Skirting the Shore|
Reflections on Sailing the Great Loop
FastPencil, Inc., approx. 325pp, 2808kb, 2011, $0.99 (Kindle, Nook)
Computers, I have learned, are a very mixed bag. Take mine, for instance. On one hand, it is being mined for every detail of my tastes and preferences...more than I know I have...and using the information to sell me all things irresistible. On the other hand, occasionally it comes up with a pleasant surprise. An ad for this self-published e-book popped up on my screen recently and it was only .99 delivered to my Kindle. What could I lose, except a buck and more privacy...so I bought it and read it and here I am, reviewing my first self-published, exclusively electronic book.
At the beginning of the family adventure, Adrian Martin is a laid off computer person in his late 30s who suffers from an extreme form of motion sickness. His solution to both unfortunate circumstances is to sell the family home in Colorado to finance the purchase of a boat. Christine Martin is his very loyal, capable and game wife--and mother of Ryan, 8 and Madeleine, 7. The Martin family (and their two cats!) move to the Annapolis area ("because that's where the boats were") and buy Hippopotamus, a 1988 30' Gemini Catamaran (known in the trade as the "Volkswagen of the Ocean" (or in the Martins' case...a hippopotamus of the ocean). I was confused by the name until I saw a picture of the boat.
Working on the boat and "readying" themselves through the winter, they moved from their apartment in Virginia to the boat in early March. The Great Loop (the Martins' "seasonably sensible" journey), is a 6000 mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of the United States. The prudent "Great Looper" should be in Chicago by mid-September to be ahead of the winter weather. The route has little risk compared to offshore cruising and the "loopers" should be well inland during hurricane season.
The Martin family left their Herrington Harbor berth in Maryland on May 27, 2002. The first day they would travel twenty-six nautical miles and pass under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. (Hippo's motor speed was six knots tops.) They arrived back in Herrington Harbor on April 30, 2004. In between those dates the family and their cats had the adventure of a lifetime (as well as a side trip to the Bahamas, the less said about that, the better). Martin is a good observer of both the human and the natural world. The mind blowing variety of topography, weather, towns, cities, from the surreal to the sublime, that he and his family pass through, are thoughtfully described, and vivid enough to put you there...but that is only half the story.
The other half is his description of daily life on board. Habits and routines, strengths and weaknesses are revealed with respect and humor. This family grows exponentially from this experience--in courage, tolerance and respect for each other and the planet.
Obviously I enjoyed this e-book a lot. I would have enjoyed even more if Mr. Martin had opted to employ a professional editor as the little bumps and hiccups in the text were distracting.