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Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The sea never settles down

    "Darkness waded in cautiously and headed west. Hesitating waist-deep, then plunging into the murky chill, the diving night splashed light onto the opposite horizon, which swam like spawning salmon up the riverlike sky. The sun hated as if it were a baby chick, pecking from within the shell until fully risen, yellow and warm, and as unsure as I was...after all, the sun starts anew every day. This could well be my last chance...and I would make the most of it."


    Linda Greenlaw's latest book, Seaworthy, is the story of a female Swordboat captain. I saw the title and thought, "a woman captaining a boat" and "swordfish"? How interesting could that be? But her picture on the cover looks like a capable outgoing woman with an engaging smile and, being a capable outgoing woman with an engaging smile myself, I decided to check this out .

    It had been ten years since Linda's last swordfishing endeavor, and she was eager to immerse herself in life at sea reliving good memories, but also apprehensive that her body might not be up to the strenuous effort involved. She picked her crew of four (to whom the book is dedicated) and found herself aboard a rusty bucket called the Seahawk. Whenever anything broke down, which occurred almost daily, the crew called it the S***hawk behind her back. "How many times did I hear Tim say, 'It's fixed. I think we're okay now'? His words soon became known as the kiss of death, in the few moments that we relaxed, we sat and waited for the next thing to break, leak, or malfunction...I didn't have the energy to fly off the handle."

    "Fortunately, when things are incredibly bad at sea, humor reigns. I was thankful and relieved to hear the men joking around...it appeared I had a crew full of class clowns. They kept working and laughing."

    This is an engrossing account of that trip which found her towed into Sambro, Nova Scotia for engine work before they even reached the fishing area. Soon after, having set out her first thirty-mile set of 800 hooks, she was arrested, handcuffed, and then taken before a judge in St John, Newfoundland for inadvertantly fishing Canadian waters.

    In retrospect, Linda realizes that there is a difference in her thinkings as a young person and now as one who is older; there are things we can fight and change and other things we just have to suck up and endure.

    "...I steered the Seahawk through the sheer-faced cliffs that protect the port...I stared down Newfoundland. Not blinking was, for me, a small yet palpable victory in a sea of seeming random defeats."

    I enjoyed Linda's descriptions of the fishing; putting out beepers and lines, and not pulling the thirty-mile line toward them but rather moving the boat forward slowly to keep pace with the men hauling in the lines. The reader is right there with her as she checks the weather, the water temperature (swordfish like it cold), and the ocean currents that converge for the best fishing. Reading this felt like I was on a vacation to a place I had never visited before. Greenlaw's name may be familiar, as she also wrote The Hungry Ocean and The Lobster Chronicles.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    Really?

    I'm sorry but $18.99 for a Nook book?? Never going to spend that on a Nook book - a hardbound maybe but a digital book? Are they retarded?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2010

    Better be into commercial long lining if you read this book

    Although I enjoyed reading this book, I thought Ms Greenlaw very over the top in her attempt to create a warrior man/woman against the beast experience. She is a commercial long line Captain of a fishing boat. She harvests majestic fish for human consumption. She takes the time to make note that harpooning fish is the really exciting part of commercial long lining. Her attempt to correlate monogamous creatures following there mates that have been hooked with suicide was ridiculous. I can fully appreciate that there exist a large portion of our society that really digs sport hunting and fishing. But tales of commercial Harvesting..Hey I'm the knucklehead that bought the book.

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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    another voyage with an utterly unique author

    It's fascinating to relive the TV moments from "Swords" through the eyes of Captain Linda Greenlaw. In her latest memoir, she tells of the endless string of sharks, the green wave that almost sent a man overboard, and her time in jail for accidentally fishing in Canadian waters. Greenlaw and her able crew make the most of a boat that is cursed with shoddy equipment and mechanical failures. While she doesn't win the swordfishing competition, this time, she hits home with her eloquent memoir. No one can spin a maritime tale as brilliantly as Greenlaw, a Colby College English major and lifetime fisherman, and her passion, courage, and determination are apparent in every word.

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  • Posted June 7, 2010

    Colby College graduate writes a good book

    6-7-2010 I have read all of the books Linda Greenlaw has written. Not being a person of in depth knowledge of the profession of Sword fishing etc i still read on. My suggestion that would have made the book even better would be to have included pictures of the vessel, pictures of taking fish on board etc. A lot of the terminology and language used would not of been understandable to the average reader, but understandable to a person more closley related to the proffesion of fishing and working with people related to fishing. i guess what i am attempting to say is that pictures would have made a lot of the language more understandable to the average reader, make sense I hope.

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