (day 5)
Awoke again this morning to grey clouds. Thunder in the distance and, and before we even got out of bed, rain. Had breakfast and cleaned up the cabin, still raining. Along about noon, the skies started to clear and at 1:00 got the MAFOR weather. Winds were supposed to change and reach gale force by evening. That will make this bay very rough. Still no docking space at Meldrum. Took a vote and decided to make a run for Harbor Island. Seas will be at our stern so the ride won’t be so rough. Got a call from the Pretty Baby tied up in Gore Bay inquiring about the waves and also Meldrum Bay.

Pulled into Harbor Island just behind three other boats. Probably no dock space left. Very lucky Joe put us up at the very end where he ties his boats. He remembered us from last year. Walked around a bit. Toured the Club house. After dinner, Nick rented his boat and we all went fishing. Suzie, her same nervous self (Clearly, I was traumatized!). Did catch two, a rock bass and a small mouth bass. Rest of the late evening very quiet.

SHIP’S LOG – Thursday, August 1 (day 6)
Well, had something different this morning. Sun for a change. Nick and Liz went fishing even before they had breakfast. Just took the cookies. Suzie and I had our breakfast and I cleaned up the floors, sewed my slacks, and by that time, it was really getting warm in the sun. Decided to wash my hair and gave Elmer a bath. The more I looked at that water, the more I felt like a swim. So I did. Both Suzie and I went in. When Nick and Liz came back from fishing (didn’t catch a thing), they went in to. Water was real cold when you first got in, but after it felt really good. Had lunch, got the weather in decided you had for Little Current and some supplies. Only had 2 small catastrophes. Carolyn was fooling around on the dock and fell in. No emergency. She had on her bathing suit and a life jacket. Liz was walking along side of the boat by the antenna, saw fly and went to swat it and fell onto the dock. On the way down scraped the side of her leg.

Left Harbor Island about 2:25 pm. Had a nice ride to Little Current. Stocked up and food, goodies, etc. And left for Bay Finn (Baie Fine). Check out the map in link. Had another real good ride. A number of boats in the Pool but our rock was untaken again. 4 times in a row is record. Got everyone tied up and started the fire for charcoal broiled steaks and were they ever good. After it got dark, the boys shot off their fireworks. Pretty good show. This side of the pool looked like the Fourth of July in August. Us girls decided to play cards. Called it quits after four games.

Surprisingly, there is not a lot of information about Bay Finn and the Pool on the internet. At least, I couldn’t locate much at all. Maybe, it is good if these beautiful secluded places are off the beaten path. But I think they are more widely known and traveled than what my searches located.

SHIP’S LOG – Friday, August 2 (day 7)
Woke up at 7:00 am. Sun shining bright but rolled over for another 40 winks. Finally got up about 9. Had my coffee on the back deck. Joyce was the early bird on the Playmate II. Within half an hour everyone was hustling about except Nick. He was the last one out of the sack today.

We did get things underway and Nick played taxi as we all went ashore for a mountain climbing expedition. Lois only made it about half of the way because of height sickness. As we climbed over the rise at the one-third point, we met up with a big furry black bear. Suzie almost had apoplexy. John and Liz went after it but we must had scared the poor thing silly. Probably never expected us up there.

Had a short break after that and Lois decided to stay there. The rest of us forged ahead. Reached the top and headed down the other side by Crater Lake. Got about halfway and down decided to stop. Kids getting tired. Had our lunch under some pine trees. John went off himself. He did reach the lake and said water was quite warm. Sat for a while admiring the view and getting our second wind.

Started back for the long trip down. No unusual happenings. Reached the base camp and jumped in clothes in all. Got everyone going and pretty soon everyone was splashing about. Boy, did that ever feel good. Stirred up the mud bottom pretty good. Nick started taxi service and back we all went but none for the worse.

Nick went fishing and it was a good thing we didn’t wait for supper. He did catch on fair size pike. Saw two big bass but they weren’t biting on anything. Built a bonfire after dark and sat around for a while. Closed up shop around 11:30.

As with Bay Finn and the Pool, there doesn’t seem to be any information about Crater Lake. A few mentions, but nothing specific about this Crater Lake.

Please come back to to read the last week of our cruise to the North Channel…

Peter Frampton’s Finale — The Farewell Tour

I wrote the following review for an assignment in one of my workshops. It’s a little dated, but the concert continues to resonate with me. It was a great show, and I still get teary-eyed when I think about it.

In August, I indulged my love of classic rock music by going to see Peter Frampton. It was a poignant show to go to because it was part of his farewell tour. Suffering from a rare degenerative muscular disorder called Inclusion-Body Myositis, Frampton will eventually lose his ability to play guitar.

 The opening act was Jason Bonham’s Evening with Led Zeppelin. As the name implies, the show consisted of Led Zeppelin covers. I’m a little fussy about tribute bands that cover only one artist or group. And I understand Jason Bonham is rock royalty as the son of original Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham. However, I don’t like seeing a cover band at a major ticketed concert. Like millions of others, I’d rather see the original band if I’m dropping a substantial amount of cash to see a show.

Frampton opened with an obscure but favorite song of mine, Somethin’s Happening. His voice was clear and crisp and sounded not much different than I remember from my first concert back in 1975. His guitar playing was tight, his fingers hitting every note. His band, a perfect accompaniment. He played another favorite of mine, Lines on My Face, before launching into his mainstay favorites like Show Me the Way and Baby, I Love Your Way.

Frampton did his fair share of covers, too. In addition to a few from his recently released album All Blues, he performed an inspiring rendition of Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden. Saving the best for last, his cover of The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps was emotional. Knowing it was the last song of his last concert I’d ever see, tears rolled down my cheeks.

Thankfully, Frampton continues to tour as long as his health lets him. Check out his website for 2020 dates, but you’ll have to travel to Europe. Let’s hope he stays healthy enough to make another trip around the States. One more time.

SETLIST: click on link to see music videos
* Baby (Somethin’s Happening)
* Lying
* Lines on My Face
* Show Me the Way
* Fig Tree Bay
* Georgia On My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra cover)
* Me and My Guitar (Freddie King cover)
* Same Old Blues (Freddie King cover)
* Breaking All the Rules
* Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)
* (I’ll Give You) Money
* Baby, I Love Your Way
* Do You Feel Like We Do
* Four Day Creep (Ida Cox cover)
* I Don’t Need No Doctor (Nickolas Ashford cover)
* While My Guitar Gently Weeps (The Beatles cover)

Paczki Day 2020

Outside, the sky was dark with rain-laden clouds. The lightning temporarily blinded the people coming and going on the sidewalk. Thunder rumbled, shaking the foundations of the centuries-old buildings lining Main Street. One thunderclap released a torrent of rain, soaking everything not shielded from it within minutes. Soon, water rushed through the streets, and the awnings over the front doors sagged from the weight of the rain collecting in them. But the violence outside was nothing compared to the battle raging inside the bakery.

It was Fat Tuesday, celebrated in Pole Town with paczki, fried fruit-filled donuts. Bakers across town labored all night, making sure they had enough inventory for the hundreds of fervent people who started lining up at 4:00 am to get their hands on a dozen of the delights.

With wands drawn, late comers Doretha and Eloise waged war over the last dozen, scattering chairs and tables with bolts of energy when they missed their mark. Among other casualties were shattered dishware and cracked glass of now empty display cases. As the combatants danced around each other, Doretha’s bolt made contact with Eloise, thrusting her out the front door onto the sidewalk. Doretha rushed forward to gauge the effectiveness of her strike when the awning above the entrance collapsed, sending a wall of water crashing down on Eloise. She screamed in agony as she melted into the sidewalk. Turning away from the scene, Doretha casually collected the last dozen paczki.

“First Thought, Best Thought”

Recently, I’ve noticed a renewed interest in the beat poets of the 1950s. Namely, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. The interest is not so much about their messages as it is about the spoken word delivered with or without music accompaniment. In other words, the revival of poetry readings popular in the 1960s.

The allure of these readings is the style of the writing. When the written word is spoken, it has a rhythmic quality. Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg described the style as “First thought, best thought.” In literary terms, the style is referred to as stream of consciousness.

I explored this narrative technique in a writing workshop. The subject matter of my exercise doesn’t even come close to the contemplative musings of the Beat poets. Or any other poet for that matter. It’s a simple stream of thought based on the given prompt which was someone infatuated with someone else at an audition for the leading lady role in local theater production.

Oh, my gosh, I’m so nervous; remember, he has no idea how I feel about him, he’ll never think I’m expressing my feelings for him so relax and get a grip, I need to channel my feelings into the character, if I don’t, I won’t get the part and won’t get the chance to hang out with him during rehearsals; he’ll give it to his regular leading lady, Janice, she’s been in the lead role for the past two productions when he’s been the director, maybe there’s something going on between them, but they don’t seem flirty when they are together, all business when they interact, and I’ve never seen them together outside of the theater, she’s never joined us after rehearsals or any other time we get together at the Irish Cue; where I fell head over heels for him, attracted by his charisma, he was so charming when we talked, especially when we talked about theater, remember he invited me to the audition for this production, I hope he doesn’t think I’ll sleep with him to get the part; That’s it, Janice is sleeping with him; that’s why she always get the lead roles; Oh my gosh, I have to stop psyching myself out about this audition.

The fun part of this technique is it is actually the internal voice in your mind. A friend once made a comment about how she maintains her dedication to daily exercise. She said she stops talking to herself about it. This perspective resonated with me because I’m constantly talking to myself. Hence the name of my blog, Idle Ramblings. Internal dialogue with myself is a part of everyday life from mental to-do lists to developing strategies to execute said list.

On the creative side, I find myself contemplating story ideas on a regular basis. These thoughts are usually prompted by various accounts I follow on social media. My mind drifts off pondering the what-if scenarios, which happens to be another creative writing drill. To continue the stream of consciousness exercise, I’m going to dictate my thoughts to see what comes out of them. Come back soon to see the results.

Copy Editors

 The following is a writing assignment in my latest class, Copyediting Certification.

What exactly does a copyeditor do? Many people think a copyeditor and a proofreader are synonymous. Both roles involve correcting grammatical and spelling errors. Thus, they both require a comprehensive understanding of the English language and its usage. However, a copyeditor’s role encompasses much more. 

Let’s start by exploring the publishing process. In general, there are three steps to publishing a novel: the writer and editor make changes to the raw manuscript; the copyeditor makes sure the manuscript is free of grammatical errors, is easy to read, and conforms to the publisher’s style; the proofreader performs quality control to ensure the manuscript is formatted correctly and free of errors. Before going to print, a reader with a fresh perspective may give the manuscript one last quality check.

Now let’s take a closer look at the role of a copyeditor. First, a copyeditor is responsible for performing the initial check for any grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. Next, a copyeditor fact-checks to make sure everything is accurate and correct. The spelling of names, places, and organizations are double-checked as well as the accuracy of facts, dates, and statistics. Finally, a copyeditor fixes any problems with style and tone to ensure the prose flows and no awkward sentences.

Like other professions, both hard and soft skills are necessary to be a successful copyeditor. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, communications,  or other related field. Copyeditors are passionate about the English language and are often skilled writers themselves. They must have a keen eye and be detail orientated. Good communication and interpersonal skills are needed since copyeditors interact with both the writers and editors too. Exchanges with both of them must be civil and courteous.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Addendum

Included in my Mom’s log were pages with the MAFOR weather forecast. They were one of my favorite things about the boat. I loved to watch my Mom get the forecast and watch her use shorthand, the ancient art of taking dictation. My Mom was awesome at shorthand!  It didn’t make it into her log, but that’s how she took the forecast. Then she must have translated and written it out in her notebook.

Wednesday, July 6 forecast, page 1
Wednesday, July 6, page 2
Thursday, July 7

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 4 (final)

I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 4 includes days 10-15, and it is the last installment for this trip. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

Monday, July 11 (day 10)
Happy Birthday, Dad!

Awoke about 4:30 am to the hum of the mosquitoes. About 5:30, there was a thunderstorm brewing to the north of us but it passed us by. Finally got up about 8:00 am. Did a little casting by the lily pads but didn’t get a thing. Had breakfast and prepared to get under way for Killarney. Saw the tail end of a forest fire on Prince Edward Island as we were going out. Got to Killarney and saw the Ex Dividend and Bewitched tied up to the Killarney Lodge dock. Pulled into the Sportsman’s Inn.

Good ole Deacon was there. Tied up, and even before we completed the operation, the girls had got off and run to pet Deacon. He sure has gotten old. He can hardly walk this year, and if he lasts another, it will be a miracle. The girls found another friend though. A basset hound name O-to-O. He sure is a funny one.

LEFT: Good ole’ Deacon
RIGHT: My Dad and O-to-O, the basset hound
My sister and me with the Killarney dogs, Deacon and O-to-O, the basset hound

Walked up to our famous little store Jackman’s, the only one in town. They didn’t have very much in the way of food but we got a few things. Got some steak for dinner, and for some reason, Dad (my Grandpa) has a phobia about the food in this place and sure enough he found fault with the steak. Spent a nice quiet evening. Talked quite a while with some people from Charlevoix. He owns the furniture store and his name is Hess. Nick had his birthday without a cake again.

Woke up this morning very warm. It is going to be a very hot day. Had a little excitement this morning. There was a sailboat in distress off Badgeley Island on Maxwell Point. He went on the wrong side of the red spar and hit a shoal. He was taking water on rapidly so he decided to beach it. A couple of boats from here went out to help bail water with buckets until we could locate the gasoline (fueled water) pump. It should have only taken them about 10 minutes to get there but they missed them completely and were on the other side of the island. Had to back track, and after about an hour, they finally located them. The man and his wife were holding their own with their pails, but they were getting mighty tired. The pump finally reached them, but they had trouble starting at but finally got it started and they were able to get enough water out to take it in for repairs.

Tuesday, July 12 (day 11)
Woke up this morning very warm. It is going to be a very hot day. Had a little excitement this morning. There was a sailboat in distress off Badgeley Island on Maxwell Point. He went on the wrong side of the red spar and hit a shoal. He was taking water on rapidly so he decided to beach it. A couple of boats from here went out to help bail water with buckets until we could locate the gasoline (fueled water) pump. It should have only taken them about 10 minutes to get there but they missed them completely and were on the other side of the island. Had to back track, and after about an hour, they finally located them. The man and his wife were holding their own with their pails, but they were getting mighty tired. The pump finally reached them, but they had trouble starting at but finally got it started and they were able to get enough water out to take it in for repairs.

Finally had breakfast about 11:00 am, and the girls went swimming off the dock with life jackets on. Even Nick decided it would be a good idea. I passed up and wash my hair instead. Spend the day reading Hawaii and baking in the sun. Quite a few boats came in, and by late afternoon, they were all filled up. Had our fish dinner tonight and boy was it good especially my big pike. Then decided to go into the bar for a drink. The girls were already up in the TV room watching television.

LEFT: Docks at Killarney’s Sportsman Inn
RIGHT: The big one that didn’t get away from Collins Inlet

Wednesday, July 13 (day 12)
Got up a little later today. Again the sun was beating down very hot. Thank goodness for the cool breeze. Decided to leave Killarney today and start to head back by way of the Whalesback. Had breakfast and left about 10:30 am. Reached Little Current and bought a few things we needed. Decided to poke our nose into Oak Bay to see what it was like. Water got quite rough just before we got into the Whalesback. It was a little rough to pick up the spars because of the direction of the sun and the waves. Reached the entrance to Oak Bay right on the money. Was surprised to see five other boats moored. Anchored near the mouth of the River. Got settled in and went swimming. Nick went fishing to try out his new Rapala lure. Brought back a nice bass. He and Liz went out again and brought back a pike and a couple of bass. I fished off the rocks but didn’t catch a thing. All I saw was a big fat turtle. Had the rest of our pike and bass from Collins Inlet for dinner. Went to bed fairly early because everyone was pretty tired.

Thursday, July 14 (day 13)
The wind blew in all directions last night and it cooled down considerably from yesterday. This was the first time we started out the day in long pants. Liz and Nick went out trolling a little before breakfast but didn’t get anything. It was my turn next.

Trolled along the north shore and into a large bay. Got a big small mouth bass in there. Went all the way down near the end where we found another fairly large bay with an old house in one corner. Trolled near the weed bed and got a snag. Nick thought he had one too but it turned out to be a whopper. We never saw it though because it took a dive under the dinghy and took his lure, lead shot and all. Boy was he ever mad. We decided to try a couple more passes and had one but lost it. Got a small one and threw it back and finally landed a large one quite unexpected. It was caught on some weeds and when Nick pulled the line to break it loose, there was a pike on the end of it. Made a few more passes but nothing. Started back down toward the boat, and at the point of one bay near a large rock, Nick had a strike. He thought he had had a good size bass but it turned out to be a good size pike. Trolled back to the boat and had some lunch.

I was all fished out so Liz took my place while I did a little reading in swimming with Suzie. She isn’t afraid to let go of the ladder and is getting quite bold in jumping off from the second step. Nick and Liz came back empty-handed. Before he got even out of the boat, he decided to take the girls to see the Indian farm. They came back elated with the fact they had horses on their farm. Got the weather and tried to get the Moroda (another boat?) again with no luck. Nick took the girls and all the fish on shore to clean them. Had dinner and took the dogs on shore for awhile until the mosquitos landed and headed back like lightning for the boat. Lifted the dinghy and made ready to leave early tomorrow morning.

Friday, July 15 (day 14)
Left Oak Harbor about 8 o’clock after a light breakfast of cereal. Headed for the Whalesback. Water was smooth. Had a little difficulty picking up Little Detroit but managed to find the marker as we got nearer. Met the McCreadys and another boat from Flint as we were coming out of the Whalesback. Headed for Meldrum Bay and the water was fairly smooth all the way. Got into Meldrum, had lunch and went up to see the peacock (no picture) at Tom’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Got grand tour. Shopped at Ivan Trick store this time. He has a lot more than the little one near the docks. Decided to spend the night here because the wind was picking up and getting into Pilot Cove would be a job. Nick’s cold also came on with vigor and he went to bed with a couple of aspirins. Spend a nice quiet evening. The Normac came back from Blind River and a couple of other small boats came in. Water in the bay flattened out like a pancake.

Saturday, July 16 (day 15)
Got up about 7:00 am and left Meldrum Bay about 8:20 am for Cheboygan. Still very calm in the harbor.

This installment concludes our family trip to The North Channel in 1966. I want to thank my Mom for taking the time to document our trips. Although a few years are missing, there are other trips to share coming soon. Trips to other parts of the North Channel and Lake Superior.

On Board ‘Seascape’ 1966 – Part 3

I recently found my Mom’s logs from our family vacations on our boat, a 36’ Chris Craft named Seascape. The log is written in my Mom’s words. I’ve only added punctuation or corrected spelling if needed. Otherwise, the integrity of her log is maintained. Italicized notes included parenthetically are my recollection of events or additional information about the story.

Our 1966 trip was to the North Channel in Ontario, Canada. Part 3 is days 7-9. We spent many summers cruising the area, and I have fond memories of this time and place.

Friday, July 8 (day 7)

Got up early again and headed for Little Current about 7:00 am. Had a real nice ride. Pulled up to the dock about 9:00 and we set off for Pickey’s store and some more supplies. Brought about $11.00 worth and on to the gift store for souvenirs. Nick met a doctor from Gaylord who knew Pid (family friend) real well. He had even bought Pid’s house and cottage in Gaylord.

Set off shortly after noon for Collins Inlet. Went through Killarney which hasn’t changed a bit and out into the bay and the beginning of Collins Inlet. Weather holding, but wind picking up. Meet 5 cruisers coming out of the inlet. Cruised a little way down and decided to trawl a ways. Not even a strike for 3 or 4 miles. Came to Mill Lake but decided to go to the end to see what it was like. Entered Beaverstone Bay but decided to turn around because the wind was whipping up the bay pretty good. Tied up to some rocks just passed the Russian settlement and Nick and Liz took the dinghy back to the old barn to look for ruins. Found nothing so we decided to head back toward the fishing camp near the Rock of Gibraltar. Asked the boss (I have no clue who “the boss” is) if we could tie up to his dock and he said okay. Had some dinner and Nick and I went across the other side near the weed beds for pike. Didn’t catch any pike but I caught a huge Calico bass and of big small mouth bass. Decided to call it quits around 9:30 because we were being carried away by the mosquitoes. We even had a few of the dive bombers (mosquitos that buzz your ears when sleeping) around after we went to bed.

NOTE: I have search far and wide to find more information about the fishing camp, the Russian settlement and the Rock of Gibraltar. To date, I have found nothing, but my quest will continue!

LEFT: Seascape moored at the fish camp dock
RIGHT: Seascape at the outer dock

Saturday, July 9 (day 8)

Slept in a little this morning- 8:00 am. As soon as Grandpa stirred, Liz was up and ready to go fishing Suzie got into the act too so Grandpa and the girls headed for the fishing camp to rent a bigger boat. By the time they got back, the rest of us were up and ready for breakfast. Took time for food today and had bacon, eggs and good fried toast. Suzie decided she would rather wash dishes than fish so Nick took her place. Suzie did the dishes with Grandma’s help and then we walked up the hill and into the fishing camp and talked with the owner about the old town of Collins.

The original town stood where the fishing camp was and some of the buildings were the original ones. He told me how to get back to the lake so Suzie, Elmer and I set off along the path he indicated. Got back there with (not) too much trouble. Quite a big lake from what I could see. Took a few pictures and headed back.

LEFT: Some of the abandoned buildings
RIGHT: Elmer investigating the remains from the fire
LEFT: The logging lake
RIGHT: A long view of the logging lake and the dam
Close up views of the dam at the logging lake. This little waterfall was a great source of family fun.

The fisherman came back empty handed a little later. All Nick caught with a couple of bass which he threw back.

Had a little lunch and Liz, Nick, Suzie and I went back to the lake to see what we could catch. Nick caught a little catch. Headed back for the boat but Liz and I decided to take a side road up to a deserted house. It was an old tree house, an old wagon, sled, plow and logging sled. Walked past and on up the road and we found an old barn where they must have repaired the equipment because we found a bench and a lot of screw. Headed up to the road and we found the old dam with a couple of waterfalls. Decided to walk across and see what was on the other side. Climbed up the hill and the lake goes way back and there is a stream or river off a bay a good ways back. Came back across the falls again and back down to the main road. Decided to see where it went. Walked a good half a mile and all we saw was rubbish piles in a family of chipmunks. Came back to the boat just in time for steak dinner.

LEFT: The old treehouse and what looks to be part of my shoulder
RIGHT: My 5 year-old self in front of the plow
LEFT: The original barn in the old town of Collins
RIGHT: The original boarding house in Collins

Weather is brewing up something. Things look a little wild down the inlet. Had a few sprinkles as we were trying to pop our Jiffy Pop but that was all. Nick and I decided to make use of our rented boat and we went trolling for pike. Got all the way down to the entrance of Beaverton Bay with only one small bite. Headed back because the sky looked like we were in for a good storm. Wind picked up all the time. Just about reached the boat and you wouldn’t know it the motor ran out of gas. What a job to get the few yards back to the boat. Made it through in started to batten down for a good blow. Had a little lightning, no thunder, a little bit of rain but lots and lots of wind. In for a rough night.

Sunday, July 10 (day 9)
Woke up this morning to a bright blue sky, and our friend, the wind. Still blowing. Had breakfast and decided to take everyone back to see the waterfalls. Sun terrifically hot. Tramped all over the falls and took a lot of pictures. Was very hot so I decided to take a shower. What a refreshing feeling. Everyone decided to get into the act so we all had a good bath. Too bad someone didn’t think to bring the soap. Scoured the rocks for stones with garnet or silver in them. Found a huge boulder with quite a silver vein running through it. Liz spent the better part of an hour trying to chip out a piece. (And gashed her wrist, leaving a scar she had her entire life.) Did pick up some beauties though.

LEFT: My Dad taking a shower with me looking on
RIGHT: My Dad and me after our showers
LEFT: Grandpa and Grandma cooling their feet in the water as Dad looks on
RIGHT: A upper blurring picture of the vein of silver my sister was determined to get a piece. All she got was a massive gash on her arm and a lifelong scar as evidence of her determination

Came back to the boat and had lunch. Everyone tried to rest a little but the waves were coming in a little bigger as the day progressed. Nick decided to try and get the anchor out a little ways and pull the bow off so we could start up the boat and try and find a smoother spot. Everything went well and we started down towards Beaverton Bay. Found a nice quiet place just around the bend where it takes a sharp curve. Anchored off some lily pads and started to fish. Fish for quite awhile and the girls and Nick were swimming. Almost decided to stop when I thought I had a snag but when it went under the boat, I knew I had a fish. Nick rush up to the bow with the net and sure enough it was a huge pike. With trying to land it and the flies biting, boy we had a time but Nick netted him just fine. We estimated that it weighed about 5 pounds.

LEFT: My Mom’s pike on the stringer in the water
RIGHT: The one that didn’t get away on the back deck of the boat
LEFT: My Mom proudly posing with her big catch
RIGHT: My big sister and me with my Mom and her pike

After that, there was a real scurry for yellow flatfish and three poles started casting off the stern. On the second cast, Nick hooked one but just as Dad (my Grandpa) was getting the net ready, it took a dive and believe it or not the snap where the hook goes broke in two and away went Nik’s pike with a lovely yellow lure lodge someplace in him. Nick decided to do some trolling so I went with him. Trolled all the way down into Beaverton Bay with only one strike. As it neared dusk, the mosquitoes took over and we were forced to make tracks for the boat, trailing a horde of hungry ones with us.

Got back in the nick of time and Mom (my Grandma) was cooking pork sausages and baked beans. While eating we heard a loud hum which we couldn’t figure out for a while. It sounded like the inside of a bee hive. Then we noticed the door and windows. Swarms of mosquitoes Chase the dirty critters half the night before we could get any sleep.

The story continues with the fourth and final installment of ‘On Board Seascape 1966‘.