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Sea Stories - October 2020



Sounds Fishy 

There are approximately 33,600 fish species swimming around the world in both salt and fresh waters. Some are rather ordinary looking while others appear as if they came straight out of a nightmare. From tuna to triggerfish, the world’s waters host an amazing array of finned creatures to learn about. Author Helen Scales acquaints readers with some of the more interesting fish in her book Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything. As you may infer from the title, Scales aims to tell a fish story in her own way. She cleverly reveals some of the lesser known characteristics of fish, disproving their reputation as slimy, scaled beasts, and reinvents them as emotional, singing, thoughtful creatures. The book is an underwater journey that shows how these creatures go about the hidden business of being fish. ($27, Bloomsbury Sigma)


A Salty Novel

Capt. Nicholas Fallon and his crew aboard the British privateer Rascal are in the middle of a bare-knuckled brawl with the ocean as it serves up monstrous seas. Then, a chance encounter: The seasoned crew rescues a stranded cod fisherman who comes aboard with tales of gold ransom, kidnapping and inconceivable cruelty at the hands of Barbary pirates. This sets the scene for William Westbrook’s novel Barbarians on an Ancient Sea, an account of how Capt. Fallon and his crew sail straight into the waters of American politics and British appeasement of a vile ruler. Stories of Bahamian pirates, French frigates on the attack during a snow squall and a captain’s escape from prison are among the sea stories found inside. ($19, Mcbooks Press)


Avast Ye!

The Chesapeake Bay is known for its idyllic cruising locales, beautiful seascapes, and harvests of crabs and oysters, but pirates are not typically mentioned in conversation about this region. In reality, the Bay has had its share of sneaky raiders. You’ve probably heard of men like Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and “Black Sam” Bellamy, but you might not know about local figures like Gus Price and Berkeley Muse, whose tales of piracy are legendary. Jamie L. H. Goodall’s new book, Pirates of the Chesapeake: From the Colonial Era to the Oyster Wars, portrays these characters in vivid detail. The author supplies a detailed timeline of major conflicts, vivid bios of pirates themselves, and the settings and locales where piracy thrived on the Bay. ($24, The History Press) 



U.S. Naval Academy’s Preble Hall

Preble Hall is a naval history podcast produced by the United States Naval Academy
Museum in Annapolis, Maryland. Interviewees include historians, practitioners, military personnel and a wide variety of other experts covering naval history topics from ancient to recent. The latest episodes include The USS Kirk and the evacuation of Saigon, Navy tattoos and the National Museum of the American Sailor, the Somers Mutiny and the establishment of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Persian Empire and its Navy, and plenty more. You can catch the episodes by visiting


Trawler Talk

New from Soundings’ sister publication PassageMaker is the Trawler Talk podcast, which focuses on a variety of briny topics. Hosted by PassageMaker’s Editor-in-Chief Andrew Parkinson, guests include weather wizard Chris Parker, electronics guru Ben Stein and marine industry consultant Phil Friedman, who helps unpack the topic of what type of boat truly classifies as a trawler. Catch new episodes at



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