How Do You Give Your Dock Neighbors Colon Control Issues? Crash Your Boat RIGHT NEXT TO THEIRS!

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PART II

Last week, I shared the story of our first sailing adventure on No Tan Lines (“Tanny”). Halfway through our day trip, we started taking on water. You can read Part I of this story RIGHT HERE but, in a nutshell:

We started off the day listening to the Coast Guard repeatedly asking mariners to look for a boat that was sinking…but the single person onboard didn’t know exactly where he was in the gulf. We were too far away to help in the search and rescue.

We had to play chicken with a tanker under the Skyway Bridge.

Our bilge pumps starting running repeatedly, which alerted us that we were taking on water. A LOT of water. Capt. Brian P. Whiddon (who is also the Managing Editor of WritersWeekly) fixed the problem but we didn’t know how long the patch would last.

When pulling down the main sail, it got stuck and a line got jammed as well. With three sails flapping violently, and rigging clanging, Brian had to climb part way up the mast in high winds, with Tanny pitching to and fro. It was very dangerous, but necessary.

With our hearts literally pounding after our back-to-back adventures, and constantly worrying about the previous leak breaking loose again, we just wanted to GET HOME to the safety of our slip at the marina…but the wind was not cooperating. We tacked, and jibed, and tacked, and jibed. We weren’t going to make it home until around 10 p.m., if we were lucky. If we got home AT ALL. As the sky grew dark, I tried to relax, silently talking to myself. ‘Come on, Angie. Chill OUT! I mean, seriously, what else could POSSIBLY go wrong?!’

I was tempted to text details of our current situation to Richard, who was on warm, safe, dry land, training a new employee. But, I refrained because I didn’t want him to panic. So, I simply sent him a couple more pictures of the boys, and told him about what time we expected to dock. He said no problem and sent a smiley emoticon, completely obvious to our situation…which was a good thing. (Later, he told me he was very glad he was unaware of what was going on because he would have spent hours worrying about us.)

After tacking yet again, and not getting any closer to our destination, my stress level was through the bimini so I asked Brian if we could just motor the rest of the way in. The engine had been getting hot earlier and we risked it overheating. But, I reasoned, if it got hot again, we’d simply turn it off, and put a sail back up while it cooled off. Brian agreed. I fired up the engine and Brian took down the staysail and mizzen. It was already dark so Max was on the bow, holding a spotlight, on the lookout for crab traps. I kept nervously checking the temperature gauge on the engine but it was holding steady.

It only took about 30 minutes to reach the basin outside of the marina. The engine hadn’t overheated and we hadn’t hit any crab traps so we were home free! Or, so we thought…

Brian asked me if I felt comfortable docking Tanny in the dark. Holding the wheel with my left hand, I waived my right one with bravado. “Of course!”

I’ve only docked her twice before and the last time would have been picture perfect if I hadn’t forgotten that I’d briefly put her in reverse…and LEFT her in reverse.

After we passed through the basin, I very, very slowly rounded the end of dock five, and turned into the fairway between docks four and five. I stayed close to dock five so I would have a wide area for my turn into our slip. Despite the late hour, our faithful friend Miles was standing on the dock with his boat hook in hand, ready to assist.

Brian told me when to start turning and I eased Tanny closer to the slip. I was heading straight in! It was going to be perfect! I was already patting myself on the back. Docking a 52-foot boat in a narrow slip is no easy feat and I’d done it after dark! At least, I thought I had…

As she was coasting in ever so slowly, the wind started to push her to port. The piling on her port side was VERY QUICKLY coming closer and closer.

Brian yelled, “Abort! Start over!”

No big deal. Aborting is pretty simple so I wasn’t nervous. I’d done it before. Reverse. Bow thruster. Turn wheel. Forward. Turn around. Easy peasy!

So, I straightened the wheel, and gently put her in reverse. As soon as the bow cleared the outermost piling, I clicked the bow thruster to turn her bow to the left. Then, I turned the wheel, and put her in forward. It was really dark away from the dock lights and I couldn’t see much in front of me. Max was on the bow so he was kind of in my way. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) Then, I heard shouting from all around me. All the voices melded into one cacophony of male hysteria. What? WHAT?! I couldn’t see much but it looked like I was turning just fine. And, that’s when one loud, booming voice roared above the rest.

“REVERSE! REVERSE!!!”

Ignoring Brian’s previous training, I didn’t gently click her into reverse. I THREW her into reverse. But, it was too late. I rammed a large piling head-on. Dead on. I couldn’t have hit it any more precisely if I’d tried. Miles later said that, after the impact, it groaned, and leaned way over but it didn’t fall. I’d missed that slip’s boat by mere inches. As I was backing up, I squinted my eyes ahead. I still couldn’t see that bleeping piling! Where was it?!

Once I thought I was far enough away, I clicked the bow thruster joy stick to the left again, put her in forward, and proceeded toward the end of the fairway. I squinted ahead again. Nothing but shadows in the dark but the lights from the park were in the distance so I was heading in the right direction.

And, that’s when Brian yelled from the stern, “ANGIE!! Are you going to hit ANOTHER ONE?!”

“Um, what?!”

“There’s a large piling RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!!!”

I quickly hit the bow thruster again, moving the bow farther away from the dock four boats and their pilings. Only when we were passing the last, very large piling could I see it.

Max was still standing on the bow, shaking his head, likely wondering why he hadn’t chosen to spend the day at his sister’s house. Mason (age 11) was sitting right next to me in the cockpit, wrapped up in his bulky, neon yellow life jacket, completely silent. Such a sweet boy. He’s the only person who didn’t yell at me that day!

Dangerous docking on a moonless night!

As I headed back into the basin to turn around, I was wondering how Brian had seen that piling all the way from the stern of the boat. He was a good six feet behind me. It didn’t make any sense. Something was tickling the back of my brain but I didn’t have time to fully process the thought. I had to get Tanny docked so this day would FINALLY END!

After making a wide turn in the basin, I prepared for my second approach. Brian said, “Are you SURE you can dock the boat after dark, Angie? Do you want me to take over?”

I rolled my eyes. Men!!

“I’m fine, Brian. The wind pushed me to port last time. I’ll compensate better for that this time.”

I heard him grunt.

I know I need to learn how to do these things. And, there’s some sort of male sexist thing going on here at the dock about women not being able to dock boats. Pushaw!!! I was going to show ’em!

I once again turned into our fairway, hugged the dock five side, and turned towards our slip. I waited about three more seconds this time, knowing the wind would be pushing me to the south, into the pilings. I planned to bump her forward when that started happening again, overcompensating for the wind. Then, she’d just glide right down the middle of the slip! Buuuuut, that’s not what happened. The wind caught Tanny again and the middle of her port side again started moving quickly toward a piling.

Not thinking about how many of our neighbors were already asleep, I hollered at Max, who was still standing on the bow with his boat hook. “MAX! PILING!! PORT!!!” Max dropped his boat hook, ran over, and pushed against it with all his might but the distinct whining sound of piling vs. toe rail began. SCRAAAAAAAPE! All the way down the side of Tanny.

That caused Tanny’s bow to move right, toward the finger dock. I muttered a profanity because she was now cockeyed in the slip. Brian yelled, “Bow thruster to port!” I clicked it a few times and she straightened out. Max had pushed on the piling just enough so the scraping had stopped.

Using his own boat hook, Brian grabbed the stern lines, and secured them while Max threw the bow lines to Miles. It was late so, once we were tied off, Miles walked back to his boat, with our grateful words of thanks following him down the dock. It was sweet of him not to tease me about the entertainment I’d provided that evening. He saved that for later.

I quickly texted Richard: “We’re back! Just tied the lines and about to clean up. Something happened while we were out but I didn’t want to worry you. We were taking on water. And, then I crashed the boat. Minor damage only. I’ll tell you all about it when you get here.”

He texted back one word: “WHAT?!?!?!?!?!”

We all went to work putting the bumpers back on, hooking up the power and Internet, cleaning up the deck, and stowing things below. Aside from a few gray hairs, several new bruises, and elevated blood pressure, we were none the worse for wear after our harrowing day.

The boys went down to take their showers and Brian grabbed a cold beer. I sat down in the cockpit, and took a deep breath. My brain had settled down, and was working logically again. And, that’s when it hit me.

I turned my head, and said, “Hey, Brian. There’s something I probably should have told you before tonight.”

He took a swig of his cold beer, and let fly a loud captain’s burp. “Yeah? What’s that?”

“I’m night blind.”

POST SCRIPT

The next day, my phone rang. My caller ID said it was Miles so I answered. After some polite small-talk, he started laughing out of the blue…and got louder and louder. I said, “What’s so funny?!”

After he caught his breath, he finally said, “I almost (bleeped) my pants when you hit that piling! If my wife ever wants to dock our boat, I’m NOT going to be there!”

I’ll undoubtedly get some good ribbing from our male neighbors at this week’s Friday Night Dock Party. And, I’ll just smile, and gently remind them to thank me for not hitting one of THEIR BOATS.

The opening in the propane locker.
The mysterious semi-transparent hose that tried to sink Tanny.

OH! I ALMOST FORGOT!! 

What caused our big leak? Capt. Brian traced the hose. It starts in the propane locker, which is under the deck on the starboard side. It’s not the main drain. There’s a hole in the bottom of the locker for that. This particular opening is about half-way up the side. The semi-transparent hose runs from the locker, down underneath the aft shower, past the seacocks under the galley floor, and to a thru-hull. Each time the boat heeled to starboard, water was rushing into the hose. The pressure caused it to break and, thus, start filling the bilge. We have found a LOT of weird things on this boat and it wouldn’t surprise us if the previous owner turned one fully functional thing into something that makes no sense at all.

Our next order of business is to contact other Irwin owners (there’s a great group of them on Facebook) to ask them what the purpose of that hose is. I suspect it’s backup drainage but I’m probably wrong. I admit I’m enjoying trying to solve the mystery!

NEXT:  RIDING OUT TROPICAL STORM ALBERTO! WHOO HOO!!

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* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

WINE GLASSES, EQUIPMENT, AND PEOPLE FALLING IN THE DRINK

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We have heard many Dock 4 Party stories about people falling off the dock…usually in a state of extreme inebriation. While I haven’t seen that myself, there was one funny incident that occurred late one night when we weren’t present.

One of our neighbors, who I’ll call Sam, told the story of hearing something banging on his hull late one night. He went outside and another neighbor, who I’ll call Ian, was in the water, banging on the back of Sam’s boat, and trying to climb onto the swim platform. Yes, he’d fallen in after imbibing a bit too much that night.

Capt. Brian says there are two types of boaters – those who have fallen in and those who haven’t yet. I haven’t yet fallen in (knock on teak) but I’ve come close a few times. Once, I was getting out of the cockpit in a hurry (which is always a mistake) and my body lurched forward. I managed to stop the momentum of my torso by grabbing a life line but my prescription glasses flew off the top of my head, into the drink. They were $400! Brian put on his dive suit and tank, and tried to find them…to no avail. However, while he was diving, our neighbor Allan said he’d recently dropped something and Brian was able to find that for him.

We use plastic wine “glasses” (for obvious reasons) and we’ve lost five of those, sharing the wine remnants with the fish. The arm rests in the cockpit slope slightly outward. That’s so water coming into the cockpit drains out, not in. If you bump a wine glass with your elbow, it shoots off of the armrest and, occasionally, skips across the deck and over the the side. Once at a dock party, I bumped a wine glass I hadn’t even filled with wine yet and it went over. And, I wasn’t even on the boat.

What we need are wine glasses with suction cups on the bottom! I was just sitting here thinking I might be onto something here, and pictured riches flowing in from the patent I would most certainly be applying for very soon. But, alas, I just found a wine glass holder with suction cups for sale online. Darn it.

Click on the glass to check it out!

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll alert you to new posts and we’ll be having book give-aways! 🙂

NEXT: WHERE WE STAY WHEN “NO TAN LINES” IS ON THE HARD

* * *

Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

OUR FIRST BIG SAILING TRIP GETS BLOWN AWAY. LITERALLY…

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Each year in March, the Grand Prix comes to St. Petersburg. A couple of weeks before that, they start blocking off huge chunks of downtown, near the waterfront. The cars actually race through the streets of town in a large, meandering circle. Large gates are set up to prevent crashing cars from hitting buildings and pedestrians.

While this sounds cool, it creates a traffic nightmare. And, for the three days when the cars are practicing and racing, the sound is absolutely, alarmingly deafening.

Last year, we were located in a high-rise apartment three blocks from the waterfront. Despite being on the 18th floor, and having hurricane-proof doors and windows, we still had to shout inside to hear each other talking. Worse, the noise would start at 7:30 a.m…on the WEEKEND! It was pretty awful for residents.

This year, we decided to take No Tan Lines on her first big trip! Okay, it was only for five days but that was huge for us! We were going a spend the night on Beer Can Island, and then sail to Egmont Key for some history lessons for the boys, and then we were going to head into the Gulf of Mexico for deep sea fishing!

But, as Murphy’s Law would have it, on the day before we were scheduled to set sail, the weather forecast took a dramatic change. A cold front was going to blast through, bringing gusts to 36-knots, and 6-8 foot seas offshore.

I know the boys must experience bad weather at times on the boat, but I didn’t think their very first trip would be good timing for that type of adventure.

We put our heads together and came up with an alternative plan. Since the boys were so excited to have a vacation, we simply had to create a new one for them. The next morning, we asked our good friends, Diego and Stephanie, to watch the boat. We packed our clothes and camping gear in the truck, along with the dinghy and outboard motor (we had promised them boating, after all!), and drove three hours south to a campground on Marco Island.

We had a blast primitive camping, and then moved to a cabin when the front blew through. We hiked, fished, dinghy’d, played competitive games of shuffleboard, roasted marshmallows, weenies and burgers over the fire, and shared funny stories from our childhood. Everybody had a super time!

As of today, we’re in a holding pattern so no sailing is on the immediate horizon. No Tan Lines is scheduled to go on the hard next Monday because the driveshaft threw a bearing when I was learning how to dock her a few weeks ago.

I swear it wasn’t my fault!

NEXT:  WHEN YOU BUY A BOAT, EVERYBODY INVITES THEMSELVES FOR A VISIT…BUT CAN THEY HANDLE IT???

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

 

DRIVING (NOT SAILING) TO KEY WEST. SIGH…

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My birthday was last week and we drove to Key West for a grown-up’s weekend of fun! While we’d have loved to have sailed No Tan Lines there, we do not yet have the experience to do so. And, we desperately needed a tropical, grown-up holiday!

Our Dock 4 friends Stan and Chris are currently moored there and we stayed in a hotel on Duval Street. We were going to take the ferry down from Ft. Myers but it was far too cold so we cancelled that. We learned that, if they don’t have enough seats inside, you have to sit outside. And, it’s a good thing we cancelled because, on the way down, I came down with a horrible case of the flu.

(Before I forget, read about the time I checked my mother-in-law and her new husband into a clothing-optional resort in Key West…without telling them RIGHT HERE. Heh..)

Anyway, we left for Key West on Wednesday, stopping in Ft. Myers for a night to break up the drive. That night, I had a slight tickle in my throat at bedtime. The next morning, I woke up feeling AWFUL. It hit me so fast!

I bundled my pillow and big, furry robe into the back seat of the SUV. I tried working on my laptop for awhile but my head was pounding and my eyes were burning and watering. I ended up sleeping in the back seat for most of the drive, missing the miles and miles of beautiful, aqua blue water on both sides of the highway. It’s one of my favorite drives but I was so sick I didn’t care. I just wanted to get to the hotel, and go to bed.

When we arrived, that’s just what I did. That night, I had horrible chills and I couldn’t eat anything. I was coughing like crazy and my fever was making me hurt all over. Richard bought Mucinex and that helped, but never got my temperature back down to normal. I was downing cough drops one after another, and couldn’t sleep for more than a few minutes at a time.

And, that all lasted until the day before we were scheduled to leave. The flu didn’t ruin our vacation. It just changed it up quite a bit. I did have a few days of complete bed rest and I watched a ton of mindless TV.

We left on Tuesday (a day late) and I got these photos of hurricane damage on the way back.

50 – Foot sailboat that WASHED into a backyard!

This boat is clearly too big to have been dragged over the seawall and into this yard. This shows how high the water got in the upper keys.

Every several miles, we saw salvaged boats piled up. Many had barnacles all over them, indicating that they had totally sunk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We didn’t get to see enough of Chris and Stan while we were there so we’re planning to return in May or June. They’ll be cruising the Caribbean until hurricane season returns.

You can read about their adventures on http://www.svdisorder.com. Don’t miss it!

NEXT: BUYING THE ARCH: EVER BE AFRAID TO HAGGLE FOR MAJOR UPGRADES!

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.

 

SEIZURE ON THE BOAT!

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This morning, our plumber, who is also a friend, came over to do some work alongside our Captain, Brian Whiddon. For privacy reasons, I’ll call our plumber Donnie.

They were both working with their heads down in the lazarette. Donnie sat up while Brian kept working. Brian then pulled his head out to ask Donnie a question. He called Donnie’s name several times, but he wasn’t responding. He was staring. That’s when Brian realized he was having a seizure. Brian tried to catch him but Donnie face-planted on the deck of the boat. Brian yelled for me to come out and help, for Richard to call 9-1-1, and for Max to go unlock the gate for the paramedics when they arrived. I raced outside and it was absolutely TERRIFYING! Brian had turned Donnie on his side. There was a LOT of blood. It was POURING out of his nose. It was a bad seizure and Donnie wasn’t breathing while it was occurring. I was terrified he was never going to breathe again!

Our next-boat-neighbor, Rhonda, heard the commotion. She’s a nurse and she rushed right over. She helped Brian while I took Donnie’s phone out of his pocket, and started searching for his wife’s number. I didn’t know her name – or even Donnie’s last name. Nothing. I searched for “wife,” “honey,” and a variety of other pet names. (Turns out he did have her in there under a sweetheart, lovey-dovey name…but nothing anyone would think to search for.) So, then I looked at his text messages. There were numerous plumbing conversations. I bypassed those. His customers wouldn’t know his wife. I saw a fishing invitation. A ha! A friend! I called him. No answer. I then found a dinner invite and I called that guy. He answered. I explained the situation. He didn’t know the wife’s number but he knew someone who did so he took down my name and number.

By this time, the seizure had stopped but Donnie was unresponsive. He was breathing and had a pulse. He started moving a bit. He tried touching his nose. It must have hurt like a bitch because that’s what hit the deck first. He tried to talk, but could not. He couldn’t answer our questions. Brian kept reassuring him, telling him who we were, where he was, and what had happened.

The paramedics arrived while he was still unable to speak. They took very good care of him. He started speaking a bit, and was very confused. Brian said, “Donnie, do you know who I am?” He did not. When they inserted an IV, Donnie got combative. I was still thumbing through his phone, trying to solve the who-the-heck-is-his-wife puzzle, and letting the professionals do their job.

Eventually, they were able to get him to sit up. And, miraculously, to stand. As they were getting him off the boat to the rolling stretcher, his wife called my phone. Thank GOD! The paramedics needed to ask her about his medical history, meds he takes, etc. We told her we’d go with him to the hospital, and meet her there. By then, he had remembered who we were.

We followed the ambulance, and stood behind it as they unloaded him. He saw me, and said, “Angela! What happened?!” He couldn’t remember where he’d been when it happened, nor what he was doing, nor even what he’d watched on TV the night before. It was obvious his memory loss was REALLY frustrating him. The doc said that’s normal and that whatever he forgot might not come back. But, he knew his name, our names, how many quarters equal a dollar, the city we were in, etc. We had to tell him what happened several times. He was trying to make sense of it.

Turns out he had one other seizure five years ago. He’d run out of his blood pressure medication so his high blood pressure may have sparked this seizure. He said he gets a surreal feeling of déjà vu just before it happens but that he occasionally gets that without a full-blown seizure.

His wife finally arrived. The ER desk had kept her waiting for 10 whole minutes while we were able to just walk in with the paramedics. I felt so sorry for her! She was crying when she finally got into his room.

We explained everything that had happened once again so she’d know what to tell other medical folks who asked, gave her a hug, told him we’d drop off his glasses at his house later, (his glasses had fallen off when he hit the deck) and then left.

It was awful. Absolutely terrifying. It’s been about four hours since it happened and I’m still nauseated from anxiety. Thank GOD Donnie is okay. After it happened, we talked about the series of events that led to him being on our boat when the seizure occurred. I’d texted him last night because, despite all the plumbing being re-done, there was still a stink in the aft bedroom (near the holding tank). He said he’d pencil us in but, this morning, he called out of the blue. He was on a nearby boat, and said he’d walk down the dock to take a look. He and Brian quickly found the problem. A gizmo hadn’t been put back on the thingymabob so the watchmacallit was not venting correctly. He was here only about five minutes before the seizure hit.

The back of our boat is quite large. If Donnie had fallen on a smaller boat, or had he been alone on a boat, he might have fallen overboard. And, he most certainly would have drowned having a seizure in the water. I believe God had control of the timing of everything that happened so that Donnie would be okay.

Do your spouse a favor and add “husband” or “wife” after their name in your phone so they can be located in an emergency. Also, consider adding the app ICE to your phone, which will display your emergency contact info. on your screen even if your phone is password protected.

And, remember to take your blood pressure medication!

NEXT: STRAY CAT STUCK IN THE BILGE!

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Angela Hoy is a publisher, a blogger, and the author of 19 books. She lived on dirt her entire life before her family gave away almost everything they owned, and moved onto a 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch. They all live, work, and play on board full-time.

Angela is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, a free source of paying markets for freelance writers and photographers. If you want to write for magazines, websites, businesses, or others, check it out. It’s free! Her publishing services company, BookLocker.com, has published more than 9,000 books over the past 18 years. If you want to publish a book, she’d love to hear from you! Abuzz Press is BookLocker’s hybrid publishing company. And, PubPreppers.com offers services to authors who are having their books published elsewhere.