Thursday, December 31, 2009
The book is a series of stories about the various places and people encountered along the way on the voyage. The reader is transported to far-away places rich in animal life and beauty, and discovers along with author the cultural visions of the people in those places. McGee narrates the values and beliefs of these tribal people of Africa and Australia and South America and the Tahitian islands. The overriding value of all these people is that of sustaining family relationships, and the work ethic of the West is viewed with surprise and suspicion. When, they ask, does a man spend time with his family and friends? The need for money and material possessions is greeted with astonishment. Most of these tribal people share their possessions with those around them, and take from the environment only what they need to survive for that day or week. Storing up treasures is foreign to them.
Another interesting theme of the book is the sailing language and concepts the reader encounters. One of the longest stories in the book tells of how the couple survived Hurricanes Irma and Jason while wintering in Australia. To hear the tale of what is required to survive such a harrowing natural event is eye-opening. The reader learns how dangerous it is to enter harbors, and how sailing through storms is a test of courage that few of us will ever have to endure.
This is an oversized book, and the reason is the gorgeous photographs that illustrate every page. There are shots of scenery from islands to jungles to bustling coastal towns. Animals such as elephants and sea life and an intrepid sea-faring dog are portrayed. There are scores of images taken from the yacht, showing the glorious maritime scenes that the couple was able to see daily. Many of the pictures show the various people met. There are scenes of tribal women performing traditional dances, of tribesmen paddling long canoes, of men performing the fishing work that sustains life. Above all, there are photographs of the many children. All are curious, interested to see how life is lived elsewhere, and smiling smiles of joy and welcome.
This book is recommended for readers who enjoy travel books as well as for those interested in hearing about reaching out and grabbing the dream of another life. Those who indulge will come away inspired and refreshed. This is a gorgeous book and one that is highly recommended.