Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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A New Dinner Hangout

July 24, 2017

The weather here in Portland has been fantastic, with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. Thanks to CJ’s fiancée Andrea, we now have a new summer place to dine, Island Cafe. I say it’s a summer place because it’s closed in winter.


There are many islands on the Columbia River separating Oregon and Washington, and Island Cafe sits on Tomahawk Island, one of the smaller ones. Island Cafe floats near a marina that connects to the much wider Columbia River, and boats sail up to the dock and moor beside the restaurant. It was a fantastic place to people watch, one of our favorite pastimes, and pick out our favorite boat from the many expensive pleasure crafts sailing past.


On Saturday we had a table beside the water and enjoyed watching people arrive in boats. Seafood is the restaurant’s specialty and I enjoyed halibut fish and chips. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a picture. It’s a terrific restaurant and I know we’ll return, even though it floats and bobs up and down a bit.


Not a problem. Overeating is difficult when you're a bit seasick and I was able to stick with my diet.




 Approaching the restaurant after descending the ramp.





Island Cafe from the river.








 My favorite boat




Customers approaching the restaurant for dinner.




Another fine luxury craft.




The river was swarming with activity.



I hope you had a terrific weekend.



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The bobbing probably wouldn't do me much good, but it sounds nice.
By: PT Dilloway on July 24, 2017
Looks inviting and you mentioned the food was good... what's not to like, eh? Hob-nobing-bobbing with boaters of all sorts.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 24, 2017
Sounds yummy--& fun!!
By: fishducky on July 24, 2017
Water makes me nervous so it would be a great place for me to not overeat, too! A great place for boaters and those who like the water, though.
By: jenny_o on July 24, 2017
Yes, if you don't have your sea "belly", it can make for a... UNIQUE dining experience. It looks like a wonderful place to be, though! Cat
By: Cat on July 24, 2017
before we moved from LO I kayaked all over the place- I would have loved to have gone here for a bite! Have a lovely week!
By: Kathe W. on July 24, 2017
What a delightful spot. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 24, 2017
What a great place to people watch. I'd love the bobbing. Everything tastes better when on the water or in a ball park.
By: Arkansas Patti on July 24, 2017
Looks like it was a grand experience. I'd love something like that as we have nothing even close here in flat, landlocked Dallas.
By: scott park on July 24, 2017
Ooh - that's the kind of place that Mike & I love! I need to figure out if there's somewhere similar anywhere around here.
By: The Bug on July 24, 2017
Delightful! Sounds like an absolutely enjoyable outing.
By: Tom Cochrun on July 24, 2017
We once had a great meal on a barge restaurant on the Seine in Paris. I don't remember feeling any bobbing and the waiter and the food were both fantastic.
By: Catalyst on July 24, 2017
Looks very similar to where I live....except 80 degrees is not seen until Sept.
By: Tabor on July 24, 2017
That does sound like a fun spot.
By: cranky on July 24, 2017
Good food, good view makes for a great restaurant.
By: red Kline on July 24, 2017
It sounds so good! A restaurant with a lot of activity and good food is always fun.
By: messymimi on July 24, 2017
Looks like a cool place to dine--if you like fish. I would have stuck to the chips, and given my fish away. Or ordered something odd like spaghetti. Which I don't really like, either. But better than fish.
By: Val on July 24, 2017
That's a fun and different experience, and fresh seafood is yummy. I'll keep it in mind if I'm in the area during the summer. Thanks!
By: Robyn Engel on July 24, 2017
I would love this place! I love being around water and boats. I could dine here for hours with a bottle of wine. Lisa
By: Lisa D on July 25, 2017
sounds great. I don't think I've ever eaten in a floating restaurant.
By: Ellen Abbott on July 25, 2017
It sounds like a fantastic place! You mentioned "thanks to Andrea" - does she own the place? Work there? Or tell you about it?
By: Pixel Peeper on July 30, 2017

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