Carr: Foam Lance Under the Ice

By Michael Carr - I worked at bracing myself under the ship, trying to steady my body against the hull while inserting the foam lance’s fabric-covered tip into the icebreaker’s sea chest. Adding air to my Unisuit pressed me against the hull. I held the 5 ft long foam lance with both hands, with legs spread and finally found a stable position. Now I could “pull the trigger” … [Read more...]

Carr: Fog, Fog, Fog…and Fatigue

By Michael Carr - Standing was the only option, but I was now falling asleep standing up. I would drift off, my knees would buckle, and I would suddenly wake up as I collapsed in my sailboat’s cockpit. Staying awake for more than 20 minutes at a time was becoming more and more difficult. The fog was thick and unrelenting. There was no wind, just fog, which condensed on my … [Read more...]

Carr: Pride of Baltimore

By Michael Carr - We all respected Jan Miles, captain of the schooner Pride of Baltimore. His vessel was faster, sleeker, bigger, and better funded than the rest of us who sailed schooners. He most likely had the best coffee too. He and “Pride” won every schooner race and Pride was the star attraction at “Schooner Fests”, as well as other tall ship events. We were the … [Read more...]

A Sea of Sand: Like a Kingfisher Flashing Across the Pool

By Michael Carr - Joint Base Balad Iraq is surrounded by sand. When you drive out its gates, all you see is sand. Sand blows onto the road, it consumes your horizon in all directions, it fills your nose, ears, and mouth. It jams your weapons. Sand reflects the bright sun, making the wearing of sunglasses a constant necessity. So necessary everyone carries spares. It occurred … [Read more...]

Carr: You Have Illegally Disposed of Garbage

By Michael Carr - We were all beyond exhausted. Muscle memory and caffeine were keeping us going. And now I was certainly going to jail when all I had wanted to do was wash the sticky, smelly mud from the Gulf of Mexico off our tug’s deck. “Really?” I thought to myself. This guy wearing a uniform, with a badge, weapon, and big radio on his belt was going to arrest me. “OK, … [Read more...]