Books to get you Excited about Your Cruising Grounds
We recently cruised the North Carolina coast and, due to weather, we took the Intracoastal Waterway for a few days. I happened to be reading "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens which is a story of a young girl who grows up in the North Carolina marsh lands. It is beautifully written and the author sets the story in one of the most beautiful backdrops I have ever read. Added to her phenomenal writing, I was cruising in the same marsh lands that she was writing about. It added a whole different excitement and relatability to the book and it got me thinking. Some of my favorite books have been stories set in the same area I happened to be cruising when I was reading it. Sitting in the cockpit, reading beautiful stories set in the exact location that I have dropped the hook is a very cool experience. If you happen to be cruising these 5 cruising grounds, give these reads a try, I think you will find it makes the story that more special. North & South Carolina Coast
"Where the Crawdads Sing"
"'where the crawdads sing' just means far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters." No wonder the author titled the book after this passage, it is so beautiful. We were anchored off in North Carolina right after a large rainstorm and everything was flooded. It looked like a forest met the city Atlantis. At night the frogs were deafening and during the day, cruising around in the dinghy the baby ospreys called out to their hovering parents. It was surreal, as it was, but then to sit and read this book? That took it to a whole new level. It's beautifully written and the story is simple but compelling. If you only choose one book of this list, this needs to be it!
Buy it now on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3fT90lP
Alaska & Canada's Inside Passage
"Winds of Skilak"
"Before moving to the island, weather had always been nothing more than a conversation starter; meaningless small talk that followed the, "Hi, how are ya?" Now it was the main topic of most of our conversations, as it ruled and dominated our lives here." The story of Bonnie and her husband is remarkable. They homesteaded 50 miles from where Spencer grew up and we've actually kayaked on Skilak lake! She write about her time homesteading in Alaska and the hardships they faced in a way that drops you right in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. At the time of reading this, we were sailing our trimaran up the inside passage to Alaska. There was one particular anchorage that we had dropped the hook where a man had homesteaded and we were the only three souls for miles. I remember looking out as I read imagining the world Bonnie described playing out on the shores in front of me. It was so surreal and beautiful. Adding to her great descriptors of scenery and animals she also delves into the mentality shift of a person transitioning from everyday, 9-5 life to a minimalist, isolated existence which I believe so many cruisers go through. It is a fantastic read and inspirational read. Buy it now on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Ve8mYl
"When We Believed in Mermaids"
My mom recommended this book at the same time as we were sailing from Oregon to California. I finished it as we entered Drakes Bay, a protected body of water surrounded by rocky cliffs and undulating hills. It was a landscape at odds with itself and one I thought would be so difficult to put into words and yet, I was reading them. Barbara O'Neal describes the California coast and water so acutely that even if I hadn't been staring at the exact spots she described, I would have known what they were like. The story is a bit different than I am used to. A sister searching for a lost sibling and unraveling her past to do so. It's the perfect read for cruising the Cali coast and even more so if you are a surfer! Buy it now on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3hTNK1n
I hope you give these three a try and see for yourself, as you cruise these areas, just how special it is to add this connection with the stories you read. I would also love to hear if you have a book that you've read while cruising an area that caused the story to take on a whole new meaning! Let me know in the comments below!