Good books – they’re an essential part of the joys of cruising.

NEW BOOKS

SAILING IN A VOLCANO BY NICK TOLERTON, WAYNE NOLAN AND MANDY NELSON. (NAVAL POINT YACHT CLUB, NOVEMBER 2021)

What an irresistible title! But beyond that, and beyond being the history of a single sailing club, this impressively designed and illustrated book is an important contribution to the maritime lore of all New Zealand.

For it balances the usual focus on Auckland and its yachties, setting the record straight to remind us of the many great sailors from Christchurch. Legends like Olympic gold medal winner Peter Mander, other Olympians Andrew Brown, Melinda Henshaw, Shelley Henson, OK dinghy world champions Peter Lester and Matt Stechmann, R-Class heroes Steve and Paul Macintosh, disabled world champion sailor Andrew May – and many more.

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NEW ZEALAND SEABIRDS – A NATURAL HISTORY BY KERRY-JAYNE WILSON (POTTON & BURTON, 2021)

Beautifully photographed, as all Potton & Burton books are, this is a wider view of New Zealand seabirds and their evolution within their environment, rather than a field identification guide (though it does have a species list as an appendix). Still, from the photos you get to learn a lot about recognising seabirds, and from the text, learn why New Zealand is the ‘seabird capital of the world’, with more species of penguins for instance than anywhere else. And a wide variety of other magnificent birds. Just like the birds, a magnificent book.

ISLAND NOTES – FINDING MY PLACE ON AOTEA GREAT BARRIER ISLAND BY TIM HIGHAM (THE CUBA PRESS, 2021)

This profoundly beautiful book about one man’s relationship with his Hauraki Gulf island habitat. Previously an experienced science writer, Tim’s prose here soars into the poetic realm, while at the same time displaying that discipline of restraint, and using exactly the right words and phrases for each special moment all other writers envy. It’s up there with all the nature classics you can name, and truly deserves its back cover accolade by Kennedy Warne, founder of New Zealand Geographic magazine: “Luminous. Touched with the divine.” For everyone planning to live more simply, in touch, and off the grid, Island Notes is your inspiration, working manual and vindication all in one.

SAILING SULEIKA BY DENNIS KREBS (NEW HOLLAND, 2018)

The book saves itself from being a regular sailing yarn of a voyage from Auckland to Shoreham-on-Sea, England, taking in the South Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malacca Straits, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean and French canals, by dint of its insights into on-board human relationships, and role-modelling. For Dennis, the author, serves “as mate to Sally’s skipper, along with responsibilities of bosun, musician, chef and first engineer.” All “in no particular hurry” but with extra-ordinary good humour.

NEW-ISH BOOK

 

THE TASMAN – BIOGRAPHY OF AN OCEAN BY NEVILLE PEAT (PENGUIN NZ 2010)

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Achieves the rare feat of combining epic overview with intimate portraits of people affected by the Tasman. With opening chapters that delve into deep geological time, and explain the mysteries of ocean currents, to a natural and human history of the great sea between us and the Aussies, The Tasman really does tell the true story of this tempestuous bit of saltwater.

A CLASSIC

 

THE WORST JOURNEY IN THE WORLD: WITH SCOTT IN ANTARCTICA 1910-1913 BY APSLEY CHERRY-GARRARD (CONSTABLE, LONDON 1922, REPRINT DOVER EDITIONS 2010)

A true classic of the sea, hailed by National Geographic as “the number one greatest adventure book of all time.” “When I went South, I never meant to write a book” Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of the expedition, notes in the introduction, “I rather despised those who did so as being of an inferior brand to those who did things and said nothing about them.” But it’s a good thing he did finish the book (with the help of Bernard Shaw), for as the New York Review of Books said, ““The Worst Journey is to travel writing what War and Peace is to the novel… a masterpiece.”

 

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