In part one of Books
for the Boat I wrote that if I designed cruising
boats I'd put a bookcase in every salon, next
to every bunk and in the pilothouse, too. I'd
even pick the books.
My first selections were
reference books, six how-to texts for when you
have to look something up. I had four books in
the Cruising Classics category and one in the
First Read, Must Read category. Okay, it's First
You Have to Row a Little Boat by Richard Bode.
Bode's theme: Lessons learned in boating teach
us how to navigate life.
Next category is Fun Fiction
Afloat. As much as I love being on the boat, I
love being transported by a book of fiction when
I'm on the boat. This is especially so when your
surroundings make the novel come to life. I am
on a Randy Wayne White kick. He's the author who
sets his mysteries in the same waterfront scenes
we visit and the same waters we cruise in Southwest
The hero in all in Doc
Ford, a marine biologist and one-time government
agent who would rather be collecting marine specimens
or kicked back in his beloved stilt house. Instead,
though, he is kept busy solving mysteries and
helping friends escape suspicion or bad circumstances.
These are my favorites:
1. Sanibel Flats.
This was the first in the Doc Ford series and
a good one to read if you want to start at the
beginning. Ford navigates his way through a murder
maze that includes government cover-ups, a third
world militia and a kidnapping.
2. The Mangrove Coast.
Doc helps a young woman, the daughter of a dead
war buddy, whose mother is missing, perhaps the
victim of a con man.
3. Ten Thousand Islands.
Who robbed the grave of an adolescent girl who
had discovered Calusa Island artifacts? Enter
4. Shark River. Ford
faces down evil -- murder, revenge and drug moguls
who want him killed.
On a boat, your world view
is dominated by the Sea and the Sky. Two recommendations
in this category:
1. Stars and Planets.
Jay Pasachoff and Donald H. Menzel created
this field guide with hundreds of color photographs
to help you identify the stars, planets and constellations.
Keep this text handy when out on the deck at night
and marveling at the heavens on one of those clear,
enchanting evenings on board.
2. Reef Fish Behavior.
When you peer into the clear water from the
deck of a boat and you see fish, go grab Ned Deloach's
text to help you identify what you see and why
those fish are doing what they're doing.
I forgot to write that
my boats would also have coffee tables with lips
around the edge so books don't slide off in a
chop or while sliding over somebody's wake. Here
are my Coffee Table Books for Lovers of Boats
and the Sea.
1. An America's Cup
Treasury. In pictures and text, Gary Jobson
covers the intrigue and excitement of the first
30 years of America's Cup competition. And he
2. Origins. The Evolution
of Continents, Oceans and Life. With compelling
text and color photos, author Ron Redfern explains
the mysteries of the formation of our earth, oceans
and life. The main lesson: embrace change or die.
Nieces and nephews come
to visit and cruise. Vic and I always stock the
boat with books for what we call the Kids Cruising
Corner. Surprise, surprise. Manatees and pirates
are high on everybody's list. These two are on
our web site.
1. The Pirate's Handbook.
Young cruisers know they'll not confront a
real pirate on their cruise but what's to stop
them from imagining themselves as rogues of the
high seas. Margarette Lincoln's book is terrific
and true report about the real thing, what they
wore, what they ate and how they struck fear in
2. Manatees. This
is another in the Naturebook Series, written by
Mary Ann McDonald, with photos of the slow moving
sea cow, Florida's official marine mammal. Sighting
a real manatee is extra special when this book
is on board.
Books are for boats. Boats
are for books.