In this debut travelogue, a husband and wife share their observations, insights, and inspirations during a cruise that starts and ends in Australia, with a treasure hunt thrown in.
The Beales set out on a big adventure after Michelle was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. After saving their pennies and battling the tumor to a standstill, they set sail from Sydney on May 20, 2013, on a cruise that would take them west on the Sea Princess through Indonesia to India (where they stay a few days and catch up with the ship farther on). Then the vessel heads to the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic, the Panama Canal, Hawaii (“Paradise is all around and unavoidable”), Samoa, and so forth, arriving in Sydney 104 days later. Readers learn about life on the high seas—and the endless work it takes to run and maintain the Sea Princess—the challenge of doing laundry, the daily routines, the friendships, the colorful ports of call: all that one would expect. As background, readers learn of the Beales’ history together, Michelle’s cancer (a battle not yet won), and their life philosophies. Each page is a log entry, complete with daily status (weather, position) and an inspirational aphorism or reflection (for example, “I have not told half of what I saw”—Marco Polo). Off Somalia, the ship stations crew members to look for pirates. In Scotland, readers learn of the astounding Falkirk Wheel. Edward handles much of the photography and the technical stuff; Michelle is the writer, and not just good, but gifted. At one point, she says of the Sea Princess in the middle of the ocean, “We are all in the same boat,” a cheekily resuscitated metaphor. She also recalls a stirring sunrise at sea, where “a fireworks show of boiling blues and raging reds bubble out” from the horizon. Then there is the inventive treasure hunt based on hints made throughout the volume. Who can resist such a lure? And the log format makes this a book for dipping into anywhere—perfect on the nightstand. Readers should enjoy spending time with the Beales, especially gutsy Michelle. Bon voyage!
A resourceful couple’s exhilarating recollections of sailing to India and beyond.