Ocean of Time

by Robert A. Duke

Dreams are harmless (even beneficial) until you try to make them your reality. Having realized a fragment of his dream-to see the world from the deck of his own boat-pushed Robert Duke to the precipice of a life-altering decision. He leased his home, stored a few coveted possessions, persuaded his wife to forfeit her career, and turned his back on a lucrative consulting business, then set sail to Baja, Mexico, for a year. He treasured the experience, though it had nearly bankrupted him, but he was determined to keep “boating.”

Compromising a dream, he found, didn’t ruin it; it was adjusting it to reality, he told himself. With his wife Shearlean’s collaboration, they embarked on a forty-five year adventure of managing a time-versus-subsistence lifestyle that proved ultimately prescient and fulfilling: Shearlean exited conventional journalism before newspapers failed and Robert found he could spend more time with people’s boats than if he owned one. After forty-five years, the lifestyle they eventually crafted was more satisfying, Robert found, than if his original dream had been granted.

Ocean of Time recounts the couple’s passage from dream through fruition, across the oceans of the world, as dedicated, but part time voyagers, rich with time, and trusting in serendipity. The memoir summarizes the couple’s course through the risky shoals and secure anchorages of lives lived on the edge of convention ending with the final adventure of Shearlean’s calamitous eighteen-month struggle with terminal brain cancer.

Robert reflects on how the lifestyle he and Shearlean embraced endowed them with the fortitude and means to fully live everyday of her last eighteen months, until her painless death upon awakening in bed together one morning in February 2011.

About the Author

Robert Bob Duke has been a full-time nonfiction writer his entire professional life. He has written marketing, training, and technical material for nuclear weapons maintenance, the aerospace industry, computer hardware and software, manned spacecraft, and the petroleum industry. His clients included Northrop Corporation, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, IBM, Xerox, GTE Information Systems, Control Data Corporation, Unisys (nee Burroughs), and other For-tune 500 companies. Duke made his way into freelance writing in 1979, ran his own publishing business, and supplemented his income by producing articles for national and regional newspapers and magazines. His favorite subject? Boating. Since 1982, he’s authored more than six hundred boating, fishing, and travel articles. He was a regular writer for Sea magazine’s Hands-On Boater, Mexico Report, and Stem to Stern columns. He was Northwest Editor for Dockside, and contributed features about renovating, commissioning, and repowering yachts. In an effort to have his cake and eat it too, Duke managed corporate communications for the world’s largest avocado growers’ co-operative in Santa Ana, California, where he worked twenty-five hours per week with summers off for nine years. This allowed him to pursue his boating interests and to travel all summer with his professor wife, Shearlean, who also had summers off. Eventually the couple relocated to Bellingham, Washington, where Duke began writing course material and sales and marketing literature for Alaska on the Home Shore, a Southeast Alaska sea kayak charter business. He developed and co-instructed Home Shore’s Inside Passage Training Cruise.

In August 2009, when Shearlean was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, Duke became her full-time caregiver and advocate, working 24/7, 365 days a year for eighteen months, managing her treatment and care. He wrote Waking Up Dying and devoted most of his recent writing to raising funds for the Shearlean Duke Memorial Public Relations Scholarship, which he founded at Western Washington University where she was working as chair of the Journalism Department when she died.

Product Details

  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 294 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1736535851

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Posted on

September 30, 2021

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