Thursday, September 27, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The other one is on Amazon.com. Here it is:
A vividly detailed recounting of the joys and perils of navigating the ocean in an aged Norwegian-built ketch,
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I hope Chicago is strong enough to withstand the arrival of the Vikings.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I also haven't mentioned that my second sailing book, Sniffing the Coast (1993), which has been out of print for a decade or more, is finally available again. It's an account of a 1992 cruise from D'Escousse, Cape Breton, up Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, and then down the west coast of PEI and on to the Magdalen Islands. From the Magdalens my late wife Lulu and I sailed back to eastern PEI and thence home to Isle Madame.
There's a social sub-text to this book, too. Everywhere we went, I found people deeply concerned about the future of the Maritimes and rural Canada -- and profoundly committed to finding a viable and rewarding role for their own communities in a strange new world with web sites, digital everythings, and no fish. It was a fascinating summer.
You can order Sniffing the Coast at www.capebretonbooks.com.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
All the way through the book I was thinking that it was something in the nature of the medieval Peregrinatio, the pilgrimage undertaken towards the end of a career as much for its own sake as to reach some holy city..Curiously not long before your book arrived I had been reading William Wey's account of his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. Nothing ever changes. He got to Plymouth on 1st April 1456 and then had to wait till 17th May before they could set sail! No doubt they had a succession of South Westerlies, or who knows, trolls even. I believe this idea is well rooted in Hindu culture as well.
The other thing I particularly valued about the book was that you described cruising as it really is: when it's good it's very very good, and when it's bad it's horrid. People who've never done it don't understand this. People see the palm trees and the crystal waters, but they don't begin to understand the skill and effort required to stay safely on top of those crystal waters. Most sailing books woefully underplay this, and to the extent that the Great Storm Chapter is required the subtext is always what supermen the author and his crew were to be able to cope with it. I think yours is the first cruising book I've ever read where the author had the courage to admit that he wanted to turn back because this wasn't being fun any more. Yet I don't believe there is a single yachtie who hasn't felt that at one time or another.
And, of course, you prove the sense of the old adage: if you find a good crew, marry her! Or
him I suppose one has to say these days.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I assume it will also be accessible via the Internet. The BC Almanac website is here: http://www.cbc.ca/programguide/program/index.jsp?program=BC+Almanac
Sunday, May 27, 2007
May 29, 9:00-10:00 AM: live appearance on Studio 4, with Fanny Kiefer, on Shaw TV.
June 1, 8:15: Illustrated presentation at the False Creek Yacht Club in Vancouver.
June 4, 10:30 AM: Interview with Mark Forsythe of Almanac, the CBC Radio noon show. I don't know when it will be broadcst.
In addition, I may be signing some books in Kelowna at Mosaic Books on June 5, though nothing has formally been arranged.
And a news bulletin: Magnus has been sold to Erling Viksund, the Norwegian boatbuilder who built her 35 years ago. Erling intends to do a long cruise in North America beginning in 2008.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
"Beloved?" What a very nice thing to say.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Silver Donald Cameron ba’60
Random House, $25.95
As a life long sailor, I am keenly aware of the lure of the sea, and as the years pass by, the narrowing of the window for adventure. Although, knowing what can go wrong on a mere weekend voyage, I am oftensceptical of the yarns spun by sailors; and their common tales of bliss at sea raise doubts in my mind.
Cameron’s book pulls the reader along on a well-written voyage
of discovery, self examination, trial (and a little error) and believable highlights. Thus, like a true sea voyage you share the good and the bad which combine to magnify the good, making it all the more valuable.
The reader can share in the exuberance of the author while he recounts their days in the sun during an often harrowing trip down the intercoastal water way from Cape Breton Island to the Bahamas. It is a great read for anyone who loves boats, cruises with theirspouse, understands dogs and is thinking of “one day” slipping the lines for warmer climes. Reviewed by Barney Ellis-Perry, ba’87.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Sailing Away from Winter: Canadian Geographic review by Allan Casey
Silver Donald Cameron is one of Nova Scotia's more prolific contemporary scribes, running the gamut from playwright to novelist and newspaper columnist. Even if you are not native to his beloved Cape Breton, you probably know his salty byline. "Silver," he explains, because there were too many Donald Camerons in Canada. But his hustle to survive as a freelance writer never left the lifelong sailor time to make the kind of epic voyage worthy of his dreams.
He proposes to sail down the Eastern Seaboard and out to the Bahamas — epic enough. But there are complications. His wife Marjorie wants to come along but worries the trip will be the death of the aging family dog, Leo. If Leo does keel over en route, will recrimination bloom in the tight quarters of the 31-foot Magnus? Above all, Cameron is getting to be an old dog himself — now pushing 70 — and unsure he's still up to the rigours of life aboard.
I've gone to literary sea with everyone from Joshua Slocum to Dame Naomi James, and I was eager to ship out under this seasoned raconteur-captain, to see where his "old-manand- the-sea" plot might take him. Unfortunately, Sailing Away from Winter is a tedious blur that never arrives at the thematic destination it promises.
Despite the title, Cameron seldom sails at all but, instead, motors south via the Intracoastal Waterway, a.k.a. "The Big Ditch," the most well-beaten path for yacht cruisers on Earth.
Moreover, as the author himself complains, cruising leaves little time for discovery. Cameron seems trapped in an endless quest for groceries, boat parts and a place to let an old dog pee.
The story ends up being about crowded marinas too much like one another and cruisers too much like the protagonists. "The truly disquieting thought," writes Cameron, "was that I was just another aging bourgeois, diligently pursuing a fake adventure with the odds stacked heavily in my favour."
We never do learn mate Marjorie's views on the voyage or even the fate of poor Leo the dog. The tale ends abruptly in the Caribbean, the trip home unexplained. One wonders whether the real story begins there. Perhaps a sequel will reveal all.
Allan Casey is a boatbuilder and a freelance writer in Saskatoon.
The magazine's web site is http://www.goodoldboat.com/ Check it out, and you can order a free trial issue. Karen's review was published in the Good Old Boat newsletter, here: <http://www.goodoldboat.com/newsletter/aprnewslett53.html>
But to save you the trouble, here's Karen's review.
Sailing Away from Winter, by Silver Donald Cameron (Douglas Gibson books, 2006; 376 pages; $25.95)
Review by Karen Larson
It’s great fun to go cruising with Silver Donald Cameron. Through his books we’ve traveled with him several times, and each time has been a pleasure. Don’s tales of his voyages introduce his readers to people he meets, places he visits, and events along the way. He tells us about their background and, through these historical glimpses, what they’ve become today. Don makes strangers and strange places meaningful to us. With the latest book, Sailing Away from Winter, readers will also develop a fondness for Don; his wife, Marjorie; and Leo, their aging wonder whippet and boat dog, also known as the BFD (brave and faithful dog).
This trio buys a motorsailer specifically for a 1,500-mile trip from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, sailing away from a Canadian winter season via the Intracoastal Waterway. They are richly rewarded with an entire range of cruising experiences along the way. Pack your sea bag and enter their world; your own horizons will be broadened as a result.
Don acquired the “Silver” moniker in Nova Scotia, where the name Cameron is common enough for the need to distinguish between several Donald Camerons. Don, the author and sailor, is the one with the white hair. In this book he could have been called “Dandelion Don,” because he had a terrible time finding a barber along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., and that thatch of white hair became a halo before a hairdresser was finally located.
I have always admired Don as a master with words, and he’s done it again. His description of an evening in Halifax is a good example. “Catherine MacKinnon picked up her fiddle and began another haunting slow air, plangent and sweet and melancholy. It felt like an ethereal exhalation from the most ancient parts of the soul. And the past was all around us — the Acadians, the forts, the salty old seaport, the historic ships both above the water and below it. Sitting on the deck of a schooner, surrounded by my country’s past and bathed in its music, poised to sail into an unknown future, I suddenly realized that I knew exactly who I was, and exactly where I was. And I liked it.”
Don is honest about their trip down the Intracoastal Waterway. Equipment failed, the weather was sometimes unpleasant, clearing U.S. customs was a hassle, and grocery shopping and laundry became major events. Because they were making a late-season delivery, they pushed too hard and moved too fast. Sometimes lonely, at other times they had more social interaction than needed. But they had a good time, learned much about themselves and others, and found that they were fitter and younger-feeling than when they left. Once in the Bahamas, the pace slowed, and the madcap race to arrive was forgotten.
Reading this book will whet your appetite for more by Silver Donald Cameron. I can wholeheartedly recommend that path. You won’t regret any of the journeys you make with this man whose words are silver. Perhaps that’s a better reason for the additional name he has worn so well for so long.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Over and around the bounding main
Sailing Away From Winter: A Cruise from
By Silver Donald Cameron
McClelland & Stewart/Douglas Gibson, 367 pages, $34.99
Once upon a time, not long ago, the sea held profound meaning for us. It was a pre-eminently masculine realm, and men dreamed of the sea as a place of adventure, heroic struggle and redemption; like the battlefield, it was a proving ground of manhood. For women, the sea was something to cross to get somewhere else, or it was a malign and terrible power that snatched their men away from them. The sea was a common source of metaphor, and of vocabulary. Covering three-quarters of the Earth's surface -- planet ocean -- the sea made the world seem large, unpredictable, wild and dangerous.
That's all gone now. For most of us, the sea is a mere thing: We fly over it, dump in it, strip-mine it for protein or cruise its picturesque fringes in floating hotels with pointy ends. There are exceptions. Expendable men still work at sea -- fishermen and freighter crews -- mostly from countries of the "developing world." They still struggle and die there, although far fewer of them than in the past; they are not prone to romanticize their workplace.
And some inhabitants of the rich "developed world," who have time and money, and therefore choices, go to sea because it pleases them to do so. For those people, the sea retains some of its ancient meaning. They are bound to find there many of the things absent on land: simplicity, honour, adventure and the chance for ordinary men and women to find out who they are and what they're made of.
This seagoing impulse may be extreme: a non-stop circumnavigation through the great Southern Ocean, for example, or a round-the-world or single-handed transoceanic race. But there are many gentler, more homely versions of hunger for the sea. In Sailing Away From Winter,
Cameron, his wife Marjorie and their dog, Leo the Wonder Whippet, a.k.a. the BFD ("brave and faithful dog"), buy an old, tubby Norwegian motor sailer, which they rename Magnus. They do what always has to be done with an older boat: fix or replace just about every damn thing aboard, usually more than once. In mid-summer, 2004, they head south, harbour-hopping along the coasts of
They can't stay out for more than 12 hours at a time because that marks the limit of the elderly Leo's bladder control -- he, like many dogs, refuses to pee while aboard, in spite of his owners' sweet inducements. The multi-species crew makes a hard right into
Known as "the Ditch," the waterway is a labyrinthine network of sounds, rivers, creeks, cuts, swamps and canals that stretches all the way to the tip of
The helmsman must concentrate without let-up as long as the boat's in motion. Cameron learns the hard way, as do all sailors, how not to bash into docks or hit bottom, and how to follow narrow dredged channels in cross-winds, or cozy up to snarky or sullen lift-bridge operators. In many ways, it's easier on the open ocean, even in bad weather: You just point the boat in the right direction and try not to be too afraid.
Magnus and his human-doggy crew make it all the way to
Cameron, a sailor in his local waters for 30 years, has always dreamed of making such a voyage. In his late sixties, he thinks: Better do it now. It's seductive and stirring for weekend sailors when, finally, they have the chance to just keep going, and not turn back and head home after a few hours or a couple of weeks. The sense of freedom, of possibility, rejuvenates all three souls aboard Magnus. "South, south, south" is Cameron's mantra as winter fills in behind them.
This is a well-written, plain-told, day-by-day account of getting a small boat from one place to another. Cameron is a veteran writer and knows how to lace his story with a little history, interesting characters, with whimsy and a dose of good old self-deprecating Canadian humour. A reader might wish for more drama, or for some sea-going crises surmounted or trials endured. But for a sailor, to make a voyage without mishap or trauma is the whole idea. Cameron's book about the mellow completion of his long-delayed dream of the sea is a quiet pleasure to read.
Derek Lundy is the author of Godforsaken Sea. His latest book, The Bloody Red Hand: A Journey Through Truth, Myth, and Terror in
Friday, March 9, 2007
The TV interview for CBC Nova Scotia's "The Living East" will be broadcast today, sometime after 1:00 PM.
And here are the details of a long interview I did for "the world's first sailing podcast" at www.furledsails.com It's online now.
|Weekly sailing podcast focusing on cruising and recreational sailing.|
|FurledSails.com Podcast #79 Silver Donald Cameron|
| Silver Donald Cameron is the author of several sailing books including "Sailing Away From Winter", "Sniffing the Coast", "The Living Beach" and "Wind, Whales and Whisky" just to name a few. He has a very entertaining way about him and regals us with several stories from his trips. See you on the water! |
Email us at email@example.com
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Thanks to Bijan for linking the earlier post to Haliditto, a website I hadn't seen before.
Friday, February 16, 2007
The Boat Show program includes several references (with photos) to the seminars I'm giving at the Show, plus a fine interview by Tom Mason, with several illustrations.
Flip it over and you're looking at Atlantic Boating News, with a reference to the book on its cover, and an enthusiastic review by Lloyd Corkum inside. (The book is "the next best thing to doing it yourself, with Silver Donald's wit and charm only enhancing the experience.")
When I thanked the editor, Joanne Elliott, for this terrific coverage, she said, "Atlantic Boating News -- the Silver Donald Cameron edition!" And that's what it looks like.
Thursday, February 8, 2007
For those less inclined to welcome the chill, we suggest Silver Donald Cameron's Sailing Away from Winter: A Cruise from Nova Scotia to Florida and Beyond. It's the armchair-friendly yarn of how Cameron, who turns 70 next year, set sail in 2004 with wife Marjorie Simmins and Leo the Wonder Whippet in a 33-year-old Norwegian-built ketch named Magnus, bound for Pete's Pub in Little Harbour, the Bahamas. Some 236 days and 3000-plus nautical miles later, the "distinctly trepid crew" rowed ashore and headed up to the palm-thatched tiki bar for a well-deserved splash or two. This is familiar stuff for the B.C.-raised Cameron, author of 13 previous books, a bunch of them ocean-themed, including "the Nova Scotia cruising classic Wind, Whales and Whisky."
For those with the smell of salt air twitching their own nostrils, perhaps Cameron should be paired with Farley Mowat's memoir of marital cruising, albeit around Newfoundland in the '50s, Bay of Spirits: A Love Story.
To which I say a hearty Amen. Farley's new book is poignant and delightful, and the two books will probably appeal to a very similar readership.
Alas, while in Calgary we were both felled by head colds -- and mine in particular was an industrial-strength stinker which took away my voice. We postponed our BC flight to February 7, but when the situation hadn't much improved by then, we flew back to Halifax instead. I was bitterly disappointed, but there isn't much point in continuing a speaking tour when you can't speak.
So we're back in Halifax, and the next public appearances are three presentations at the Halifax International Boat Show (Feb 16 at 5:30; Feb 17 at 1:30; Feb 18 at 1:00) and a brief talk at the Atlantic Provinces Booksellers Association dinner, also on Feb 18.
Interviews coming up on CBC Television's The Living East (to be recorded at the Boat Show on Feb 16, but I'm not sure when it will be broadcast) and on Furled Sails (www.furledsails.com), the world's first sailing podcast, out of Florida.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Dream trip Interesting
4,800-km journey also a tough, tiring voyage
Sailing Away from Winter: A Cruise from
By Silver Donald Cameron
Douglas Gibson/M&S, 320 pages, $35
Reviewed by Margo Goodhand
CAN there be anything more appealing than a title like this in the middle of the Prairies in the middle of a dark cold spell in January? Shiver our timbers, indeed.
Maritime author Silver Donald Cameron dreamed of making this year-long, 4,800-km cruise to the
Theirs is a particularly interesting journey because they take the
The only catch is the couple kicks off their voyage in
"Cruising books lead you to imagine idyllic sailing, exotic foods, snorkelling, snoozing, and sun-downers in the cockpit," writes Cameron, who has penned numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction, on Maritime subjects. "But few writers admit that such days are sandwiched between intense attention to the forecasts, the navigation and the diesel engine, and long trudges through small-town streets, carrying heavy burdens of food, dirty clothes, and motor oil."
Cameron can't be accused of glossing over the mundane realities of the trip. We read a lot about how hard it is to find a barber shop, Leo's early-morning pees (he has to disembark, for some reason, before he can go, which makes for some anxious times for dog and crew), their good meals, their bad pizzas, their search for an O-ring and other sundry boat parts. In fact, the detail sometimes bogs down the narrative.
But overall, this is interesting reading for any armchair traveller who is even remotely interested in the East Coast. Cameron meticulously chronicles each step of the way, vividly bringing to life, for example, the couple's exhilaration as they putt past the Statue of Liberty in
Cameron's adventures also underscore the danger attached to a trip like this. He runs into a wharf, dodges lobster traps, survives a hellish 24-hour storm, and suffers through a whole gamut of mechanical breakdowns. And he is an experienced sailor with a good vessel.
He's honest enough to admit at one point that he just wants to go home. "This was supposed to be fun," he tells his wife. "But it's just bloody hard work, frightening and miserable. Fuel problems. Electronic problems. Diabolical tides and contrary winds... The hell with it."
Luckily for us and him, she talks him out of it. And at the end, their friends remark on how much younger the couple looks -- tanned, fit, and trim. Even the dog is perkier.
"The voyage had changed us," Cameron writes. "Only now did I realize that I had, in a sense, sailed away from old age and gained a new sense of freedom."
Free Press deputy editor Margo Goodhand is still decades too young to contemplate such an arduous adventure.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Fluid, informative and entertaining, Sailing Away From Winter might be the perfect tonic for this time of the year. Cameron’s natural flair for storytelling makes for a great yarn, taking the reader along for a ride that is often good-humoured and always an adventure. And, as a journalist, he is careful to ensure that everything is anchored in fact.... this is perhaps Cameron’s finest work to date, and a good book for all to enjoy curled up on the couch, in front of the fireplace, dreaming of lands far-far away.
To see the full review on Stephen's blog, click here.
Today, January 28, I'm doing a reading and autographing session from 2:00 to 4:00 at Frog Hollow Books in Halifax. (I've already done similar sessions at Volume One Books in Port Hawkesbury, and at Village Florist in Tatamagouche.)
I've developed a pretty funny one-hour presentation, combining excerpts from the book with a short comic piece which is referred to in the book, but not printed there. Last week I delivered it at the Toronto International Boat Show, the second-largest show in North America.
I'll be doing the presentation at the Vancouver International Boat Show on February 7 and 8 at 6:00 PM and on February 9 at 2:00.
I'll be speaking at the Kelowna Yacht Club at 7:00 on February 10, and signing books at Mosaic Books in downtown Kelowna at 2:00 the following afternoon.
And I'll be at the Halifax International Boat Show February 16 at 5:30, February 17 at1:30, and February 18 at 1:00.