The Boat Who Wouldn't Float
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It seemed like a good idea. Tired of everyday life ashore, Farley Mowat would find a sturdy boat in Newfoundland and roam the salt sea over, free as a bird. What he found was the worst boat in the world, and she nearly drove him mad. The Happy Adventure, despite all that Farley and his Newfoundland helpers could do, leaked like a sieve. Her engine only worked when she felt like it. Typically, on her maiden voyage, with the engine stuck in reverse, she backed out of the harbour under full sail. And she sank, regularly.
How Farley and a varied crew, including the intrepid lady who married him, coaxed the boat from Newfoundland to Lake Ontario is a marvellous story. The encounters with sharks, rum-runners, rum and a host of unforgettable characters on land and sea make this a very funny book for readers of all ages.
children patiently fishing for sculpins. A frieze of gaily dressed men and women moved along the shore road between their houses and the church. And there was no fish plant anywhere in sight. Jack joined me, red-eyed, dirty-faced, and tousle-headed (I do not know how I looked since we had no mirror on board), and together we welcomed our first visitor. He was an elderly man wearing his Sunday best and slowly rowing a dory toward us. When he came alongside he turned his head to take in the whole
after the vessel in memory of the event. Ostensibly, the voyage on which Claire and I had been invited was intended to carry Martin Dutin, a young teacher named Bernard, and their wives to the Grand Barachois of Miquelon, where they were to spend a few days hunting and fishing. But for Claire and for me it was to be a holiday cruise, during which we would explore some of those places along the island coasts that were particularly dear to Théo and which he wished to share with us. Poor Mike was
The rest of us were free to stare with incredulity at the myriad seals that rose around us and stared back. They were of all ages and all sizes, from pups of the year that thrust their wrinkled faces up to peer myopically at us from a few yards away, to ancient bulls weighing at least four hundred pounds that stood on their tail flippers, raising their bodies high out of the water to glare at us with a hint of challenge. As the dory galumphed its way along, the seals gathered from distant parts
reach a boat piled into one and in a few minutes the harbour was alive with dories, skiffs, and trap boats. They clustered around Happy Adventure like burying beetles around a putative corpse. Several men explained to me, all at once, what the matter was. The shock of the sudden stop had jerked the propeller shaft out of the sleeve that connected it to the engine. The vessel (this was the unanimous opinion) would now have to go on the slip to be repaired. But they reckoned without the spirit
in Muddy Hole. After my first suck at the bottle I still thought I might stave in Enos Coffin’s skull, plead insanity, and get myself committed to the St. John’s Mental where Wilbur and I could keep each other company until Jack forgot about me. After two more sucks, I determined to get Passion Flower under way and steam off to a place I know about on the Yukon-Alaska border, where there is a lot of archaeological work to be done on the antiquity of early man in North America. However Passion