Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Are you reading this because you want to? Or did you arrive here by a series of events that were beyond your control? We like to think that we are masters of our own destiny. Even when we are pummelled by outside forces that we have no control over, most of us believe that by making the correct decisions we can shape our own future. But can we? Is free will an illusion?

It’s generally agreed that many of the decisions that we make stem from our unconscious and are, in a sense, inevitable. When we are driving a car…

…we motored across under a glowering sky.

The crossing from Porquerolles to Corsica drained both of us, in different ways. So, when the boat was secure in the bay at La Revellata, we had a cup of tea and some marmite on toast, before collapsing into bed for a grateful night’s sleep. The following morning brought a low-pressure system racing towards us from the French mainland. There were few places to hide. We seldom go into marinas, mainly because of the cost, but we put our tails between our legs and sought refuge in Calvi’s harbour. We motored across under a glowering sky. …

We woke to an unfamiliar motion. It was a calm morning off La Ciotat, with barely a ripple in the bay, but enough of a swell to remind us that we were no longer landlubbers.

After breakfast, we weighed anchor and set sail for Porquerolles, 30 miles away. The fresh southerly breeze and calm seas allowed us an easy run, with no warning of what was to come. We crossed the traffic separation scheme outside Toulon with a tinge of anxiety, but it was unfounded and the only ships we saw were safely tied up in the port.

A little…

On the afternoon of the 29th April 2019, Alter was finally ready to go back into the water. Diving cylinders had been bought and stowed, the gas barbecue fitted, the life raft secured to its new cradle on the pushpit, and the flag strung from its staff. We’d even had time to celebrate the impending launch with Mark and Margaret, two Kiwi yachties that Nicky had picked up in the laundry in town. We had dealt with myriad things over the previous days and, although we had ticked off everything on our list, doubt still gnawed at us. There was…

Lunch break under the boat.

Buying the boat was a bit like getting married and then being separated before the consummation. We’d spent years searching for her before becoming acquainted, making a commitment and spending a chunk of our savings on her. And the day after we met her for the first time, we abandoned her in Marseilles with a promise to return two months later. There was no honeymoon. There wasn’t even a wedding night.

She is an Ovni 435 and her name is Alter. We’d considered changing her name, but the two options that we wanted, Nomad or Nomade (French) were already taken…

How do you deal with lockdown? Do you regain consciousness only when the sun forces its way into your room and heats you enough to compel you to seep out of bed like an overripe brie? Do you then blearily reach for your phone to catch up with the latest happenings on Facebook through gummy eyes?

Is this day the same as the last, and the one before that, and the ones before that: an endless re-run of a soap that you disliked the first time you saw it and avoided ever since? Do you make the bed less often…

An artist’s impression of the Covid-19. It has a grey spherical centre with a lot of red protrusions that are spike proteins.
An artist’s impression of the Covid-19. It has a grey spherical centre with a lot of red protrusions that are spike proteins.
Image Courtesy: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

In these uncertain times, many people are asking where it all began. Did Covid-19 spontaneously emerge from the Huanan wet market in Wuhan, China? Or did it escape from the nearby Wuhan Institute of Virology through error, or even negligence? Some even suggest that the virus was intended as a biological weapon and was released intentionally.

In a recent documentary, Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times set out to track down the origin of the “Wuhan Coronavirus.” His investigation is compelling viewing. But is it accurate? And what conclusions does it come to?

It has become common knowledge that bats…

Bassin Clair

In Haiti distance is measured in time, not miles. Jacmel on the south coast is only sixty miles from Port-au-Prince, but a three-hour drive. The roads are normally as congested as a consumptive’s lungs, so it’s best to plan an early departure to avoid the hour or three when the Port-au-Prince traffic goes from slow to stationary.

The route to Jacmel wrestles through the sprawling Carrefour slum on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Ruined roads slow cars to a crawl behind water tankers that leak from their hindquarters like incontinent elephants, and brightly painted busses with I Love You God and…

Six crew-members on the deck of a forty-six foot Bavaria yacht leaving Oban harbor
Six crew-members on the deck of a forty-six foot Bavaria yacht leaving Oban harbor
Departure from Oban

Sailing is often about crossing the gulf between expectation and reality. When my wife Nicky and I arrived in Oban for a ten-day Northern Lights adventure aboard Tonic, Elite Sailing’s 46' Bavaria, we expected to spend the night in the marina before setting out early the following morning for Tobermory.

We hoped that the trip to Tobermory would take the scenic route around Mull, via Fingal’s Cave. We looked forward to sailing north past Muck and Rhum, negotiating the tidal race of Kyle Rhea before anchoring below the Cuillins off Portree.

Days of sailing off Scotland’s sheltered west coast would…


If casinos didn’t have the edge, Las Vegas might be a trailer park and Atlantic City a crumbling ruin. But what if they didn’t have the edge? What if there was a winning system at roulette? Can a skillful player outwit the casinos?

Most gamblers satiate the casinos by stuffing the ravenous slot machines and slaking the gaming tables in the hope of hitting it big. (Although most casinos are closed thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, the online casinos are open and seeking to take advantage of their short-lived market monopoly.)

Few players know what they are up against. The…

Brady Ridgway

I am a freelance writer, contract pilot and author of two novels.

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