The Legend of Captain Sonny

My wife’s birth father was named Sonny. She never knew him very well, as he left when she was very young. She can barely remember him, but she’s searched for his legacy throughout her life.

Sonny was a fisherman and boat captain. Early on, he ran an offshore boat out of Ocean City Maryland. Kim would spend her vacations at the beach trolling the marinas and fishermen bars looking for him, or someone that knew him. She never picked up his trail.

Then one day when she was twenty, she got a call from law enforcement in North Carolina. Sonny was dead. Could she come to identify his body? She didn’t know what he might look like at this point, but she went. She saw him there in the morgue and collected his meager belongings.

The picture below was in his stuff. The identity of the woman is unknown.


Two years ago, we decided to look further into the life of a man neither of us knew. We knew that he had fished out of Bud & Mary’s Marina in Islamorada. We traveled to the Keys aboard out boat and began our research. At Bud & Mary’s we learned the names of a few guys that had fished with him years ago. One of them was still fishing. He was based out of the LoreLei these days and lived on Plantation Key. We tracked him down.

John Kipp was good friends with Sonny back in the 70’s and early 80’s. He knew a lot about Kim’s father. We also found another friend, Bert Rogers. Sonny worked on Bert’s father’s boat for ten years. The two became good friends and stayed in touch over the years. The two of them provided us with a picture of the man.

He wasn’t cut out for marriage, and obviously shirked his duties as a father. Though he did keep a worn picture of Kim in his wallet. He was a fishermen and boat captain. That was his life. He could find the fish. He could run any kind of boat. He won the very first White Marlin Open in Ocean City.

He’s on the right:


Even after he moved to the Keys, he returned each year to fish the White Marlin Open, which is now the richest billfish tournament in the world.

For a while, he made it work. He paid his slip rent on time at Bud & Mary’s and put up with the tourists. Finally, hard living caught up with him. He suffered a massive heart attack while commercial fishing for tuna out of Oregon Inlet. The boat was loaded with yellowfin. He was in his young forties.

His friends hinted at drug use and maybe a few stints at smuggling. Every story highlighted his ability to catch fish and handle a boat. That’s what he did. That who he was.

On one occasion, Sonny and John Kipp were hanging out with some “ladies” who invited them to a party on a sailboat in Coconut Grove. They arrived to find that the boat’s owner was David Crosby of Crosby, Stills and Nash fame. Crosby brought a young friend who played guitar and sang some songs. No one had ever heard of him at the time, but his name was Jimmy Buffett.

Sail on, Captain Sonny.

Jolly Holly and Another Adventure

In my Trawler Trash series of books, Holly is a character. Guess what? She’s a real person. Cool rasta hippie chick sailor girl. She’s about to set off to cruise the world on her sailboat. Bahamas, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Pacific Ocean, Australia and who knows!

This is her trailer from her new Youtube channel. It’s awesome. You really need to watch this:


7 Year Itch? (Thought About a New Boat)

Don’t tell Miss Leap! Recently we discovered a boat that we didn’t know existed. We looked at the pictures. We thought about it. We both agreed we loved it.

Only twelve of these boats were ever made, four per year in the late eighties. Kadey Krogen makes some of the finest yachts ever built. We were intrigued by the unique layout and design of the 42′ Silhouette. The exterior lines are ungainly and awkward, as are many of the Krogen designs. The interior and fly bridge worked for us.



Hydraulically operated fold-down transom.



The bridge.




Also on the fly bridge. Air conditioned.



The salon



The galley



The V-berth



One of two heads



The master stateroom, which is in the back of the boat, opening onto the aft deck. There is a side door to the salon.


We are in a position, where if we sold Leap of Faith, we could buy this fine vessel. It would be a huge improvement in living conditions in many ways. We talked and talked. I called the broker.


In the end, we couldn’t do it. We wouldn’t even discuss it on the boat, so that she wouldn’t hear us. We love Miss Leap. We aren’t ready to part with her.

The boat that we considered is newer, much bigger, has twin engines, a bow thruster, and an onboard generator. It has a King-sized bed! It’s a Kadey-Krogen. It would be a huge step up for us in the boating world. Our old trawler simply can’t compare.

But we aren’t doing to do it. At least I think not . . . . . . .

Meanwhile, we’ll be hauling out for new bottom paint next week. We won’t be doing it ourselves this time, which is also a step up for us. We’ve been paying penance to Leap of  Faith by paying lots of attention to her. Multiple projects are ongoing to make her the best that she can be.


Long Live Leap of Faith! 

Sail On – Jamie Brown


On that day, we welcomed Jamie and Char to Pelican Bay. On this day, we wave goodbye to our dear friend Jamie Brown.

There are people in this world that touch your heart. Jamie touched the hearts of so many here in SW Florida. He was our best friend and traveling companion for many years. We made some great memories, sitting on a sandbar drinking beers and telling stories.

We lost count of the multiple surgeries, chemo and radiation treatments he went through, but through it all, he lived life on his own terms. His boat was his freedom. His lifestyle was his escape from all the dramas of modern life.


His best “Grumpy Cat” impersonation. Somehow, Jamie made people happy just by his presence. He was a friendly guy, and he gave his friendship freely to anyone and everyone he encountered.


Our world was certainly a better place with him in it.



Kim and I were able to visit with him this week. I got the chance to tell him that I loved him. He said, “I love you too”. He was not in pain and his passing was peaceful. God bless his gal Char for being there for him. She’s been through a lot over the past few years. I have to give her great credit for being a steadfast caretaker.


We will miss seeing Bay Dreamer anchored nearby. We will miss our friend.

Sail on Jamie. We love you.

Six Years In!



Hard to believe it’s been six years since we purchased our boat. Once we left our first marina, we spent several years living exclusively at anchor or on a mooring ball. After many adventures, we’ve come full circle and are resting in a marina again.

We’ve thoroughly explored Southwest Florida and the Keys. We even made it to the Bahamas this past spring.



Our past two winters have been spent in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida. We stayed a few months at Laishley Park Marina in Punta Gorda. Now we are at Palm Island Marina, in Cape Haze, Florida. Our Bahamas trip was almost 1200 miles round trip! The old boat has some hours on her now, but she’s been steadfast. We’ve got no regrets.

For those of you contemplating the liveaboard lifestyle, all I can say is go for it. The good days far outnumber the bad.

Cheers, to six years.