David Roper

Dave Roper is a regular columnist for Points East. Next to sailing, telling and writing stories is Dave’s favorite pastime.  His most recent book, Watching for Mermaids was a three-time Boston Globe bestseller www.watchingformermaids.net. His writing has been published in eighteen languages.  Dave has been a yacht delivery skipper, captain of a 135’ Mississippi River stern wheel cruise ship, and life-long cruiser along the coast of Maine aboard his 31’ Independence sloop, Elsa Marie.  Dave is the founder of A-Script, a career advisory and resume writing firm in Marblehead, MA.  davidroper00@gmail.com
Photo courtesy David RoperThese red circles denote the shell piles -- or middens -- left behind by an ancient people on Snow Island.

In search of the Red Paint People

August 24, 2020 at 12:00 am

By David Roper This year’s cruise to Maine was supposed to be a quiet, reflective time spent mostly anchored alone in a bay I’ve always loved. For the first time in many years, my wife would sail with me on the Downeast leg from our homeport of Marblehead, Mass. IRead More

Shutterstock photo

A fairy tale for grownups

July 25, 2020 at 12:00 am

By David Roper For Points East Once upon a time there was a man who felt that his life was a canvas painted in various shades of gray. His job lacked challenge, his friends were dull, and his girl didn’t cast her eyes down and blush when he whispered toRead More

Photo by Bryan BurnsThe author in a contemplative moment. Last, big voyage? We all think about where and when that might be.

Sailing way into the past

June 22, 2020 at 12:00 am

“We’re getting to be antiques,” I whispered to Elsa, as I collapsed into the cockpit after dropping the old Herreshoff anchor 50 yards off a nearly abandoned fisherman’s wharf. It was the end of a brisk fall solo sail, a late cruise, as I was reluctant to let go ofRead More

Life’s a beach . . . or is it?

Life’s a beach . . . or is it?

May 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

By David Roper In these times of COVID-19, statistics show that many people are virtually escaping to paradise via YouTube. If you Google “Sail to Paradise,” you’ll get 40,300,000 hits. As of today, there are 1,300,000,000 YouTube videos out there, movies from every imaginable category. So, if you can’t actuallyRead More

Photo courtesy Dave RoperThe author in "hunkered-down" mode, reading 1/2 hour of every two.

The case of the missing Maglite

April 20, 2020 at 12:00 am

The Buddhist desire is to empty oneself in order to be filled. In this time of “social distancing” we certainly have an opportunity to slow time’s winged chariot, to empty ourselves of all the chatter and clatter of everyday life, to fill up the spaces often so wanting. Today, aRead More

The author's son, Nicky

Rot in the bullshead

March 16, 2020 at 12:00 am

By David Roper For Points East Editor’s note: Dave Roper is on vacation, so we’re cutting him a little slack this month. Here is one of our favorite columns of his, which ran in April, 2013. They owned a small inn on the coast of Maine, and they came inRead More

Beaufort and the blowhards

Beaufort and the blowhards

January 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

As with fish tales and fishermen, we boaters have a tendency to exaggerate regarding the size of the wind. And why not? After all, there’s nothing so boring as an average statistic. Exaggerating wind speed, especially if you’ve been out in it on the water, makes one more of aRead More

Shutterstock photoÒOut on a line boat, itÕs like youÕre in purgatory. The other world, the one you come from, you sometimes just ache for it.Ó Ð Big Red

Saltwater sores and all

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

Romance: a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life. I was in my mid-20s. A hopeless romantic. Alongside me sometimes stood a mailman or a UPS driver, sometimes both, by the pavilion on the right bank of the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minnesota. Silent besideRead More

Photo courtesy everythingmermaid.comThe story of mermaids goes back to AD 100, when Roman gods took pity on a beautiful priestess named Atargatis.

‘Beyond Mermaids’

September 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

In ancient Roman times, Atargatis was a beautiful and powerful priestess who fell in love with a human shepherd boy. He, simply being mortal, did not survive her divine lovemaking and died. She became pregnant with his baby and soon became distraught and remorseful. After the birth of a babyRead More

A beacon of sound and support (in the fog)

A beacon of sound and support (in the fog)

August 26, 2019 at 12:00 am

What often happens in Maine did: fog. How thick was it? Suffice to say, one year we could only electronically determine that we had “made harbor” each night. Even then, we were only half certain we were “in harbor” at all. Rarely did we see the shore. Rarely did weRead More