B Dock, Books, Gulf Islands
There are several sites that provide a short synopsis of 26 Feet to the Charlottes. Sophomoric book reports, so what? Why should you read it? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What currents run beneath the surface of the pages?
June Cameron’s memoir, 1979 to 1983, built around a relationship with Paul, aboard, or exploring from, his 26 foot wooden sloop, Wood Duck. The time frame is 1979 to 1983; a good story, predominantly a summer ’83 chronicle of their journey to the Queen Charlottes. The descriptions of people, places and events provide good mental imagery and establish a nice flow, but the dynamic between June and Paul is missing. It is the glue that holds the pages together and June has mysteriously hidden it away. Obviously, they are quite close; extended periods aboard a small boat, of course. Perhaps she is more smitten than he is. There is some glitter to the tone of the early years, but the tone is surprisingly flat throughout the Queen Charlotte section, which is most of the book, as though the relationship is nearing exaustion. “They both knew it was over”, only mentioned once during the trip back from the Charlottes. Then there is the curious beachcombing note: June spots all the little treasures that Paul manages to pass by, as though his mind is somewhere else. The tone becomes more formal and stiff in the last few pages. Goodbyes can be so difficult; June took it pretty hard. June is the better sailor; Paul is the quintessential sailor. So the book provides a small glimpse into June Cameron’s psyche. She conceals herself well. Why has she stonewalled her feelings? Big hurt, maybe? Has it taken 26 years (1983 to 2009) for her to begin to touch them with this book? Interesting. That’s the current beneath the pages.
Descriptions of unnamed sheltered anchorages, little coves shared by two lovers aboard a little wooden sailboat. Who wouldn’t build mental castles? And if you have a charting program on your computer you can follow along with June and Paul, marking the various nooks amoung the islands for future visits.
Extended periods aboard a 26 foot sloop………Is planet Earth a 26 foot sloop? Then, how sure is the Captain; how steadfast the crew? Read it. See the Charlottes.