3 Short stories:
A Trip on a Raft down the Altamaha
A Day Sailing
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Ken Medernach's Web Site
Ken Medernach a swashbuckling seaman and author
shares a few of his inspiring and humorous boyhood adventures in On The High Seas. He tells how he built his first sailboat and a raft, where he sailed them and what strange challenges he encounter along the way. The stories will keep young readers captivated for many enjoyable hours, and inventing adventures of their own. Ken grew up in Savannah, Georgia along the Intracoastal Waterway where he and his young pals launched many thrilling journeys. Readers may find Ken and his pals sailing along their very own rivers, creeks, and sounds as they cruise the Intra Coastal Waterway and the backwater creeks and rivers of the Southeast in search of adventure. On The High Seas is more than an adventure book, the author brings into focus Native Americans, marine life, commercial fishing, the U. S. Coast Guard and much more. Along with his encouraging and humorous writing style the author has included maps, drawing and a glossary of terms to help young readers learn the language of the sea.
3 short stories based on real life water borne adventures:
In the first story a young boy accepts a challenge that changes his life and prepares him for a lifetime of nautical adventures.
In the 2nd adventure 3 young men build a raft "Tom Sawyer style" and take off for a 60 mile trip down a rain swollen Altamaha River to the Atlantic ocean, why does one of them not make it and what ever happened to him.
In the third tale a couple of guys take a day off from work and go sailing, they soon wish that they had gone to work instead.
Copyright ThunderBolt Productions: © 2007
Now available on Kindle®
THE MIDWAY ODYSSEY
It’s 1950; I’m ten years old and have just finished the fourth grade at Charles Ellis Elementary School, in Savannah, Georgia. Although I didn’t know it, the Summer lay in front of me like a great adventure.
MY FIRST BOAT
Summer was far from my mind when one day last winter, my Dad unexpectedly came home from his office in early afternoon followed by Tommy Cuyler, one of his workmen. Tommy was driving one of Dad’s trucks which was carrying an old plywood boat. Daddy said that he made a trade for it and it would be mine (Daddy was big on barter) if I would work on it to get it ready to put in the water.
Dad clarified my tasks thusly. If I wanted to keep and use the boat (maybe a trip?) it would have to be totally cleaned, scraped and then painted. Then, and only then, would the boat belong to me. Dad continued with his generous offerings. Once totally refurbished he would also give me his old 1.9 hp Elgin outboard motor. What a deal! The boat really wasn’t that bad especially since, there wasn’t any rotten wood.
So all the stars were lined up. It was early morning, the tide was right and I was off. It would be around fifteen and a half miles to my first anchorage at Coffee Bluff.
Let’s see, sail up, lee board in place, tiller, rudder with the outboard motor clamped to the transom but tilted up so it wouldn’t cause any drag..
When I rowed away from the dock it was about the middle of the flood tide, just as we had planned. As my journey southward started and I was passing Barbee’s Pavilion and their Terrapin Corral, I still remember the excitement of starting out on my own.
A RAFT TRIP
It’s 1960… it’s August and… it’s very hot in Jesup, Georgia. You folks who haven’t had the pleasure of a south Georgia summer can’t really grasp what hot is; I’m talking about temperature and humidity in the 90’s, there seems to be rivalry between the thermometer and the hygrometer to see which can get the higher.
Dogs stay under the houses, its dusty and your sweat turns to muddy rivulets as it runs down your cheeks and arms, mosquitoes and biting flies all day and at sunset the gnats come out, this is South Georgia August.
I can’t remember where the idea came from - Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer, Walt Kelly’s, “Pogo Possum” or just a passing fancy because of the summer doldrums from living on the banks of the Altamaha River. Maybe we saw a raft of logs floating down the river and said “Hey, look at that”. Neither Hammond nor I can remember
The time has come to launch the raft, get on The River and start heading east toward Darien. The great adventure has begun - the three of us (Hammond, Pete & Ken) heading out to parts unknown, or at least not well known. We think the term “Scouting the River” was born out of necessity after our trip.
The Advance Unknown.
We maneuvered the raft out into the mainstream of The Altamaha River, through the slough that ran from the river back to Hammond’s folk’s home. It wasn’t until now; that we noticed how swiftly the current was running, probably at about six or seven knots all on a dead course for the sea. The die was cast and though we should have known something was amiss, we weren’t smart enough to be concerned.
Great Scot …… there was all sorts of junk and trash literally “barreling” toward the sea. Everything from paper cups to dead falls of trees; yea, full-grown trees, 30 to 40 inches through the bole and 40 to 50 feet in length, all floating eastward, towards the Atlantic.
Along with all of this flotsam and junk was our proud raft and the three of us.
A DAY SAILING
It was a cold and squally November day when Rollie called me to say that he had the day off and “Duck” Baker had offered him his Thistle to sail. Duck told Rollie, “Just hook up to the trailer and go!” For some reason, I, we, thought that this would be a great idea. If we had any sense we would have given a polite refusal and stayed home or in my case gone straight to work. You see, it was blowin’ force 4 to 5 or better and it was colder’n hell.
Once we got the boat near empty we were faced with the task of getting back in without turning her over.
If it wasn’t for the prospect of a warm shower, a meal and a good stiff drink, I don’t know if I could have made it back into the water. We were up to our knees in the muck and icy water,