A few of the professional crew of the Charles W. Morgan got tattoos at the end of this summer to commemorate the voyage. I heard some of my fellow voyagers contemplating one as well, and I’ve long imagined getting some ink, but at this point in my life I don’t have one for various reasons, including:


1. I hate pain
2. I’m always broke and have no $$s for a tattoo
3. My husband, parents, and in-laws aren’t a big fan of tattoos (granted, if I got one, they wouldn’t have any say, but I don’t care enough at this point to change their opinions)


I felt also that as someone who was only aboard the ship for a couple of days, going for it and doing something that the pro crew had done was a bit…pretentious? Maybe?

So I did the next best thing, which was to get a collection of nautical bracelets that I can wear around and remind me of this summer while not being as permanent and family-polarizing as body ink. I’m really excited about these bracelets, and as I got the final one in the mail today, I was able to wear them out as a set for the first time.

I bought these as full bracelets on Etsy, except for the one with the whale fluke charms. The charms themselves were from a charm seller on Etsy, and I put together the rest of the bracelet with random jewelry findings and spare bits of leather I had lying around the house.

The top bracelet with the silver anchor in black leather is from Dowling Brothers, a Tennessee-based maker of nautical-themed bracelets. I first saw this style of anchor bracelet in a magazine, made by jewelry maker Miansai, but the price was a little out of my budget range (see reason #2 that I don’t have a tattoo, above). I found a few others selling this kind of anchor bracelet, but Dowling Brothers was based in the U.S., which was important to me. The bracelet is sturdy and gorgeous. The leather is a little stiff, and because I have tiny wrists, I had to adjust the length a little bit in order to keep it the bracelet from sliding down over my hand, but that wasn’t hard.

The statement piece is the middle bracelet, an aluminum metal-stamped bracelet made by Heart and Sol Designs. I ordered the bracelet as a custom order, which let me pick the phrase.  As with the anchor bracelet, there are a ton of metal stamp bracelet makers on Etsy who can do custom phrases, but I liked the wide variety of fonts that she offered, as opposed to the other makers who only had one or two selections. Her store turnaround says that it’s 14-21 days to make a custom bracelet, but I received my order in less than 2 weeks.

The quote I had her stamp is “A dead whale or a stove boat,” from Moby-Dick. It’s become, to me, a quote symbolizing my whole life from when I first started this crazy nautical stuff, moving to New England on a whim, writing a novel, and now sailing tall ships and doing a whole bunch of writing on other nautical topics that I never knew existed 10 years ago. It’s the same quote that’s on the whaleman statue in front of the New Bedford Library. Obviously, no killing of whales is happening around here now or pretty much ever, but the sentiment “do it to your utmost ability or die trying” remains relevant.

(On a related note, I was a little worried that she might think I was some weird whale-hating marine mammal killer and refuse to make it for me, but apparently she didn’t think I was crazy.) The bottom two photos are of the box the bracelet came in. Cute packaging!!

I totally recommend all of these shops, so if you’re looking for nautical or custom stamped bracelets, give these artists a try and support local talent in the USA!

jewelry bracelets etsy anchor sailing Mystic Seaport Charles W. Morgan charm bracelet artists metalwork


The Charles W. Morgan is back at Mystic Seaport! I went to visit her yesterday. It was a bit chilly and rainy, and she looked mournful under cloudy skies. Belowdecks was empty and quiet.

I think she wants to sail again.

Charles W. Morgan Mystic Seaport sailing whaling museum Whaling Museum whaleboats tall ship photography

Mystic Seaport photography Japan John Manjiro Charles W. Morgan whaling Moby-Dick sailing history Meiji Restoration travel 2014

Charles W. Morgan 38th Voyage
New Bedford to Buzzards Bay / July 7-8 2014

Photographs by Ger Tysk :)

photography Charles W. Morgan Mystic Seaport New Bedford cape cod Buzzards Bay tall ship sailing whaling whaleship moby-dick

Charles W. Morgan Martha's Vineyard 38th voyage whaling Mystic Seaport tall ship 2014

June 7, 1214: Sea Trials off New London, Connecticut.

The Charles W. Morgan, last wooden whaling ship in the world, sails under her own power for the first time since 1922.

Photos from Mystic Seaport Twitter and Facebook.

Charles W. Morgan Mystic Seaport New London 38th voyage tall ship sailing sail training New Bedford

The Sea-God at Sunrise sequel

I’m wrapping up the rough draft for the sequel to my first novel, so I figured it was time to redo my website and get a little blurb about the sequel up! I haven’t figured out a title yet, but here’s the story in a nutshell:

Set eight years after the first novel, during the early days of the California Gold Rush, we return with Ellis, Takao, and Shima to Hawaii.

In 1849, Honolulu town, newly named the kingdom’s capital, is still caught halfway between worlds: a formerly sleepy backwater newly turned international port by whalers and merchant ships from the West, home of native Hawaiians and American businessmen who exist uneasily side-by-side in a tug-of-war for political power, a war that the Hawaiians fear that they’re losing. Huts are still thatched with grass, Waikiki is a swamp, and none of the roads are paved, but Honolulu is where men go to seek their fortunes - that is, until a year ago, when they found gold in the West.

Amid this heady mix of old and new, Ellis, now the captain of his own whaling ship, and Takao, his boatsteerer, sail into Honolulu for a brief stopover before heading out to the Japan whaling grounds. When things don’t go as planned, they’ll need to turn to someone for help. Who better than Shima, now living just outside Honolulu, working as a physician and well connected within the Hawaiian elite? But Shima has changed, too, and after eight years apart, Ellis and Takao may find that the biggest battles they’ll face are not at sea against monsters of the deep, but in the harbors and valleys of Oahu against friend and brother.

I hope that perks some people’s ears and makes some of you excited! I love Hawaii (who doesn’t) and think that the history of the islands is some of the most fascinating in Polynesia. Getting to delve back into time to the 1850s has been exciting and sometimes a headache, as most Hawaii historical resources out there tend to deal with the period between 1870 and World War II. I’ve had to dig a little, but it’s been worth it.

For a historical context, the sequel is set just after the Great Mahele, a series of acts passed by King Kamehameha III in the late 1840s/early 1850s that privatized land and granted people the right to own land, which had not existed previously. The act was passed because the king feared Hawaiian land falling into foreign hands, and thus was trying to give native Hawaiians the chance to claim their ancestral lands. Unfortunately, the Great Mahele became a vehicle for foreigners to buy or lease land from the Hawaiian people, leading to native Hawaiians being pushed out from lands they had been living on for generations. As the novel explores how Hawaii affects the main characters, it also reveals the effects of these characters, all foreigners and sailors, on the island kingdom in return.

I’m hoping to be finished with drafting and rewriting by the end of the summer. Stay tuned for more tidbits from the story! You can also read my guest blog post, “Writing the Sequel”, here.

the sea-god at sunrise sequel fiction hawaii great mahele 1850 historical fiction whaling

I’m really excited to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyagers! Along with staff from Mystic Seaport and the ship’s main crew, we’ll be setting sail on the 38th voyage of the last wooden whaling ship in the world and gathering stories and info along the way to bring back for personal projects related to whaling, the Morgan, and the United States’ maritime past, present, and future.
Each voyager will be sailing on one specific “leg” of the voyage, as the Morgan will be anchoring at various ports up the New England coast. I’ll be on the New Bedford to Buzzards Bay leg in July! If you can make it to any of the cities that she’ll be visiting (New London, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, New Bedford, Provincetown, Boston), I encourage you to come. The ship will be open for visitors, and there will also be exhibits dockside, events put on by the cities, and fun for the whole family!
This is a tremendous opportunity for me as well as a lifelong dream. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I moved to Boston because I read Moby-Dick and was so inspired that I ended up doing 4 years of research on whaling and writing a novel. Back then, Mystic Seaport’s official line was that the Morgan would never sail again, so I was pretty content to walk her decks and hang out around the tryworks and wonder what it was all like, especially for all the immigrants who were hired to work aboard whalers like the Morgan - men from the Azores and Cape Verde, South America, the South Pacific, and even Asia, like Manjiro. As an Asian-American, I feel a tremendous kinship with Manjiro and his experience and how he paved the way for other Asian immigrants and shaped the world.
Each of the voyagers will put together a project about their time on the Morgan, to be shared with the museum and the world this fall. My project centers around my novel and John Manjiro’s journey from Japan to America and back again. After the voyage I’ll be putting together a collection of photos to tell Manjiro’s story as well as reflect on the overall experience of immigrants aboard whaling ships in the 19th century.
Check out Mystic Seaport’s page on the Morgan - she’s almost ready to go and will set sail on May 17th for New London, CT :)

I’m really excited to announce that I’ve been selected as one of the Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyagers! Along with staff from Mystic Seaport and the ship’s main crew, we’ll be setting sail on the 38th voyage of the last wooden whaling ship in the world and gathering stories and info along the way to bring back for personal projects related to whaling, the Morgan, and the United States’ maritime past, present, and future.

Each voyager will be sailing on one specific “leg” of the voyage, as the Morgan will be anchoring at various ports up the New England coast. I’ll be on the New Bedford to Buzzards Bay leg in July! If you can make it to any of the cities that she’ll be visiting (New London, Newport, Martha’s Vineyard, New Bedford, Provincetown, Boston), I encourage you to come. The ship will be open for visitors, and there will also be exhibits dockside, events put on by the cities, and fun for the whole family!

This is a tremendous opportunity for me as well as a lifelong dream. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I moved to Boston because I read Moby-Dick and was so inspired that I ended up doing 4 years of research on whaling and writing a novel. Back then, Mystic Seaport’s official line was that the Morgan would never sail again, so I was pretty content to walk her decks and hang out around the tryworks and wonder what it was all like, especially for all the immigrants who were hired to work aboard whalers like the Morgan - men from the Azores and Cape Verde, South America, the South Pacific, and even Asia, like Manjiro. As an Asian-American, I feel a tremendous kinship with Manjiro and his experience and how he paved the way for other Asian immigrants and shaped the world.

Each of the voyagers will put together a project about their time on the Morgan, to be shared with the museum and the world this fall. My project centers around my novel and John Manjiro’s journey from Japan to America and back again. After the voyage I’ll be putting together a collection of photos to tell Manjiro’s story as well as reflect on the overall experience of immigrants aboard whaling ships in the 19th century.

Check out Mystic Seaport’s page on the Morgan - she’s almost ready to go and will set sail on May 17th for New London, CT :)

Charles W. Morgan Mystic Seaport 38th Voyage John Manjiro whaling New Bedford Buzzards Bay

My novel The Sea-God at Sunrise made it to the Quarter-Finals in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards!!! I honestly did not expect to get this far. o.O I’m so excited.

My novel The Sea-God at Sunrise made it to the Quarter-Finals in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards!!! I honestly did not expect to get this far. o.O I’m so excited.

novel amazon

sail-into-the-unknown:

Now she is a fine vessel, how I would like to sail the seas on her!

sail-into-the-unknown:

Now she is a fine vessel, how I would like to sail the seas on her!

(via gonesailingtoo)