Reading List 2022

Back in 2021 I read the book A Ripple in Time by Victor Zugg. I started 2022 with book 2, The Planters and 3 in the series, The Punishers. The description of the story on Amazon says,

“It started as a routine Miami to Charlotte flight for the passengers, crew, and Federal Air Marshal Stephen Mason. But a freak storm over the Atlantic propels the airliner unexplainably back in time to the early 18th century. They find themselves on the sparsely populated coast of the Carolina Colony. Charles Town is the only English settlement of any size in the area. It’s an inhospitable place of vast plantations, slavery, hostile natives, tall ships, and marauding pirates.”

I really enjoyed A Ripple in Time and was glad the he wrote two more books in the series. Zugg did a good job portraying the survival challenges a modern day time traveler would face and the solutions they could use to overcome them.

Early in the year I read The Gray Man by Mark Greaney. I had heard about the series plus it had been turned into a Netflix original series to be released in July of 2022. I was soon hooked on the series and bought them all to read. One of the things that I liked about the series is they did a great job describing the “trade craft” the Gray Man used to do thing like check for surveillance, loose a tail, travel under different identities and methods to avoid getting captured by his enemies. Plus there is plenty of action and combat in the series.

The Lonesome Dove television mini-series had been one of my favorites for years, but I had never read the book. This year I got it for one of my summer vacation books. The book was even better than the mini-series. Envisioning the scenes in the story was even better since I pictured the actors from the mini-series as I was reading. Robert Duvall was perfect for the role of Augustus (Guss) and Tommy Lee Jones was just as good in the role of McCall.

A notable re-read was the novel Confess, Fletch by Gregory McDonald. The character Fletch was made famous by the movies Fletch and Fletch Lives starring Chevy Chase. When I read that a new Fletch movie titled Confess, Fletch was going to be released I was interested. I had read the book (and most of the Fletch series) so I knew the movie had potential. In this movie Fletch was going to be played by Jon Hamm. The movie did a good job following the book. Although they did make some character changes that was disappointing. Jon Hamm did a great job with the role of Fletch!

Years ago I got into Bernard Conwell’s Richard Sharpe series. This year I decided to start the series where I had left off, which was was Sharpe’s Escape. This novel took place in 1810 at the Battle of Bussaco near the city of Coimbra in Portugal. I enjoyed the story so much that I bought more books in the series. I was able to find many of the places mentioned in the series on Google Maps and do research into the major battles mentioned in the series.

  1. The Planters: A Ripple In Time Book 2 – Victor Zugg
  2. The Punishers: A Ripple In Time Book 3 – Victor Zugg
  3. Yestertime: A Novel of Time Travel – Andrew Cunningham
  4. Time Shift: A Historical Novel Of Survival – Victor Zugg
  5. From Near Extinction: A Dystopian Novel of Survival and Adventure – Victor Zugg
  6. The Gray Man (A Gray Man Novel Book 1) – Mark Greaney
  7. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
  8. African Game Trails – Theodore Roosevelt
  9. On Target – (Gray Man 2) – Mark Greaney
  10. Ballistic – (Gray Man 3) – Mark Greaney
  11. Dead Eye – (Gray Man 4) – Mark Greaney
  12. Back Blast – (Gray Man 5) – Mark Greaney
  13. For the Wolf – Hanna Whitten
  14. Gunmetal Gray – (Gray Man 6) – Mark Greaney
  15. The Night She Disappeared – Lisa Jewell
  16. Agent in Place – (Gray Man 7) – Mark Greaney
  17. Timeline (Re-read) – Michael Crighton
  18. Mission Critical (Gray Man 8) – Mark Greaney
  19. One Minute Out (Gray Man 9) – Mark Greaney
  20. The Atmospherians – Alex McElroy
  21. Relentless (Grey Man 10) – Mark Greaney
  22. A Catalogue of Catastrophe: Chronicles of St Mary’s 13 – Jodi Taylor
  23. Sierra Six (Gray Man 13) – Mark Greaney
  24. The Yestertime Effect: A Novel of Time Travel (Yestertime Series Book 2) – Andrew Cunningham
  25. Unidentified: A Science-Fiction Thriller – Douglas E Richards
  26. Night of the Jabberwock – Fredric Brown
  27. Passin Through (Re-read) – Louis L’Amour
  28. Solar Plexus – Victor Zugg
  29. The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  30. Timeline (re-read) – Michael Crighton
  31. The Rational Male – Rollo Tomassi
  32. The Rational Male – Preventive Medicine – Rollo Tomassi
  33. The Rational Male – Positive Masculinity – Rollo Tomassi
  34. Lonesome Dove – Larry McMurtry
  35. Stolen Thoughts – Tim Tigner
  36. Dark Vector (NUMA book 19) – Graham Brown
  37. Do Overs – Jon Spoelstra
  38. The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
  39. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Noah Harari
  40. The Unplugged Alpha – Richard Cooper
  41. Confess, Fletch (re-read) – Gregory McDonald
  42. Sharpe’s Escape – Bernard Cornwell
  43. The Game – Neil Strauss
  44. Sharpe’s Battle – Bernard Cornwell
  45. Sharpe’s Company – Bernard Cornwell
  46. Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Mary Roach
  47. Sharpe’s Sword – Bernard Cornwell
  48. Sharpe’s Fury – Bernard Cornwell
  49. About Time (Time Police 4) – Jodi Taylor
  50. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
  51. Sharpe’s Enemy – Bernard Cornwell
  52. Sharpe’s Honor – Bernard Cornwell
  53. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  54. Sharpe’s Regiment – Bernard Cornwell
  55. Sharpe’s Siege – Bernard Corwell
  56. Clive Cussler’s Hellburner (The Oregon Files Book 16) – Mike Maden

Grand Cayman Island: Sergeant major nest at Devil’s Grotto July 21 2022

Towards the end of the dive I was hanging out under the boat and started watching a Sergent major fish. They are common throughout the Caribbean and I have seen hundreds (maybe thousands) of them over the years. But it’s still interesting to observe their behavior, especially when it comes to their nesting.

Wikipedia says, “The sergeant majors is an oviparous species in which the males create nests where the females to lay their egg masses on rocks, reef outcrops, shipwrecks, and pilings.[5] The males actively chase the females in courtship before the female releases approximately 200,000 ref, ovoid eggs which are attached to the substrate by a filament” does a good job explaining what happens next,

After building this nest, the male Sergeant Major will stay near the nest for several days to guard the eggs until they hatch. The female will leave during this time. The male will chase away all other fishes to keep the eggs from being eaten. The male Sergeant Major can be very aggressive during this time, and will even attack people in the water if they accidentally get too close to the nest. Although the Sergeant Major probably couldn’t hurt anyone, it will fearlessly try to drive away anybody that it thinks is too close to its nest.

Hiking Mt. Cardigan South Ridge Trail on September 24, 2022

The foliage was not at peak yet, but it was still colorful. I decided to hike Mt. Cardigan again but take the South Ridge Trail for some different views.

This trail offers a nice view of Newfound Lake.

Hikers can also see the Groton wind farm from the south ridge trail.

The final leg of the trail to the summit is quite steep but you get some great views.

Lots of people in the region complain about the wind farms. I have been near oil refineries (like Texas City near Galveston, Texas) and wind farms. Oil refineries are far more ugly.

I’m getting closer to the summit.

The last leg of the Clark Trail is very steep!

But you get some cool photos that illustrate the angle that we have to climb to get to the summit.

When I got to the summit the wind was strong and cold. I put every layer of clothing that I had in my backpack on. You can see the ripples from the wind on the rain puddle behind the fire tower.

I was surprised to see a squirrel stuck on one of the brackets on the side of the fire tower. The way the wind was blowing it’s no wonder it was scared to jump and get it self off of the tower.

Foliage Hike at Holt’s Ledge on the Appalachian Trail on October 8, 2022

I knew the foliage would peak around Indigenous Peoples day this year. The weather forecast for Saturday, October 8 was for a mostly sunny day with highs in the mid 50’s. In other words, a quintessential fall day. The top of Holt’s Ledge at the Dartmouth Ski-way in Lyme, NH is perfect for a foliage hike since it is high enough for great views of the color on the surrounding mountains, yet low enough so that you can still see individual trees in the valley below.

Top of Holt’s Ledge with Mt. Cube in the distance.
Top of Holt’s Ledge with Smart’s Mt. in the distance.
Zoom shot of Mt. Cube in Orford, NH
Panorama of Winslow Mt.
Vertical panorama of Winslow Mt and valley between Winslow and Holt’s Ledge.
View south towards Goose Pond and Clark Pond.

Kayaking at Sagamore Creek in Rye, NH on August 14, 2022

Back in July 2022 I took at kayak tour with Seven Rivers Paddling of Rye, NH. I took the Sagamore Creek tour. It was an excellent tour and I learned a lot about the area. I also found that I could launch my kayak at the marina for only $10. So I was finally able to get back to Sagamore Creek with my kayak.

Soon after launching at the marina I watched a Great Blue Heron fly into a pine tree on the other side of the creek. I paddled over to check it out.

I headed up the creek and encountered Lobster Boats, Cormorants and Canada Geese.

After passing the moored boats and docks along the shore I noticed a Heron flying by and heading around a small rocky point. This was good since I could stay hidden behind the rocks while paddling over for a photograph.

I could not believe my luck when another Heron flew over to join the first one that I was watching.

I continued on up the creek looking for more birds and wildlife. Sure enough, there were several Heron hanging out in the grass and fishing on the mud flats.

After a while I paddled back down Sagamore Creek and headed towards Newcastle and Portsmouth. I could see the Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth and Kittery on the Piscataqua River.

I could also see the Portsmouth Naval Prison. Wikipedia tells us that it’s a “former U.S. Navy and Marine Corps prison on the grounds of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) in Kittery, Maine. The building has the appearance of a castle. The reinforced concrete naval prison was occupied from 1908 until 1974.”

Next I paddled over to Leaches Island where I knew (from a previous kayak tour with Seven Rivers Paddling) there was a Bald Eagle nest way up in one of the pine trees. My luck was good and I was able to find the nest and see an eagle in it.

A little way to the right of the nest was an adult Bald Eagle! As I was taking photos a tour group from Seven Rivers Paddling came by to look at the eagle. I ended up going back to the marina with the group so that I could join then when they crossed the boat channels.

I’m looking forward to going back next summer!

Grand Cayman Island: Tarpon at Devil’s Grotto July 21, 2022

Another thing that I like about Devil’s Grotto are the tarpons that usually hang out on the reef.

I have seen many tarpon over they years and enjoy diving with them. The Florida Museum website tells us, “tarpon can also tolerate oxygen-poor environments due to a modified air bladder that allows them to inhale atmospheric oxygen.” They go on to explain,

This swim bladder contains spongy alveolar tissue and has a duct leading to the esophagus that the tarpon may fill directly with air gulped from the surface. This feature allows the tarpon to take oxygen directly from the atmosphere and increases its tolerance of oxygen-poor waters. In fact, studies have shown that tarpon must have access to atmospheric oxygen in order to survive, and that juvenile tarpon are obligatory air-breathers. Adults living in oxygen-rich waters still roll and gulp air, probably as an imitative pattern based on visual perception of other tarpon.

I was able to slowly swim into a small school of them during the Devil’s Grotto dive.

I must admit that I would like to catch some with a rod and reel at some point.

Grand Cayman Island: Hawksbill Sea Turtle at Devil’s Grotto July 21 2022

My last dive of the trip was to Devil’s Grotto. I had some great dives at this site back in 2019 so I was excited to be here. Unfortunately, the Silver-side minnows that I got to see back in 2019 at this site were not here this time. But I did have several great sightings and encounters. One of them was a Hawksbill Sea Turtle. I spotted it at the surface getting some air and was able to intercept it on the way down.

The NOAA Fisheries website tells us, “Hawksbill turtles are omnivorous (feeding on both plants and other animals), but their preferred food in many areas is sea sponges. They will also eat marine algae, corals, mollusks, tunicates, crustaceans, sea urchins, small fish, and jellyfish.”

I was able to extract a few still images from the video footage.

Grand Cayman Island: Sharks at Royal Palms Ledges July 20, 2022

I only spotted one small Nurse Shark during my 2019 trip to Grand Cayman island. So I was thrilled to have three Nurse Shark sightings during the dive at Royal Palms Ledges during the 2022 trip. Royal Palms Ledges is off of Seven Mile Beach in the area of the Royal Palms Beach front.

The first encounter was the best one since the shark got close enough for some good video footage. Unfortunately, my GoPro decided to flip from landscape view to portrait view and I did not realize in until it was too late. Needless to say, I was disappointed when I watched the video file. But I eventually figured out how to edit the video in Adobe Premiere Pro and flip the video back to landscape orientation.

I truly think this shark spotted me and swam over to check me out. It was fine with me since closer is better when it comes to underwater video footage.

During the second encounter, the Nurse Shark was swimming down the sand channel. I turned to look at the dive guide then looked back and then shark was gone. It turns out the shark had dropped down behind some coral and was hidden from me. I swam up the channel a few kicks and spotted it.

The third encounter was towards the end of the dive. A few other people in the group spotted the shark first and got my attention. I could not get so close for this one but it was a treat to watch it swim by.

Grand Cayman Island: Reef Squid at the Crevasse Dive Site July 19 2022

One of the dive sites that we visited on July 19th is named the Crevasse. It’s one of the sites that is south of the George Town Cruise Port and Sunset House.

I saw all of the usual tropical fish, but the big thrill was getting some close up video footage of a couple of reef squid.

The website tells us,

These animals are social creatures often found in small groups that communicate through a variety of complex signals. Both cuttlefish and squid communicate by controlling the pigment in their skin. Messages such as readiness to mate, sexual identification, and alarm are flashed through various colorful spots, blotches, and background color. To signal slight alarm, their brow ridges turn bright gold and their central arms turn white. Their entire body will pale when a squid retreats from a potential predator and in open water when faced with an extremely aggressive predator, reef squid can also hide themselves and confuse predators by ejecting a cloud of black ink. Retreating squid near the protection of the reef will often turn dark brown or reddish in color to match their surroundings.

I was also able to extract a few images from the video footage.

Grand Cayman Island: Diving on the wreck of the Oro Verde July 18, 2022

On Monday, July 18th I was on the wreck of the Oro Verde (which means green gold in English). During the dive a Porcupinefish swam over to check me out. I always enjoy watching these fish. The Florida Museum website tells us, “The spines all over its body are modified scales, and when it’s threatened, it intakes water, puffing up and making the spikes stand out.” The site also mentions, “They secrete a toxic skin substance so are usually considered poisonous, although they have been known to be eaten in Hawaii and Tahiti.”

The wreck has an interesting story behind it. Back in 1976 the Oro Verde was shipping bananas (a type of green gold). Local lore says the captain wanted to make one last trip to retire so he also had a large shipment of weed (the other type of green gold) on board. Well, the crew confronted the captain to get a share of the profits, took over the ship then accidentally got it stuck on the reef. The cops seized the ship then burned the weed to destroy it. The story says the wind changed direction and blew the smoke into Georgetown and everyone was stoned for a few days.

The Scuba Diver Life website explains

The ship sat on the reef until 1980, when the local dive community adopted the wreck. It was moved into shallower water and purpose-sunk, now functioning as an artificial reef in 60 feet (18 m) off Seven Mile Beach. Divers can reach the wreck via a long swim from shore, but it’s more relaxing as a shallow second boat dive. It’s also a good spot for a night dive, with the scattered wreckage providing shelter for octopus, lobster and eels.

The site goes on to explain, “Various hurricanes and storms have dispersed the wreckage over the years, so there are two moorings and a wide area to explore. Engines, pistons and other ship parts lay about.”