View Full Version : "The Last Voyage"
I had posted a question a while back asking if anyone had heard of the this book called "The Last Voyage...The Story of Schooner Third Sea" by: Harold Stephens.
Here is a line in the introduction that caught my eye. '"There's a magnificent world out there for anyone who wants it," he would whisper to me and go on doing what he sets out to do."
I'm just getting into this book and in fact he is just finished outfitting it Bangkok and is headed out on his adventures.
This book is about a man who had a dream. He was greatly influenced by the writings of Jack London and wished to build his own boat and see the world. With the attitude that is hinted at in the above quote he sets out to accomplish his dream and he lives it for 18 years untill at last the "Third Sea" is wrecked on a reef on the Hawaiian Islands during a freak hurricane.
He built the "Third Sea" in Singapoore and outfitted her in Bangkok. She was 71 feet long and made from ferro-cement. Most of the labour was supplied by the author and volunteers.
So far this is a great book and I highly recomend it.
I'm going to bring this back up. The author makes references to others in his book and I would like opinions please.
First one of his main inspirations was a book by Jack London called "The Cruise of the Snark". Has anyone read this and is it worthwhile?
Second he goes about the South Seas and try to look up people mentioned by a fella named Michener in a book he wrote called "Return to Paradise". What about this book?
I'm very opinionated about writers, and in my opinion, you can't go wrong reading anything by London and Michener.
"In 1906, London began to build a 45-foot yacht on which he planned a round-the-world voyage, to last seven years. After many delays, Jack and Charmian London and a small crew sailed out of San Francisco Bay on April 23, 1907, bound for the South Pacific. For the next year and a half, the Snark miraculously prevailed despite fundamental flaws in the design of the boat and the inexperience of the crew, who learned their duties en route. London taught himself how to use a sextant , and Charmian proved to be the most adept sailor on the crew, earning the admiration of her shipmates. After calling in at Hawaii, the Marquesas, the Solomon Islands and Tahiti, the ill and weary Londons reluctantly abandoned the voyage, proceeding by steamer from the Solomons to Australia in November, 1908, for a rest before heading home."
"In a series of essays, London wrote the story of the Snark voyage -- the rigors and rewards of an inexperienced crew sailing across the Pacific, the elation of sighting first land-fall in Hawaii, the excitement of fending off marauding villagers in the Solomon Islands, and the rewards of cutting through bamboo and palm trees to reach the grave of Robert Louis Stevenson in Western Samoa.
The essays appeared separately in 1908-1910 in several periodicals, including Woman's Home Companion, Pacific Monthly, and Harper's Weekly before being gathered together and published in book form as The Cruise of the Snark."
Additionally, Cruise of the Snark can be downloaded free from Project Gutenberg
11-27-2002, 10:18 AM
I've read the London book, years ago. Some of the biographies of London are fascinating, "A Sailor on Horseback" comes to mind.
The Snark expedition was a disaster, almost from beginning to end. London was a great dreamer, and accomplished a tremendous amount in a short life, but he was not the luckiest fellow. Snark was way over budget, plagued by poor workmanship and strikes, fell off the ways half way through construction because of the 1906 SF earthquake, and the tale of woe goes on and on. If I remember, London puts a much glossier facade on the adventure, so in addition to his book, seek out some of the other biographical material.
Some speculate the voyage greatly shortened London's life. He contracted yaws, a tropical illness similar to syphllis, and spent much of his remaining years trying all kinds of cures, including mercury and arsenic compounds. Like syphllis, yaws eventually affects the mind, and London, always a self-styled lone wolf, began doing things toward the end like eating raw poultry. Most biographers believe he took his own life with morphine.
London's life is easily as interesting as any of his books.
12-01-2002, 01:05 PM
Yes, the Cruise of the Snark is worth reading, as is Irving Stone's biography, A Sailor on Horseback.
12-01-2002, 01:14 PM
Years back I read a bunch of London's biographers, and the only one whose name I remember is Stone. The more recent material is less adoring, more balanced, and not as influenced by London's own stories about his life. He had a way of embelishing, as good story tellers do.
Largely self-educated, London lived about five ordinary lives, all in only forty some years. Fascinating fellow.
Donn I picked up Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific" last night and read the first chapter today at lunch and I believe that you are write. So far it is a great read.
12-04-2002, 06:44 PM
Thanks for the link Donn... now I have something to read for those slower times on the board ;)
Thanks people Im always on the hunt for good reading books other than text of course which are also good but sometime one just needs to relax and let the dreams unfold... every now and then one needs a bit of a jolt from reading about someone who has done it...
As for story tellers emellishing things :eek: come on Jack!!! tis well known that we tells it like it is no fluff no frills just facts!!... True we do :cool:
Now does that sound like I would have the makins of a good journo or lawyer eh??? ha!! :D
Thanks Chadd great thread! :cool:
Take it easy
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