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 September Sea

Friends & Family

~ University Graduation Party for Three Cousins:

Jenna A. Dewith M. Breighan Ladd, and Taylor K. Anderson  - May 2007

~ "Riding along in my automobile..."

A candid moment with the legendary Chuck Berry

& The Heroic St. Louis couple who saved the day! - May 2007

~ Fun with Family: Trip to Macomb & Springfield, Illinois - May 2007

~ Springfield Family Reunion - Birthday Bash October 2006

~ Our Boot Key Harbor Family: Dockside Bar & Grill Golden Years & Dockside's New Beginning 2007

Above: Our sweet treasures, daughter Breighan and son Bj. (2002)

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos.)

   Breighan at the Dolphin Connection at Hawk's Cay Resort on Duck Key.


At left, Bj & girlfriend Denise, Dolphin Trainer Extraordinaire.  To right, Denise lets Bill and Charmaine in on the fun!  Denise recently moved back to Chicago to spend more time with her family.  We really miss her!  Denise, get your buns back down here!

Our son Bj is an avid sailor and lives aboard and sails his own vessel.  We're a family of sailors!  Here he is giving Mom a break at the helm of September Sea.  Doncha just love it!  Bj is currently sailing the Caribbean as First Mate aboard the 70 ft. Schooner s/v Coral Sea.

~~~ In Memoriam ~~~

Tragically, our beloved son, Bj, [who suffered from Type 1 Diabetes (only 7 to 10% of the world's diabetics have this type)] lapsed into a diabetic coma and his life ended aboard his sailboat, in St. Croix, May 30th, Memorial Day 2005.  Bj's maternal grandmother passed away the same day, a few hours apart.  Some how we know Charmaine's Mother, "Nurse" Essie, was right there to walk her sweet grandson Bj from this life to another.

The sky will have two more very, very bright stars from this night forward.

Bj is so dearly loved & is being mourned by his entire extended family & hundreds of friends he has made all over the world.  He was a true delight in every way.  We could not be any prouder of him.  Bj was a martial arts expert who studied at the Shaolin Temple in Bejing, China with the monks who called him "Skinny Strong Legs"; also an excellent marksman and fantastic sailor.  Though he had a near genius IQ, Bj was no geek--he was a social, people loving man who loved to dance and sing throughout his life.  So graceful and fun-loving.  He shot pool like his mother taught him, savvy and calculating.  He loved going to "The Monkey" in Marathon and shooting pool all night with his good friends.  He truly was a young man who lived a life full of experiences in his short 31 years.  Experiences most people only dream of and never do.  His 2-1/2 years in Marathon in the Keys, living and working at Dockside Marina, were quickly filled with great friends who quickly became part of our family.  His 1400 mile sail to St. Croix was his dream of a lifetime.  He was truly the happiest young man in the world.

We are blessed that we have our daughter, Bj's sister, Breighan.  Bj left behind a grandson, Will, named after Bj and whom we love with all our hearts.  And a daughter, Diana, 1-1/2 years younger than Will.  What treasures they are to us. 

Bj's earthly life truly does go on...

 We see Bj when we look into his loving little sister's eyes...

and we see Bj as he walks in the shoes of his little son,

and as we see Bj's sister and his mother in Bj's little daughter.

Bj, our Nature Boy, we know you've saved your greatest journey for last.

Bon Voyage, Beege

All our Love, Mommy and Pop-po

Bj's children, Diana and Will (May 2007).

Our grandchildren carry on for our son.  Bj simply walks today in smaller shoes.


Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole soothe our very heavy hearts (adapted from the song by E. Ahbez):


There was a boy...
A beautiful, enchanted boy.
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea,
A little shy when sad of eye
But very wise was he.

And then one day,
A tragic day, he passed away.
And while we cried of many things,
Fools and kings,
This he said to me,

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return."


William Dean Ladd II

February 25, 1974 - Memorial Day 2005

Photos from the Celebration of Life Gatherings 

From: Charmaine Aboard s/v September Sea
Date: 06/07/05 12:09:29
To: Livaboard
Subject: [livaboard] Death of a Sailor
Our son, "Bj," (Bill Jr.) an accomplished sailor, sailed from the Keys to St. Croix last February.  Bj lost his life aboard his sailboat in Christanstad on Memorial Day 2005.  Though only 7-10% of all diabetics have Type 1 diabetes, as Bj did, he was determined to live his life to the fullest.  He came down with a virus and slipped into a diabetic coma.  He never wakened.  Sadly, my mother also passed away that very same tragic day.
To all of us who love the sailing lifestyle... don't wait, do it now.  Life can be very short.  Bj was only 31 years old, yet he had most certainly lived ten lifetimes during his time on this earth.  Bj never looked back, he never complained.  With a near genius IQ, he was an expert in martial arts and studied at the Shaolin Temple high in the mountains nearf Bejing, China: the birthplace of all martial arts.  He was an excellent marksman with an array of firearms, also proficient with bow and arrow.  Bj played semi-pro football for the Springfield Bucks in Illinois.  But it was sailing and the sea he loved most of all.
I didn't want to say anything to the list, but somehow it seems appropriate as I attend his many "Celebration of Life" memorials.  I wish you could all have met him, as not only was he a most uniquely talented young man -- he was a friend to all.  I'm so proud of my adventurous son who never bought into what society's expectations are as to the blueprint for acquiring "the American Dream."  Bj's dreams were much bigger than that.  He dreamt of the world.  He saw the world.  He loved the oceans and was bound and determined to be in harmony with the seas.
We now will return our son to the sea he loved so dearly.  You are alive, my friends, and can live your highest dreams...  there is no perfect time to do it -- do it now.
Charmaine (& Bill)
s/v September Sea 

~ Sterling Hayden eases our pain ~

From: mccormick
Date: 06/15/05 09:10:38
Subject: peace, love and blessings
Hey, you two (or three), just wanted to check-in with you.  I hope that you are all feeling well and counting your blessings.  I continue to send you positive vibes...and if you need me for ANYTHING just say so.  I love you all soooo much and pray for you everyday.
Listen to this:  we all went out to lunch in downtown Springfield.  next to the restaurant is a used and rare bookstore that I of course got lost! what a collection.  Anyway, they had tables of used books for sale outside.  I had perused the tables multiple times (I had to borrow a piece of luggage from Mom to bring back all my findings).  Just as I was leaving the store, and passing by the tables for the umpteenth time, my eyes focused upon a book that I somehow had not seen before:  Sterling Hayden's Wanderers.  I totally felt BJ's presence!  It was crazy! I had spent hours perusing, purchasing, and going back to the table.  But I kept feeling like there was something I missed.  Hence my continued perusing, purchasing and returning to the table.  When I my eyes were drawn to book--amongst a STACK of hundreds...I was...out done, overwhelmed...I suddenly felt fulfilled.  Released from the bookstore trance...It was crazy! It was perfect!!!
I have always been a believer in wandering, being nomadic.  But BJ's life has somehow re-awakened me to the purpose of my beliefs.  I don't know what it all means; however, I do know that every time I tell BJ's life story I feel renewed.  I feel more alive.  I feel more connected to...I don't know... life, nature, people, living...everything.  Thanks for bringing such a powerful soul into the world--into our family.  His spirit moves with me everyday.
Just wanted you all to know this. To feel this beautiful power of BJ's spirit.  What a blessing.
peace, love, and blessings always,
Shannon (and Steve)

Charmaine's Reply to Shannon:
Oh Shannon!  Bless you, my Love.  Just tried to call you and got no answer.  Wanted to respond to your email right away: as it is truly profound.  I hope you bought Hayden's book--it is a worthy read not meant for just those who sail, but for those who long for true self-fulfillment by making one's life their finest voyage -- A voyage no one else has to be proud of beyond yourself.
"Wanderer" sits on my bookshelf, I'm looking at it right now.  I've read it countless times and will read it again.  The book always reminded me so much of our Wanderer Son, Bj.
Thank you for your lovely words.  We are blessed with an extended family that loves one another with the desperation found only in soap operas.  You know it's true!  You and Steve, Jai, Letitia and Bill... you said, "Don't do a thing, we'll handle it."  You did.  Perfectly.  That's a loving family in every imaginable sense.
Here in Marathon, the same happened among good friends we call 'family' as well.  Before we left for Springfield, they said "Don't do a thing, we'll handle it."  When we returned with Bj's remains from Springfield, the Celebration of Life Memorial was fantastic.  Just like it was on the Lake at Letitia and Bill's.  People here loved Bj with all their hearts.  As I've heard time and time again: "Bj is so easy to love."
We think of our losses, Bj and my mother (your sweet cousin and Aunt Essie), but losses often bring out the very best in people who didn't know they had the fortitude to stay strong for those suddenly weakened.  Bill and I cannot thank all of you enough for all you've done for us in this most tragic of times.  We love you.
Now for something really special.  Shannon spoke of seeing Sterling Hayden's book, "Wanderer."  Two years ago or so I typed and printed out the quote below for Bill, my husband of nearly 33 years, and he keeps it with him at all times.  It also hangs in our boat (now you know it's important... our space is very limited!).  I believe I sent it also to most all of you.  Now it comes back around to serve as an incredibly profound quote that fits our Bj (and all the other Wanderers in our circle of family and friends):
"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest.  Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsman, who play with their boats at sea - 'cruising.' it is called.
Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in.  If you are contemplating a voyage and have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change.  Only then will you know what the sea is all about.  'I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it.'  What these men can't afford is not to go.  They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of 'security.'  And in the worship of security.  We fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and some form of working activity that yields a sense of accomplishment.  That's all - in a material sense, and we know it.  But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, and playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.
"The years thunder by.  The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience.  Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
"Where, then, lies the answer?  In choice.
"Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?"
- Sterling Hayden: "Wanderer" 
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!"
                    - Charmaine Smith Ladd (Copyright 2005)


He dreamt of the world.  He saw the world.  He loved the oceans

and was bound and determined to be in harmony with the seas.

~ To all of us who love the sailing (alternative) lifestyle:

Don't wait, for life can often be far too short...

Do It Now. ~


(Click on thumbnails above to enlarge:  Bj carving a pumpkin for Halloween 2004.

The finished product: The Headless Horseman holding carved pumpkin.)

Unwrap the Gift of Life -- Bj certainly did!



As published in The Keynoter on the 5th Anniversary

May 30th, 2010

The sailboat will take you to pictures of Bj's Caribbean Adventure:

Above: Bj's son, our grandson Will (William Dean Ladd III), with Grandpa Bill.  Will calls Charmaine, "Chocolate Grandma," as we always had the chocolates for little "Baby Boo."  It's kinda cute when people hear "Hey, Chocolate Papa..."  Heads turn bigtime and we get a big kick out of it!

On a serious note, the death of Will's and Diana's sailing father has been very hard on them both.  We are so fortunate we have our grandchildren Will and Diana, both so loving and trying to be so strong.  Our grandchildren's mothers, Will's mother Melissa, and Diana's mother Rebecca: We will forever thank you both from the bottom of our hearts for giving us such precious, priceless gifts as a grandson and a granddaughter.

Our son Bj's life truly does goes on through his children.

How we embrace both our "Little Bj's": Will and his younger sister, Diana,  nicknamed "Boo" (or "Oooh Boo") and "Boo" or "Boo Bug," respectively.


Our son Bj's beautiful children: Will and Diana (2005).

May 2007

Daughter Breighan Graduates from UIS

(University of Illinois at Springfield)

University Graduation Party for Three Cousins: Jenna A. Dewith M. Breighan Ladd, and Taylor K. Anderson  - May 2007

More on trip to Springfield - May 2007

From right to left: Our daughter, the lovely Breighan, her boyfriend Ryan Carter, Charmaine (moi), and Carter's business partner, Brandon Bouthot pronounced "Boo Tot).  We all just had lunch at a Chinese restaurant. Husband Bill was there too... but not shown here because he took the picture!

Will has gotten dressed for his baseball game... watching TV with Choklate Grandma 'til Mom Melissa picks him up for his baseball tournament.  We attended some of the games.  There are more pics from his games further down below.  Also, in the pool with the grandkids.  It's something how much they've matured.  Wow!  But first, a detour to Macomb, Illinois where Bill's parents live, and a Mother's Day surprise my mother-in-law will never forget.

Bill's Mother's Day 2007

Bill's mom, my mother-in-law, Frieda Ebbert Ladd.

Bill went to Macomb (Illinois) to visit his parents.  Little did he know that his two other brothers, Dan and Steve, would be there too!  Dan lives in Colorado, Steve lives in Maryland.  It was a surprise reunion for their mother... what a great gift for Mother's Day!  Had I known that Dan, wife Diane, and their daughter Danielle would be there... and Steve's son Kevin... (wife Beth and daughter Emily were still in Maryland... I would have made a special trip to see them. 

Okay Ladds... next time we have to know what each other is doing!  Then we can all be together.  Deal?  Excellent.  Miss you all and love you all so very, very much.

Mom Ladd flanked by grandkids Kevin Ladd and Danielle Ladd.

Bill's brother Steve with son Kevin.  Kevin, you look like a perfect mix of your Dad and mom Beth.

Bill's little brother Steve just turned the big 50 early August.

Bill's older brother Danny.  Love the Van Dyke Danny!

Danny's wife Diane and their daughter, our niece, Danielle.  Such beauties!!

Left to right: Bill's brother Dan, his brother Steve, and our nephew Kevin (Steve's son).

Dan and Diane's lovely daughter, our niece Danielle. 

Danielle is named after her father, Bill's brother Daniel "Dan."

My darling sister-in-law, Diane Ladd.

Steve and Beth's son, our nephew Kevin Ladd.  Look at those lashes!

The Ladds.  Mom Ladd with her boys.  (Click on picture to enlarge.)

 It's a wonderful Mother's Day!  None of the boys knew the others were coming... what a nice surprise!

Choklate Grandma and Choklate Papa love their Grandbabies

More Fun May 2007


Bj's daughter Diana.

Bj's kids Diana and Will "Little Bj."

Granddaughter Diana and her God-sister (our god-granddaughter Hailey).

Our lovely Hailey.  Hailey has Grandma Iris Lugo's cheekbones... what a beautiful trait!

Hailey and Diana strut their jammies.

The Three Musketeers - Nothing like grandchildren.  We LOVE YOU!!

All thumbnail pictures, as the one above, can be clicked on and enlarged.  Do it... it's worth it!

More fun with the Grandkids - The Rocket Launcher - May 2007

Choklate Papa and the rocket launcher he built when he was in his early teens.

Bj had it and loved it.  Now Bj's son has it.  Life goes on.  How we love it so.

Proud Choklate Papa with God-granddaughter Hailey and grandson Will.

Our sweet Melissa (Woodward), mother of our grandson.  Sportin' a new doo there girl!  Love it!

My Grandson, the Catcher! - May 2007

Every time we're around during baseball season we attend some of our grandson's games.  He gives it all he's got... just like his mother Melissa, a great volleyball player in her day... and his father Bj who played semi-professional football.

William Dean Ladd III "Little Bj."  Your father is so proud of you, Boo!

Photo op of the gang at grandson Will's baseball game.  Click on it to enlarge.

Will has the most delightful teammates.  I've known them all since kindergarten.  Love ya Bubba!

God-sisters Diana and Hailey have Diana's brother Will tickled pink!!

More Fun with the Grandkids - May 2007


Choklate Grandma surprised the granddaughters with matching swimsuits.

Hailey and Diana just love one another so much.  They call themselves "The God Sisters."

Hailey and Diana playing 20 questions.  They are too peas in a pod, for sure!

Choklate Papa and grandson Will... piggyback style!

Granddaughter Diana loves the water just like her dad Bj.

I think Papa is gettin' tired... not!  LOL

Choklate Grandma and grandson Will... "Ooooh, let's hide the rings real fast!"

Sweet little GrandGoddaughter Hailey... she loves the water so!

Grandma Charmaine having fun with little Hailey.  The grandbabies are really growing up.

Our God-daughter Alison Powers Storm (our pet name for her is "Buddy) at the hotel pool.  The Comfort Suites is like a second home to our grandkids.  When they were younger they thought we owned it and wondered why we were hardly ever there... and who are all those other people always around when Choklate Grandma and Choklate Papa are gone!  LOL  We always stay there when in town.  The people who work there are like family to us.  Love you Rose and John!  We are God-Grandparents to Alison's daughter, Hailey.  Just a formality because  Hailey was our God-grandchild before she was even born!  We love you and miss you Buddy, Hailey, and Dad Jim! 

Here's to next time at the Pool! 

Daughter Breighan & boyfriend Ryan Carter

Visit us in Marathon - February 2006



Celebrated my 50th birthday with Breighan, Carter, and husband Bill (taking the photo).

Aww, there's that sweet man of mine!

Grandkids Will and Diana

(& Moms Melissa and Rebecca)

Visit Us in February 2006


The Crew has all arrived!!  Breighan and Carter came in two days before everyone else.  Choklate Grandma finally has her two grandkids (and their mothers, Rebecca {Diana} and Melissa {Will}) down here in the Keys!!  Yay!!!  Above middle, Rebecca re-lives her very first plane ride.  All in all, she and Melissa did great... having never flown before.  Great job, Girls!

Family Picture of us all in front of the Newport Beach Hotel, where we stayed, in Ft. Lauderdale.  The pictures below show the difference between the water at the Marathon Beach (greenish) and the water at the Newport Hotel Beach (clear & blue).



The grandkids (& big kids) had a wonderful time at the Newport Beach Hotel.  Very nice place with comfortable atmosphere and helpful staff.  We'd recommend the Hotel to anyone staying in Ft. Lauderdale.  Their two-bedroom suites with Murphy Bed in the living room is really a bargain when traveling with so many people.  Very nice!  Lots of good people walking around, it just felt very, very safe and comfy.  The Tiki Bar poolside knows how to take care of their guests!  You might want to ask the bartender to hold back on the Tequila.  I know I did!  LOL  I forgot... I don't do much drinking of alcoholic beverages.  So never mind.

It was tough to get a shot with both kids' heads above water!!  What a couple of dolphins.


Melissa with snorkeling Diana.  What a grand time in the sun.  If you don't see me, it's only 'cause I've had enough sun to last me to the end of time!!  LOL  They all loved it.  Papa Bill took lots of pictures so the grandkids can always come here to the site and relive their wonderful time here in the Florida Keys.  The two kids look so much like Bj...  and they're both so much like him with their intelligence, mannerisms, humor, and quick wit.  What proud grandparents we are!


Will having a great time on the beach.  Sand toys, every island boy needs a set.

On the Beach of the Newport Beach Hotel.




Diana and Will had such a great time!  Melissa with Will and Diana.


Diana met some other little kids on the beach.  She and Will are so thoughtful and kind to other kids.  They love to share.

The grandkids (kids means including Melissa!!) saw an alligator... or is it a crocodile?  No, not in the ocean... they saw it at The Blue Hole, located on Big Pine Key.  They went there to see some Key Deer, but no luck.  Hey, an alligator will work for even better for the "Ooooh-Aaaaah" Factor.  I'd say it's an alligator because the snout appears to be broader than a croc's.  I'd know for sure if the teeth were showing, but this alligator didn't bother to show any... guess it wasn't bothered by us at all.  Don't let the coloring fool you!  This is a young  alligator so its coloring is brownish olive like a crocodile's but will turn blackish when an adult.  Crocodiles almost have a bulb-like tip to their more narrow snouts.  Did you know that only a few hundred crocodiles live in the U.S., all of which are either in the Everglades/South Florida area.  The southern Florida area is the only place on earth where both crocodiles and alligators are found together.  Yup.  It's true.



Will and Diana were either snorkeling in the pool or in the ocean.  They both are human dolphins, just like their father, Bj.

The middle picture you must click on it to enlarge it (as with all the thumbnails)... it's a beautiful picture.


Diana's mother, Rebecca enjoyed the beach and the ocean.


Our granddaughter Diana loved the ocean.  She and her mother, Rebecca, had a ball while down here.  They'd never seen the ocean before and were in total awe of it... but both were happy to jump in with both feet!!  An adventurous duo, these two!


Our grandson's mother, Melissa, had never flown and had never seen the ocean (same for Rebecca too).  Growing up in Illinois, both mothers of our grandkids were in for a real treat.  Melissa loved snorkeling in the ocean.  She had a blast onboard as September Sea took great care of her crew.  Rebecca is a true blonde and loves the sun... I was so worried she'd get burned... but she did just great!  She kept saying, "It's okay.  First my skin will get really red... but then it will start to tan."

Grandson Will and his mother, Melissa.            Granddaughter Diana and her mother, Rebecca.

They all took to sailing, snorkeling, and the ocean like ducks to water.  Long way from cornfields and hog farms... and the C-O-L-D word... but ya know, they never once looked like tourists!!

Diana waves: "See ya next time!"


Friends Wally & Dawn Hamlin

Visit Us in the Keys - January 2006

Dawn and Wally Hamlin are all smiles aboard September Sea.

Click on the thumbnail photos for enlarged pics.  They're worth it!

Wally with Bill aboard.  Fabulously good friends!


Above: (Left) Wally at the helm turns into "Big Alex."

Above: (Right) We just love our ever-curious Wally Wonderfull!

 Wally "Wonderfull," as I call him and his lovely wife Dawn ("Dawnie Girl") had a fabulous time aboard September Sea.  They had been talking about coming down and seeing us for years... FINALLY it actually happened!  We so loved having them both down here.  Wally is as inquisitive and eager to learn new things as anyone else we know (well, maybe his son Alex has him beat!  ha!)... and Wally, who had never been sailing before this, learned a LOT while aboard!  Looking at the pictures above, you see that Wally is really INTO THIS!!  I call him "Big Alex," which is an affectionate nickname as he's like his son, Alex, in that he wants to know everything about everything!  I'm sure Wally's inquisitive nature is what keeps him so young!  He and Dawn both eagerly took turns at the helm... and did an impressive job!  In all honesty, as much as I love my Wally Wonderfull, Dawnie Girl has the knack at the helm... She is a natural!  Once again this adds weight to my belief that women have a gentler touch at the helm than men do.  Of course this is a general statement; but GENERALLY it's true!  As I say, "Women need to be at the helm where they belong!"

Look at Dawnie Girl up there at the helm.  Wow!  Dawnie Girl is a Natural Helmswomen if ever there was such a person.  Dawn helmed September Sea with her gentle touch...  the kind of touch that September Sea falls in love with and responds with her best sailing performance.  It was a blustery, really cool day (50s) and Dawn had the helm with 15 knots right on the vessel's nose.  Didn't bother Dawnie Girl one bit!  Dawnie threaded the needle into the groove of the headwind, and guided  September Sea back to Boot Key Harbor like threading a needle.  We were very impressed!  Dawnie showed no fear at all and had a blast as she felt September Sea respond to her gentle touch.

Woooooo Hooooo!!  You Go, Dawnie Girl!!

I have always felt that generally, women are more suited to the Helm.  We tend to have a much gentler touch and respond to a vessel's slightest indications.  Men, in general, do not have the "fine tuning" capabilities that females do.  Of course there are generalities and we all know that some men have more feminine characteristics than masculine... So don't think I'm talking about you if you don't fit the mold... LOL. 

For example: Dawn at the helm... I'd tell her the objective and how to maintain it and she did it.  She followed instructions to the letter.  She almost immediately could FEEL while at the helm exactly what I was conveying to her.  Wally, on the other hand, did just as Bill used to do when learning how to feel the helm and know what to do: he overcompensated.  Men usually have to LEARN what a gentle touch is at the helm (and when at other places, as all we women know!  LOL).  Helming a boat turns into how so many guys drive behind the wheel of a high performance vehicle.  Most of 'em want to see if the car can REALLY DO 120 mph.  LOL  The majority of women are very content in KNOWING the car can do 120...  but we usually don't rush (if at all) to put the pedal to the metal to actually experience the thrill of driving it.  Why is that?  From my eyes, it's more due to the fact that women can feel what 120 would be like without really doing it...  It's like while driving at 80 mph we have an excellent idea why we never want to do 120!  Guys get into chest-thumping... women generally do not.  Women don't mind saying, "Nope.  Never gone over 80," to those who ask if they've pushed that monster vehicle to the limit.

I'd put my money on a woman at the helm any day.  Women are much more willing to back down and sail the seas in a manner that causes less friction and wear and tear.  While guys are thinking about the thrill of the moment, women are more likely to have concern about the undue pressure put on the boat.  There is no blow to the feminine psyche if we feel the need to bring in some canvas... or take it all down and motor.  We're not beaten by the moment, we're doing what is necessary for the safety and comfort of our passengers, ourselves, and our boat.  We're simply much less prone to thinking the wind and the seas and the boat got the better of us and get emotionally down about it.  We're not threatened into feeling we're less of a woman if we "DO THE RIGHT THING."  Men tend to think that "doing the right thing" is the same as BACKING DOWN.  So it's a battle of testosterone vs. estrogen... call it what you want, but it all boils down to realizing that our society doesn't look kindly upon men who show effeminate traits.  Because of that, men get confused on what is acceptable in that regard.  I say... forget what society does and say, WHO CARES??!!  When it comes to safety, be as what they call as "womanly" as necessary!

Remember: These are Generalities.  It won't fit every male or female, but overall in my experiences, I've found it to be quite true.  That's why the partnership aboard of a man and a woman proves quite complimentary.

Dawnie Girl and Bill aboard.  Great friends!

Charmaine with her Wally Wonderfull.  (Yes, with TWO L's)

I'm the sister Wally never had... and I'm always giving him the "Down Low."  Ha!

Dawnie Girl wraps her arm around me... we simply LOVE Dawnie and Wally.

Two of our most favorite people.  And we've BONDED in many ways! 

If you haven't read the Hurricane Chronicles at this site, take a look.  Wally and Dawn were vacationing with their two children, Hailey and Alex, along with Dawn's parents, in Cozumel, Mexico.  They called us as a hustle and bustle began at their hotel... a hurricane was coming!  Bill and I did not realize they were going to Cozumel just as Hurricane Emily was approaching!  Oh my goodness this was bad.  We did some research on the strength and stability of their hotel's construction and were confident it would be a safe haven even in a Category 4 hurricane.  We talked on the phone with them and told them what was coming and when, as we were linked to Weather Underground and it's satellite and radar images.  What a nightmare for them.  We lost communication with them just as Emily hit, but not before we had ensured them they would be just fine.  It would be scary, but they'd be fine and the hotel would protect them.  They were so grateful for the information we provided, as the hotels there were telling guests absolutely nothing except: "If it gets bad, get in the bathtub."  All the while, the hotel is boarding up windows, removing anything that could possibly become a projectile, and telling the guest very, very little.  We are so fortunate we went through Hurricane Emily WITH THEM and keep them informed.  Even more fortunate is that everything we told them turned out to be true.  They all escaped physical injury of any kind.  Whew!

Dawnie Girl took this picture of Boot Key Harbor's entrance.

Wally Wonderfull is in HEAVEN as he sails aboard September Sea.

Wally was so helpful in assisting as we prepared September Sea to leave her slip and go on a daysail.  Everything comes down and is put away (shore power, water, dock lines, etc.) and on our return to the slip... you repeat the exercise by putting it all back in place again.  It's really not bad and it takes us no more than an hour to prepare the boat interior and exterior for sailing.  You must remember that we live aboard and we have all the things one has in a home... or most of 'em... (blenders, toasters, cookware, computers, stereos, televisions, books, and assorted "what-do-I-do-with-this's").  We've got it down to a science and it's exciting knowing we're going out, so the chores of preparation are truly a labor of love.

What a great time we had with Wally and Dawn.  I mean fantastic!!  When ya coming back again, Darlings?  When yaz do, September Sea and her crew will be waiting with open arms and open sails!


Niece Melorie's son, Savon w/our Grandson Will and Grand-God-Daughter Hailey at "Grandpappy's" house (Grandpappy is Charmaine's father, Robert).  Cousins!



Justin (seated at the helm) and Alex Poe, twin brothers from Atlanta, enjoy sailing aboard their father's sailboat.  I just love seeing those life jackets on!!  Sailing is a fabulous way of teaching your children many of life's lessons:  responsibility, preparation, consideration, confidence, safety, among a myriad of other lessons... and on top of that... they're not distracted by the usual preoccupation of "Are we there yet?"  LOL  Justin and Alex are having fun!!  Their father, Stephen, has enjoyed our website immensely and has dreams of one day living aboard.  Thanks to Stephen for contacting us and sharing the sailing photo of his twin sons.  Our Friends & Family continue to grow in this on-the-sea lifestyle of ours.  What a blessing!  You three are all keepers!  (Thumbnail photo at left above - click to enlarge.)

Friends CT (Charles) & Catherine Thomas

Visit Us in the Keys - Early December 2005

Left to right: Husband Bill with CT's wife Catherine, Charmaine & CT... we're all smiles at Dockside!

CT is another "keeper" from the Sailnet Liveaboard List.  He's one of the few who really "Gets It."

Left to right: Husband Bill, Catherine of s/v Calliste, Charmaine (Moi), Becky & Rod of s/v Mahdi.

Becky and Rod are good friends of Catherine & CT's.  Becky & Rod were visiting from Turkey.

CT captures Charmaine all smiles... We just love having good friends around!  Our visit with Catherine and CT was fabulous.  They treated us to a lovely dinner over at Dockside.  Florida Straits did their Sunday night special Jam Session.  Got to see Mark (keyboardist & singer) get surprised by a former student.  She says to me: "He was my music teacher!!"

Parise and JC were there, Janet and Charlie, Teresa (Bj's twin: "He got the tan, she got the tits."), My dearest brother Captain Jack and his lovely wife "Munchkin" Kathy, Ryan, Kirk (was his first night working at Dockside, he's such a love and was a great friend to our son Bj), Deb and Randy, Wade, Dave the Slave (one of Bj's favorite people), David my David, Jennifer of s/v Miss Hazel was behind the bar and came running out with a big hug, Sweet Roy (the towhead who can croon with the best of 'em), and a special surprise as I looked up and saw Dan "The Man" Sullivan had sneaked over to our table.  He had just finished a gig over here at Sombrero Resort (renamed The Lighthouse Cay Club)... That's where we live... so Dan was wondering why we weren't there!!  We had no idea he was playing... we'd surely have stayed to listen to his smooth style.  So he was just sitting there with that famous deviously sly grin of his (he and Bj had that in common), waiting for me to notice he'd sneaked up on me.  Love my Dan!!  It was so great to see so many friends we consider family.  A real treat.

Thanks again to CT and Catherine... what a delightful visit!

In a New York Frame of Mind:

Friend Steve Weinstein Visits us in the Keys

Thanksgiving Holiday 2005



Above:  Weinstein's girl Charmaine at left.  Weinstein, Bill and Charmaine.

New Yorker Steve Weinstein (whom I met on the Sailnet Liveaboard List years ago, and whom my husband Bill has come to know through me and my adventures on the List) came down to visit us!!  Steve is definitely a family member all the way -- and we love him to pieces.

Down below shows our feast at Keys Fisheries.  The specialty there is a called a Lobster Reuben.  Yup... you read right... Weinstein ordered the Lobster Reuben (at my urging, of course) and is still talking about this most delicious and famous Keys Fisheries creation.  It is scrupdillyicious (ya hear that, Mike Novel)?

Mike Novel and his girlfriend, Sam, came and visited us a while back and adored the Lobster Reubens.  It's become a tradition with our visitors (sans my sister Cheyenne who is allergic to shellfish... well, she used to not be... but she OD'd on three pounds of shrimp and her body kicked into "Fool's Gear" [aka: "you don't know what is not good for you... so I'll make you allergic to it!!").  Oops!

Weinstein and We... loving the great food at Keys Fisheries.

Charmaine and her Weinstein: aka The Tall and Short of It!

What a great time we had.  Took Weinstein over to "The Brass Monkey" for his initiation to being a Keys Local.  Everyone calls it "The Monkey" and it's a place where the ugly lights come on at 4 am.  Owner Judy is a very good friend of our and was a dear friend of our son Bj's.  The Monkey was Bj's hangout... every time we go there we see his friends and our hearts are filled with warmth and love.  It's the loving, "family" side of "The Monkey" that tourists know nothing about.  Nor would a tourist go in there unescorted.  Ha!  Well... they COULD... they just don't know it!  <wink>

Weinstein, ya did "The Monkey" proud!!  Can't wait to hug you again and to meet/hug your better half.

Thanks sooo much for coming down our way.  We love ya, Darlin!!

November 2005 trip to Springfield, Illinois

& Wilsonville, Illinois (home of granddaughter Diana)









November 2005 - Sis Cheyenne Comes Back with us!

Charmaine's sis Cheyenne is loving it in the Keys!!

Snorkeling at Sombrero Key Lighthouse:

Cheyenne with the J-Lo bootylicious and Charmaine with the "white girl flat butt."





Cheyenne's last day... hugs and kisses goodbye.

What a fabulous time we have had with Ennie aboard!!

"Chey--ennnnne" (Somebody's looking for you!)

From: Charmaine

Date: 11/20/05 13:53:52
To: A Bunch of Coconuts

Subject: Gamma Gone!

Have mercy!! Tropical Depression Gamma is history... no more for us in the Keys... (gulp!). Didn't need another one this season, that's for sugar sure. Wasn't looking forward to meeting up with the earwigs again!
Game Gone is fantastic news since my sister Cheyenne has been visiting here for the past two weeks. She'll be leaving later this afternoon on the Keys Shuttle headed for Miami to hook up with her flight back to Illinois. What a blast we have had.
So what'd we do for two weeks? For one: We closed out THE BRASS MONKEY (yup, stayed there until the UGLY LIGHTS came on at 4 am). Actually, stayed there til about 5:30 and got back to the boat around 6 am. Ha! Bill left us there at 1 am... he knew we sisters together would be an all-nighter for sure!
But he redeemed himself beautifully. At 6 am we came draggin home... drunk as skunks... just in time for Bill to say: "You girls look like you need some GREASE.". Ha! Boy we he right on the monkey.... (pun intended, of course). He fixed us bacon, eggs, and toast that was dripping with bacon grease... a perfectly superb breakfast of GREASE MOTAYSIA. Worked fantastically...  nothing like a stomach full of grease after a night of heavy partying. No big hangover... yet we still had the memory of lots of shots put in front of us at THE MONKE -- name of the shots? I kid you not: "RED-HEADED SLUTS."
Spent three days out on the water. Out on the hook outside of Boot Key Harbor, which is great as a hub to sail wherever the
wind takes us... then we anchor back there in the evening. Took Cheyenne out to the deep blue... wow! Gorgeous wind blowing 15-20 knots. We only used the jib (albeit a 180) and kept heeling to a minimum. Cheyenne and I sat on the cabin top as we sailed. She says, "Never thought I'd be up HERE!" She loved it.
What a wonderful sail. The next day we took her out snorkeling at the Lighthouse. The seas out there were 2-3 feet, most people like it very calm out there for snorkeling. Cheyenne handled it all wonderfully. There were only two other boats out there... a good sign that the tourists can't take the wave action. Didn't seem to bother Enne at all. Cheyenne did a great job, I'm so proud of her.
She says her body "seizes" when it hits water... ya couldn't tell -- she was great after she stopped putting the death grib on the
dinghy painter -- and my thumb!! I just took her death grip off the painter and gently held her hand. She relaxed and loved having the many schools of fish coming right to her. One little trick I do is to kick the growth off the bottom of the dinghy... the schools of fish come up to feed. Fabulous.
Anyway, we went sailing, snorkeling, stayed out on the hook a few days and nights, went bar hopping (if you can call it that...
the seats at THE HURRICANE are so friggen hard you'd think they were put in by the Corporation that makes Preparation H.  OUCH!  Not good for the azz... and I'm sure you could easily get piles if you sit in there too long... no long drinking binges in that place!  HA!
I miss Cheyenne already. WOW! Yesterday, Fish and Bill went over to THE DOCKSIDE. We'd been there for dinner last week, this time they had a pig roast going on.... Charmaine's back was DOWN DOWN DOWN... and since I am a woman of priorities, I decided to save my last dance for THE MONKEY!!!! Over at Dockside, Cheyenne met many of our great friends: Marlene and Reynold, Janet and Charlie, Too Tall Lee, Dave the Slave, Tone Deaf Tim, Lisa T. and Ron, Roy, Teresa (Bj's 'sister' "She got the TITS - He got the TAN"), s/v Miss Hazel's Jennifer, Ryan, Munchkin Kathy (hey my brother... Cpt. Jack... where was ya!), Jana, oh you get the picture... LOTS of folks.
Most have said that if they closed there eyes and listened, they'd think she was me. We do sound very much alike. Over at the Tikki Hut here at Sombrero Resort, my good friend Sonia and somebody else were talking and Cheyenne overheard: "That's Charmaine."

"No, it isn't."

"Yes it is, she cut her hair."

 "No, it's not."

HA.  Sonia comes over to Cheyenne and says, "You must be Charmaine's sister." Sonia was right on the money. Yuppers. She be dat.

Last night the three of us went out to dinner at Cabot's. Fabulous dinner. I had invited our "son," New (aka Mark)... but he ended up over at Dockside and said he'd meet us later at The Hurricane. The Hurricane is a great bar with really good music... but the chairs are so friggen hard in there you'll get piles sitting on 'em. DAYAM. Talk about a great setting for a Preparation H commercial:
"Your ass hurt?"
"Mine too."
Dan "My Main Man" Sullivan was playing a gig there along with Tom on bass (red-haired, Pottery Lynn's ex-hubby), who we adore; and Eric (aka Fish) on the drums. Love that Sullivan. He's such a sweetheart and he was such a good friend to our son Bj. It's always so good to see Dan.
Good to see Tom up there playing too. He's good! They make a good combo and it's a country-western flavor with a little rock thrown in for good measure. The two tables opposite us (we were sitting near the band) were a bunch of "Yah-Hooing" fools.  Black folks get nervous when we hear Rebel Yells. DAYAM.  Ate fast. Left faster. Well... hahahahaha.
Got on the pool tables at THE MONKEY after dinner. We had gone to THE HURRICANE earlier but no one was there... hard ass stools... oh, so apropos...
Stayed on the pool table for hours... never got beat. Held the table all night long.  Daddy would have been super proud of his Daughter #3. Bj eas saying, "GO MOMMA!!!" Woooo Hoooo!!!! Took names, kicked ass. We were playing partners and I ended up with one of Bj's friends, Adam. Really good player. He was happy I asked him to pair up with me. Well, he said he was honored, being that I am Bj's mother. What a sweetheart.  He said that he and Bj used to play all the time together and have some really good, drawn out matches.  He said he sees where Bj got his billiards skills from... (sigh). Well, from my Daddy and I... that's where!
We played this little Cuban looking guy who said he was from Puerto Rico (but sounded like he says it so we'll think he's got
class... hahahaha). Little Dog Syndrome got the best of him as he got his ass kicked while playing "Last Pocket." He said
he knew the game... just like traditional pool except you must hit the 8-ball in the pocket where your last ball (before you're on the 8-ball) went. "Little Dog" congratulated me when I sunk the 8-ball in my last pocket. Done beautifully. He shook my hand while his way gay friend looked on. "Little Dog" says "I hate to lose but I don't mind it if I'm outdone.  Nice shot.  Let me buy you a beer."
I asked if he was up to play again, he said yes. So he goes to buy me a beer, my partner Adam and I are slappin' high fives.
"Little Dog" comes back and hands me the beer and says to me "Rack 'em up."
I say, "You lost... you rack 'em."
He then went tri-polar on me. He said he won the game because when I hit the 8-ball before it went in the right pocket, it hit his 5-ball that was in the pocket as well.  HUH??!  He did say I hit the 8-ball first.... yah... so what is the F'n problem??
Oh what a jerk. He stood in front of the table and said, "MY TABLE." I looked DOWN at him (you know I'm barely 5'3" and told him perhaps he better take his medication. AZZ HOLE.  Anyway, he quickly found out from others that in the game of Last Pocket, the 8 (AND ONLY THE 8) can hit anything as long as you hit it FIRST.... you don't have to call your shot on the 8-ball... your job is to hit it first and sink it in the pocket where your last ball went.  That's LAST POCKET... DUH.  LITTLE DOG LOST.
Kicked ass, took names.  Gettin' ready to kick mo' ass... no one can find the cue ball.  I told my partner Adam: "I bet that little barkin bastid took it with him."
Yup.  Sho did.  He took the cue ball when he motioned to his HONEY MAN to leave. The lanky "whatever-you-say" wimp went hang-dogged behind him... hahaha. Somebody came in from outside and said, "You missing a cue ball... found the cue outside layingb y the door."  What a jerk... and a wimp to the nth degree.  See, a REAL MAN would have taken the cue ball HOME.
Cheyenne leaves in an hour. What a fantastic time. Freddy Bye and Scotty playing "FREE BIRD" while Breighan's phone is
held up to the mike... Freddy says, "Is that for who I think it is?"  Bill said YES... Freddy cranked it UP. Wow!
Love you all and had a fantastic time with my sis... so great.  SO GREAT. Thought you'd all like to hear a bit of our adventures. Oooooh.... soooo good.
Got some GREAT sunsets to add to the website... give me a couple of days and I'll add them out there... you're gonna love 'em.  Hey... I AM LOVING YOU!!!  Here's one to whet your appetite:

Charmaine (& Bill & Cheyenne Packing (sniff sniff))
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~ 

 Bill and parents Joe and Freida, came to visit us March 2003.


June 2003 was our niece Danielle's high school graduation.  Her parents, Diane and Dan (Bill's brother) came to visit us when they took Danielle to Key West to celebrate her graduation.  What a hip girl Danielle is... she picked where she wanted to go!  You go, Girl!

Danielle's mother, my Sweet Sister-in-Law, Diane, is shown above to right.

      At left, Bj and cousin Danielle chat while sailing aboard September Sea.  Above right, brothers Bill and Danny.  Guess you can tell they're related!

Above left, Charmaine at the helm while (to right), cousins Bj and Danielle up on deck are having a blast as we head south to enter the Gulf Stream.

Breighan with her grandfather, Charmaine's father, Robert aka "Grandpappy."

Below: "New" (Mark) with our Breighan at Sombrero Resort.  "New" is like our son, and he was very close to our son Bj.  We love "New" very much.  So glad to have him around!  He's a keeper!  We love you, "New."  (Bj said "New" was called new at first because he was the "NEW" guy around.  Bj called him "Old."  (Said "Old's been around too long for us to keep calling him New.")  Ha!


Below: Breighan points out the "Smith Ladd 2005" dollar we signed and hung up at No Name (Key) Pub. The place is covered with dollar bills (walls, doors & ceilings).  Wow!  Great Pizza!

Charmaine's best friend Iris sitting with Bill's father, Joe.

God-Daughter Alison and our daughter Breighan (aka "Buddy" and "Biffy" respectively). Alison is Charmaine's best-friend Iris' daughter.  This picture was taken during a visit back home in Springfield.  Alison is our Grand-God-Daughter Hailey's mother.   Breighan and Alison call each other "Sister."  They are sisters in every sense of the word... and hearing Breigh say, "I just went shopping with Sister," just makes my heart so warm.  They both otherwise wouldn't have grown up with a sister... like so many other things, it was just meant to be.

      Father and Son       

Father and Son

William Dean Ladd II

February 25, 1974 - Memorial Day 2005

An adventurous son who never bought into what society's expectations are as to how to acquire the American dream.  His dreams were much bigger than that.  He dreamt of the world.  He saw the world.  He loved the oceans and was bound and determined to be in harmony with the seas.

Happy Sails, Bj.  We will always love you.



Friends & Family is Dedicated to the Loving Memories our good friend, Burt; and our Beloved Son, Bj.  Two young men, though each died in the prime of their lives,

Lived Life to Its Fullest.