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June 27, 2013
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Cruise Tahoe with Captain Bucko’s on board guide

TAHOE, Calif. — The life of local author Roger Huff has been rather dull and uneventful. He grew up on the mighty Mississippi, a few miles upstream from where the spirits of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn still roam; and spent his college years both on and under the waters off the Bahamas and Florida Keys, working with sharks and diving for sunken treasure. He then joined the Navy, and during the next 21 years worked on an underwater habitat, supported several space missions, developed submarine and anti-submarine tactics.

His careers took him from the Mediterranean to Micronesia, and most of his stories are based on personal experiences and characters he met along the way. One of them was a colorful and rather unscrupulous old salt who called himself Captain Bucko, and in doing so provided the pen name for Roger’s line of popular nautical books.

As legend has it, in southern salty climes, the illustrious Captain Bucko, a major corporation and two large yachts played a nefarious game of hide and seek. The well-insured corporation had its eye on a 102-foot yacht, and told Capt. Bucko if you can make the old yacht disappear, it’s yours.

Capt. Bucko swam about half a block through the water, dragged himself up on the company’s waterfront lawn, sputtering he had taken the yacht out and sadly, it sank in the deepest depths.

The corporation did get the new yacht. It is suspected the original yacht was painted gray and cruised up an estuary, with Capt. Bucko at the helm.

“He was the closet thing to a pirate I ever knew,” said Huff.

Huff honed his communication skills while teaching at the secondary, college, and post-graduate levels, and his writing style is known for its technical detail and use of humor to make the most difficult information entertaining and easy to understand. After a second 14-year long career in information technology, he founded Write Aweigh, and has since written more than 100 feature articles for national magazines plus a truly incredible variety of books. With Captain Bucko at the helm, Write Aweigh is on course.

Captain Bucko’s Onboard Cruising Guide to Lake Tahoe

This one-of-a-kind book is a complete resource for boaters at Tahoe. It enables boaters to take interesting self-guided tours, with each chapter’s pearls of wisdom following Lake Tahoe’s shoreline in a clockwise direction with GPS locations. Many of Huff’s images appear in the book: from the water, giving users a real-life perspective of marinas, restaurants and landmarks.

The pages are packed with practical information, rare photos, trivial tidbits, and humorous anecdotes about a number of the area’s colorful characters. It is both informative and entertaining.

Do you know where to find: marine fuel and service, boater-friendly restaurants, the lake’s deepest point, or the nearest MedEvac location? Do you know about Hobart’s infamous party house, Bill the Lion, the legend(s) of Eagle Rock, what created the “bear slides” on the eastern shore; or that there was a fake Indian Village at the mouth of Emerald Bay?

Do you know: the nautical Rules of the Road, boating laws, and regulations for Tahoe; how to make distress calls, the meanings of common weather bulletins, how to handle high waves or heavy weather, who to contact for vessel towing services, and where to go ashore afterward to share embellished sea stories over a Wet Woody or an order of famous French-fried zucchini?

The book is bound like a spiral notebook, so on-board use is exceptionally convenient, easily placed flat for a reference.

If you are uncertain or unaware of any of the above, grab a copy of “Captain Bucko’s Onboard Cruising Guide to Lake Tahoe,” at the Bookshelf in Truckee, Obexer’s Boat Company in Homewood, the Gatekeeper’s Museum and Tahoe Marine Supply in Tahoe City, the Sierra Boat Company in Carnelian Bay, The Potlach in Incline Village, and elsewhere around the lake.

Captain Bucko’s Nauti-Words Handbook

“I always liked words,” the author admits, “and have been using some ever since I was much younger.” This glimpse of Huff’s slightly off-beat humor provides a hint at why this nautical dictionary fires a warning shot across the bow of sea snobs and humorless historians. Whether you’re a pollywog, a shellback, or simply want to sound like a pirate; you are sure to find its captivating sea stories, rare graphics, and intriguing insights into the origins of more than 800 terms and common phrases are both interesting and a lot of fun to read.

Do you know the meanings of starboard, larboard, and garboard; and the origins of nautical terms like head, galley, and poop deck? Are you aware that many everyday expressions, including: “A stitch in time saves nine,” “Don’t let the cat out of the bag,” “Son of a gun,” “Showing your true colors,” “A cup of Joe,” “Feeling blue,” and “Three sheets to the wind” all have nautical origins?

Captain Bucko’s Nauti-Words Handbook (ISBN 0-595-31529-1) makes a prized addition to the sea bags of salty dogs and the bookshelves of landlubbers who don’t know halyards from hawse pipes. It’s the perfect gift for boaters, maritime history buffs, and nautical book collectors. Order your copies from bookstores or online at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.

Captain Bucko’s Water & Weather Handbook

Although they encounter water and weather on every voyage, many recreational boaters don’t know as much as they should (or think they do) about their natural environment. As an oceanographer and marine meteorologist, the author noticed most so-called “Weather Books” do not adequately discuss waves, currents, tides, etc.; while most oceanography texts are too darn boring to enjoy reading. “Captain Bucko’s Water & Weather Handbook” is the only one written by a true professional and lifelong boater that covers both facets of the environment.

Each year, boaters needlessly endanger themselves, their families, their friends, and their rescuers merely because they don’t take time to understand the marine environment.

The next time you meet a nautical know-it-all, ask them where they would expect to encounter The Witch of November, or what causes tidal bores.

“Captain Bucko’s Water & Weather Handbook” (ISBN 0-595-39687-9); and you can get it from any good bookstore, or online at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.

Captain Bucko’s Galley Slave Cookbook

Landlubber’s cookbooks are basically boring because repeatedly reading recipes for mundane meatloaf and green bean casseroles is less exciting than watching weeds wilt. Those of us who go down to: seas in ships, lakes in launches, rivers on rafts, bayous in boats, and ponds in punts, are much more adventurous and inquisitive about what we eat. We’ve got taste, even if it’s mostly in our mouths.

“Captain Bucko’s Galley Slave Cookbook” is definitely different, and a lot more fun and entertaining to read. Even dedicated non-cooks will enjoy reading its stories behind famous recipes from worldwide ports of call including: New Orleans, Key West, Hawaii, New England, Cuba, Nova Scotia, Tahiti, St. Louis, Jamaica, Memphis, Greece, San Francisco, Greece, Shanghai, and Lake Tahoe. It even includes authentic pirate recipes for folks who desire to dine like Captain Jack Sparrow.

The next time you have a boarding party, serve some Piña Colada Shrimp from Puerto Rico, Jambalaya from Cajun country, Millionaire’s salad from Newport, Coconut Chicken from Samoa, Bean Hole beans from Maine, and Gooey Butter Cake from St. Louis; all washed down with a real Cuban Mojito!

If you are feeling a little more adventurous, try the recipes for authentic pirate Salmagundi, Stuffed Hen, Ship’s Biscuits, and Royal Navy Grog. And when you are really, really, hungry, there is even the official recipe for SOS from the U.S. Navy!

“Captain Bucko’s Galley Slave Cookbook” (ISBN 0-595-44537-3) contains more than 100 famous recipes for: appetizers, salads, entrees, veggies, breads, desserts, and beverages There’s even a chapter called “So You Want to be a Pirate?” that may change your career plans. Get your copies at all good bookstores, or online at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com.

The wide variety of Captain Bucko books is amazing enough, but Roger has also written several collections of short stories and a romance adventure novel. All the profits from the latter are donated to top-rated charities that support our military service members and their families. To learn more, www.WriteAweigh.com.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 3, 2013 10:05AM Published Jun 27, 2013 04:20PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.