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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Packing the Suitcases Again

January 5, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve held back on announcing our next vacation because political uncertainty has made me skittish about one of our destinations, but there’s never a perfect time to travel so Mrs. C. and I are packing our courage along with our wash & wear and hitting the airport on February 6th. Our first stop is…

 

 

 

Hong Kong!

 

There are no direct flights from Portland, Oregon, to our primary location and our choices for making our connection were Tokyo or Hong Kong. We expect to be suffering from jetlag when we arrive so we extended our stay a few days to take in the sights and scratch China off our bucket list, even though many people don’t really consider this former British colony representative of China. But it should give us a flavor of the country. We only have a few days but I hope to explore the harbor on a junk, visit the sights and let Mrs. C. do some shopping.

 

 

 

Cambodia!

 

Mrs. C. surprised me with her desire to see Angkor Wat, the sprawling temple complex rediscovered in the 1920s and wrestled from the jungle. I understand this city once rivaled Rome in population. Interesting that we need a visa for Cambodia but not for Thailand or China.

 

 

Thailand!

    

This is the main focus of our trip, even though political discord has made us jittery the past few months. We’ve been in touch with the State Department and have been assured there is little risk to Americans traveling in Thailand. An election is scheduled to take place right before we leave and I hope this calms things down; our tickets are paid for but we have insurance that will cover us if we’re forced to cancel. I love Thai food and plan on riding an elephant. Mrs. C. isn’t so sure about climbing onto a pachyderm but she’s a trooper and I’ll be snapping pictures when she does.

 

 

Phuket Island

    

Still part of Thailand, but we thought it would be relaxing to end our trip on what has been rated one of the most beautiful islands in the world. We plan on returning at the end of February. Look for us later in the year if we vanish and you see our faces on CNN.

 



Comments

30 Comments
I am a homebody and hate to travel, I will enjoy the adventure through your eyes and words. Stay safe my friend and in the end Phuket.
By: Cranky on January 5, 2014
"Let her go shopping"? Better rethink the word let!
By: Linfa on January 5, 2014
good for you! i echo cranky's sentiment - i'm a homebody these days more than ever, but i know you'll have an adventure and a half!
By: TexWisGirl on January 5, 2014
You do pick some....umm...."interesting" destinations.
By: Scott Park on January 5, 2014
How exciting for you. Our son goes to Thailand about every year. He is scheduling his next trip in April. He considers it the best place on the planet to vacation. Super cheap, friendly people and according to him very exciting. When he was younger he backpacked into the lesser populated regions and met a local family that let him help put in a rice paddy. He did, in fact, ride an elephant. I look forward to hearing about your adventure.
By: Cheryl P. on January 5, 2014
Nice! Well wishes on your travels.
By: David Walston on January 5, 2014
What a great trip. I know you will have a wonderful adventure. I hope you post some pics after you return and rest.
By: CiCi on January 5, 2014
I once did a lot of travelling & particularly enjoyed Thailand. GO EVERYWHERE--while you still can--have a wonderful trip!!
By: fishducky on January 5, 2014
It's cool you guys can go see the world like that. Good luck!
By: PT Dilloway on January 5, 2014
That is a big adventure! You'll have plenty to write about for sure. I know of Phuket. I've have had friends work there and stop there with liveaboards... in the scuba diving world. Sadly it is also experienced a Tsunami. Snorkeling should be an option while you're there. You'll experience some interesting cuisine too!
By: Daniel LaFrance on January 5, 2014
What an exciting itinerary! I'm looking forward to your report and pictures already. Thailand has been a prime vacation destination for many Germans for a long time, and many Germans now retire there. A number of years ago, my youngest brother backpacked through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. If you are ever offered a snack of roasted spiders, here is my brother's advice: you pull off the legs before eating them.
By: Pixel Peeper on January 5, 2014
how exciting. i've always wanted to see honkers (hong kong). Cambodia and Thailand will be wonderful. happy travels to you and mrs c.
By: Fran on January 5, 2014
My daughter was in Thailand when the big tsunami hit. I listened to the news and then checked email telling me she was safe.
By: red on January 5, 2014
oh how wonderful! Have a great time- looking forward to hearing all about your adventures!
By: Kathe W. on January 5, 2014
I KNEW it was about time for you to hit the airways again. I'm not a travel fan, but from what I've seen of Phuket on TV, it's BEAUTIFUL. Have a safe and enjoyable trip. Can't wait for the stories and the pictures.
By: Val on January 5, 2014
A friend of mine just went to these destinations last year for her 20th anniversary. She loved it and her pictures are amazing. I'm sure you will be fine. Enjoy!
By: Bouncin Barb on January 5, 2014
Bon Voyage! Tell Mrs. C that i've ridden an elephant at the circus, and i'm sure her ride will be even more fun than mine!
By: mimi on January 5, 2014
I wish you bon voyage and look forward to the reports of your adventures when you return. Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on January 5, 2014
Wow! You are truly seasoned travelers. And you'll find plenty of seasonings on this trip. :)))
By: Franklin Bruce Taylor on January 5, 2014
I know someone who just holidayed at Phuket Island. She adored it! I hope you and Mrs. C have a fantastic time! :)
By: Lexa Cain on January 5, 2014
So you're new pic? Noticed, and fabulous. :) The Phuket Island? A dream!!! Make it all dream-worthy, Mr. C!
By: Carrie on January 5, 2014
Having just returned from AZ I know all about jetlag. I hope you have a wonderful trip. :)
By: LL Cool Joe on January 6, 2014
Sounds a great schedule - perfect mix of energy-sapping sight-seeing and beach relaxation. Enjoy.
By: Bryan Jones on January 6, 2014
Looks wonderful and a great happy adventure!
By: John on January 6, 2014
How exciting and I just love it when blog buddies travel. I tend to tag along vicariously, save a ton of money and don't have to get all those nasty shots. Can't wait to hear about the trip.
By: Akansas Patti on January 6, 2014
Bon Voyage! Looking forward to hearing all about your travels -- it should be a wonderful trip!
By: The Broad on January 6, 2014
Oi! You and your travels. I travel to the grocery store. I would love to travel, even if it were just a short trip. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on January 6, 2014
Sounds like an incredible trip! We've got lots of friends in Thailand right now or about to go. It's a very popular vacation destination from here. They all head to the resort beaches and have not experienced any kind of disturbance... just idyllic and vacations and delicious and cheap food. What fun!
By: Mitchell is Moving on January 7, 2014
What fun! Now I'm looking forward to your travel posts when you get back :)
By: The Bug on January 8, 2014
What an amazing trip. You two pick the most interesting and exotic destinations. I know you'll enjoy immensely. Safe travels.
By: Hilary on January 9, 2014

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