Tag archive for "Tollycraft"

Books, Velkommen

The Grey Seas Under

1 Comment 27 November 2013

The Grey Seas Under.  Hmmmm….unusual title. Under what?  Farley Mowatt. Unusual name.  The beginning is slow and disoriented, like being in a foggy unfamiliar harbor jammed full of rust streaked vessels, succumbing to neglect.  In retrospect, the sodden tone of the beginning, that caught me off guard, was an ideal prologue.

The Grey Seas Under chronicles the life of the 156′ salvage tug, Foundation Franklin, originally christened H.M.S. Frisky, from her purchase in early 1930 by the Montreal-based Foundation Company of Canada, to her last assignment during the cruel winter of 1946.  Her battles with the sea were epic. The men who sailed her, heroic, sometimes eccentric and the rescues she accomplished, legendary. The lives she saved: grateful beyond measure.

So what makes this book a must-read masterpiece?  It is not written to highlight an exemplary vocabulary.  There are no superlative descriptions.  Displays of elite literary proficiency are missing.

The Grey Seas Under is a song.  A ballad. Farley Mowatt is a minstrel, singing of a period in his life where he felt most alive, most connected to his fiber.  Those days pass quickly for mortals but the tone is not sad. It is an adagio form, punctuated with rolling staccato storms.  This is not a gilded representation of reality seen through progressive bifocals; this is a raw and salty reality lived by working men whose poetry sails  above varnished table tops with fiddled edges and coffee mugs. The extraordinary is commonplace.  No pontifications from the podium are found.

If you have a paperback copy read it twice.  Read it to your kids and grandkids.  If you have a hardbound copy in good condition, you have an appreciating asset.

BIG thanks to Ray Robinson for the loan of this fabulous book.  The Grey Seas Under.  Under what?  Under the keel of a good ship.  A ship that does not veer from difficulty, but takes pride in accomplishment and returns to home port, time after time.  The Grey Seas Under?  As it always has been, under the watchful but impassive heavens.

 

Alaska, Books, Velkommen

Walking Home

No Comments 15 January 2013

Walking Home is required reading for boaters, hikers and all those tuned toward wilderness adventure and the solitary introspection it provides.  Lynn Schooler’s writing is delicious.

It’s the spring of 2007.  Small changes are growing too large to ignore.  The mirror reflects youth and vigor, while the newspaper photo shows age advancing with wrinkles and gray.  An overarching force is moving.  It demands recognition, but doesn’t say when. Some things on the forever list need to happen now or not at all.

Begin and end at Lituya Bay. Hike around Mount Fairweather. Physically challenging and mentally focusing. The individual requires companions to mirror thoughts; to sharpen and steel the mind, lest it run amuck and race toward the void. After long miles, the companions are Beauty and Pain. They spar as they search for a grand design.  Two deaths repeat the duality of Beauty and Pain.  Markers beside the trail:  a close friend and a marriage.

Lituya Bay is a place I dream of visiting.  My time for aggressive hiking is gone, but magical places will always exert their pull.  And Lituya Bay must have BIG Magic.  Mout Fairweather, perhaps more.  An incredible place for an adventure, a journey into history, into nature and into the soul.  They are as different as they are the same.  Just read the book. You can thank me later.

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Click the front cover to see the back.

Books, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, Velkommen

Dynamite Stories

No Comments 08 January 2013

Now here’s a cute little story.  Well, almost.  It’s disjointed, no one put the pieces together.  The editor must have been fishing.  Judith Williams writes well and the setting is perfect.  Post WWII Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island.  The solar plexus of Desolation Sound.  A handful of hearty independent thinkers willing to claw at the edges of an island to build a home and a life.  They are independent, perhaps-eccentric, out-of-the-mainstream types; that provides a palette of vibrant colors with which to paint a narrative  on a gray granite surface.

What common thread binds the story together?  The use of Dynamite.  Do I see raised eywbrows?  If you are going to carve out a life on a rock what else would you use to level a bit of the playing field?  Character development is begun early with interesting vignettes of the Refuge Cove residents.  The reader starts to feel a sense of community and continuity.  Toss in a few pages about the history of dynamite and the Nobel Peace Prize.  Then bounce back to the Ripple Rock explosion, not Refuge Cove, but it is Desolation Sound.  By now the character development is fading and the reader starts feeling bounced around.  Well, if disjointed is king, let’s run to the Fraser River and Hell’s Gate Canyon then Chatterbox Falls.  Now it’s time to get back on Redonda Island for more character development.  Characters must be scarce so toss in a dead cougar and a dead bear.  Still searching for a conclusion let’s see if Bute Wax and gold prospecting can tidy up the ending.  An interesting read. Make Judith do a rewrite and fire Terry Glavin the editor.  It will never be a prizewinner, but Dynamite Stories deserved to be better.

Click the front cover to see the back.

San Juan Islands, Velkommen

Foggy Wake

No Comments 02 January 2013

Well, I just felt like playin’ around with Photoshop today.  The pic is from an early morning fishing expedition that began with plenty of fog and a bit of sun.  Of course, I massaged the image just a wee bit.  Photoshop can be great fun and relaxing, too.

Enlarge the image with a click.

Alaska, Books, Velkommen

Hand Troller

No Comments 19 August 2012

Absolutely one of the finest books I have read.  That doesn’t mean it is not embellished and enhanced here and there, typical of the best fish stories.  Hand Troller captures the bold Alaskan way of life on the water as told by a small time fisherman.  A vanishing breed; a vanishing way of life.  But Mike McConnell is not bitter, he is grateful for a life that has encompassed large vistas, honest friendships and the thrill of fighting a big king salmon.  The splendor of self recognition in an untamed world.

The dialog is a treat.  It is spoken right from the deck and right from the dock.  It will have you laughing until your glasses fog over.  The story is told so honestly that the characters quickly become  friends.  A rare bond develops.

Most will never experience SE firsthand.  The turned pages of a book will have to substitute for the roll of the boat, the aroma of strong coffee and the sound of fresh caught salmon sizzling in the pan.    Please…….give yourself a wonderful gift.  Buy Hand Troller.  Share it.  Read it to your spouse, read it to your kids.

This is the real deal.  Don’t hesitate.  Don’t let it be the one that got away.

Click the front cover to see the back.

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