Boating Books Review: Aloha, Molokai

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Aloha, Molokai

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Recently reprinted by Patagonia from the original 1978 first edition, Audrey Sutherland’s Paddling My Own Canoe is the story of her quest to explore the remote waters on the northeast side of Molokai, Hawaii. She first sighted the island’s cliffs and waterfalls in 1958 while flying overhead and decided she must explore them. As she studies the best way to navigate treacherous sea walls, Sutherland decides that her budget will allow her only to swim the area while towing a raft filled with gear. She makes two trips using this method, stopping at beaches and coves along the way. Eventually, Sutherland returns in a kayak. The book chronicles each of her seven-day journeys. ($17, Patagonia)

Lessons Learned

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John Kretschmer has been sailing for decades, putting hundreds of thousands of miles under his keel during more than a half-dozen circumnavigations. In Sailing to the Edge of Time, Kretschmer writes about challenging Pacific and Atlantic crossings, escaping a coup attempt in Yemen, experiencing an unlikely deliverance from a coral reef in Belize, and other remarkable encounters. He also depicts calming and tranquil passages, as well as stories inspired by crew who included CEOs, actors, writers, teachers and kids. Interwoven are practical seamanship tips and Kretschmer’s beliefs about how offshore sailing can provide insights into how to make the most of our lives. ($28, Adlard Coles)

Skulls and Crossbones

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Everyone loves a swashbuckling pirate story, and Eric Jay Dolin’s Black Flags, Blue Waters is packed with them. Largely supported in the beginning by early American colonists as a show of rebellion against the Crown, the colonies would eventually come to fiercely oppose the seagoing bandits. Captain Kidd, Blackbeard and Edward Low are all depicted here, along with other pirates and their enemies, including a colonial governor (John Winthrop), an evangelist (Cotton Mather) and a young Benjamin Franklin. More than 100 illustrations help complement Dolin’s engrossing story. ($28, Liveright)

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue.