“Why yes, yes I do! I did long before the Tube of You. And here’s a Writer Annie gift for you!”
Okay, maybe the exchange wasn’t quite as sing-songy and rhythmic, but that’s about how it went down last weekend at our favorite anchorage, Ft. McRee, when I had a Video Annie follower come knocking on the hull, and he had no clue I wrote, too.
It’s funny. The power of YouTube. It still never ceases to surprise me. It seems this is the new learning hub of the 21st century. Reading is a long lost art. It is rare that someone “looks up” the answer to a question or learns how to do something in a textbook anymore. They Google it or, far more often, find and watch a YouTube video on how to do it. Video is the streaming source of knowledge and entertainment these days. And, while that is a wonderful thing, I still love books. I love words. I love to string them together, rearrange and massage them and bring a reader into my world. And, I especially love to read. Since I decided to stop making my own YouTube videos earlier this year, I have literally been able to read eight times as many books than I did in 2016 when I was filming, editing and publishing a 20+ minute YouTube video every week. Eight! That was not because I wasn’t motivated to read. I just didn’t have the time. If you’re curious, I always (try to) keep a running tab of the books I’ve read each year, in order of preference, and you can see the books I devoured (and highly recommend) here. Let me know if any of you have read and totally gorged yourselves on these books too. And the Sea Will Tell and Brain on Fire gave my a whole new appreciation for the art of story-telling, the intrigue of missing pieces and the power of perspective.
I believe books are a wonderful thing and still more powerful and absorbing than videos. You may not agree. That’s totally fine. It’s just my preference. I prefer a bit of a blank stage for my imagination to fill rather than a visually-complete video that leaves no room for my mind to fill in the gaps. Populating the stage myself with characters as I see them, quirks as I anticipate them and mental sights, sounds and smells inspired by the words I read is a complete thrill and—better yet—creating that stage for others by writing the words myself is the ultimate satisfaction. I’ve said it many times, and it still rings true. I believe in words. I hope you do too.
I thought this little “Video Annie Writes, Too” would be a fun story to share with you all to kick off our four-week Holiday Book Giveaway. That’s right, a free signed book every week until Phillip and I leave for the Bahamas in December. Phillip and I are very thankful for our boat, our health, our ability to pursue this amazing lifestyle and the many followers who have inspired me to keep writing and sharing and we want to give back. So, enjoy the little ditty below. (You’ll love it. Brandon becomes a lawyer – ha!). Then try to answer the fun trivia at the end to win a free signed Salt of a Sailor book, mailed right to you, courtesy of HaveWind.
So, the Blue Angels show at Ft. McRee. It’s an event Phillip and I try to catch every year because it is such a spectacular anchorage, with most of our boating friends out there along with us for the weekend PLUS a free air show. I mean, what’s there to even think about! In 2014, we rafted up at Ft. McRee five-deep for the show!
In, 2015, we rafted up again with Brandon and that’s when he came aboard and diagnosed our rotten stringers. Episode #31: The Blues Bring Bad News.
While that was a sad day on the boat, Brandon was right there with us from the start telling us “It’s not really that bad,” and “We’ll get you fixed up.” And, I’ll never forget Phillip staring at those rotten stringers, shaking his head and still saying, “This ain’t stopping us from going to Cuba.” And, by God, it didn’t! Not long after that weekend, 2015, is when we hauled out and spent an entire eye- (and wallet-)opening three months at the yard completing a pretty major refit on our boat with Brandon at www.PerdidoSailor.com. While many days in the yard were hard, grueling, frustrating and just down-right depressing, we kept chipping away at it with Brandon looking over our shoulders and mentoring, it was probably the most beneficial, productive three months of our careers as boat-owners because we learned so much about our boat, how to diagnose and repair her, how best to maintain her and—to be honest—how well-suited Phillip and I were to work together on any problem she could conceivably present us (as there were, and will continue to be, many).
Now, almost two years later, an Atlantic-crossing and a fantastically-invigorating trip to Cuba (just as Phillip had predicted) under our belts, we decided the Blue Angels show this year would probably be our last big Hoorah in Pensacola before we shove off for the Bahamas this December. So, Phillip and I planned weeks in advance to sail over and drop the hook to enjoy the air show from the view of the Fort. And, it was a glorious weekend on the boat. November temps in the high sixties. Bright, sunny, cloudless skies. An amazing performance by the Blues, right over our rigging. And, another fun weekend out with our fellow cruising friends in one of our favorite anchorages.
But, that’s what we often expect at Ft. McRee. What we didn’t expect (as Video Annie hasn’t been spotted in a while) was a knock on the hull from some excited HaveWind YouTube followers: Bruce and Chris on s/v Sea Hawk. Chris could be short for Christine, Chrissy, Christorama. I didn’t care; I like the name Chris for a girl. These two were fun!
And they were just a few boat-lengths down from us!
The view from Sea Hawk:
Turns out Bruce and Chris were anchored not too far behind our boat, which had Brandon’s Gulf Star rafted-up on our starboard side, and they had recognized the name on the back of our boat “Plaintiff’s Rest” from some of our YouTube videos. This past year, Bruce and Chris moved out of their house up in Michigan and onto their 1968 Morgan (beautiful classic boat) and started sailing around Lake Superior to get their sea legs feet wet (or freezing!). They had eventually made their way down the coast to Pensacola with their sights set on the Gulf, the west coast of Florida, the Caribbean and beyond.
Bruce dinghied up behind Brandon’s stern and started chatting away with Brandon who was out on the deck, grilling sausage. About 80% of the time when Brandon and the family are out on the boat, there is sausage of some form grilling—breakfast, lunch, happy hour snack, or dinner (and we love them for it!). I heard the words “Video Annie” and figured I had to pop up to see what was going on (and more importantly, what Brandon might say in response). Bruce—God love him—was talking ninety miles-a-minute with no one able to get a word in edgewise. He was talking about my YouTube videos, our time in the shipyard, our sail to Cuba and how he and Chris had been following my video blog for a while, how it had inspired them to finally start cruising, yachta, yachta, yachta …
I peeked out our companionway and could see Brandon smiling and chuckling to himself. Then Bruce said, “And you’re a lawyer too, right, like Annie? You guys both practice, or used to. Chris and I thought that was so funny, two lawyers become sailors.” And, Bruce continues rattling on. I’m now laughing behind Brandon’s back and seeing him try to cut in to correct Bruce, but after Bruce just kept on a-truckin’, Brandon finally said. “Yeah, the practice is hard. I have to go to a lot of depo parties.” I then let an uncontrollable cackle out. Brandon loves to call legal depositions “depo parties.” I finally stepped up into our cockpit so I could finally be seen by Bruce and he bellows: “VIDEO ANNIE!”
Turns out she lives on. That feisty old gal. Bruce, a little confused, glanced down at the name on Brandon’s stern, 5 O’Clock, then at the name on our stern, Plaintiff’s Rest, and said “Oh okay, this is your boat,” as he pawed his dinghy over to our Niagara, still chatting away about us (Brandon and I as he pointed) being lawyers and all. Then Phillip finally emerged from our companionway, and Bruce said, “Oh … ” the first moment of silence since he’d arrived. “Oh yeah, the bald one. You’re the lawyer!” Bruce shouted, and Brandon lost it. “Yeah, the bald ones are better,” he laughed.
Brandon, you funny!
Love that guy.
After a few minutes of unraveling Bruce’s confusion and him now understanding this was the same Brandon with Perdido Sailor, from all of our shipyard videos, Bruce then felt like he was truly in a celebrity circle. We had a very fun chat with Bruce and his wife, Chris, about their finding their boat, following our HaveWind blog, enjoying our videos and, even, their first big sea experience on Lake Superior. Chris was telling me that their first day out, they experienced 6-8 foot seas all day, and I told her that sounded a lot like my first offshore voyage on our boat. “Oh yeah?” she asked. And, then I asked if she had read Salt of a Sailor. Bruce perked up and said “Video Annie writes, too?”
’Course she does!
“Yes, I love to write!” I piped back at Bruce. “Do you like to read?” I challenged him, to which he and Chris both immediately spouted, “Yes!”
“Wait right there, then,” and I promptly went below to fetch Bruce and Chris one of my books from our cabin. I began writing an inscription in Salt of a Sailor for them and told them they would enjoy the story of my first voyage which I told them, as I winked over to Chris, “also involved some 6-8 foot stuff.”
“Oh, our second day across the lake, we were in 12-14 footers!” Chris responded.
12-14 footers? In a cold-ass lake! I thought to myself. Holy Moley! I can’t wait until Chris writes that story because I would love to read it! You can follow along on Bruce and Chris’s Sea Hawk’s Journeys here.
The reason I share this fun little exchange is because while I will never have the same reach with simply my blog, Instagram and Facebook page, that I had with YouTube—because video marketing is simply the way of the future—I still always want people to know that my platform at HaveWindWillTravel started with words. It started with one of my favorite passions: writing. And, I want to share my love for books and stories as much as my love for photos and videos. Writing that, just now, I had to go back and look. Wow, here is my very first blog post, dated March 29, 2013, titled “My First Sail,” which later became my first article in a sailing magazine, Cruising Outpost. Man, how time flies!
Everyone knows the saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And, most millennials would probably say: “Then a video is worth a thousand pictures.” While that may be true, I believe it’s all in the eye of the imagination-holder. My own humble view is that it is, in fact, words—with their silent draw, their open canvas, their endless possibility for interpretation—that are worth a thousand videos. With that in mind, I blew on my signature to dry the Sharpie scrawl, closed the cover to Salt of a Sailor and handed it to Chris, saying: “I hope Writer Annie inspires you, too.”
After that fun little share, I believe it’s high time Phillip and I kicked off this four-week Holiday Book Giveaway. What say you? If some of you don’t know, I have published three fun, entertaining sailing books that I love to share with followers. You can download and read free previews of each book or order copies here. Just as Bruce and Chris now hold and (I hope) cherish their signed copy of Salt of a Sailor, one of you can too. First follower, either here or on Facebook, to answer this question correctly in a comment wins! If you know the answer but already have a hard copy (or do not need another hard copy to give away as a gift), please let another follower chime in, thanks!
Book Giveaway #1:
For our first book giveaway trivia, we’re going to dig all the way back to the origin of Annie’s sailing days, back to 2013 and our first passage on our 1985 Niagara 35. Who doesn’t love the infamous Mitch, right? The answer is no one. Just no one. So, “while you’re down there” digging around in your HaveWind mental archives, what was the food item the infamous Mitch was craving right after we broke down in Carrabelle and were waiting on the mechanic to come and have a look at our engine?
And … GO!
Happy Holidays folks. Phillip and I are so grateful to have you all following along and we hope you continue to enjoy ours and pursue your own journey! It’s a big world out there. Mostly accessible by boat! : )