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Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
Heavy Weather Sailing – 7th Edition
This is the seventh updated edition, ensuring that in its 50th year
the book remains as relevant and as essential as it has been for
the previous five decades. It contains a wealth of expert advice
from many of the great sailors of the present, including fresh
accounts of yachts overtaken by extreme weather. The expert
advice section has been updated in line with current thinking,
and there has been a major update to the chapter focusing on
the use of storm sails as well as to the use of drag devices. The
chapters dealing with preparations for heavy weather and its
effect on yacht design have been overhauled. This is the definitive book for crews of any
size contemplating voyages out of sight of land anywhere in the world, whether racing or
cruising. It gives a clear message regarding the preparations required, and the tactics to
consider when it comes on to blow. HB 320 pages $70.00
SEAbbaticals VAUGHN 7553
Traditional sabbatical leave by its very nature is designed to be
thought-provoking and progressive. However a SEAbbatical
takes this to a whole new level by taking you to the most remote
locations that are virtually impossible to get to without a boat
and takes you out of your comfort zone over the sea to prove just
what you are capable of. Marine industry expert Brent Vaughan
investigates how many of his customers have escaped the daily
grind of well established businesses and careers, to explore
the world on their own SEAbbatical. PB 162 pages $24.95
Power and Colonial
by Larissa Behrendt
published by University Press
RRP: $24.95 (224pp; 130mm x 200mm)
The story of Eliza Fraser and her survival after being shipwrecked
off the Australian coast in 1836 and her trying times living, until
rescued, with an aboriginal tribe on what is now Fraser Island off
the Queensland coast, has been told and retold.
In colonial days, her story was sensational. She wrote her own
very dramatic version of the shipwreck and life with the Butchulla
tribe and, on return to England, gave money-raising lectures.
Others capitalised on her ordeal, for publicity and for political gain.
Colonial author John Curtis in his graphic narrative of the
shipwreck of the Stirling Castle wrote of “...The horrible barbarity
of the Cannibals, inflicted upon THE CAPTAIN’S WIDOW, whose
unparalleled suffering are stated by her...”
In latter years, Patrick White wrote of her in A Fringe of Leaves.
Sidney Nolan, after a visit to Fraser Island, created his own version
with the reflective painting, Mrs Fraser 1947. Even a rather fanciful
film was made.
Finding Eliza – Power and Colonial Storytelling is a most interesting
assessment of colonial history by Aboriginal lawyer, writer and
filmmaker Larissa Behrendt.
Behrendt uses the tale of Eliza Fraser’s survival with the
Butchulla people to interrogate how Aboriginal people – and
indigenous people of other countries – have been portrayed in
their colonisers’ stories.
She looks at the stereotypes imbedded in these accounts,
including the assumption of cannibalism and the myth of the
noble savage which emphasised in colonial reports of Eliza Fraser’s
shipwreck, life with the Butchulla tribe and her eventual rescue.
In Finding Eliza, the author writes on ‘The Other Side of the
Story’, a rare and insightful perspective on the story of how Eliza
Fraser appeared to the Butchulla people, in particular the women
of the tribe. Finding Eliza replaces the more common story with an
exceptional one, told so well by Larissa Behrendt.
Paradise is Underwater
Memoir of a marine biologist
by Dr Scoresby A Shepherd AO
published by Zeus Publications
RRP: $33.95 (354pp; 180mm x 250mm)
Dr Scoresby Shepherd AO has spent much of his life studying
the fauna and flora of the temperate Australian waters, and their
ecology, and has published 131 papers or chapters in books.
He is the author or editor of many books, including Ecology of
Australian Temperate Reefs which received a Whitley award for the best
marine ecology book for 2013. He was appointed an Officer of the
Order of Australia in 2006 in recognition of his work in this field.
Dr Shepherd is not just a marine
scientist and an active underwater explorer
since his teenage years (he is now in his
80s) but is a splendid story teller, writing
easily, with frankness and humour in a mix
of history, philosophy and literature.
You might ask the origin of his first name, Scoresby – it has
Viking origins dating back in records to 1247. On page two of the
book there is a fascinating family history including the involvement
of several ancestors in whaling, ocean navigation and exploration
in Arctic waters. They were, of course, noted for their above-the-
From a boy Scoresby Shepherd found an interest in the sea,
too, but under the surface, beginning in the mid-1950s in the
waters that surround South Australia when diving gear became
available in Australia.
He donned an aqualung and was at once inspired for life, going
on to become one of Australia’s foremost marine biologists and
Paradise is Underwater is full of astonishing facts about the hidden
and fleeting beauties of underwater life, of studies of marine
shellfish, including personal diving experiences in Australian
waters, then in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the coasts of
Mexico, the Arabian Gulf, and Alaskan waters.
An enchanting book to read, Paradise is Underwater is a fascinating
combination of storytelling, history and the significance of what
lies below the waters of this world of ours. h
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