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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.
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.
A BIT MENTAL - one man's mission to lilo the Waikato & live more awesome.
By Jimi Hunt. Paperback. 0.35kg, 227 pages, 154mm x 234mm, mental colour photographs ,Published 2013.
Jimi Hunt is a man who has spent most of his life doing ridiculous things for his own amusement. Things like building the country's biggest waterslide, playing golf through the streets of downtown Auckland, and holding an alternative summer Olympics including events such as sandcastle building and frisbee golf.
But what none of his friend knew was that Jimi had been silently battling with depression. It was eating him alive from the inside, affecting his business, losing him friends and slowly, painfully destroying his marriage.
Disillusioned with the help and advice he received, he read that having a goal could help with depression. Five minutes later Jimi set his goal and announced to the world - he would travel the entire length of the Waikato River on an inflatabe mattress. Loneliness, 21,000 people following the journey on Facebook, chancing upon a dead body in the river, unbridled kindness from strangers, physical pain and crazy psychic predictions are just some of the strange tales from the river.
NZ$35.00 + 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.
JUST SEA & SKY.
By Ben Pester. Paperback, 130mm x 198mm, 191 pages, black & white photos.
Ben Pester's enchanting account of his epic voyage from Plywouth to New Zealand in 1953 provides a fascinating glimpse into the bygone age of traditional seamanship. Without the modern luxuries we take for granted today, Ben and his crew, Peter Fox, set off with no onboard radio, GPS, electronics, or even cabin lights, lifejackets or liferaft. Instead, they embarked on their 14,000-mile voyage aboard the 39ft gaff yawl Tern II relying solely on hand steering, cranking the engine by hand and navigating with sextant, oil lamps and torches.
As Tern II made her way around the world, Ben and Peter stumbled across drunken harbourmasters, encountered the mafia, witnessed the legacy of slavery and experienced lost civilisations in the Pacific. This delightfully personal and very engaging account is a true adventure story, told in captivating detail and enriched with photographs and route maps of the voyage.
This book shows how it was, and still is, possible to appreciate the simple pleasures of traditional sailing without the complications of modern-day equipment. It will enchant the landlubber and transport today's sailor back into the different world of only a few decades ago.
NZ$23.00 + delivery.
By Peter Jessup. Hardback, 190 pages, 135mm x 205mm. Published 2011.
They say the happiest 2 days in a Boatie's life is when he buys his boat and when he sells it.
Between these two events anything can, and does happen. Veteran journalist Peter Jessup has been sunk twice, runaground several times, run out of fuel, left the bung out, forgotten the keys and made all the other mistakes it's possible to make.
This book is a selection of amazing stories from New Zealand and the world of boating.
Was NZ$25.00 + delivery.
Now NZ$10.00 + delivery.
YARNS< NARRATIVES AND BIOGRAPHIES. Page three.