Audiobook Rec: Sailing Alone Around the World: by Joshua Slucum

I finally read, or listened actually, to the classic sailing story from the first man to sail solo around the globe. This guy is the real deal, re-built a boat by himself in a field, tried fishing, failed, decided to start sailing around. Just the anthropological randomness that oozes out of this book is worth it: hostile natives in the Straits of Magellan, Mediterranean pirates actually sailing after boats, etc. The narrator is ridiculous, but its fun, and you can get a free download of this from Or check your library for a copy. But trust me, its great to work to. Only bummer on the audiobook deal is you gotta cancel it after you sign up or you might get stuck on their monthly rate, but its worth the minute of trouble. It hit a soft spot with me because of a passage involving the islands of my great-great-grandparents, the Azores, specifically Pico. As he is curled up sick with food poisoning, passed out in the cabin, he wakes up to see a ghost sailor at the helm, who says you should not eat the white cheese of Pico with plums. Then the ghost starts to sing and calls out "High Are the waves, fierce, gleaming. High is the tempest roar. High the seabirds, screaming. High the Azores! I wonder if that is a sailor song that was sung way back in the cross-atlantic merchant-sailing days? Maybe Slocum made it up? Either way its nice to imagine someone high up in the yards of an old square-rigger, calling out as he spots the green peaks of the mid-ocean islands rising out of the sea. It seemed every time I sailed past the Azores while working on a container-ship was at night, and all I saw of them was a bright-green blur on the radar screen. Maybe someday I'll see them come into view by boat... The nearness to the islands did inspire a trip when I got off the ship, by plane however, to visit the town where my ancestors left many years before Slocum sailed through.  Here is a shot of my three brothers and myself swimming in the harbor of Calheta de Nesquim on Pico, being baptized so to speak, in the waters of the small whaling village that used to be home.
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