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Book Notes Florida & South June 2007

"I headed west with the sights and the aromatic salt-marsh smell of the Sound Country filling my head, all the way back to the red-clay hills that were so near and yet so far from the spartina, the Spanish moss, and the seawinds singing in the pines.”

— The InnerIslands

"I headed west with the sights and the aromatic salt-marsh smell of the Sound Country filling my head, all the way back to the red-clay hills that were so near and yet so far from the spartina, the Spanish moss, and the seawinds singing in the pines.”

— The InnerIslands

History and mystery on the InnerIslands

While North Carolina’s Outer Banks, barrier islands on the Atlantic coast, are well-known as popular vacation and fishing spots, few are familiar with the inner islands of eastern North Carolina.

Bland Simpson’s “The Inner Islands: A Carolinian’s Sound Country Chronicle” ($34.95, The University of North Carolina Press, October 2006) introduces readers to the lesser-known islands in the sounds, rivers and swamps that lie between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina.

Simpson writes about 15 islands or groups of islands, beginning north with MachelheIsland and ending with the CapeFearIslands in the south. The stories, accompanied by photos from his wife Ann, tell not only of the wildlife and environment found in the InnerIslands, but of the histories as well. “If ever a place in America has claimed loss as its theme,” Simpson writes, it’s Roanoke Island, last home of the Lost Colony and later disappearances as well. Simpson goes on to tell of Brenda Joyce Holland, a North Carolina native whose death was never solved.

Areas covered cannot be found on most maps and are only accessible by boat; in writing this book, a companion to his earlier “Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian’s Coastal Plain,” Simpson completes his journey of the land and sea of eastern North Carolina.

Contact: The University of North Carolina Press, .

Capturing the Cup in pictures

Available in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian and German), the “Official 32nd America’s Cup Book” (about $80 U.S., Lunwerg Editores, 2007) features photography from seven international photographers, including Carlo Borlenghi. “I have been a photographer for a number of editions of the America’s Cup,” Borlenghi says, “but it is only now that I feel I have total freedom to take some totally different photographs and be really creative.”

The book is 216 pages, printed in large format and is the result of a year-and-a-half’s work of compiling selected photos from thousands of images taken over three years of America’s Cup events. The seven chapters feature the people, technology and culture of the oldest sporting trophy in the world.

Copies of the book will be available from department stores, specialized book shops and Port America’s Cup; a special boxed edition of the book will also become available in the near future.

Contact: 32nd America’s Cup Media Centre, .

Marinas reviewed and rated

According to the Atlantic Cruising Club, every marina included in the “Guide to Pacific Northwest Marinas” ($29.95, Atlantic Cruising Club/Jerawyn Publishing, 2007) has been personally visited by an ACC writer, reviewer or photographer, ensuring a more accurate perspective on each of the 238 facilities.

The guide offers information for every marina from Campbell River, British Columbia to Brookings, Oregon, that accepts overnight transient boats with LOAs of 25 feet or greater. Each Marina Report includes, among other details, latitude and longitude, moorage and dockage rates, pump-out availability, medical services and attractions including museums and other recreation opportunities. The entries feature a marina rating and one photo, but the accompanying DVD (Windows-based) includes more than 3,000 photos plus the Marina Reports. All of this is accessible through both search screen and interactive map interfaces. The addendum includes an overview of the regional Clean Marina and Clean Vessel programs, and a list of Certified Clean Marinas and Wi-Fi availability.

Purchase of the guide entitles the owner to a complimentary Silver Membership in the Atlantic Cruising Club, whose guides have covered a total of more than 1,000 marinas.

Contact: Atlantic Cruising Club, .

Trophy fishing tips and techniques

“John Unkart’s Offshore Pursuit” ($19.95, Geared Up Publications, 2007) begins with general methods and techniques for catching fish offshore (e.g., outriggers, setting the drag, etc.) before diving into specifics in a guide that aims to help you, in Unkart’s words, “bend rods on your offshore pursuits.”

Detailed descriptions, charts, illustrations and rigging diagrams are included in this 200-page book, discussing artificial lures and natural bait, and battling trophy fish. The number one mistake fishermen make is applying pressure — a thumb on the spool — when trying to slow down a fish taking line or bring it within gaffing range. “The thumb move accomplishes two things: a lost fish and a blister,” he writes. He advises presetting drags at 20 to 25 percent of the line strength.

Chapter 10 of the guide comprises species-specific advice for billfish, tuna, wahoo and mahi-mahi. A trick to help raise blue marlin into the spread, for example, is to slightly raise the engines on a boat with outboards; white water is one of a boat’s best fish attractors.

John Unkart brings 40 years of offshore experience to the book, having mated professionally on boats such as Strike III, Volcania and Endeavour.

Contact: Geared Up Publications, .

Safety and structure in marine surveying

The latest in marine surveying technology is covered in the expanded and updated edition of “Thomas Ask’s Handbook of Marine Surveying, second edition” ($49.50, Sheridan House, Inc., April 2007). Topics include analysis of the mechanical behavior of materials, stress concentration, polymer chemistry and wood-damaging organisms. The heartwoods of azobe, greenheart, jarrah, kasikasi, manbarklak, teak and totara are the most resistant to marine borers, Ask writes.

New sections include combustion and pollution, hydraulic and pneumatic systems and engine installations including cooling and exhaust systems. The guide features black-and-white photos, diagrams and charts to illustrate, for example, the differences between displacement, semi-displacement and planing hulls. Also included is a 10-page survey checklist, to verify that principal items are inspected.

Thomas Ask is an associate professor in the School of Construction and Design at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, as well as the principal of Ask and Associates, a marine consulting firm.

Contact:Sheridan House, Inc., .