3 out of 4 stars
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If you have ever you wondered what it might be like to get aboard a catamaran and sale in Africa, this is the book for you. Bluewater Walkabout, by Tina Dreffin, is a very well written descriptive travel memoir book. The title of this book grabbed my attention right away. Walkabout refers to the aboriginal custom in Australia, where a man brakes off from the daily grind and walks in solitude across the desert and bush country on a spiritual quest. The author does a excellent job incorporating this theme when her teenage boys and their friends take off on ventures of their own. Tina does such an exquisite job of describing geographical points of interest that you truly feel like you are right there on the excursion with her.
The travel excursion starts in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg where they pick up a brand new custom built catamaran. Tina, who is married to her husband Peter and has two teenage boys Adam and Warren, has longed to take one last major travel excursion before her two boys graduate high school and start lives of their own. Both Tina and Peter have adventurous personalities. Tina developed her love for adventure from her parent's family vacations. She thinks of herself as a true adventurer. However, it doesn't take long for the reader to see that Tina seeks out adventure and learns to enjoy it. Peter on the other hand is a true adventurer. He has always gone where the wind blows him and deals with whatever happens at the time it happens. He is very will equipped and knowledgeable in boating. He teaches Tina the ropes and continually puts her fears to rest. Both of their boys have grown up on boats, home schooled, and traveled the sea. They too are looking forward to traveling to Africa and being allowed to bring two of their best friends Sam and Gary.
After arriving in Johannesburg, Tina and Peter go to the shipyard to look at their newly purchased 44-foot catamaran. While they await for the finishing touches on their catamaran, they go to the airport to pick up Tinas' mom and niece. Tina knew the excursion was going to be approximately three months and wanted her mom to experience part of the excursion with them. It was decided that her mom and niece would fly to Africa for an African Safari in Kruger National Park. It is here where the detailed writing of the author is extraordinary. The safari has many twists and turns that will excite the reader.
Before they push off on their African excursion to the Caribbean, Tina and Peter name their new catamaran "Scud". They gave it this name in honor of a previous boat named Antilles. The Antilles scudded along the sapphire-blue sea in Miami. Tina and Peter have high hopes that Scud will have the same smooth ride as Antilles. After welcoming aboard, Adam and Warren friends, Sam and Gary the Scud sets sale for Cape Cod. The journey then goes from Cape Cod to Namibia, Lüderitz , St Helena, and Brazil. All along the way you are humored by four teenage boys antics and experience the peril of the open sea.
Bluewater Walkabout is very captivating book that moves fast. The author combines her present travel excursion with flashbacks to her past. It is in these moments of flashbacks that you gain a true sense of who Tina Driffin really is. She moved around a lot as a child. She drops out of high school just before she is to graduate. She gets her GPA and goes to college where she is raped. She gets a job working in commercial real estate, where she is preyed upon, proposition and raped for a second time. Peter is a good friend of Tina's brother Keith. Tina and Peter go in and out of each others' lives numerous times before settling down and getting married. Once married, their life is filled with a lot of adventure and travel that she and Peter are constantly seeking out and enjoying.
If you like reading of others travels, it is a must read. You will feel you are right there climbing Jacobs Ladder and wiping the sweat from the climb. You will love the kindness of the native people and the drama of the Indian Ocean. The brief interjected history lessons by Peter are entertaining and informative.
The evening walkabouts into the night air with the teenage boys are humorous. I thought the quotes from famous people at the head of each chapter was a nice touch.
What I disliked the most are the transitional chapters to the authors past. I found it a bit confusing. I also thought the ending was flat. It did not flow for me. I thought the author could have done a better job of taking you from the end of the excursion to the present devastating health news. There are a few editing errors. But nothing that prevented me from reading and enjoying the book. I am giving this book 3 out of 4 stars.
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