Friday, August 2, 2013

Narnia -- "Sail Around the World" (2009)

Storm is coming
I cling to my rope

In 1892, a friend of Joshua Slocum's offered him a derelict 37-foot Chesapeake Bay oyster sloop that had been sitting in a meadow in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, for years. 

Slocum spent a little over a year repairing the sloop, which he named the Spray.  He then used it to become the first man ever to sail around the world solo.

Joshua Slocum,
He left port in 1895 and returned just over three years later, having sailed over 46,000 miles. (There was no Panama Canal then.)

Slocum's feat truly boggles the mind.  Spray had no engine, but was completely dependent upon the wind, and Slocum navigated using a primitive technique, dead reckoning -- he didn't have an accurate chronometer to use to determine his longitude, much less GPS.

A model of Slocum's Spray
His solo circumnavigation brought Slocum considerable fame, and in 1899, he wrote Sailing Alone Around the World.  One reviewer said, "Boys who do not like this book should be drowned at once."

Slocum was sailing the Spray when he disappeared without a trace after leaving Martha's Vineyard in 1909.  (His destination was South America.)

On my recent drive to Cape Cod, I stopped to take a bike ride on the Phoenix Rail Trail in Fairhaven, which sits across the Acushnet River from the famous whaling port of New Bedford.

Today, Fairhaven is home to quite a few fishing boats.

Golfers may know it as the home of the Acushnet Company, which makes Titleist golf balls, FootJoy golf shoes, and other golf equipment and apparel:

Acushnet was also the name of the whaling ship that carried the 21-year-old Herman Melville when it departed from Fairhaven for the South Pacific in 1841.  

Melville, who later said that his life began the day the Acushnet sailed, probably based much on Moby-Dick on what he observed and experienced during the 18 months that he was aboard the Acushnet.  (He deserted the ship in the Marquesas Islands in 1842, eventually making his way to Honolulu and later returning to the east coast.)

Herman Melville
The Phoenix Rail Trail becomes the Mattapoisett Trail when it crosses the line dividing Fairhaven from its neighbor to the east, the town of Mattapoisett.  (The trail is currently less than five miles long, so it's hardly worth two names and two signs.)

Narnia is a Swedish Christian metal band that formed in 1996 and disbanded in 2010.  "Sail Around the World" is from the group's final album, Course of a Generation.

Narnia's music was inspired by C. S. Lewis's seven "The Chronicles of Narnia" novels, which he wrote between 1949 and 1954.  The books incorporate elements of Greek and Roman mythology and British and Irish fairy tales, but they are first and foremost Christian literature.

The first of the Narnia books
The Narnia novels are usually described as children's books, but there is plenty of drama and food for thought in them to fully engage the attention of adults. 

I was not aware of the Narnia books until I had children.  I read all seven to my oldest son, but didn't do quite that well with my other children.  I think I read three or four to my twin daughters and to my youngest son, and he and I have seen the movie versions of the first three books in the series.

The most recent one, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was released in 2010, when my son was 16.  We both enjoyed it thoroughly, and were thoroughly moved by it.  Here's the trailer for that movie:

Here's "Sail Around the World":

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