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

Prologue

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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Hola!

October 17, 2016

We’re back from Puerto Vallarta. Although it’s always good returning home from a successful vacation, it was hard leaving balmy weather and returning to a nasty storm in the Northwest that uprooted trees and caused flooding. Fortunately, our home remained dry and undamaged while patiently waiting for our return. Unfortunately, the presidential election isn’t over although we did enjoy a temporary hiatus from the nonsense.

 

We are indeed blessed to have friends willing to let us enjoy their sumptuous condo in Puerto Vallarta, lodging we couldn’t have otherwise afforded. The deck was enormous and provided the feeling of being on a ship.

 

 

 

 

View looking down from the balcony.

 

 

 

We enjoyed drinks here and watched the sun set over the Pacific.

 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town. Over the years, hurricanes have destroyed the iron crown. This is the third to cap the church.

 

 

 

Met this anorexic but friendly local on the Malecon—a mile-long seawall promenade or boardwalk that stretches the length of downtown Vallarta.

 

 

 

The Malecon at night. Thousands of tourists and locals arrive to enjoy free entertainment, dine (dollar margaritas are a must) shop and catch a sea breeze.

 

 

 

Spotted these fellows on the beach. Can’t imagine what they were up to since I didn’t see them pausing to pose with tourists for a few pesos.

 

 

 

While waiting for a boat to take us to a nearby island for a dinner and show, this friendly local arrived for a photo op.  

 

 

 

Next post: An encounter with turtle hatchlings.

 

 

**********************

 

Coming soon: Details on my painting give-away.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

32 Comments
I hope you didn't drink the water while you were there. That is an amazing view from your balcony.
By: PT Dilloway on October 17, 2016
Beautiful condo your friends have! I am glad you got to go. Great pictures are the only way I will get to see Mexico! Thank you!
By: Linda on October 17, 2016
Wow! That looks like a dream spot for a getaway. The view alone was worth the trip.
By: Susan Swiderski on October 17, 2016
Welcome back! What a colorful place. You scored great with that view. Glad your home wasn't damaged or flooded - and that you didn't get our level of flooding.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on October 17, 2016
How wonderful it looks -- warm and relaxing and so beautiful.
By: The Broad on October 17, 2016
Puerto Vallarta was just coming into being when we took our cruise. When we were checking into the hotel, Bud asked the clerk if there were any messages for him. The clerk asked, âOn what, senor?â The telephone--& I use the singular formâwas a couple of miles away, in town. Our friends had told us that we had to visit an artist there who did charming primitive paintings, sort of like a young Mexican Grandma Moses. His name was Manuel Lepe Macedoâhe signed his work âLepeâ. He never attended art schoolâhis only schooling was 4 years of primary educationâbut he was intelligent, personable & extremely talented. We found him & bought 2 paintings. One was $20.00 & the other was $40.00. We really couldnât afford the $60.00, but we fell in love with the paintings. When we got home, Bud framed them himself & theyâre still in those frames. âThe Night of the Iguanaâ (with Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton) had been filmed there a short time before. Taylor & Burton bought a beach house & put a dozen or so of Lepeâs paintings there after our trip. That started him on the road to success. He died in 1984, when he was only 48. Our $60.00 investment (which was not really an investment; we bought the paintings because we loved them) has increased in value. Itâs a shame that so many artists have to die before their talent is fully recognized. His work now sells for upwards of $40,000.00âeach!
By: fishducky on October 17, 2016
Looks like an exotic and warm fun trip. I think we also took that trip to a show on an island...but it was a long time ago. Your friend at the beach is perfect for the exotic time there.
By: Tabor on October 17, 2016
Is there some way I can get to be friends with your friends so I can go on vacation? Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on October 17, 2016
Welcome back from that fancy shack in the sky. Terrific views and photos to boot. Hope you both enjoyed a margarita or two.
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 17, 2016
Oh, I nice vodka tonic or two and that view...a beautiful thing! Your friend reminds me of Jeff Dunham's puppet, Achmed "The Terrorist" "I kill you!' makes me laugh every time!
By: cranky on October 17, 2016
Wow, what a beautiful place with incredible views. Lucky you and what a bummer to come back to storms. Glad your property was spared. You are looking marvelous by the way. All that exercise and diet are working wonders. Looking good.
By: Arkansas Patti on October 17, 2016
You've been missed! Your condo looks spectacular. PV has great views up and down the coast. Baseball Steve came down and visited me once at PV when I lived in Mexico and we went snorkeling out by the arches. I have many happy memories of Puerto Vallarta.
By: Catalyst on October 17, 2016
That is one great friend! And your diet seems to be working; I see you've lost weight. Is that you in the red hat?
By: Tom Sightings on October 17, 2016
That looks like a remarkable place. I've never been but it looks like a place I would enjoy. Welcome home. R
By: Rick Watson on October 17, 2016
Welcome home, i'm so glad you had a great time!
By: messymimi on October 17, 2016
"it was hard leaving balmy weather and returning to a nasty storm in the Northwest that uprooted trees and caused flooding." Thank God,you didn't miss our lovely weather!
By: Snowbrush on October 17, 2016
Successful trip? I guess. Looks like you had a great time.
By: red Kline on October 17, 2016
So good to have you back in our blogosphere. We've missed your posts but we can see you were in regal settings.
By: Tom Cochrun on October 17, 2016
happy return to reality! :) you look GREAT! so slim!
By: TexWisGirl on October 17, 2016
I've never been to Puerto Vallarta but I do love Mexico.
By: Ellen Abbott on October 17, 2016
Looks fantastic - like a travel brochure, including a much more slender, handsome you. Welcome home. Glad it was such a great trip.
By: Robyn Engel on October 17, 2016
You're looking fit! I hope that critter couldn't climb up the side of the condo.
By: Val on October 17, 2016
Wow! Great pictures. I love having wealthy friends who are willing to share. That's how we get some of our greatest experiences.
By: Brett Minor (Transformed Nonconformist) on October 18, 2016
what a lovely time you had! We are off to Oaxaca and Zihuatanejo in just a few days! Yay!
By: Kathe W. on October 18, 2016
Being a fat man, I want details on the food you ate. Was any of it delicious? That's how I rate vacations these days...the food...it's so important. :)
By: Michael Offutt on October 18, 2016
Glorious. What a place to stay!!!
By: Mitchell is Moving on October 18, 2016
Wow! Just wow! :)
By: scott park on October 18, 2016
What a fantastic place to stay and spend your vacation! Are your friends looking to adopt, by any chance? You look great, too! Glad you enjoyed your vacation, sorry you had to come back to such miserable weather.
By: Pixel Peeper on October 18, 2016
Welcome back! Looks like you had a wonderful time. I love the photo of you with your new girlfriend. :D
By: LL Cool Joe on October 19, 2016
Great photos! But I think you need to change the title of your blog. You may be a chatterbox, but you are no longer chubby!
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on October 19, 2016
It looks like you had a wonderful time and much deserved. The colours are amazing and so are the views. Love the buxom gal you sat beside:)
By: Birgit on October 19, 2016
OK, color me EXTRA green! Glad you guys had such a lovely place to stay!
By: The Bug on October 20, 2016

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