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07 April 2016

F Is For Flares | Nancy Drew Investigates {A To Z Challenge}


During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we'll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with "A is for Anchor" and ending with "Z is for Zodiac." Each post is an installment of "Nancy Drew Investigates the Case of the Missing Anchor" - so you may want to read the posts from the beginning, in order to follow along with the story (click here for the first post and here for an index of all the posts). At the end of each post, you'll also find some random thoughts on the day's particular topic. So, if Nancy isn't your thing, feel free to skip the story and go straight to the end.   

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When we last left you, Bess had accidentally dropped an EPIRB in a sink full of water, which set off a false alarm. She consoled herself with a lot of chocolate chip cookies. Just as she was starting to get a tummy ache, everyone heard a hissing noise and saw a bright light.

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As the girls hurried up on deck, Marvin yelled over to his wife, Shelley, “Honey, quick grab those work gloves and toss them to me! Someone threw a flare onto our boat.” Shelley darted over to Marvin, handed him the gloves which he quickly put on in order to safely grab the lighted flare and toss it overboard.

Everyone peeked over the side of the boat and watched the flare fizzle out in the water. Nancy looked out across the marina to see if she could see who tried to harm Marvin and Shelley’s boat, but didn’t spot anything or anyone out of the ordinary.

Shelley walked over to where the flare had struck their boat. “Fortunately, it looks like it landed on the old sail cover that we had bunched up on the deck. It burned through the canvas but didn’t damage the fiberglass deck below.” Shelley breathed a sigh of relief and hugged Marvin. “You saved our boat, dear. I don’t know what we would have done without your quick thinking.”

Bess stared at the burnt sail cover and asked, “What was that thing?”

George looked at her cousin and said, “Don’t you remember Bess. Shelley talked about flares during our safety briefing. If we get into an emergency situation, we light a flare so that someone can see that we’re in distress and come to our aid.”

“I don’t think anyone was in an emergency situation when they threw that flare,” Bess gulped. “I think someone was trying to send us a message to mind our own business and stop trying to investigate what happened to Marvin and Shelley’s anchor.”

Nancy looked determinedly at the burnt sail cover and said, “Nonsense. They can’t scare us off. Besides, nobody got hurt and The Scarlet Slipper is fine.”

Bess shook her head, “I don’t know Nancy. I think we should tell the police what happened and let them handle things.”

“Fine, Bess. We’ll inform the police. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue our own investigation.”

Shelley came over to where the girls were standing. “Why don’t you three go home and get a good night’s sleep. We’ll tell the police and the marina office what happened. We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Marvin. “Go home and we’ll see you back here tomorrow. We’ll head out of the marina to Pine Tree Bay and anchor for the night so that we’re ready for the start of the regatta on Saturday.”

Bess smiled and said, “Perfect. That will give me time to go shopping for a few last minute items I need for the weekend. I saw the most darling top with a sailboat embroidered on it at one of the boutiques in town. It would be perfect for sailing in the regatta!”

“Oh, Bess. Shopping is all you ever think about,” George sighed. “When you’re not thinking about boys or ice cream sundaes, that is.” Nancy grinned and turned to Marvin and Shelley. “Okay, we’ll see you two tomorrow. We better get going so that Bess can hit the shops.”

The girls waved goodbye and headed down the dock to Nancy’s blue convertible. As Nancy went to unlock the door, she saw a note tucked underneath the windshield wipers which read, “Keep your nose where it belongs or you’ll find yourself in a watery grave.” She quickly tucked the note into her pocket before Bess and George noticed. “Hop in girls and let’s head back to River Heights.”

Tune in on Friday for the next installment of Nancy Drew Investigates – G is for Grounding.

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Our flare gun and flares. They might seem like toys, but they're not.

For some of you, this installment of "Nancy Drew Investigates" might make you think of Captain Ron, the classic sailing comedy movie starring Martin Short and Kurt Russell. In the movie, a flare gun is accidentally fired off and burns a hole in the deck. Thank goodness, catastrophe was averted on The Scarlet Slipper and the flare only burned through a sail cover and not the deck, otherwise this story would have come to an abrupt end. Fortunately, I'm the author and in charge of the story and what happens to all of the characters. I feel positively giddy with the power of it all.

Anyway, it just goes to show you that flares can be a pretty dangerous piece of equipment to have on board, especially in the hands of bad guys and clumsy people. However, flares are an essential piece of safety equipment. We've got them on board Tickety Boo, in compliance with Coast Guard regulations. We have four red handheld flares, four red meteor flares and a 12 gauge flare gun. All of our flares were updated in 2015. We've kept our old expired flares as back-ups. (You can find out more about flares on the Boat US site and the Coast Guard site.)

There are also some nifty new Coast Guard compliant electronic flares, which won't burn your hands or your boat, but they're pricey and our current flares are up to date, so we won't be investing in them anytime soon.  (You can find out more about the pros and cons of electronic flares on Cruising World).

Are you a fan of Captain Ron? Scott loves this movie and could happily watch it over and over again. I tolerate the repeated screenings of this movie and could happily not watch it over and over again. If you're not a Captain Ron fan, what's your favorite movie?

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28 comments:

  1. Bess is a wee bit of an airhead, isn't she :) I'm afraid I have to admit to not knowing Captain Ron at all and I like Martin Short and Kurt Russell, so I've no idea how I missed it. I have so many favourite movies I couldn't narrow it down :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. If airheads got together and elected a president, Bess would win by a landslide :-)

      If you like Martin Short and Kurt Russel, then you'll probably like Captain Ron. I'm not sure how it did in the box office, but it's a cult favorite among sailing type people.

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  2. We've been lusting after electronic flares, and will be buying one when our current flares expire. But we'll keep our traditional pyro flares, just in case Captain Ron comes along ...

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    1. We'll probably look into them when ours expire as well.

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  3. I think I've only seen Captain Ron once, but I don't remember any of it.

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    1. At this point, I could probably act out the plot in great detail as I've seen it too many times.

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  4. Behind with my blog reading so have just caught two episodes at once - bonus! I do want to shake Bess, the silly girl.
    The Glasgow Gallivanter

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    1. Bess has a good heart and means well, but things never seem to go her way.

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  5. If I haven't told you already, your blog series is brilliant! I'm really enjoying reading about Nancy and her friends but also how you incorporated the letter into your post. It's very clever!

    As for movies . . . we have a copy of Captain Ron and have watched it more times than I care to admit, but our go-to movies would have to be ones by Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, in particular), Monty Python (for our Brit aboard)and the Coen Brothers.

    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/the-to-z-challenge-f-is-for-fido.html

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    1. Thank you!!!

      We're big Monty Python fans too.

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    1. You might need to give it a go - it will give you a whole different perspective on sailing :-)

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  7. I never heard of Captain Ron. My favorite sea-faring movie would be THE PERFECT STORM but that's because I live here in Gloucester and remember the Andrea Gail very well. Such a sad, terrible story.

    Meet My Imaginary Friends
    #AtoZchallenge http://www.kathleenvalentineblog.com/

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    1. The Perfect Storm was a good movie. Although, a bit scary when you think about how that could happen to you out there on the water.

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  8. I'm not familiar with Captain Ron. Poor Bess. She's a real mess.

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    1. I think we should give her a nickname - Bess the Mess.

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  9. We LOVE Captain Ron, and quote him constantly!

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    1. It seems like every sailor has a million and one Captain Ron quotes that they can use in every situation :-)

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  10. Flares are a necessary item on a boat, but they need to be handled very carefully. The coast guard inspects our boat yearly to make sure we have what we need (safety wise) and we are a safe vessel.

    Loving the story and Nancy Drew never backs off from anything.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. We've been inspected by the Coast Guard too. It's a good program - free and they make sure you're all sorted. Then, hopefully, because you have the sticker on your boat, you're less likely to be boarded for an inspection on the water.

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  11. I love the personalities of your characters and how you play them out in the story. So nice to be the author and control everything! Fiction is something I have never played with. You are doing a great job, Ellen!

    When we were cruising, people would fire expired flares on New Year's Eve (this was outside the US). Not the brightest idea as one time, one of them fell onto a friend's boat and could have caused damage if he wouldn't have been home to toss the thing overboard, like in your Nancy Drew story!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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    1. I've seen videos where people light flares, but not sure I'd want to try it myself for fun. Scary that one fell on your friend's boat.

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  12. Another Captain Ron fan!! Partner-in-crime, not so much, but then he rarely watches any movie more than once. (except the Bourne series) It seems like nowadays, instead of asking fellow cruisers, "what books do you have to trade?", instead it's "do you have a hard drive of movies?" I'm loving your A-Z series, maybe next year I will be inspired.

    Donna/ Denali Rose

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    1. Glad you're liking the A to Z series. Would be great to have you join in next year!

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  13. Oh, I loved Nancy Drew stories when I was a kid. Her and Trixie Belden. I always wondered what "titian hair" was, though. I was an adult before I found out. :)

    I haven't see Captain Ron. If we're talking boat movies, I'll stick to Cape Fear or Titanic.

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    1. Cape Fear - the original or the remake? Both were good, but in different ways.

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  14. Never heard of Captain Ron. Captain Jack or America I do know. Enjoying your story.

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    1. I'm beginning to think that it wasn't a box office smash, but just a cult fave among boaties.

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