Carolina Blue


Carolina Blue glimmered this week —

On the sultry shores of the south —

On the week of the 4th the sea was murky, dismal, and gray —

Ocean Isle 2016 4th of July

I suppose the lack of storms accompanied with the intense heat

soothed the tumultuous seas.IMG_0016

Thank You, God, both the occasion —Blessed was I  to be there to see.


Amazing how things change in a matter of weeks — or, sometimes  minutes it seems — Shrimp Tales and Tides

Ebbs Flow, Swells Swing, the Sun, Moon, and Stars sing  ever-changing songs of God’s Mood Ring —Beneath the Toiling Sea—Oceans of Emotion— and some of its own — but mostly revealed on the surface… Reflections of you and me.




Oceans At Night

In the distance
I see an ocean;
and a ship on
the horizon wall.
I really am intrigued. 


Of sun,  sweat, and
gritty sand, though,
I can na bear the thought.
I dip into a pavilion,
out to the edge of
the pier. So much
cooler here this

time of day, and

eyes are sweaty

The sounds
of video and pinball
are music to my soul,
but the smell of
cotton candy, and
popcorn, send me
seeking a corner bistro.
The time just seemed
to disappear as I look
out or’e the bay. An
empty beach, and no
hot sun, I think it’s nice
that way. As I walk out
on the cooler strand,
the receding wave tickling
my toes with sand,
I am awed by the extent
and sight, and reminded
that there is nothing more
beautiful, or satisfying than
an empty beach at night.

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“Cutty Sark” (Queen of the High Seas )

Scotland’s Favorite Son’s Poem; Where the Cutty Sark Got Her Name.

“Tam 0′ Shanter”

in the original mixed  Scots/English

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An’ getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,

Apparently, Tam of Shanter stayed a wee bit long et the public hoose a drinkin...and while a riding home on his prized Mare Meg, et the withching hour, his Bonnet hindered his eyes a blinkin...what Tam rally saw on that foggy night, we probably will never know...and as the great Scotish Poet Robert Burns reveals, whut Tam he saw , may forever be un-told... P.W.

That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o’ Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses).

O Tam! had’st thou but been sae wise,
As taen thy ain wife Kate’s advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was na sober;
That ilka melder wi’ the Miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;

meh be explains while though her sails were white as snow on a mid days scene, some sailors claim in a squall at night, from a distance, sometimes her sails were green...

That ev’ry naig was ca’d a shoe on
The Smith and thee gat roarin’ fou on;
That at the Lord’s house, ev’n on Sunday,
Thou drank wi’ Kirkton Jean till Monday,
She prophesied that late or soon,
Thou wad be found, deep drown’d in Doon,
Or catch’d wi’ warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway’s auld, haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen’d, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale: Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right,
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi reaming sAats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnie,
His ancient, trusty, drougthy crony:
Tam lo’ed him like a very brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi’ sangs an’ clatter;
And aye the ale was growing better:
The Landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi’ favours secret, sweet, and precious:
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The Landlord’s laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E’en drown’d himsel amang the nappy.
As bees flee hame wi’ lades o’ treasure,
The minutes wing’d their way wi’ pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white-then melts for ever;
Or like the Borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the Rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm. –
Nae man can tether Time nor Tide,

"and the wind cried Katie"

The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o’ night’s black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne’er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as ‘twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow’d;
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow’d:
That night, a child might understand,
The deil had business on his hand.

Weel-mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro’ dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet,
Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnet,
Whiles glow’rin round wi’ prudent cares,

Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Where ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Where in the snaw the chapman smoor’d;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Where drunken Charlie brak’s neck-bane;
And thro’ the whins, and by the cairn,
Where hunters fand the murder’d bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Where Mungo’s mither hang’d hersel’.
Before him Doon pours all his floods,
The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods,
The lightnings flash from pole to pole,
Near and more near the thunders roll,
When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem’d in a bleeze,
Thro’ ilka bore the beams were glancing,
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’ tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi’ usquabae, we’ll face the devil!
The swats sae ream’d in Tammie’s noddle,
Fair play, he car’d na deils a boddle,
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish’d,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish’d,
She ventur’d forward on the light;
And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight!

Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillon, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl. –
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw’d the Dead in their last dresses;
And (by some devilish cantraip sleight)
Each in its cauld hand held a light.
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes, in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi’ his last gasp his gabudid gape;
Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted:
Five scimitars, wi’ murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had strangled:
A knife, a father’s throat had mangled.
Whom his ain son of life bereft,
The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi’ mair of horrible and awfu’,
Which even to name wad be unlawfu’.
Three lawyers tongues, turned inside oot,
Wi’ lies, seamed like a beggars clout,
Three priests hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinkin, vile in every neuk.

As Tammie glowr’d, amaz’d, and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The Piper loud and louder blew,
The dancers quick and quicker flew,
The reel’d, they set, they cross’d, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linkit at it in her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans,
A’ plump and strapping in their teens!
Their sarks, instead o’ creeshie flainen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!-
Thir breeks o’ mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush o’ guid blue hair,
I wad hae gien them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o’ the bonie burdies!
But wither’d beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Louping an’ flinging on a crummock.
I wonder did na turn thy stomach.

But Tam kent what was what fu’ brawlie:
There was ae winsome wench and waulie
That night enlisted in the core,
Lang after ken’d on Carrick shore;
(For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perish’d mony a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear);
Her cutty sark, o’ Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little ken’d thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi twa pund Scots (’twas a’ her riches),
Wad ever grac’d a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour,

Overwhelmed by the visage of the Old Witch who led the dance, in nothing but a shirt without underpants, Tam shouted ( Weel done Cutty Sark ) giving away his presence and causing him to flee for dear life into the relentless lightning filled stormy dark night .

After the Medling Mortal Bloke, in my Stew His Head will choke!!!

Sic flights are far beyond her power;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was and strang),
And how Tam stood, like ane bewithc’d,
And thought his very een enrich’d:
Even Satan glowr’d, and fidg’d fu’ fain,
And hotch’d and blew wi’ might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a thegither,
And roars out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!”
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied.
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi’ angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie’s mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When “Catch the thief!” resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi’ mony an eldritch skreich and hollow.

The moral of the poem it appears, is never drink to long in the public house, while leaving at home a lonely spouce; Though you may run into witches casting their spells, wifey may already have prophysied it from the church as well. So as you may think you've run into a brood of demons congering a chilling curse, your wife may have spoken one already worse. So if ever ye find you stayed till the end of the KEG, DO NOT TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME!!! AND ABSOLUTLY DO NOT DRIVE...Leave the driving to your trustee friend...but I wouldn't tell the wife...that the friends name was MEG!!

Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin!
In hell, they’ll roast thee like a herrin!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman!
Now, do thy speedy-utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stone o’ the brig;^1
There, at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the keystane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie’s mettle!
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain grey tail:
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother’s son, take heed:
Whene’er to Drink you are inclin’d,
Or Cutty-sarks rin in your mind,
Think ye may buy the joys o’er dear;
Remember Tam o’ Shanter’s mare.

“Tam O’ Shanter”  by Robert Burns  1790

cayoliu photobucket

In Scots;  a lowland Scottish dialect, vernacular to Germanic/Norwegian, and different from the Highland Celt-Gaelic lingo …a language worthy of an in- depth study of it’s own, Sark was the name for an undergarment worn by both men and women. Basically Tee-Shirt.

Cutty Sark, the ship, got her name from the fictional character portrayed in the poet known as “Scotland’s favorite son’s”1791 poem [Tam o’ Shanter]. By Robert Burns.  Nannie Dee, the old witch who led the dance in the poem, wearing nothing but a shirt that she had worn as a child, thereby way to short to cover her properly.

The “Great Queen of the Sea” was built for the Tea trade and races from China to England.  She was actually modified later to try and compete with the on-setting steam ship revolution, as well as Her Sails were shortened; Hence, Cutty Sark,  (little shirt.)

Built for Captain  “Jock” Willis, she launched in 1869, with a full bodied figure-head of “Nannie Dee” on her prow.

She was cut down in Sail height and mast later, to better equip her for general freight hauling, officially in 1890; though some of her last surviving crew members say that it was done prior to 1880.

As the steamrolling revolution of the Steam Ships, and the Suez Canal  already were in place as the most reliable means of shipping, though The Cutty was still much quicker, she was the last “Clipper” ship ever built for the purpose of “Merchant Marine” transports.

The ship log, and exciting, but tragic events during her voyage between 1890-91, were the basis for Joseph Conrads 1909 short story  The Secret Sharer

Legend among  Sea-Farriers of her time, say that though her sails were as white as snow on a clear sailing day, She had oft been seen in dreary mist and squall, with Sails appearing as Caribbean sea water green.

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Queen Annes Revenge

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“Along the shore I spy a ship
As she sets out to sea;
She spreads her sails and sniffs the breeze
And slips away from me.

I watch her fading image shrink,
As she moves on and on,
Until at last she’s but a speck,
Then someone says, “She’s gone.”

Gone where? Gone only from our sight
And from our farewell cries;
That ship will somewhere reappear
To other eager eyes.

Beyond the dim horizon’s rim
Resound the welcome drums,
And while we’re crying, “There she goes!”
They’re shouting, “Here she comes!”

We’re built to cruise for but a while
Upon this trackless sea
Until one day we sail away
( by John T. Baker)

Into infinity”.


Bristol, England, 1680, born was a chap, the name of Teach. Edward Teach, according to most references to his name in historical documents written within the past 200 years.

Original documents, under protection of the North Carolina office of Archives and History, and the North Carolina Maritime Museum, however, show that the fellow went by the name of Edward Thache.

At least he did during the time of his shenanigans, and brief attempt to live a reformed life in Bath Town, the first (English) town established on North Carolina soil.

Though there are other aliases, or discrepancies, about what his name actually was, none of them are all that important to us here in this rendering of his story.

Quite simply, this is because we readily recognize him by the name that carries as ominous an undertone to it, as does his legacy, and that being “Blackbeard the Pirate”.

Little is known of his background before becoming the world’s most notorious pirate. A claim to fame ironically twisted with one of the shortest durations of existence in the historically documented tyrannical tirades of the high seas.

Was he one of the many penal subjects of his time,
commissioned by the British government, to sail as crew members along with Picaroon, or Privateer Captains?

Or, was he a dedicated British sailor at one time, working a legitimate job in a far away place, that made sticking to that kind of life, rather than sailing back to England and facing unemployment seem practical?

These are details of the mans life that we may never know, but, most everything that he did from the point of parting ways from the Captain that he had worked under out of Jamaica, have been well documented.

Privateer, as well as picaroon pilfering were both sanctioned, and many times commissioned by the British, both during the Queen Anne’s war,(1702-13) and off the tidewater states, in the New World.

Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, openly expressed their disdain for British control, and therefore suffered many attacks on their ships, as well as many of the Plantations along those shores by picaroon fleets.

The original reason for the British Picaroons being in North America, was to protect the colonies who were being brutally attacked by the French, with allied Indians.
Later, however, they took on their own pirating practices, against the colonies, and divided the booty among themselves to auction off.

Privateers like Benjamin Hornigold, whom Edward Teach served under as first mate, worked for the British out of Norfolk England, attacking, and disarming enemy ships in and around the Bahamas during the war of the Spanish Succession.

Though Hornigold and his crew were already pilfering, and stealing, or sinking ships for there personal benefit by 1713, Hornigold was careful to not attack any ship flying the British flag; thereby keeping the pretense, and commissions as a privateer working for the British.

Hornigold, and his crew had taken a 30 gun sloop by 1717, and he gave the Captaincy of his previously manned sloop over to Teach.

Later that year, after acquiring a total of five ships, and a crew of at least 350 men, the lieutenants of the fleet mutinied over Hornigold, because of his policy of not taking all the ships that they came across, including the British flagships, and voted Edward Teach in as the new Captain.

Thus began the short lived, but greatly feared pirating career, as well as the renaming , of Edward Teach, to Blackbeard the Pirate.

In two short years by means of self-projecting a fearsome reputation, to gain a psychological advantage over any ship’s crew that he came across, Blackbeard took over 40 ships.

Usually, a loosely armed merchant ship would surrender readily after seeing the message that was given when Blackbeard’s flag was hoisted.

Washy Mcwashy Photobucket

washymcwashy image

When the crews did not resist his crews stealing of their cargo, then they were left with ship to sail, and lives to live. Others who put up resistance to his plummeting, plunderers, found themselves on a deserted sand bar, or island, watching their ship burn into the tide.

Said to have been a very tall, large framed man, with a black beard covering nearly all of his face, Blackbeard, who claimed to have been empowered from Satan himself, hung lime-juice soaked canon wicks under his hat before leaping on board a vessel filled with young merchant sailors, and lit them, to give off an even more ominous look.

By November 1717, he had taken an even bigger, 14 gun French slave ship, called the La Concord, quickly increased it’s fire power to 40 guns, and called her the “Queen Anne’s Revenge”. The reputation quickly swelled to “the Pirate armed enough to put a British Man of war under the sea“.

North Carolina was governed at the time by British Lord Governor Charles Eden, who had come over from England in 1714, and assumed the Governorship of the colony.

Not only did the shallow, difficult maneuvering waters of the outer-banks of North Carolina make good hiding places for Pirates and there ships, but, it is said that with a substantial cut in the booty, so did Governor Eden.

In fact, though, there are other stories of why Blackbeard decided to go back into piracy, after settling in Bath, and receiving a full pardon from the good Governor; it is said that the Governor and Teach had a secret plan for one more big haul.

During that attempt at one last bit of skulduggery, is where Blackbeard met his watery demise. Some say this was due to Governor Eden double crossing him,to relieve himself of any connection, after learning that a British Naval Ship was on it’s way to track down the Villainous swashbuckler.

Though Blackbeard was armed to the hilt, with swords, knives, and guns, there is no record of him ever killing anyone, prior to his final battle,against Lieutenant Maynard, and his crew of British Navy men.

This battle took place, on November, 22,1718, and Teach is said to have received 20 cuts, or stabbings, and five gunshot wounds before falling to his knees, to be decapitated by Maynard’s sword.

His head was hung on the front of the Virginia ported ship, and later his scull was turned into a drinking bowl, and is now on display in a Massachusetts museum.

And though it is also told that he had 14 different wives, all of whom he was supposed to have been very gentle, and loving toward, there is only one record of him ever being married, and that to a 16 year old girl from Bath, North Carolina, by the name of Mary Ormond.

During his stay in Bath, Blackbeard was said to have been the Gentleman’s Gentleman, and sociably graceful, and poised enough to charm the likes of even the governing officials.

Apparently, he did however, frighten most everyone, due to his reputation, which, seems to have been greatly enhanced by himself to strike fear into those whom he was about to take a ship or cargo from.

No one was ever killed during a raid, and no one ever walked the plank…at least, not at the command of Blackbeard, that was ever documented.

Some say prior to his last attempt to go a pirating, he was angering, or scaring his new found neighbors, by several wild parties that he joined with other jolly roger flying crews in his favorite place to hide his ship, in Ocracoke inlet. A place that is still known today as “Teache’s Hole
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Grave Yard of the Atlantic

No one knows how long ago the first sea going vessel met her demise off the treacherous North Carolina coast.

Of an a-surety, still, from the first of the known recorded ship logs, in 1526, the climatic pool of intersecting seas has been known of, and feared for hundreds of years.

During those 500 years of recorded ship wreck history alone, the sea has claimed an unknown amount of lives, and a thousand ships, in just one area known as Diamond Shoals.

Here just off shore of Cape Point, on Hatteras Island, the north bound warm water Gulf Stream of the Caribbean, collides head on into the southward searching Labrador Current, from the Arctic.

The raging collision of underwater rivers, one rushing 140 tons of water per second in a straight line from the tropics, along the eastern seaboard; then suddenly making a sharp easterly turn, is not the only monstrous force of nature taking place at this infamous cemetery of the sea.

High above the ocean surface, swirling, and colliding occasionally due to temperature changes in separate channels known as the stratosphere, and the troposphere, are treacherous, weather makers known as jet streams.

Jet streams, in turbulent areas of opposing temperatures, such as the area of the Grave Yard of the Atlantic, can be just as contributing in catastrophic sea disaster, as its underwater counterpart, known as the Gulf Stream.

Combine these two natural phenomena, with any of the weather, and underwater conditions that they are both capable of creating independent of the other, and you have a two-headed sea monster, with an insatiable hunger for change.

Sandbar, shoreline, seashell, or ship; the great Gyre of the mid-Atlantic sea blindly chews into whatever befalls it’s merciless ardor.

Barriers get bored through, sucked up, and spit out in completely different places, in the roaring expanse.

Unseen obstructions, by now completely imponderable by unsuspecting craft meandering their way through the aftermath, which can appear on the surface, as calm, glassy, smooth sailing seas.

It’s not that this section of ocean is always impassible. However, in days gone by there was just no way to foresee the dangers that may lie beneath the surface, until one was already entrapped within the clutches of its whirl- pooling,  in-navigable snare.

Other days, though usually stormy ones, apprehensive mariners, already fighting for their ships and life, can see the two oceans collide before them,  sending spume, foam, sand, and sea life 100 feet into the air.

The first sighting had to have been a heart stopping show for 16th century sailors, thousands of miles from home.

Like a mystical mid-ocean geyser, or a giant mythical mist spewing whale.

Likely, many a mate rubbed his eyes in disbelief, as fanciful, far-fetched tales, told by salty dogs, over a chug of Rum, in some dank Wharf tavern, on yon shore, came to their fearful minds and memory.

Making a decision at that time, to hoist all sails, throw caution, ship, and crew to the wind, or, veering to avoid such a terrifying visage, could either mean life or death for all aboard the great sea fairing vessel.

Decidedly, many a ship’s Captain opted  to weather the awe-inspiring passage, with wind filled sails, and lived to tell of the adventure.

Others, unfortunate, as fate and time would have it, were caught on top of the two bottomless walls of water, just as the two recoiled from their powerful collision, and  swallowed whole into the massive fissure, being crushed by the next on coming clash, of hundreds of tons of swell.

Of those who veered to miss the terrorizing show, of many, some must surely have survived. While many others, less fortunate, ran aground, by angry waves, and rushing wind.

Sadly, many wooden vessels, of yesteryear, have also crumbled into their own crushed hull, after violently plummeting down atop a barrier reef, or one of the constantly changing Diamond Shoals.

As not all ship logs, by any means, were  salvaged, from the all too many wrecks of the boisterous belching brute; out of a thousand recorded, and charted ships, it is impossible to know the exact circumstances of how they met their untimely demise.

There are page, after page, after page, of chartered oceanic disasters listed in detail, about this stretch of Barrier Islands. Starting in 1526, and going through 1945.CerasiCederwin Photobucket

Upon further research and study of  each case, we hope to  bring you more detailed renderings, of some of those wrecks, in hopes, that if but for a short read, and small pondering of the heart;
we can raise at least one of those great ships back to life, from forgotten history, and rest…From the Grave Yard of the Atlantic.

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copyright 2010-paul willis