Our good friend Brendan McHugh took this photo of Bob and I standing on Topaz’s bow at Honolulu’s Ala Wai Boat Harbor, some years ago. You can see the mooring lines holding us to the pier — 800-row — out by the lava rock breakwater. This is easily one of the most stunning views any harbor can offer. And its not only the view — sailors’ pubs, yacht clubs, swim beaches, shopping malls and restaurants are close at hand. By the looks of our smiling faces we’re in heaven!

But harbors are more than parking lots for boats. They’re diverse neighborhoods. The people who live and work there aren’t all rich yacht owners — in fact, many are living hand-to-mouth and doing all they can to keep their home afloat. Hawaii’s harbors may be Fiddler’s Green for some lucky sailors, but they can be an elusive paradise.

In writing the Topaz Chronicles, a sailing memoir to be published later this year, I came across a short story I wrote in 2009. Set in Honolulu’s Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor; it concerns a man, a former sailor and surfer, who is down on his luck — until he is fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.

“Paradise; On the Edge and Slipping” was inspired by real people we knew during our Ala Wai years, and real incidents. You might call it a fleeting fictional memoir…

Honolulu Magazine gave Paradise; On the Edge and Slipping a “Runner-Up” award (one of five) in its 22nd Annual Fiction Contest (March; 2010). The story was not published at that time.

“Paradise; On the Edge and Slipping…”   is now available on Amazon Kindle as a single short story. From Yours, truly.