Posted by: nauticalchronicles | November 9, 2016



Things I should remember…but don’t

It’s true…we certainly burn up tons of brain cells during the course of just one boating season. I am being constantly reminded, almost daily now, by friends and family members of “things” I should remember happening that I’ve supposedly been a part of or party to. Some, I’m told, have been quite hilarious, and others quite tragic; all quite memorable…to them; I just don’t remember.

At first when this began to occur, I thought maybe the cause might be “early on-set”, but realizing my age, I’m too old for that; it might be the “regular on-set” I’m experiencing instead. My mate, Louise and our other boating friends are truly amazed at my ability to forget major happenings and events, and the facts surrounding them. I do agree that embellishment of facts, and possibly total misstatement and fictionalization of them is one of my writing strengths, but to forget entire stories? Well that’s just reprehensible, especially for a story writer.

For examples, in these three photos, it certainly appears I was there but I have little or no recollection of the cause and effect of these pauses in time, these moments caught on film:

no-clue     bobfatsuit  the-other-peter

As I’ve heard told, this was a one-day event held at Cove Marina in which I participated in a number of events, events which none seem to have made any sense. When I try to recall the circumstances for these actions…I just can’t.

I have asked our friends to help me remember. Jim recalls that on many occasions he has told me that we need to “get the band back together”. I have only fleeting recollections of this request and of the possible fact we ever had a band to put back together! I have a vague remembrance that we did get pricing from the Lowell Auditorium many years ago to put on our own version of “The Full Monty”.

I may be wrong but I believe Jim & I as well as Erik Mathew, Kevin, Perry, Steve (reluctantly), Peter (of course) and Matty P as the headliner were the likely participants; we may have even had a couple of rehearsals and at least one dress rehearsal (undress rehearsal?)…but it’s foggy.


The other incident I have no memory of was “the Cannon Trip”, the reason being…I wasn’t there. It has been recorded for posterity though and may have even gone viral on my mate’s Facebook page. Several years ago, after having lowered the American flag for several seasons at sunset accompanied by the playing of Taps on our Bose 151 outdoor speakers, we decided we needed a cannon to accompany the ceremony. Our kids got us a small, black-powder cannon for Christmas. For the following two seasons, we perfected our ceremony and received many compliments for our tribute. To our chagrin, a more ominous cannon blast was received from our friends across the river at another marina; we needed to up our game! Jim, Erik Mathew and I decided to jointly-venture into a purchase of a very handsome, very loud ten-gauge cannon which uses blank shotgun shells and has a lanyard to pull for firing. It is extremely loud; we are required to warn all children and pets of any upcoming blasts. The ceremony is now complete and we continue to lower the flag at sunset to Taps and the cannon fire wherever we are.

On a recent trip to a Portsmouth marina, our crews were allowed to lower their marina flag at sunset. This is a solemn affair which we all take seriously, especially Jim. Usually Erik Mathew, being a police officer, is tasked with the responsibility of firing the cannon. On this particular away-trip, Erik chose to lower the flag with Steve and do a proper folding; Jim asked to fire the cannon. As is our normal operating procedure, Jim rolled a cart beside the flag, put the cannon in the cart and put his leg over the side of the cart to hold the cannon in place. At the conclusion of Taps, with the flag properly lowered, Jim pulled the lanyard and as sometimes happens…nothing happened. He pulled a second time with the same result; nothing. The third time, however, was a charm and the cannon gave forth the closing tribute. Unfortunately, the serious nature of our ceremony was marred slightly as the cannon recoil caused Jim’s foot to recoil as well, catching on the side of the cart causing him to fall, awkwardly to the side of the cart bringing both the cart and the cannon noisily crashing to the ground…what we now call ”The Cannon Trip”. Jim, luckily, sustained no injury other than to his dignity and reputation.

cannon-photo  big-cannon  cannon-trip

Another trip I have only foggy recollections of was brought to my attention by Jenn K. It seems on some occasions, “floating” has been involved. I don’t float. Our mates usually float, behind the big boats when we are on mooring or at anchor. They have all sorts of floating apparatus which we carry on all of the boats, all of them needing to be inflated, usually by a person since we have never had the good sense to purchase powered inflators.

As Jenn recalls, one afternoon, while floating behind the big boats, the captains all agreed to cut the floating mates free; free to be carried by the incoming tide as far up the Ipswich River as the tide might carry them. Off they went (provisioned of course), happily singing, “I’m on my way to the freedom land” by Peter, Paul and Mary, a trip certainly to be of epic proportions. They kept fairly good harmony until their voices faded in the distance up the river. They slowed down and then slowly stopped, completely, somewhere well up the Parker River when the tide turned, at which point their down-river journey began. Stalling on a sandbar somewhere shy of where the boats became visible to our moorings, they began to wonder how they were going to get back when, to their collective joy, two powered inflatables appeared to tow them back. The captains arrived in the nick of time to return crew members to their respective boats (being past dinner-time, it was a prudent rescue mission on the part of the captains).

hanging-off-of-halfmine  img_1108

Jenn also reminded me of the “actual, natural deviation”; another “floating” occasion. I do remember this activity, in general, though the particulars remain just on the outside of my periphery.

Some-one-of-us had dreamed up the concept that “floating objects generally avoid hitting things in the water as they float with the tide”. To prove this concept, we decided, one dark night, to take all the inflatables out, go up river, shut lights off as well as motors, tie ourselves together and float, as flotsam, out with the tide. And it worked, and worked well until we got to a fairly crowded mooring field. As this true test began, we floated around almost all the vessels moored; the current was breaking just before the bow of moored vessels, carrying us around them, validating our ill-thought-out concept. “Almost all” was the critical phrase…one bow of one sailboat “in front of Michael’s Harborside Restaurant” disproved our theory as half of our flotilla went to the port side, the other half going to the starboard side forcing us to part ways. We have continued this activity, or variations of it, for many seasons. In fact, we introduced Peter and Victoria to it when they first brought their boat to Cove Marina and became “members of our group”. It was funny; at the time we introduced them to this, they thought we might be deviants and that we were floating naked at night with the tide. We did little to quell their concerns; they went out with us anyway. We are not certain if they were relieved or disappointed to learn the truth about this adventure; there was no nudity involved in “The Actual Natural Deviation”!

Quoting Jenn K. and her memory of the event: “the Actual Natural floats to escape the bugs; I can remember one that Steve and I did with everybody one night and we ended up hitting a sailboat in front of Michael’s…it didn’t work so naturally that night! And of course Peter thinking that we all went out and floated naked”.

Her remembrance is only slightly less disjointed than mine.

Dottie T. recently reminded me of her trip to visit us in Fort Lauderdale and becoming the “I” in “IMAGINE”.







Even Charlie was on that trip…I had totally forgotten about being, with him, at “The Elbo Room”; he has since reminded me.


Our kids reminded me of the Key West trip Louise and I planned a couple of years ago and the gift card to “Louie’s Backyard”. Per J. Buffett, “We sure did use that Bloody Mary”!

Bennie and Kay wrote the other day reminding me of the boat trip we took from their villa along the intercostal waterway in Deerfield…to the gas dock.

And Peter and Cyd reminded me of our Water Taxi adventure in Fort Lauderdale…


I will need to collect these thoughts and continue to record these things I should remember…but don’t.

The fact that these moments in time, remembered; some of which have been captured in old photographs, newer digital photos and now even on videos remain foggy in our minds, may indicate the loss of brain cells, but also may be markers of lives well lived, lives currently being lived well, as well as our vision of looking forward rather than backwards. It constantly amazes me that we find so many new events and invent so many new and creative activities, new moments in time, and on such a regular basis soon to be captured on film or in words but certainly in our memories and our minds eyes. It is easy to see why some of the older moments fade when there are so many new ones to look forward to.

This particular “short story” will have a “Part Two”; if you remember something I may have forgotten, please let me know; this story must be continued…

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

the little man




  1. Love those shorts!!

  2. That was great … kept me laughing .
    And made me tear up. Xo

  3. Captain Bob,

    Your stories make me smile & my heart happy! Keep them coming…

    First Mate of the Sea Duck

  4. This was hysterical Loved the Jenny craig pict of you. You sure do have fun . Lynn a bob zawojski

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