On our voyages through the remote South Pacific in the 1980s the one thing that stays with us the most—next to the unspoiled islands and cultures—is the variety of amazing characters we encountered along the way.
After we went our separate ways we relived these experiences in conversations between pairs of us, usually over a beer or two, but we didn’t all get together again until 1999 when we met at the Harbor Pub and Pizza overlooking the Ala Wai Harbor in Waikiki.
Over the course of that rather long session we talked about characters we met, like Sharkbite Charlie, Rosie the 300-pound dancer, and Gunter, the mysterious chef from South America. These were people so unusual that you couldn’t hope to invent them. We decided then and there that we wanted to share these characters with people who would never have the opportunity to venture out there themselves.
Beer in the Bilges describes our individual paths that led us to join forces in American Samoa as well as our shared experiences. To do this we chose to organize the book into four parts. Part 1 highlights Bob’s adventures sailing from Los Angeles to New Zealand with Hollywood actor Hal Holbrook, and actress Dixie Carter who joined them along the way.
Part 2 follows Peter in the Sydney-to-Suva yacht race, and then on into the Polynesian islands. And Part 3 describes Alan’s first offshore voyage from Vancouver to Honolulu. Part 4 focuses on our yacht delivery from Pago Pago to Hawaii.
We have portrayed the remarkable people we met, as well as the events that led to the encounters. Each of us met our share of characters on our separate voyages, and then together we met a whole lot more. In fact, some have said that as characters go, we would fit right in!