Douglas Arvidson is a past winner of the WICE/Paris Transcontinental International Short Story competition. His short fiction has been published in Paris, Prague, and in literary magazines in the United States and he was recently invited to be a staff writer for the Prague Revue, a cutting-edge, online literary journal ( The novels in his fantasy series, The Eye of the Eye of Stallion, include The Face in Amber, The Mirrors of Castaway Time, and A Drop of Wizard's Blood. His new novel, Brothers of the Fire Star, was selected as a finalist in the ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year national awards and as a finalist in three categories in the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: Action Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. It has become part of the pantheon of Pacific literature and is now included in school literature programs. Brothers of the Fire Star is an adventure story set in the Pacific during World War II and concerns two boys of different races and cultures who escape the island of Guam in a small sailboat when the Japanese army invades. They must then struggle to survive as they master the secrets of the ancient Pacific navigators. Appropriate for young adults as well as adult readers, Brothers of the Fire Star is available on Barnes & Noble, ( and Visit the author's website:

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Writer as Sailor Writes

Seawind on Her Mooring, Dering Harbor, N.Y.

We finally got outta dere--seemed like we never would. We left three days ago, got a mile off shore, and found out the depth sounder was dead. The captain (me) made the scruffy decision to turn around. You can't get the job done without knowing how thin the water is. So we were back where we started. The marina that did the work on the boat was kind enough to haul us out and we spent two days figuring it all out. Finally I hemorrhaged more money on a new unit and my genius brother installed it including drilling out a bigger hole in the bottom of the boat and rewiring.

With the new transducer working magic, we waited for the tide and then left New Suffolk. Wind blowing 20 to 25 knots. That's stink in shallow water with strong tidal races. It was like white water rafting. I put out a rag of a jib to pull us through and the little Westerbeke engine was perfect to get us through 4 knot currents. Then there was navigating through and around islands with sandbars sticking out, inviting disaster. Brother John had previously entered way points in the new Garmin 540 GPS and we followed them and stitched our way along.

Now in Dering Harbor, Long Island, the wind still blowing stink but supposed to diminish tonight. Tomorrow we leave at dawn to make the flood tide through Plum Gut and into Long Island Sound and then down towards Gotham. We got a water taxi into the harbor, hit the bar and ate a light meal. It was supposed to be $50, but I offered the young driver a $20 tip and he forgave us the yacht club fee. Mr. Pettibone, who owns the mooring ball, no longer has a boat, it seems.

The wind is supposed to drop off tonight. A nice flat water, light wind sail would be fine tomorrow. I must admit that my mouth was cotton-dry all day--we were on the edge. We've never sailed this boat before, and she has a roller furling system that is 35 years old. But she was a perfect lady--strong, beautifully designed, and perfectly maintained by her previous owner--and the ancient roller furling was, to my judgment, superior to the modern designs I've used. Tomorrow up at dawn and through Plum Gut on the flood tide into the Sound.


  1. She's beautiful Doug! -audrey

  2. Thanks! She a whole world simpler than VATNA.