Books

Seaworthy – Adrift with William Willis in the Golden Age of Rafting

No Comments 22 August 2010

What do you say about a guy who is major-league eccentric and mentally and physically tough as nails?  A guy who has faded into the shadows of history, but whose adventures, even after more than 50 years, are way out on the edge of extreme. 

I’ll bet not many people dream of rafting the Pacific…..alone…..at 60 years of age.  6700 miles, from Peru to American Samoa on a craft constructed of Ecuadorian balsa.  But this was just a warmup for a second voyage of 11,000 miles from Peru to Australia.  Often underprepared with a minimalist voyage plan, William Willis was able to improvise and  adapt and keep things afloat.   That’s the meat and gristle of the human drama, although most seek safe and secure environs for their life-voyage, not the sharpest knife-edge of existence for a personal challenge.

And there…..is the life-metaphor engine that runs the book and keeps the pages turning.  Not always well written with a number of awkward sentences, this book deserves an obscure corner of your library.  Why?  Well….William Willis is a mirror……..a yardstick, of sorts, to measure oneself against.  (especially when suffering a touch of “poor-me”).  Are you as eccentric as William?  Probably not.  Are you as resourceful?  Are you as tough?  Do you have that kind of stamina?

Seaworthy:  Adrift with William Willis in the Golden Age of Rafting.  I dare you to read it just to see how you measure up.

If  “the adventures of William Willis” pique your intrest, here is a 2006 book review by Seattle Times book critic, Michael Upchurch.  (once open, click on the review for larger text size)


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