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Mary's Voyage


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An intriguing autobiography about an unconventional family -- her book certainly describes a fascinating life...recount(ing) her husband's crossing of the Pacific in the late 1940s followed by their Pacific crossing in the 1950s with a young family and completing the circumnavigation in the 1960s. The story is beautifully told by Mary, now in her early eighties. Royal Naval Sailing Association John and Mary Caldwell's humdrum life in California is driving them mad. With two infants and a third child on the way, they make the 36-foot ketch Tropic Seas their home and sail around the world via Mary's native Australia, navigating by dead reckoning and sextant. Imagine the courage of a pregnant woman prone to seasickness battling the seas, sharing watch duties with her husband, and taking care of children and meals. Storms don't seem to daunt her, but a whale with amorous intentions for Tropic Seas certainly does. Roger, their third son, is born in Tahiti. After completing their circumnavigation, they convert a swampy, mosquito-infested island into the superb Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines. This book will appeal to anyone who likes their adventure stories, particularly a sailor. The Ensign John Caldwell's Desperate Voyage told the story of how the author, longing for his Aussie bride, Mary, in the days after World War II, set sail on an improbable journey aboard his 29-foot PAGAN that would take him from Panama to shipwreck on a reef fringing a small island near Fiji. In Mary's Voyage, Mary Caldwell tells her own story, picking up where Desperate Voyage leaves off: Mary and John find their next boat, OUTWARD BOUND, cut their ties to work in the United States, and set sail with a toddler, an infant, and a third son on the way. It's a family adventure as they make their way across the Pacific; their only deadline is a self-imposed desire to be in Tahiti for the birth of the baby. The descriptions of the children at play are often entertaining, but in one darker scene, the kids take apart John's only sextant, forcing the family to find their way to the Marquesas via dead reckoning. Their voyage takes them nearly round the world, but ends just shy of a circumnavigation when they acquire Prune Island quickly renamed Palm Island in the just-developing Grenadines. Hard work, revolutions, and invasions do little to dampen Mary's zest for adventure and the couple's quest to build an island resort. Mary's Voyage is a delightful tale and a home-spun glimpse into a Caribbean age gone by. Cruising World

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