In Search of Indiana Ryan

Barry Ryan (aka Indiana Ryan) in the Andes Mountains, Peru, 1940-1941. Railway station (l.); Chulec Hospital (r.) My father Barry Ryan was not a talkative man. He was born in 1909 and married my mother Laura in 1948 when he was 39 and she was 28. Both the age difference and the late age of […]

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If A Mermaid Came

“What is it like to sail in the ocean overnight?” a friend asked. “I can’t even imagine doing that.” I’ll try to explain. The easy answer is that it’s merely an extension of sailing during the day. You don’t stop driving your car at sunset, for example. The streetlights come on and your eyesight adjusts. […]

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Then and Now

   If you say we don’t look a day older in these two photos, in a way you’d be telling the truth. We don’t look a day older. We are—and look—four decades older. I was 26 and Eric was 27 when we set sail from England to California on Duprass in 1977. Now we are […]

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Paradise Found

  I take it back. Everything—well, almost everything—I said about cruising in the Bahamas in my last blog post goes out the window. Yes, it’s still tough sailing. Yes, the wind keeps coming from the wrong direction, too strong, or not at all. Yes, we have had a few more, thankfully minor, equipment mishaps, and […]

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Reality Check

So here we are cruising the idyllic waters of the Bahamas, anchoring in turquoise bays, snorkeling coral reefs, sand crusting between our toes as we walk barefoot along a pristine beach. We sail where we like, when we like, the sun on our faces, the breeze at our backs. We end each day sipping a […]

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Goldilocks in the Gulf Stream

  The night before crossing the Gulf Stream, Eric and I both had knots in our stomachs. We had done our homework—read and reread the cruising guides, grilled more experienced sailors for their advice, studied the charts, plotted our course. Most important, we monitored the weather reports. To cross the  Stream in the wrong wind […]

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The Kindness of Strangers

Several years ago, Eric and I went to a meet-your-congressman event at a coffeehouse in St. Augustine. He wasn’t someone we’d vote for, but in the interests of being informed citizens we wanted to hear his views. He opened with a strong statement in favor of supporting Israel, then moved on to pending legislation in […]

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Why I Love the Sea

One Saturday afternoon when I was about sixteen, I found an odd note on our kitchen bulletin board. On a small piece of notepaper my father had scribbled the following lines: “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and […]

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