Tag: Boating

Riding the Slot

As she struggled to make sense of her father's final days, Lenore Greiner sailed across a treacherous patch of San Francisco Bay

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Pilar and Ernest Hemingway’s Prose

Ernest Hemingway bought his beloved boat, Pilar, in a shipyard in Brooklyn in 1934. Could the ensuing time he spent on the boat have altered his writing style? At least one writer thinks so. Paul Hendrickson is the author of the new book, Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961.

NPR’s Rachel Martin interviewed Hendrickson and asked, “What did he [Hemingway] want from the boat?”

Hendrickson had an intriguing reply:

I think he wanted escape. I think he wanted to get away from shore. In fact, I make the case in this book that Pilar helped broaden out, so to speak, his prose line. When you say Ernest Hemingway, what do you think?  You think of these simple declarative sentences, these magical and yet very short sentences, free of the subordinate clause. What happens, Rachel, from the mid-‘30s onward, the Ernest Hemingway sentence gets longer and longer and longer. Why is this? I like to make a case that aboard Pilar, getting away from shore, getting away from the sniping critics, getting away from all the petty little literary games, he can get out there in the Gulf Stream and he can free himself in some way.

Cross-posted from JimBenning.Net.

Christopher Buckley: ‘I Was Deck Boy Aboard a Norwegian Tramp Freighter’

In 1970, Buckley shipped out for a year of adventure. His remembrance in the Atlantic is beautiful:

I remember standing in the crow’s nest as we entered the misty Panama Canal, and the strange sensation as the 4,000-ton ship rose higher and higher inside the lock. I remember dawn coming up over the Strait of Malacca; ragamuffin kids on the dock in Sumatra laughing as they pelted us with bananas; collecting dead flying fish off the deck and bringing them to our sweet, fat, toothless Danish cook to fry up for breakfast. I remember sailing into Hong Kong harbor and seeing my first junk; steaming upriver toward Bangkok, watching the sun rise and set fire to the gold-leafed pagoda roofs; climbing off the stern down a wriggly rope ladder into a sampan, paddling for dear life across the commerce-mad river into the jungle, where it was suddenly quiet and then suddenly loud with monkey-chatter and bird-shriek, the moonlight lambent on the palm fronds.

Pirates to Captain: Just Tell Us Where the Tourism Boats Are

Chilling story by Sean Flynn in the latest GQ. He recounts the sagas of two hijacked boats in the Indian Ocean and tells how tourists—and tourism—are increasingly targets of pirates. One exchange:

“Tourism?” One of the pirates was close now. “Tourism boat?”

Roucou nodded. “Yes.”

The pirates broke into wide smiles, congratulating themselves, celebrating.

“Where is tourism? Where?”

“No tourists,” Roucou said. “There are none. They’ve all gone.”

The pirate scowled, then dispatched a few of his men to search the Explorer. They returned, confirmed there were no passengers on board. The pirates were no longer pleased.

“Where tourists? Where?”

The tourist boats were a few hours to the south, three of them near Assumption Island. Roucou had seen them earlier that day: the Sea Bird, the Adventurer, and the Hebridean Spirit, with nearly 200 passengers and crew among them.

“There are none,” Roucou told the pirates. “There’s only us.”

He’d answered quickly and surely, but the pirates did not believe him. Eight of them took most of the crew to the aft deck, and three stayed with Roucou and his chief engineer in the wheelhouse. One of them used the Explorer’s satellite phone to call a contact in Somalia, who spoke perfect English. He put Roucou on the line with a man named Abdi.

“Tell them where the tourism boats are,” Abdi said, “and they will let you go.”

Interview with Seth Stevenson: ‘Grounded’

The author's new book chronicles his surface journey around the world. Frank Bures asks him about it -- and why he thinks air travel isn't really travel.

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Sewage! Smokestacks! Corroded Shipping Containers! It’s the Urban Ocean Boat Cruise.

This ain’t whale watching. From the Los Angeles Times:

The aim of the Urban Ocean Boat Cruise—run by the Aquarium of the Pacific and Harbor Breeze Cruises—is to ply Southern California’s most compromised waters to show the environmental effects of trade, fishing, industry and other human activities.

The tour balances lessons on tainted seawater and polluted air with an appreciation of the port as a bustling commercial hub that remains home to sometimes surprising amounts of marine life. Or as tour guide Dominique Richardson puts it: “The multiple and conflicting uses of our urban ocean.”

Aquarium president Jerry Schubel, who came up with the idea after taking an architecture cruise last year in Chicago, said he asked himself: “What is it about Long Beach and Los Angeles that’s distinctive? And I realized that Southern California is one of the most heavily used areas of coast in the nation.”

Good story. Great idea.

Interview With Carl Hoffman: Riding ‘The Lunatic Express’

Jim Benning asks the author about the joys and challenges of traveling in steerage

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Video You Must See: Sailing on Ice

Interview with Pat Croce: Pirate Soul

M.B. Roberts asks the founder of Pirate Soul Museum in Key West, Florida, about the enduring appeal of pirates

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Seth Stevenson: Innocents Aboard

Seth Stevenson: Innocents Aboard Photo by jordanfischer via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by jordanfischer via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Slate’s latest Well-Traveled series follows writer Seth Stevenson and three other novice sailors as they join the annual herd of “clueless” American boaters who “fly down to Tortola, rent enormous catamarans, float them out into the middle of the channel, and for the next seven days proceed to endanger every seaborne object they encounter.” It’s a good read so far.

Photo You Must See: Sailing Off Trieste

Photo You Must See: Sailing Off Trieste REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Sailboats at the annual Barcolana regatta in the Gulf of Trieste near northern Italy. The race is one of the largest in the world with more than 2,000 participants.

Homeless Polish Men Build Ship, Plan to Sail Around the World

Nicholas Kulish has the details in a terrific story in the New York Times. The two dozen homeless men are building the ship in the yard of a former tractor factory in Warsaw, and “their story strikes deeper chords because, for all the modern tools in the building and corporate sponsors providing the raw materials, their endeavor echoes mythic themes of escape, adventure and redemption that can seem out of reach in a world of biometric identity cards and debt-collection agencies.”

Zac Sunderland, 17, Becomes Youngest Sailor to Circumnavigate the Globe Solo

Zac Sunderland, 17, Becomes Youngest Sailor to Circumnavigate the Globe Solo REUTERS/Alberto Lowe
Zac Sunderland at the Panama Canal back in May (REUTERS/Alberto Lowe)

The teenager arrived back in Southern California this morning after 13 months at sea, breaking the record held by Australian Jesse Martin, who completed his solo sail around the world at 18.

You can check out Zac’s blog to get more of the back story on the journey, or see photos and a map of his route courtesy of the L.A. Times.

Anyone else thinking, “Gee, what was I doing when I was 17?”

Gay Talese Takes the Circle Line

The New Journalism pioneer overcame his aversion to water—“In some 50 years as a writer, I do not recall ever proposing a story that would likely lead to getting my feet wet,” he writes—and joined the tourists for a circumnavigation of Manhattan on the Circle Line.

Talese is still on his game. It’s a terrific story, with a terrific audio slideshow.

Dragon Boats Go Global

Dragon Boats Go Global Photo by Andrew Deacon via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Andrew Deacon via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Though the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival has long enjoyed popularity in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, mainland China only made it a public holiday last year—one of many signs that traditions abandoned during the country’s Cultural Revolution are finally being restored. 

The funny thing is, the festival—which commemorates the death of a famous poet who drowned himself in a river—has become so globalized that China itself looks like it’s late to the party.

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An End for Kashmir’s ‘Mughal Palaces on Water’?

An End for Kashmir’s ‘Mughal Palaces on Water’? Photo by shahbasharat via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by shahbasharat via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The beautifully carved wooden houseboats, which are area icons, date to the 19th century, when they shielded British officials from the subcontinent’s penetrating summers. Today, tourists rent the houseboats on Dal Lake, which, though seemingly lovely, is actually a dumping ground for untreated sewage.

To combat the pollution, Kashmir’s provincial government has asked houseboat owners to install pricey sewage treatment on the vessels within 90 days or face a shutdown, The Guardian reports. But the houseboat owners, many of whom live below the poverty line, say they can’t afford the units. “The government should pay for the sewage treatment units, or it should put all the 850 houseboats together and blow them up with one big bomb,” lamented Mohammed Azam Tuman, president of the Houseboats and Shikara Owners Association.

Sailor Girl

Sailor Girl on State of Maine Photo by Edie Platt

Cullen Thomas considered his mission -- joining his mother on a perilous sea -- a noble one. But he presumed too much.

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Morning Links: Museum of Broken Relationships, GlobalPost and More

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The Songlines of Key West: The Other World

Key West, from above Photo by Michelle Thatcher.

In a three-part series, Bill Belleville burrows deep into the spirit of the mythic island. Part two: Into ancient reefs and mangrove islands.

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A Writer’s Port of Call

boat, indonesia Photo by sekdortua via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

Adam Karlin went to Indonesia to work as a reporter. But after a visit to Jakarta's old wharf to see the aging Makassar schooners, he left with a calling of a different order.

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