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From blueberry farming to sailing to writing

Curtis Bush holds a copy of his book "From Blueberries to Blue Seas" at Spirit Lake Marina. (Photo by Teri Cadeau)1 / 2
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Proctor native Curtis Bush estimates he's had about 300 different jobs.

"That's probably an exaggeration, but it feels that way," Bush said.

Now he can add one more to his list: author. He has released his first book, "“From Blueberries to Blue Seas."

The book covers Bush's sailing adventures over the past 10-20 years. He graduated from Proctor High School in 1967 and traveled around for school and work for several years. In 1980, he started a blueberry farm in the Cloquet area and "started to have enough free time to start thinking what to do with it."

"I didn't start right away with sailing. I'm more of a canoeist. Once in awhile, I would have a favorable wind and would set up a sail in the canoe. And that felt so good. So I started to think about sailing," Bush said. After a friend in Duluth took him out on her sailboat, Bush began looking for a sailboat. He found one on the side of the road while driving in the country one day.

"It looked forlorn, like it need to get into the water. So I bought it and started fixing it up and making it sailable," Bush said.

Bush's first boat was 12 feet long and called the Seamouse. He took it on small trips around Pike Lake and in the Duluth Superior Harbor. After a sail down to Port Wing, Wis., he decided he was going to need a bigger boat. As his sailing skills grew, so did the size of his boats. Eventually he graduated up to a 28-foot Pearson Triton which he called "Sweet Breeze."

"She's the one I took out on the Great Lakes to the North Atlantic," Bush said.

That trip is the main focus of Bush's book. His journey from Spirit Lake Marina in Duluth to Westbrook, Conn. took about three months and covered an estimated 3,500 miles.

"A lot happened between here and there, that's for sure," Bush said. "It had been a lot of hard sailing."

Once he arrived in Connecticut, Bush decided he'd sailed enough and sold the boat.

"After one more spray of salty seawater in my face and I said ... well, you won't want to print the words I said. But I decided that was it, so I took a sharp right turn and ended up in Harry's Marina in Connecticut. That's where I left the boat and bought a car and drove back here," Bush said.

Bush no longer has a sailboat. He's back to canoes.

"I'm back on small lakes, too. I love the intimacy of small lakes," Bush said.

The winter after the big sail he spent holed up in his cabin on the Whiteface River writing his book about the adventure.

"I'd sit there with the wood stove crackling in the background and my dog on the floor. I disciplined myself. I'd get up every morning at 4:30 a.m. and try to write until noon. That's how I got it done," Bush said.

The book is published by Savage Press of Superior. Bush will be selling his book at the Gales of November on Nov. 4-5 and at the Festival of Trees on Nov. 12-13.

Teri Cadeau

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Budgeteer.

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