When you’re out “on the salt,” the work is rough and the storms have no mercy. Yet the sun never fails to reemerge from behind the clouds, and if you look hard, a chuckle can be found. Through this remarkable collection of stories—built from over 40 years working on the water—Lon captures the thrill of the action, the pain of the struggle, and the power of a good laugh. Because whether working as mate, quartermaster or captain, humor was always close by when Lon was on deck.
Salty takes you into this world filled with terror and triumph, and delivers a taste of an unfathomable life, working at sea.
Praise for Salty:
"These are the stories Lonnie would tell on dark nights in the wheelhouse that would keep us in stitches. Prepare to be highly entertained!"
- Captain Eric Treece ("E.T.")
S.S. Wilfred Sykes (Present)
S.S. Edward L. Ryerson (2006-2009)
"...The stories of this man's long and fascinating maritime career found within these pages will entertain the h*** out of you. I encourage you to cast off and begin the pleasurable journey to where this book will take you. Congratulations Lon, your 'running lights are burning bright.' Happy reading to everyone."
- Peter K. Jongewaard
Able Seaman, S.S. Sewell Avery
US Steel Great Lakes Fleet, 1975
"Chapter after chapter, I found myself hanging on every word. Batten down the hatches and settle in for a wild, highly entertaining ride!"
- Roger LeLievre
Author/Editor of Know Your Ships: Guide to Boats & Boatwatching on the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway
"Working with Lon has always been an adventure. The weirdest situations arise and strangest people always seem to appear in his everyday life. If these tales don't surprise and entertain you then you might want to reflect a little because you may have been one of his encounters."
- Captain Garth J. Law ("Sharkey")
Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry Line
"I have known Lonnie Calloway for over 15 years and sailed on a number of vessels with him. Lonnie is a straight shooter and someone of strong moral fiber, he is a great shipmate and an all-around good guy with an awesome sense of humor. He has done many things in his merchant marine career, some of which he will share with you in the following pages. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do. Semper Paratus and God Speed, Lonnie."
- Joe Parsons II
Chief Engineer, Steam, Motor and Gas Turbine, Unlimited Horsepower
United States Merchant Marine
"As a former Coastie, I served with Lon aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Woodrush (WLB-407) in Sitka, Alaska. We worked hard and partied harder. It was a blast! This is an epic read. I could smell the salt air, and feel the spray and the deck rolling under my feet!"
- William Zimmerman
FDNY-Fire Dept. of New York
32 year Veteran: Engine 222 ("Triple Deuce")
"For over 40 years, it's been my pleasure to have called Captain Calloway my watch partner, shipmate, and once, my best man. Traditionally, sea stories begin one of two ways: 'It was a dark and stormy night,' or 'Now this is no s***.' Since I was with Lon on many of his adventures and can vouch for the accuracy of the insanities, the second beginning would be appropriate. Enjoy the book!"
- Rick ("Ricardo") Gay
Able Seaman (AB) Unlimited
U.S. Merchant Marine
"For those of you in search of the true tales of a modern-day Ernest Hemingway, the sea stories in this book will not disappoint! Captain Lonnie delivers true shipboard experiences of his life on the seas told in an uninhibited and humorous manor. This book chronicles tales of a fading era through the lives of 'true men of the sea'."
- Captain William R. LaParl
Unlimited Master/First Class Pilot-Great Lakes
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Lon Calloway grew up in Upper Michigan, an ambitious oldest child with aspirations of living an exciting life. By the time he finished high school, he had lived in Norway as a foreign-exchange student, and touched down in Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Hawaii, American Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Lon had big plans.
After three years of studies at Michigan State to become a teacher, he applied to the Maritime academy in Traverse City, Michigan. After all, he’d been drawing pictures of boats since he was a small boy. But upon learning he would have to start over from scratch, he decided on another plan. Lon joined the Coast Guard.
There he was guaranteed to receive navigation training—for free, no less—plus he would get paid. And they promised duty in Alaska. Win-win-win. Only later would he discover Alaska was considered a Coast Guard penal colony, and that a posting there wasn’t difficult to get. In the end, the price Lon paid was higher than expected, but he did get all the training he was after. All in all, he was pleased with the arrangement.
After completing his service in the Coast Guard, Lon spent a couple years on Great Lakes iron ore freighters. He was working eight hours on and then 16 hours off, with nothing to do but watch the water roll past. This, he knew, was not the life he’d envisioned for himself.
After a few semi-permanent positions, Lon became wary of taking a permanent job with a company where a dispatcher would dictate when he could get off the boat. Instead he opted to carve a career out of being a relief. He would fly in like Superman to save some poor soul’s day, who couldn’t go home until their relief showed up. Who doesn’t want to be that hero? If they liked him and he liked them, he could extend his stay another 30-days, allowing another guy to go on vacation.
Over the years, Lon had affiliations with five maritime unions, plus he had an agent. Typically, within 24-hours of making a call, he could be back on boat and geared up for his next adventure. The connections Lon made this way served him very well, allowing him to forego the more traditional path of many other shipmates, that often involved working in an office or becoming a dispatcher themselves.
In 40-plus years, Lon did relief work on over 85 boats and ships including a 40-foot wooden halibut long-liner in Alaska, a Steel shrimp dragger in Key West, a research ship in Hawaii, a Coast Guard cutter in the Gulf of Alaska, a ferry boat to Mackinac Island and various ferries on the Alaska Marine Highway System, plus a 1000-foot monster of an iron ore freighter on the Great Lakes. Lon began his career as a dishwasher and ended it holding Unlimited Captain/First Class Pilot papers for Great Lakes inland waters, as well as Master of Towing papers for work on tugboats in coastal waters.
All in all, Captain Lon has had the time of his life, enjoying every colorful adventure as well as the hard work that went along with them. Lon is now retired and living in Indian River where he and Lisa offer history tours on their charming wooden boat.