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My Recent Nonfiction Works

This book follows the adventures of a retired Canadian couple in their mid-sixties, who in 2009 set out on a three-year voyage from Vancouver. Their intention was to sail in full comfort through some of the remotest and wildest seas in the world. They had already seen more than their fair share of palm trees and tropical beaches, so on this voyage, they chose to head to Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and around Cape Horn.

 

Sequitur, their yacht provided Edi and Michael with great comfort, and as their voyage progressed, the quality and style of their onboard dining, both at sea and at anchor, became legend. At the height of its popularity, their online blog was consistently receiving over 3000 page views per day.

 

Michael is a retired naval officer, an accomplished exploratory mountaineer, a former wine importer, culinary instructor and wine writer. He is a lover of adventure and of the finer things in life. Throughout the book, he offers a close-up view and commentary on the process of voyaging through less travelled areas. Because of the included details, the book is not only for shore-side dreamers; it should also be a useful resource for those thinking of taking this voyage themselves.

The book's 315,000 words are beautifully illustrated with more than 2400 colour images which were selected and edited from the 296,500 photographs shot along the way. As well, there are dozens of maps and chart-plotter screenshots to assist in following the adventures.

This book will introduce you to the cruising regions, to the boat rental companies and to the basic skills and knowledge you need to safely and confidently head off on your own voyage of discovery through the cultures, histories, foods and wines of France.

 

Throughout France is a vast network of canals and navigable rivers that lead through a wondrous variety of pastoral settings, medieval towns and villages and vibrant cities. Along the way are vestiges of human habitation spanning the millennia from palaeolithic times onward through a complex history of settlement.

 

The occupation and taming of the land followed the courses of the rivers and crossed the low passes that link them to each other. The canals were built to aid commerce here in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and much of the original engineering is still in place. The coming of rail and then motorised road transport made them increasingly uneconomical, and their use dramatically declined. They are now mostly left to the pleasure cruisers.

 

Following these ancient routes along the peaceful canals and rivers of France is a superb way to experience the heart and soul of the country. This is a dream shared by many, and it is now easily possible with a rental boat.

This book begins with an outline of the history and geography of inland navigation, starting with a broad view and then narrowing to focus on the rivers and canals of France. An overview of canal types is followed by an examination of the various styles of locks found in France and their different modes of operation. A section touches on some of the many types of boat that have worked these waterways through the centuries and how they were used.

 

This is followed by a look at the variety of current vessels suitable for cruising in France, such as modern motor cruisers, replicas of classic barge designs and converted ex-commercial barges. A large section gives hands-on detail of and insights into the search for, and the selection of a classic Dutch barge in the Netherlands. There are many details on making an offer, commissioning a survey, contracting the purchase, doing a major refit and then taking the barge southward into France.

 

The meat of the book is in the sections dealing with actually cruising through the inland waterways of France. Here will be found both overviews and details on the broad variety of cruising waters. Much of the detail in this four hundred page section is taken from our cruising logs, condensed, edited and illustrated with photos we have shot along the way. The intent of this narrative is to give the reader a flavour of what it is like cruising these waters and it is by no means meant as a definitive guide, but rather as sketches of some of the things that are possible.

There are over 45,000 kilometres of navigable rivers and canals in Europe. That is more than a global circumnavigation's worth of inland waterways to explore. Over one-third of these are In France and the Netherlands, where much of the finer inland cruising is found.

 

This book will lead the reader in discovering the better ways to enjoy these waters. The book draws from the knowledge and insights gained through the author's half century of boating experience.

 

It is not a "How To" book; rather it is a look at many of the things that are possible. It is profusely illustrated with over 950 photographs and maps, which add depth and clarity to the narrative and give the readers a better understanding of the day-to-day life while cruising the rivers and canals of Europe.