The stories of cruisers today--shared on blogs can be easily read, yes, and sometimes we think it's all new information--so exciting. And then again, maybe not. I'm beginning to think that everything one needs to know about cruising the world's oceans today can be picked up by a read of Alan Villiers' The Cruise of the Conrad
. First published in 1937, this is the journal of a voyage round the world in the fully-rigged ship "Joseph Conrad", in 1934, 1935, and 1936. They were blown on the Brooklyn Rocks in a blizzard and nearly lost the vessel on Wari reef. They dealt with salvage crews in New York and greedy owners of boat yards. They ran out of money in Australia and took on a paying passenger and a side trip through the Coral Sea to replenish the cruising kitty. They fought headwinds and the doldrums. They paid too-high import duties on their ship's stores in Australia and were swindled by various ships chandlers all around. The local bureaucrats in various banana republics messed with them just as they do with todays cruisers; and Alan had me rolling with laughter when he complained about how "touristy" places like Bali had become--how the modern Western world (remember this is back in 1934-1936) was corrupting the natives all across the islands and atolls of the South Pacific. They enjoyed countless sunrises and sunsets and the solitary beauty of the sea. They performed a world class circumnavigation that is well worth reading about.
After visiting the Joseph Conrad at Mystic Seaport
in July 2007, I read a used copy of the original book. It is available in many forms and has been re-released in paperback