Monday, March 17, 2008

Review by Halifax writer Rob Dunbar

Sailing Away from Winter


Rob Dunbar

After reading the first page of Sailing Away From Winter I immediately realized that I had forgotten what a good writer Silver Donald Cameron is. Unlike many sailing adventure books, Cameron shies away from writing a glorified log book but rather makes the reader feel that he is in the cockpit of “Magnus” and experiences the joys of sailing in a fair wind on a sunny day to the unending frustration of a finicky and somewhat unreliable diesel engine that is maintained by a bilge dwelling scurvy crew of evil Norwegian trolls.

While slipping southwards from his homeport of D’Escousse, Silver Donald makes port in such historic Nova Scotia locales as Canso, Halifax, Lunenburg and Yarmouth and then onward to crossing the Bay of Fundy and entering our beloved neighbour, the United States of America. Here we learn that not many Americans on the New England Coast are fans of President George W. Bush as evidenced by many bumper stickers “Needed: One florist to send two Bushes to Iraq”

One common thread in Cameron’s many works is his love affair with Cape Breton. During the entire southward voyage Magnus pursues long time friend and fellow Cape Bretoner’s Jim and Carol-Anne Organ, of Port Hawkesbury, aboard Seaduction. In the Abacos the crews of the two Cape Breton vessels rendezvous after cruising more than 3000 miles away from their beloved island. If there’s one thing about Cape Bretoner’s as the song goes “ One thing I know wherever I go there’s always friends from back home”.

From a sailor’s perspective I found that Cameron’s latest work can be used as a reference book for those of us planning to navigate the Intracoastal Waterway while keeping company with the family pet, a travel guide of good marinas to stay at and those to sail by and maybe most importantly a guide for diesel engine repair. As any seasoned cruiser knows: The sailing is the easy part of the cruise, it’s knowing how to fix things that really count.

No comments: