By Tim Hauserman
“He has searched for sunken ships, been in the Navy for decades … met his wife, Janet, while forming a rock band. … And, he knows a thing or two about pirates.”
Roger Huff’s most recent book is “Tales and Towns along the Truckee: 100 years of history.”
Long-time Tahoe lover Roger Huff began scuba diving at the age of 13, and later earned degrees in oceanography and biology. He has searched for sunken ships, been in the Navy for decades, and worked as a technology specialist for a corporation. He met his wife, Janet, while forming a rock band and they’ve been together for 50 years. She and her twin sister, Judy, became the singers. Now, he is a writer, with a long list of featured articles and nine published books to his credit. And, he knows a thing or two about pirates.
Huff grew up in Illinois and went to work at a young age doing everything from delivering papers to installing tombstones. He earned his degrees from the University of Miami, where his love affair with water began. While searching for treasure ships off the Florida Coast, he met the colorful and nefarious character named Captain Bucko, who would more then three decades later become the pen name for four of his pirate-oriented books.
In 1968, Huff began his 21-year career in the Navy. He wrote software to predict high surf in Hawaii, developed both submarine and anti-submarine warfare tactics, worked on a deep water salvage project, charted the ocean floor in some of the remotest parts of the Pacific, and attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey to study meteorology.
His meteorological training led him to the task of handling weather predictions for three Apollo space missions headed for the moon. His job was to provide weather information before take off and landing to let NASA know where the weather was safe to land in case of an emergency. One of his missions was Apollo 13, which sent him rushing back to work since the mission was aborted and the astronauts needed to return to earth early.
After retiring from the Navy, he was an IT specialist for another 14 years, before discovering his passion for writing in 2002. He wrote for boating magazines at first, with more than 100 feature articles published, and then wrote his first book, “Captain Bucko’s Nauti-Words Handbook,” a humorous description of all words nautical. His “Captain Bucko’s Galley Slave Cookbook” includes recipes from waterfront restaurant locations around the world including Sunnyside and Gar Woods. He wrote his “Water and Weather Handbook” because he was the only person in the Navy that had degrees in both oceanography and meteorology.
Huff has also produced two books with a Tahoe focus: “Onboard Cruising guide to Lake Tahoe,” which provides detailed information on boating around the lake, and “Tales and Towns along the Truckee: 100 years of history,” which is a historical reference book on the Truckee River’s colorful history and stories.
While Huff has been a prolific writer he says, “I was never very good at writing. I tend to be too succinct. I was terrible at essay questions in school. I cover the basics, and then I have to go back to flush it out several times.”
He said his biggest mistake in his writing career was writing a novel, finding it too much work. He feels his proudest and most unique writing accomplishment is the book “Caution! Reading this book can make you think!” The book is designed to be a brain workout, a way to stimulate the brain to produce independent thinking. It took Huff three years of research and two years to write the book.
Huff’s connection to Tahoe began in 1973 when he and his wife went into partnership with another couple to buy a second home in South Lake Tahoe. While Huff was spending a year on a ship, the other couple went through a bitter divorce and they had to sell the house. Roger and Janet moved to the North Shore in 1976 becoming one of the initial investors in Granlibakken, which was known then as Four Seasons and was emerging from bankruptcy.
In 1986, with the end of his naval career, the Huff’s were able to buy the home they live in now in The Highlands. Their love of the mountains though can’t keep them away from the ocean so they also have a home in Monterey.
These days Huff says he “enjoys boating, fishing, something faintly resembling golf, and giving talks to anyone interested in How To Talk Like A Pirate, local area history, or my typically dull and boring life.” And, of course working on that next book and next adventure.
For more information, visit writeaweigh.com.