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School children know that “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Other than that ditty few people know that the Admiral of the Ocean Sea made three subsequent voyages to what was to become known as “The New World.” It was probably the most interesting of the four. It was the stuff of fiction: battling fierce storms, contrary currents and hurricanes. Pitched battles with hostile natives and former companions. Ship wrecks, marooning, mutiny, trickery, deceit, greed, dashed dreams, despair, extraordinary heroism and rescue. But truth is stranger than fiction. All of it is documented. The only license I’ve taken with the story is to create the fictional narrator of the events.

In 1992 I bought a lovely small (26′) sailboat and took off for a nine-month single-handed cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, down through the Keys and then to Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala. This is a short story about my trip between Key West and Isla Mujeres.

For anyone who loves stories of pirates and nautical fiction this extensively edited and rewritten modernization of Harry Collingwood’s century-old tale of young midshipman Courtenay’s rise to commanding his own ship and battling the Caribbean’s most fearsome pirate, Pedro Morillo, comes alive and reads like it was written in the 21st century rather than at the end of the 19th.
Gone are such archaic and overblown (by today’s tastes) writing such as:
“For pity’s sake,” I ejaculated, “give me something to drink!”
“Ten thousand pounds?” I ejaculated.
“Thanks,” answered I, with alacrity.

But the young man’s battles against hurricanes, kidnapping and intense battles at sea remain as vivid as ever.



  1. Would you be interested in a write up on DIANNE’S ROSE a “Tiny” Houseboat? See RoyDesignedThat.Com for pictures. Best/Roy

    Sure. Send it on. I’ve seen the boat online and like it a lot. I’d be happy to feature it here.

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