Here's a lovely blog entry by Marie Chantal, a Toronto reader. Her blog is here:
I found the perfect book for a spot of armchair travelling. Sailing Away From Winter is about the cruising adventures of a Canadian couple, Silver Donald Cameron and his wife, Marjorie Simmins. They live in Nova Scotia, in the village of D’Escousse on Cape Breton Island. In 2004, they set sail south from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas in their 33′ Norwegian motor-sailer Magnus; with their loyal and faithful dog, Leo the Wonder Whippet.
Now you may be wondering who would ever call their son Silver, so perhaps I should explain! Donald Cameron is such a common name in the Maritimes that when Don settled on Cape Breton, he came to be known as Silver Donald because of the colour of his hair!
Leo is a Wonder Whippet because at the start of this tale, he is thirteen with congestive heart failure and arthritis. Despite his health problems, he takes to the cruising life and is always eager to explore new ports and meet new people. He sounds like such a sweet dog. Over the course of his journey he finds a new exuberance and zest for life.
The book is a delightful tale of the pleasures and traumas of undertaking a voyage of more than 3,000 nautical miles on a journey that lasted 236 days; at the end of which they reached Little Harbour on Great Abaco Island and spent the evening at Pete’s Pub, which is a palm-thatched bar on the beach.
It is also about the people Don and Marjorie meet on their journey and the strong and lasting bonds of friendship that are formed. There is a special bond between those who venture into the great unknown and overcome their fears, especially amongst those who venture offshore and across the open ocean.
To quote a passage from Don’s book:
“The morning dawned bright and still, already warm. The wooded shores lay dark against the clear blue sky, the water crystal-green below the boat and turquoise in the distance. A couple of sleek dolphins browsed easily among the anchored boats, their foreheads rising as they breathed, their dorsal fins slicing the water, mammals like ourselves, symbols of elegant adaptation at the interface of sea and air. A light wind ruffled the water.”
If I close my eyes, I can smell the ocean and feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I can feel the gentle swaying of the boat at anchor and enjoy the silence of the early morning. How I wish I was there! One day, perhaps.