Black Wave

Black Wave

A Family's Adventure at Sea and the Disaster That Saved Them

eBook - 2008
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Successful businessman John Silverwood and his wife, Jean, both experienced sailors, decided the time was right to give their four children a taste of thrilling life on the high seas. And indeed their journey aboard the fifty-five-foot catamaran Emerald Jane would have many extraordinary and profound moments...Yet rather than flourishing amid the new freedoms and responsibilities thrust upon them, the children were sometimes confused, frightened, resentful. John's dream trip that began on Long Island Sound ended almost two years later as a nightmare in treacherous waters off a remote atoll in French Polynesia, where, in an explosion of awesome violence, the terrifying brunt of the ocean's anger fell upon the Emerald Jane.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2008
ISBN: 1588367347 (electronic bk. : Adobe Reader)
9781588367341 (electronic bk. : Adobe Reader)
Branch Call Number: eBOOK 910.91649 SIL
Additional Contributors: Silverwood, Jean


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Jul 10, 2016

Gripping account of a family's extended sailing adventure that ended in a life-and-death disaster on a coral reef off a small island in the French Polynesia (near Tahiti). I liked how the author moved back and forth in the narration from the difficulties faced during the journey to the final shipwreck.

Initially, I didn't think I'd be able to connect with this seemingly perfect, good-looking Californian family; however, I grew to appreciate their strengths, weaknesses, and eccentricities. I especially loved hearing how the children grew through this experience.

It was interesting to hear the account of the "Julia Ann", a ship that struck the exact coral reef in 1855.

"But here is where history caught up with us. Here is where we would have to live out our own mortal adventure upon this planet and not just observe. Here we would share a story with the frightened souls of the Julia Ann. If you want to know what it was like for the people of the Julia Ann that night, and in the days following, you can simply crash your boat where they crashed theirs and suffer as they suffered, and that's the best way to learn.
You need not go that far, but my point is that getting an education is about getting out into the world and seeing and feeling the planet for yourself. Television doesn't cut it...."

Mar 20, 2012

Wow, an incredible story of a family, their adventure and the disaster. The main part of the book is well written and flows well. Book II, which ties this wreck to another one in the 1800's is less well written, but no less interesting.

I highly recommend this book.

Jan 10, 2010

Excellent. Just excellent. What a story. My wife read it too and thought it was great. Although I hope it didn't dissuade her from our future plans of doing exactly what this family did (minus the wrecked on a coral reef part...) Great story, well written.

Jun 16, 2008

Both having a love of sailing, John and Jean Silverwood dreamed of one day taking their children on the sailing adventure of a lifetime. Finally, in 2003, after putting everything financially toward this goal, they purchased a 55-foot catamaran and set sail indefinitely. Taking a leisurely route through various Caribbean ports of call, they eventually sail through the Panama Canal and into the wide open Pacific. Nearly two years into the trip, they meet with disaster when the boat runs aground on a coral bed during a storm and begins to disintegrate.

Parts of this book definitely make it difficult to stop reading. The shipwreck scenes were especially riveting. Unfortunately, their impact was negatively tempered by in-chapter flashbacks to prior family life and earlier scenes from the trip. I also didn't find myself nearly as compelled by John's contribution to the story, which seemed like more of an afterthought.


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