We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (Godine Storytellers)
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For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published in the UK over a half century ago, these books are still eagerly read by children, despite their length and their decidedly British protagonists. We attribute their success to two facts: first, Ransome is a great storyteller and, second, he clearly writes from first-hand experience. Independence and initiative are qualities any child can understand and every volume in this collection celebrates these virtues.
In this seventh adventure (following Pigeon Post, winner of the Carnegie Medal), the Walker family has come to Harwich to wait for Commander Walker's return. As usual, the children can't stay away from boats, and this time they meet young Jim Brading, skipper of the well-found sloop Goblin. But fun turns to high drama when the anchor drags, and the four young sailors find themselves drifting out to sea sweeping across to Holland in the midst of a full gale! As in all of Ransome's books, the emphasis is on self-reliance, courage, and resourcefulness. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a story to warm any mariner's heart. Full of nautical lore and adventure, it will appeal to young armchair sailors and seasoned sailors alike.
ourselves, I mean.” “Let’s have those tyers. Starboard locker … Just by your hand.” John found the bundle of tyers, like strips of broad tape. He joined the skipper on the cabin top. Together they pulled and tugged at the great heap of crimson canvas. “Hang on to this for a minute … Hold this while I get that lump straightened out … Pull this as hard as you can …” Gradually the mainsail turned into a neat roll along the top of the boom. Each bit, as they got it right, was tied firmly down.
shaded bits out at sea in the middle of the dotted lines meant shoals that were dry at low water. And the others might be even worse, lurking just below the surface. And what a lot of them there were. And buoys, too. There were little pictures of buoys on the chart, with letters beside them, “R” or “B” or “B.W. Cheq.” That last he guessed must mean Black and White chequered. The little picture, that made the buoy look like a leprosy flag, and was marked “B.W. Cheq,” showed that clearly enough.
whatever you do, don’t have a jibe. The wind’s pretty well dead aft, and it’s jolly hard not to. Come this side so that you can see the compass.” Susan took the tiller. John pointed through the porthole at the compass card. “Practically north-east … Keep it as near that as you can … But do look out for a jibe …” Susan watched the card. If only it would keep still with the point marked N.E. against the thin black lubberline in the compass bowl. Too far one way … Now too far the other. The
“So do I. But I expect they’re better off without us. Quite all right anyway … with Jim Brading looking after them … He’s sure to have found a snug place for the night … And now, you just pretend you’re in the Goblin, curled up in a bunk, and you’ve heard Jim go on deck to see that the riding light is burning, and you’ve heard him come down again and lie down quietly so as not to wake anyone, because he wants his crew to have a good sleep. So naturally you mustn’t keep awake.” “I’m very nearly
seven before the flashes came again. The next time he counted five, the time after that six. Then another seven. Then eight. Then six again. How hard it was to keep counting at the same pace. This was a very good way of keeping awake. For a long time he went on counting, beginning afresh each time those two flashes broke out of the darkness. And then, suddenly, he realised that he had counted up to twelve. He must have missed seeing one pair of flashes altogether. He rubbed his eyes really hard,