October 31, 2022
October 30, 2022
Disclaimer: I was hesitant to post a review, as this book was written by my husband, but I want to share what I enjoyed about the story. I hope to minimize my personal bias.
Later, I would enjoy going out on Hobie Cats and a few 20-plus foot sailboats in San Diego, but I can count those occasions on one hand. In the late 80s, my husband and I started dreaming about buying a Catalina, but a move to Nebraska took the wind out of our sails, so to speak. Looking back, I wonder just how much I would have enjoyed spending time on a boat on the Pacific Ocean. It's huge, unpredictable and the waves are much bigger than those on the lakes of Whiskey Town and Howard Prairie. And I am prone to seasickness!
Rod has always been enthusiastic about sailing, reading numerous books on the subject (he's read Chapman: The Boater's Handbook more than once), and dreaming of one day owning a boat. Nautical books (even sailing memoirs) weren't of interest to me, but Rod had a copy of Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steve Callahan, and with all our talks about sailing, I decided to give it a read sometime in the late 80s. I don't remember much about the book, but after recently glancing at a copy, I discovered that Callahan's voyage began just shy of two years before Marv Creamer's. I wonder if they knew one another. If not personally, they certainly must have known of each other.
Rod and I never did buy a boat, but we've cruised the San Juan Islands (on a 48' Richardson cabin cruiser) with my dad and stepmom, as well as a wonderful day trip on a catamaran from St. Thomas to St. John. I've also had the pleasure of spending two weeks on a river boat, cruising the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers with my mom. But all these experiences were peaceful and calm. Well, almost all. We did experience a problem with the bilge pump on my dad's boat; for several moments I was afraid the boat might start to sink, and we would have to swim to shore in the dark! Oh, and there was also the time (actually, there were two separate instances) when a fan belt broke on one of the two engines (again in my dad's boat) and we had to limp along, in Puget Sound, on one engine to reach a marina for repairs. But none of these events were as terrifying as those that Marv Creamer and his crew faced as they sailed around the world without any instrumentation: no GPS, no compass, no sextant, not even a clock or watch. And, their amazing adventure took place on the Globe Star, a 35-foot sailboat. They experienced gales, huge seas, fog in heavily traveled shipping lanes, and the doldrums. They went for many weeks without seeing land, nor speaking to anyone but one another.
While chatting with Rod about Sailing by Starlight (from the safe perch of one of our neighborhood benches overlooking the ocean, watching the enormous waves crash against the bluff), I told him that I would have curled up in a ball in the v-berth, sobbing in terror, if I had to be on such a voyage at Creamer's. I'm sure even an experienced sailor would feel some fear and anxiety with each crashing wave, a galley fire, or a knockdown, but they would also know what to do in those situations. At least if a disaster strikes while we're traveling in our motorhome, there's very little risk of drowning!
Sailing by Starlight is a compelling read about a sixty-six-year-old retired geography professor who was able to fulfill a lifetime dream and prove that ancient peoples could sail across massive oceans (perhaps even around the world) without anything but their intellect, bravery and senses. I was pleased to discover that over the years, I've picked up a general understanding of some basic nautical terminology in my brief encounters on boats: port & starboard, cleats & fenders, fore & aft, fo'c'sle & salon, and coming-about and jibe (the latter of which I accidentally discovered off the shores of Beaufort, N.C.). So, as I began reading Rod's book, I wasn't bothered by the usage of specific vernacular known to more seasoned sailors. Initially, I thought a glossary might be useful, but flipping back and forth would only interrupt the narrative, causing a loss in momentum and tension. Any words or phrases with which I was not familiar (e.g., horse latitudes, heave-to, windlass), were easily understood in the context of the passage.
Rich in detail, with mounting tension, Sailing by Starlight is sure to appeal to a broad range of readers, avid sailors and armchair travelers not excluded. Rod sets the scenes so vividly, delivering an ultra-satisfying read for which he should be enormously proud. I know I am.
It's rare that I reread books, and even more rare that I'm tempted to re-read a book upon completion, but I felt that way about Sailing by Starlight. I'm not interested in owning a boat, but I do enjoy a thrilling nautical tale. Maybe it's time to finally give Moby Dick another chance...
Note to reader: I rarely read an author's footnotes, whether included on the appropriate page or in a collection at the back of the book. I encourage you to read Sailing by Starlight "Notes," which provide additional information that would otherwise have detracted from the flow of the narrative.
Click here to view videos and images from Sailing by Starlight.
October 28, 2022
October 26, 2022
October 18, 2022
This arrived last night!
Sailing by Starlight is the story of the adventure of a lifetime—in fact, of many lifetimes. In the early 1980s, retired geography professor Marvin Creamer set out to do what hadn’t been done for a thousand years—if indeed it had ever been done at all: Marv and his crew boarded a 35’ sailboat named Globe Star and set out into the frigid Atlantic, planning to sail around the world without the use of any instruments. There was no sextant aboard. No compass. No chart-plotter. No GPS. No radar. Not even a stopwatch. Creamer wanted to prove to the world that it was possible for ancient mariners to have crossed the largest seas, perhaps even sailed around the world, using only their brains, their experience, their sense, and their courage. In attempting to prove his point, Creamer would push his boat and his crew to the limit—and occasionally beyond.
Travel with Creamer as Globe Star sails around the perilous Horn, across the dangerous and tumultuous Tasman Sea, and into an active war zone. Sail around the world with a man who was taken prisoner by an idea, a man obsessed with proving a point, and who would let neither 40-foot waves nor fractious crewmembers deter him.
October 17, 2022
October 15, 2022
October 13, 2022
I told myself all along that I was writing for my eyes alone, without the least intention of showing it to a publisher. If I'd had any thoughts of that I shouldn't have enjoyed writing it so much. But when it was finished I couldn't help wanting to show it to somebody to find out what they thought of it. When I read it through it seemed as if it was written in children's language, but off the beam for children. If was no good offering it as a children's book, but I couldn't think what sort of grown-up people would swallow it.
I didn't care for any of the characters and felt that Mr. Stevens was vain and self-centered. I would have liked to have learned more about Mrs. Stevens whose personality we are only given a vague impression. As others have remarked, this is a quiet book with not much in the way of action, and I must admit that I was bored, only reading to the very end on the chance that something momentous occurs.
October 12, 2022
October 7, 2022
October 4, 2022
Deadwood - We continue to watch this while traveling in the RV. It's just as good as the first time we watched it.
We spent an afternoon wandering around Whitefish, MT and went into Bookworks, a nice independent bookstore. The organization/layout of the store was somewhat odd, but I managed to find a couple of books that I've been eager to read. The store also carries a large selection of greeting cards and gift items, but it was lunchtime and we were starving, so I didn't linger.
Missoula, MT is another nice town to explore and we found a small, independent bookstore (Fact & Fiction) with a good selection of new releases and local history. I bought one book, but since it's a future gift, I won't share a photo.
I rarely buy books for myself, but when we're traveling, I'm inspired to visit and support the local independent bookstores.
I was saddened by the news of Queen Elizabeth's death, and was touched by this sweet image that appeared in my newsfeed.
I was also heartbroken to learn that the husband of my dear friend, Robin, had passed away on the 21st. Robin (of A Fondness For Reading) and I have been blogging friends for many, many years. When Rod & I moved to Oregon, we were able to meet Byron when he and Robin came out to the coast for a visit. Robin and I have also enjoyed getting together for lunch and book shopping in a nearby town, but it's been a few years since we've seen one another. Hopefully, we'll get a chance later this year or in 2023.