Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Passage to Juneau, A Sea and Its Meaning by Jonathan Raban.

The Northwest Coast of North America – up through the island-strewn Inside Passage of British Columbia and north to Alaska – is one of the most fascinating sailing areas in the world.  Thousands of people travel up there on enormous cruise ships every summer; so when I saw that Jonathan Raban has made the voyage in his own sailboat I was eager to settle into my berth, forget the world, and enjoy a fascinating yarn of the sea by one of best contemporary English writers. (more…)


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So much can change in just a few hours. That’s both the thrill and the challenge of sailing. There was no wind at all when I departed Lévi, across the river from Quebec city, soon after sunrise, so I motored against the sluggish incoming tide for a couple of hours.

I was now confident, after the excellent repairs M. Bertrand and others had done to the engine mounts, prop shaft and cutlass bearing, that the engine would run reliably for hours with no problems. I relaxed and drank coffee. (more…)

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Waiting for the 5 metre tide to fall

Low tide leaves the boat high and dry

Progress seldom comes in straight lines, and so it has proved throughout ‘Kuan Yin’s” 300- mile passage down the St. Lawrence river from Kingston to Quebec City.  But, as in all such cases, there’s usually nothing to do but to meet each challenge as best one can and to keep going.  No-one ever said it was easy. (more…)

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Departing Toronto at dawn with long-time friend and fellow sailor Jiri, August 2009. Also aboard was Thom who was extraordinarily generous with his time and energy to get the boat ready

The voyage to Ungava has finally begun.  After four months of long days and hard work refitting the boat in Toronto, “Kuan Yin” is at last heading for the salt waters of the Atlantic coast of Canada. Whether or not we reach Halifax, Nova Scotia, (more than 1000 miles from Toronto) or not before the winter storms bring an end to this season’s sailing is uncertain. (more…)

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Revisiting the people I met 25 years ago during my walk along the Ganges (recounted in “A Walk Along The Ganges”) seemed like a great idea at the time.  India’s changing, everyone was telling me.  So I went, eager to reconnect with some of those who welcomed me so warmly to their country and their homes during my 7-month walk.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as intended. I did visit some of the people I’d met and that was absolutely fantastic.  But what I found in India repelled and depressed me. I went to one ashram on the banks of the Hooghly just north of Kolkata where I’d been very impressed by the sincerity of the people there living under the guidance of a holy man who hadn’t cut his hair in many years – it stretched nine feet across his room.  When I returned, the holy man had died and the new leader of the now almost empty ashram was watching football on satellite television. (more…)

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Shackleton’s Way, Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer, Margot Morrell & Stephanie Capparell.

How can we become better leaders – even if our team consists only of one? This fascinating book and highly readable book explores the leadership and management style of famed Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who brought 27 men home after two years marooned on the ice.

The book tells extraordinary Shackleton’s story and draws the lessons we can learn about hiring and creating camaraderie, leading in a crisis, forming teams for tough assignments, overcoming obstacles and leaving a legacy. “Shackleton was an average person; he taught himself to be an exceptional one,” write the authors. He led by example. He prepared for the worst and never let the impossibility of a situation defeat him. “Optimism is true moral courage,” said Shackleton.

Shackleton failed in all his major goals – his ship sank even before he reached Antarctica, yet his legacy is a supreme example of imagination, courage, humanity and hard work.  If you want to lead yourself to greatness (in business, family life or on expeditions) this books deserves serious study on how to do it.

Published by Penguin.  $15

Buy now: Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer

© Dennison Berwick 2007

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If life is your adventure, what exactly is adventure?

We may think we know what adventure is when we see it –kayaking off the Queen Charlotte Islands, a grand tour of Europe etc., but most of the time I suspect we’re mistaking manifestations of adventure for the true meaning of the word.  Or to use a Zen metaphor, we’re confusing a reflection of the moon on water for the real thing.


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