The Voyage of the Northern Magic: A Family Odyssey Paperback – Mar 2 2004
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The tone for The Voyage of the Northern Magic is set early on, when the author attempts to pilot a dinghy. "Within seconds I was in trouble," writes Diane Stuemer. "The combination of wind on the nose, the unruly waves, and my unique style of dyslexic steering caused the dinghy to wag alarmingly from side to side." In other words, to say the five-member Stuemer family sets out on its four-year voyage around the planet without much sailing experience is an understatement. And yet, against all odds, the little expedition succeeds. The Voyage of the Northern Magic is about one Canadian clan's journey to 34 countries. Family ties are emphasized throughout as Diane Stuemer and her Berlin-born husband Herbert take their three sons (Michael, the oldest, is 10 when they start out) on a voyage that begins in Ottawa and takes them to such exotic ports of call as Cuba, Malaysia, and the Azores Islands. Along the way they encounter endless engine failures and sailing mishaps, culture shock, a cancer scare (on the part of the author), and, perhaps most fearsome of all, Egyptian bureaucracy. "When you enter a country by boat, you have to jump through a series of hoops.... Nowhere did we ever experience anything as tortuous, inefficient, or frustrating as clearing into Egypt," writes Stuemer, before describing in painstaking detail her dealings with Egyptian bureaucrats. Oh, and then there are the storms. Spurred on by these great, raging, perilous phenomenon, Stuemer, a columnist for The Ottawa Citizen, produces passages of white-knuckled suspense. "Those long-ago nightmares of storms at sea, encountered in the safety and warmth of my bed at home, did not do justice to the reality of the fury that now enveloped us.... It was as if the wave was a muscular Titan, a Goliath of the sea, lifting us onto his huge shoulders, intent upon our destruction." Even more impressive, and heartbreaking, is the Stuemers's attempt to "give something back to the rainforests of Borneo" by saving a gibbon after the family witnesses first-hand the human-engineered ruin of the creatures' habitat. By the end of the voyage, the five crew members of the Northern Magic have become not only able seamen and "circumnavigotors," as the author calls them, but also first-class citizens of the world. --Shawn Conner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“After reading The Voyage Of The Northern Magic, I wish they’d asked me along.”
“For anyone who has dreamed of leaving a life in the Canadian suburbs to sail around the world…this is the book that will either persuade you to do it…or bring you to your senses. Either way, it is not to be missed.…What a trip! Thirty-four countries and more than 65,000 kilometres, some of them in Force 10 storms. It’s a nicely told tale, alternating between descriptions of idyllic moments in exotic places and moments of sheer terror.”
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I highly recommend this book to all those who enjoy the spirit of adventure and wish to have a realistic experience of such a fantastic voyage. The information covering the visits to the various countries is highly educational and most enjoyable. The Stuemer family left the Ottawa area as novices and returned as seasoned sailors.
Most recent customer reviews
An absolute must read for the adventurer in all of us. My girlfriend and I have a sail boat, a sailing coach and a dream. Enough said.Published on Feb. 19 2014 by Ian Croll