Sometimes it is dangerous to lunch with friends. At least that was the case for Ben Pester, an ex-pat from New Zealand who'd grown roots in England, where he had made his home. Over a tasty meal and some even more palatable wine with a couple he and his wife, Susan, had known for a decade, Pester shared some photographs taken on a recent trip to Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego aboard a chartered Russian survey vessel. The icebergs, glaciers and barren yet beautiful mountains jutting skyward captivated Jeremy and Adrie Burnett - most of all Jeremy.
We had been half-expecting the glazed look that spreads over the eyes of those compelled with weary resignation to accept guests' offers to show our photos, Pester wrote in the introduction to his book Through the Land of Fire: Fifty-six South. Apparently no, as out of the blue Jeremy suddenly came up with, Have you thought of taking MARELLE south? Inferring that, 'if you have, I will come with you'.
MARELLE was Pester's classic 36-foot wooden sloop, a boat devoid of most modern conveniences but one with the seakindly nature traditionalists deem essential for oceangoing passages. And thus began, first as a fantasy, then, as time passed, a yen for adventure that couldn't be ignored, the voyage that serves as the basis for Pester's story, a long and often dangerous journey from Falmouth, England, to Cape Horn and back between 1999 and 2000.
Fans of first-person narratives will find plenty in these pages to enjoy. It's all here. The narrative is replete with storms, personality conflicts among friends most of which are worked out visits to interesting places and encounters with equally interesting people. The author often includes descriptions that take the reader right along with him to these remote reaches of the globe, and they inspire the urge to set off as well for a life freed from the ordinary in favor of the thrill of seeking adventure outside the conventional day-to-day existence on land....