Saturday, May 16, 2009


Here's another enticing excerpt from my WILLIWAW WINDS novel for pre-teens.

“Double check that everything is secure,” the skipper tells Freddy and Marv. “I don’t want anything heavy breaking loose.”

While they go below to tighten the lines and loose rigging, the skipper motors for the protection of Portage Bay. But he’s too cautious to get closer than a half mile out from the bay because of the reefs and shoals.

Patrick and I go down to the galley and fill our coffee mugs while we wait for Freddy and Marv. When they return, they put on a halfway happy face, but I can tell they’re worried. Every once in awhile someone tells a joke, but it bombs.

I jump when the anchor drops with a loud rattle.

“Sure hope Dad put out all the anchor cable,” Patrick says.

Anchored as we are, the boat sways as much as ever. It’s going to be a long night.

Before I decide to go to sleep, the skipper says, “Marv, go down and shut off the main engine. It’ll save fuel.”

We’re doomed if we run out of fuel. I toss and turn on my bunk.

This time it’s the skipper who nudges me. “You’re on for anchor watch, Jake.”

Again? It seems like I just got off.

“Make sure the anchor doesn’t drag on the bottom,” he tells me as I struggle off my bunk. “We don’t want to drift out to sea. It may be rough here, but it’s even rougher out there.”

At five in the morning it’s still dark—halfway through my watch. A crescent moon slides down toward the horizon. Funny how the stars calmly shine down on us while we fight to stay afloat. When I think the winds can’t be any stronger, a huge gust from nowhere pushes the boat tight against the anchor cable.

Pow! Like a gunshot the cable snaps. We’ve lost our anchor.

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