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SOUTH SEA VAGABONDS.
By J.(Johnny) W. Wray. Softback, 0.28 kgs, 128mm x 200mm, 356 pages, Black & White Photographs. Published 2016.
South Sea Vagabonds, the book that inspired generations of New Zealand sailors, is reprinted on its 75th anniversary.
"This book is written primarily for dreamers,
and they don't mind if a man can write or not
as long as the facts are there. It is written for
the man who works in a city office and
dreams about sparkling blue waters and
coconut palms and white sails bellying to the
warm trade-winds. It will, perhaps, show
him how it is possible to break away from the
ties of civilization, build himself a boat and
sail in her wherever he wills. I was a dreamer
once, but now my dreams have come true, and
I am satisfied and happy."
~ excerpt from the preface of
South Sea Vagabonds by Johnny Wray
When unemployed Aucklander Johnny Wray wrote and published South Sea Vagabonds in 1939 he probably had no idea of the effect his story would have on generations of New Zealand back-yard sailors.
The book charted his building of the 35 foot yacht Ngataki in his backyard from materials scavenged throughout the city, his cruises around the Hauraki Gulf and subsequently with crews of young New Zealanders, his adventures in the South Pacific, cruising the Islands, racing, trading, even hunting for treasure.
Johnny’s tale of those adventures, South Sea Vagabonds, is funny and unafraid. Not surprisingly, it was an instant success. Four editions and seventy five years later the book is fondly remembered and often sought
Johnny died on Waiheke Island in 1986 but the legend he created for New Zealand sailors lives on: with spirit and determination they can do anything. The Ngataki survived, number eight wire and all, and has been restored by the Tino Rawa Trust.
NZ$28.00 + delivery.
SWIRLY WORLD SAILS SOUTH.
By Andrew Fagan, Paperback, 0.42kg, 153mm x 233mm, 288 pages. Published June 2012.
In 2007, Kiwi musician and radio personality Andrew Fagan set sail in his tiny 5.4-metre plywood yacht to circumnavigate New Zealand. And just to make it more difficult, he included a leg to the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands in the notorious Southern Ocean.
All in all he sailed over 3000 miles (around 5000km) in two months. facing such potentially lethal conditions in such a tiny craft took careful planning mixed with extreme determination, serious fortitude and uncommon daring.
In this account of his voyage, Fagan tells of having to avoid icebergs, sail through a force ten storm and visit sites of shipwercks at Port Ross in the Auckland Island Group. 'With the genuine concern of a very fatigued person, I was sailing for my life and I knew it!'
Swirly World Sails South is a sharply accurate and humorous narrative that offers a unique and refreshing perspective on the world of solo sailing.
NZ$35.00 + delivery.
GROWING UP A CHATHAM ISLANDER.
By Val Mete. Paperback, 204 pages, 138mm x 212mm. Published in 2012.
The Chatham Islands are New Zealand's most easterly region, consisting of an isolated archipelago of eleven islands (only two of which are inhabited) lying about 800 km east of Christchurch on NZ's south island. Many visitors experience a trip to the Chathams as a 'step back in time' and this is exactly what Val Mete has written about in her first book of memoirs from her childhood. Of Moriori descent, Mete's stories warmly depict the adventures of extended family life and wisdom of her elders, as well as the appreciation for the landscape and ever-present South Pacific with its crayfish, abalone, kina, and blue cod. The abundant historical photos in Mete's book show the island lifestyle in the 1930s - 1980s. From horse-drawn mail carts and fishing nets, to the days of the early horse races and crayfish industry, the reader gets a clear taste of the abundant 'kaimoala' (seafood) and other resources on the islands that the locals gathered, shared, and now value as they reflect back to a time when they were young and things were quite different.
NZ$30.00 + delivery.
FROM KAURI TREES TO SUNLIT SEAS.
Shoestring Shipping in the South Pacific.
By Don Silk, Paperback, 0.55kg, 155mm x 235mm, 234 pages.First Published 1994. Reprinted 2014 .
(Note: We have been fortunate to be in contact with Don Silks family and acquire copies of this book, which is now out of print)
From Kauri Trees to Sunlit Seas recounts Don Silks adventures in the Pacific over neary four decades. During this time, vessels were bought and sold, rebuilt and wrecked, cargos of coconuts and corned beef, pineapples and pearl shells were transported, along with crazy English beachcombers and Mormon Missionaries complete with bicycles.
The excitement of hurricanes and shipwrecks, stoways and drunken sea captains was matched by the challenge of outwitting officialdom.
A born storyteller, Don Silk has written a rip roaring yarn, awash with thrilling adventurres and mishaps. It is the story of an exceptional way of life, now all but gone forever.
NZ$35.00 + delivery.
A year in the life of a wannabe sailor's wife.
By Rosalie Barber, Paperback, 0.18kg, 148mm x 210mm, 88 pages.Published 2013 .
Going to live on a boat! Are you mad? You shouldn’t do that, not at your age!
I decided to write this book to help people, including family and friends, understand our life at sea and how we came to make the decision to live this way.
NZ$20.00 + delivery.
INTO THE MIDNIGHT SUN.
By Barbara Thomas. Paperback, 0.55Kg, 160mm x 237mm, 168 pages, full colour photographs, published 2011.
We all have our dreams and most of us never turn them into reality - but this adventurous Kiwi couple did. Neil and Barbara Thomas's vision was to put to sea for an extended voyage across the Pacific Ocean, heading north, from New Zealand to Japan and Alaska.
It is about life on board their 'tiny ship' Starlight, calling into beautiful exotic ports, and indeed one or two hell holes.
But Barbara describes the extraordinary places and wildlife they encountered - from undisturbed remains of WWII Japanese submarines and zeroes to grizzly bears gorging themselves on salmon. It is a story of friendships formed and extraordinarily genereous locals who helped them along the way.
NZ$45.00 + delivery.
THE LIGHTHOUSE CHILDREN'S MOTHER.
By Jeanette Aplin. Paperback, 150mm x 210mm, 228 pages, Black and white photographs.
This is the sequel to Jeanette Aplin's classic The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife, the review of which follows below.
The family have now moved south from rugged Stephens island to a remote, wave-splashed dot in Fouveaux Strait - Dog Island, only a few feet above sea level.
Here, as the idyll and magic of island life spin their web ever more closely around the two families who live there, the author finds the old problems of lighthouse isolation get a fresh twist. She writes engagingly of solitude and of her own mother's influence as she ponders the old question: how much of the way we were brought up do we automatically repeat with our own children?
Always candid and happy to laugh at herself and as ever at one with the natural scene, Jeanette Aplin carries her readers with her as she faces new challenges, falls in and out of love with small things, and finds new strenghts. They cannot help, too, but wonder with her - is this really the right place to be raising children?
Over three years on Dog Island, living a way of life now gone forever and with her husband, children and the other family as tutors, the author gains more insight and learns more about the complexities of 'being human'.
NZ$30.00 + delivery.
ORDINARY WOMEN EXTRAORDINARY LIVES, In The Fishing Industry.
By Heather Heberley. Pbk, 150mm x 210mm, 245 pages, colour and monochrome photographs.
This is the authors fifth book, it is a delightful and inspiring story of New Zealand women, many of whom call themselves "just ordinary". How very far from ordinary they and their lives actually are becomes plain from the beginning.
Courage, strength of character, humour - here are so many touching stories. They range from hand-on fishing and diving to the many skills needed in aspects of management, research and policing the seas in New Zealand waters and around the world.
New Zealand was the first country to introduce an all embracing quota management scheme, and is up with the leading fishing countries in the places women have won for themselves in the fishing industry.
Everyone wants to conserve fish stocks. Heather Heberley opens up a whole new world of science and enterprise, threaded through with love stories and the seizing of triumph from disaster.
With her fishing and farming family on Arapawa Island in Tory Channel, she has herself gone fishing for crayfish, groper, school shark and tuna, and taken part in fisheries research. All four of her previous books have been bestsellers - Weather Permitting, Flood Tide, Riding with Whales, Last of the Whalers. In this book, she celebrates a vital part of the natural world, and women who belong in it.
NZ$31.00 + delivery.
RIDING WITH WHALES.
By Heather Heberley. Paperback, 148mm x 210mm, 260 pages.
Heather Heberley in her first two books, Weather Permitting and Flood Tide, wrote about her own life on Arapawa Island in Queen Charlotte Sound. While she researched, she talked to many other women who had spent most or all of their lives in the remote Sounds.
This book, Riding with Whales, began because of these meetings and the huge admiration she feels for these older women, all pioneers in their way.
They have great stories to tell about a way of life now mainly gone forever. The impact of whaling on nearly every family, the awesome responsibility for their children's futures whent he women were their only teachers, and the unbelievable differences which electricity eventually made to their lives - all of these and much more thread through this delightful book.
The lives of the thirteen women featured in this book, two maori, eleven Pakeha, cover a large part of the 20th century. Their stories are dramatic, funny and tragic in turn, and always touching in the honesty with which they talk to Heather Heberley. Nobody complains. Nobody dwells on her health problems. As one of them says, looking back on a life of physical danger, loneliness, huge responsibilities and sheer, unremitting hard work, "it's just the way it was."
NZ$31.00 + delivery.
By Heather Heberley. Paperback, 138mm x 210mm, 222 pages.
Young Heather Heberley, coming as a bride form Auckland to a remote bay in the Marlborough Sounds, did not realise how much the words, weather permitting, were to rule her life. Sea tragedies, the sinking of the Mikhail Lermontov, her husband Joe's role in search and rescues where the rescuers' own lives were at risk - all these are detailed alongside the often funny, sometimes tragic aspects of the Heberleys' farming and fishing life.
Heather Heberley's unassuming but robust story shows how she grows into a mother, mechanic, plumber, teacher, farmer, nurse, woolclasser, and licensed skipper. She changes from a young townie into a confident capable woman. This is a love story. The mutual love and respect of her family nourishes her capacity to learn, and to shape, laugh at and enjoy her own life.
More than a million people each year pass the South Island's isolated 'first house on the right' on Arapawa Island, just inside Tory Channel. Heather's marriage into the well-known Heberley clan and her arrival, in 1963, at their bay, have given her the fascinating and formative experiences that make up this compelling autobiography.
NZ$30.00 + delivery.
THE PRICE OF BACON.
By Jeanette Aplin. Paperback, 0.43 kg, 148mm x 210mm, 296 pages, colour photographs. Published in 2011.
With the lighthouse-keeping era far behind them, author Jeanette Aplin and husband Pip have built their small home on the sparsely populated D'Urville Island which forms the rugged western boundary of the outer Marlborough Sounds. Here they have neither roads nor electricity to their property but, thanks to Pip, a solar panel powers the author's laptop and printer.
With Pip constantly away working full-time as a builder, Jeanette home-alone cherishes a dream. She will keep a pair of Kunekune pigs, New Zealand's special breed whose origins are shrouded in mystery - 'cheerful, wide-mounthed smiling pigs that will talk to me and follow me round like a dog'...
With her trade-mark candour and humour, the author writes her story as she lives it, building layer upon layer and leading us intimately into a life that is very different but compellingly universal.
It is also 'an accidental love story', not just with the pigs but about wildlife, husband, family and friends, and always the island itself.
NZ$39.00 + delivery.
YARNS, NARRATIVES AND BIOGRAPHIES. Page one.