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30 April 2016

Z Is For Zodiac | 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, Nancy hid in the lazarette to escape detection and noticed that the crew of Party Palace were dumping their waste directly overboard. As she was pondering their disregard for the environment, she decided to call for help on the VHF, but then Pete and Donny discovered her hiding place.

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Donny grabbed Nancy and pulled her out of the lazarette while Pete sneered and said, “Well, what do we have here? Someone sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. Who would have thought a teenage girl could be so much trouble.” He grabbed a piece of line and tossed it to Donny. “Go ahead an tie her up and stick her back in the lazarette where you found her. We’ll figure out what to do with her once Captain Gus gets here.”

As Donny pulled Nancy’s arms tightly behind her and started to tie her up, a bright light shone off of their port side. A loud voice boomed out, “Attention Sailing Vessel Party Palace, Attention Sailing Vessel Party Palace, this is the United States Coast Guard. Prepare to be boarded.”

Donny quickly let go of Nancy and dived over the side of the boat. Pete started to climb out of the cockpit and make for the dinghy attached to the side, but Nancy was too quick for him. She had fashioned the line that Donny was going to tie her up with into a lasso and flung it around Pete, pulling tightly and causing him to lose his balance and fall onto the deck of the boat.

“Miss, are you okay?” shouted one of the Guardsman as they pulled up alongside Party Palace in their tender.

“I’m fine. I’ve got this one tied up,” Nancy answered as she pointed to Pete struggling to get out of the line coiled around him. “But, you better go after his accomplice. He dived off the boat and it looks like he’s trying to swim to shore.” Nancy watched as the Guardsmen raced after Donny, scooped him out of the water and into their boat. A few minutes later, two of the Guardsmen had boarded Party Palace.

“I’m so glad to see you,” said Nancy. “You came just in the nick of time!”

“We heard your distress call over the VHF and a young man had reported that you were in danger to us earlier,” said the older of the two men as he pulled Pete up to his feet. “That’s some very quick thinking, tossing a lasso around this fellow here.”

“Oh, it was nothing. I learned how to do that when I was solving the 'Mystery of the Old Stagecoach,'” Nancy said modestly.

“Wait a minute,” said the Guardsman. “I know who you are. You’re Nancy Drew, Carson Drew’s daughter! I’m Petty Officer Stan Lebonski. I’d shake your hand, but I’ve got to keep an eye on this guy.”

He tightened his grip on Pete, turned to his partner and said, “Can you imagine that, Lou. We’re in the company of America’s Favorite Girl Detective! This young lady is famous. She’s a crack investigator and solves all sorts of mysteries.”

Lou’s jaw dropped in amazement. “Wow, It’s so nice to meet you, miss. I’m Seaman Lou Potter,” he said as he shook Nancy’s hand. "What case are you investigating now?”

Nancy smiled and said, “Well, we’ve been calling it 'The Case of the Missing Anchor.' It all started when my friends’ anchor was stolen at the marina, along with equipment from lots of other boats. We discovered that Captain Gus from Xebec Charters was the ringleader of a dastardly group of criminals who were stealing marine equipment and then reselling it to unsupecting people.” Nancy pointed at Pete. “This man is Captain Gus’s nephew and the man you caught trying to swim to shore is one of their accomplices.”

Lou nodded and said, “There had been some rumors that someone was fencing stolen marine equipment, but no one could find any proof.”

Nancy reached into her pocket and pulled out the piece of paper she had found hidden in the model of a xebec ship earlier. “I think this might be the proof that you and the police need. It’s a list of all of the goods that they’ve stolen and how much they sold them for. It’s even got names and dates on it.” Nancy grinned and said, “And to top that off, you can find some of the stolen goods in the v-berth down below. These guys were going to move the goods from this boat over to that white catamaran across the way, Party Time.”

“With that evidence, we should have these guys behind bars in no time,” said Lou.

Nancy furrowed her brow and said, “The only problem is that we still need to nab Captain Gus. He was the mastermind behind this whole operation.”

“Did you say he ran Xebec Charters?” asked Lou. “If so, I think we’ve got our man. We boarded a boat called Xebec earlier tonight and conducted a safety inspection. While were were onboard, we found a number of serious infractions and took the Captain into custody.”

As Nancy breathed a sigh of relief, she heard the sound of an outboard motor and a voice call out, “Nancy, are you there?”

Nancy peeked over the side of the boat and saw a dinghy with Marvin, Shelley, George, Bess and Ned in it all waving and smiling at her. Lou said to Nancy, “Why don’t you head off with your friends and get some rest. We can touch base with you tomorrow to get more information as needed.”

As Nancy climbed down onto the swim platform, Ned helped her into the dinghy, giving her a quick peck on the cheek. He whispered into her ear, “I’m so glad you’re safe. I was so worried about you, but I should have known that you would be fine. You're such an amazing girl.”

Nancy smiled at Ned, sat down on the side of the dinghy and said, “It’s so good to see you all.”

Bess stared anxiously at Nancy. “Are you okay? I can’t believe you were on that boat when it took off.” As Bess looked at Nancy, she noted a stain on her friend’s bermuda shorts. “What happened there?”

“Oh, that must have happened when I was hiding in the lazarette,” Nancy said as she tried to brush off the grime

As Bess let out a gulp, George asked, “What did you find out when you were on board?”

“You’ll never believe it,” said Nancy as her eyes sparkled. “I found evidence that Captain Gus and his cronies were behind everything.”

“Now, now girls, let’s stop pestering Nancy with questions. We’ll take her back to our boat, let her clean up and then we’ll all have some lemon bars and cocoa while Nancy tells us all about her adventure,” said Shelley.

“That’s a very sensible idea, dear,” said Marvin as started the outboard motor and pointed them out into the bay.

As they sped across the water, Bess said to Nancy, “Did you see what type of dinghy this is? It’s a Zodiac, like in astrology. I bet if we looked up your horoscope it would say something about avoiding dangerous situations. I think it’s a sign that you should stop investigating mysteries.”

George rolled her eyes, “It’s just like you Bess to bring up horoscopes and astrology at a time like this. Nancy is fine and she solved the case.”

Nancy smiled at her two best friends. “I don’t know, maybe Bess is right and it is a sign. A sign that our next case is going to be ‘The Secret in the Chinese Horoscope.’ Wouldn’t that be fun! We could go sailing in China and solve another mystery.”

And that wraps up the A to Z Blogging Challenge! Thanks to everyone who stuck with us from the letter A all the way to the letter Z. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming and random nonsense on the blog on Monday.

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Our old Zodiac Zoom dinghy tied up behind our first boat, Rainbow's End, in New Zealand.
Dinghies (or tenders) are like cars to cruisers. They use them to get from their boat to shore and to transport stuff back and forth. There are different types of dinghies - inflatable ones with either solid or inflatable floors, rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) which have a solid V-shaped bottom and hard dinghies. (Check out this article on Cruising World for more information.)

Zodiac is a popular maker of dinghies. We used to have a Zodiac Zoom 230 Aero dinghy in New Zealand, but had terrible troubles with its oar locks (you can read about it here). We had to use our dinghy to get back and forth to our boat on our piling mooring, and because we stored our outboard motor on our boat, Scott had to row us to and from our boat. We had some dicey situations where the oar locks would break, the wind would be against us and Scott would have to paddle with one oar from the front of the dinghy desperately trying to get us to the dock.

Our new boat came with a Caribe RIB dinghy and a 9.9 hp outboard, which worked fine for us when we were in the Bahamas. We'll see how it holds up once we're back out there cruising again. Hopefully, we get out there cruising again one of these days.

Thanks to everyone for following along with our "Nancy Drew Investigates" series. We hope you had as much fun as we did! I'd love to know what you thought and if you think Nancy should make another appearance in next year's challenge.

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - we'd love for you to pop by and say hi!  


56 comments:

  1. Nicely done! And Nancy saves the day - yay! :D

    Reading Nancy's adventures was a lot of fun - and learning about sailing too. A friend of mine is about to start sailing around he coast of Britain for 3 months, he's calling it the biggest pub crawl around Britain ;P

    Thanks for the entertainment this month - I think we'll all be going to collapse in a corner somewhere now ;P

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

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    1. A pub crawl on the water sounds like so much fun! Thanks for all your support this month. Loved getting to know your blog and I'll be continuing to follow along :-)

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  2. I enjoyed your Nancy Drew mystery very much. It took me back to my childhood, reading the Hardy Boys, the Power Boys and Brains Benton. Very creative, and I love the way you tied everything together with the items from your own sailing experiences. Thanks for all your hard work!

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    1. Considering how well written your blog is, I'm very flattered by your kind words!

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  3. Yay for Nancy! :D Thank you for a very entertaining month and for all the info on sailing :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting our blog this month and all your lovely comments. So glad I found your blog thru the challenge and you can be sure that I'll be back for more.

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  4. Coast Guard zooms in to save the day! Yay! (Nicely wrapped up -- and now, back to our regular, more laid back blogging pace.)

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    1. For sure - we all deserve a hard earned blogging break :-)

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  5. What a finale! Being, bang & boom! Well done, Ms Ellen. Now, you need to get that boat off the dock!

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    1. Thanks! So glad you joined in this year. Maybe next year we can both do the series from somewhere in the Bahamas or Caribbean :-)

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  6. I actually used a Zodiac boat in one of my stories. This has been great fun. Thanks for playing. I enjoyed it so much.

    @Kathleen01930
    Meet My Imaginary Friends
    #AtoZchallenge

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    1. That's pretty beat that you used a Zodiac in one of your stories. You have such great characters that I'm sure it would be a fascinating story!

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  7. Well done. I like how you ended it. I didn't read every entry, but I enjoyed the ones I did. If you like writing Nancy Drew, go for it! I also liked the tidbits about the sailing life. As I was reading the conclusion, I was wondering who has jurisdiction on the open waters? Maybe that's why pirates are drawn to the seas?
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. I appreciate you visiting our blog. Considering how incredibly simplistic the plot was, hopefully it wasn't to hard to jump in and out of the story.

      I enjoyed visiting your blog as well and learning more about your passion for theatre.

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  8. I don't even know where to start: The stain on Nancy's bermuda shorts. The sin of combining chocolate with lemon squares (or lemonade and chocolate, for that matter). Or my envy over the fact that you have a Caribe dinghy. It all adds up to one thing -- your A to Z series was brilliant! It's been a great month and I'm so glad I joined you in all of this craziness.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie

    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/z-is-for-zooming-ahead-whats-next.html

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    1. I'm so glad you joined in the craziness too:-)

      Rest up while out cruising this season because before you know it April will roll around again.

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  9. What a great ending to your mystery, Ellen! "She had fashioned the line that Donny was going to tie her up with into a lasso and flung it around Pete, pulling tightly and causing him to lose his balance and fall onto the deck of the boat." That really cracked me up. I'd love to be Nancy! She is a wonder woman. Congrats on finishing this challenge in style. I am looking forward to reading your random nonsense in the future. And more Nancy Drew investigations next year!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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    1. One of the best parts of the challenge is getting to know other bloggers. Although, I followed your blog before, I really feel like I got a chance to get to know you better and loved your great series on nomadic lifestyle.

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  10. Congratulations on a super A-Z Challenge! I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and learning about sailboats and all your travels :)

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  11. I loved your A to Z Challenge this year and yes do it again next year. It was most entertaining.

    I'm glad Nancy game through this fine, but I knew she would. She's Nancy Drew after all.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Thanks for all the support! I can always count on you to leave such nice comments on our blog. I do hope we get a chance to cross paths one day.

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  12. The Mr. sold our Zodiac because he wasn't free diving as much as he used to.
    Gave you a shout out on my Z post -
    http://thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com/2016/04/zipping-things-up-for-atoz-challenge.html

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    1. Thanks so much for the shout out! I've been trying to comment on your blog but can't get it to work. I was able to earlier in the month - not sure if something has changed?

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  13. I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries, she's an early influence for my choice of genre. This was just like the books of old. Good job!
    Again, excellent choice for the Z prompt!
    Thanks so much for the fun journey and for following my blogs!
    Happy May!

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    1. I'm amazed at all of the blogs you have and enjoyed checking them out during April and I'll definitely continue to follow along going forward.

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  14. Hooray! All's well that ends well. I knew that Nancy would pull through, but I was still worried for her! Thank you so much for adding to the enjoyment of my morning coffee, and computer-time. I will miss it.

    Donna/Denali Rose

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    1. Thanks so much Donna! I've really appreciated all of your kind words over the month. It's meant a lot to me.

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  15. Very well done. I may not have spent as much time as some reading the Nancy Drew, but I appreciate the effort it must have taken to assemble and create the stories.

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    1. Thanks Ryan - I really appreciated you taking the time to pop by and check in on Nancy!

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  16. I thoroughly enjoyed your Nancy Drew series and would love to see another one next year!
    I also want to thank you for your kind words of encouragement and frequent visits to my blog. I enjoyed our connection this month.

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    1. Thanks for you kind words! I really enjoyed your A to Z posts and look forward to continuing to follow along with your blog.

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  17. Wow! That's keeping Fran'the frontal' Cortex in charge during a stressful time! Imagine lassoing someone on a boat, or at all, for that matter. You did it! This was an awesome series. i really enjoyed it. you've got it down, for sure. I enjoyed hanging out with you and Stephanie during this challenge.

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    1. Only Nancy could pull that maneuver off :-)

      I loved doing the challenge with you guys this year! Maybe we'll all be crazy enough to do it again next year.

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  18. You may have read my Natalie Wood post--that's what I'm thinking of here! Pretty morbid, huh?!

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    1. I was thinking of that when I wrote this. Your A to Z series was so interesting! I'm going to miss my daily dose of unsolved mysteries :-)

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  19. Wow! Not only does Nancy save the day, it is a well writen day. Now that Nancy is finished cut loose and write. This is your Beryl Markham moment.

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    1. Thanks so much! That's very high praise coming from a bookworm like you :-)

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  20. This has been a great series ! I would read Nancy first to have a dose of tension and anxiety, then go to Little Cunning Plan and figure out how best to cope with my anxiety. Great one-two punch ! Enjoy the break !

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Melissa's series was fantastic. I picked up a lot of great pointers and food for thought from her.

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  21. This was a lot of fun. Loved Nancy Drew books as a teenager, though I have none on my bookshelf now. Now the crew can go eat some brownies. Thanks for all your posts and info on boats - though my boating days are long ago.

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    1. Thanks so much Denise! The crew definitely does deserve some brownies. Hopefully, they'll share with me :-)

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  22. It’s a wrap!
    Congrats on reaching the finishing line, Ellen.
    Your posts were wonderful (the ones I managed to read).
    Have a good rest.
    Enjoy the books!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. It's hard to believe the month is over already! I'm thrilled to have won all this goodies from you this month - thanks a million!

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  23. Loved this series. You did an excellent job of mimicking the "voice" of The Nancy Drew series. Congrats on completing the whole month and doing it so creatively!
    Mary Grace
    s/v Let It Be

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  24. You sure know how to close out a finale :)

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    1. Thank you! It's hard to believe that the month is over and Nancy's case has been solved.

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  25. Wow! Incredible lassoing - what a great A-Z. It's been so fun following Nancy and company! -Lucy

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  26. Congratulations on completing the challenge! I've never thought I would learn sailing related stuff :) Thank you!

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  27. I finally finished your last chapter - this was such a fun a-z challenge blog. Well done! Can't wait to see what you have planned for next year.

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    1. Thanks so much Claire! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've got no idea what I'm going to do next year and I bet it will be April again before we know it - eek!

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