The Cruise of the Blue Dolphin: A Family's Adventure at Sea

Nina Chandler Murray

I accidentally came across this book when I typed Swallows and Amazons into the search box of the Common Reader web site. They billed it as a real-life Swallows and Amazons adventure, and indeed it is.

In 1933, the author's father, who had lost his job and who had fallen, but not too far, on hard times, decided to take his family on one last family adventure. The author, then thirteen, plus three of her four brothers and sisters, her mother, father, and grandmother set off on a chartered schooner for a year's sailing trip. They started from Gloucester, Massachusetts, sailed down the Atlantic coast, through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos Islands, and back again.

It was a year at sea with adventures enough for a lifetime – deserted islands, eccentric characters, pirates, buried treasure, and giant turtles. The children were already experienced sailors when they started out, but by the time they came back the girls were considered by one friend to be the most competitive sailors in Nantucket.

They did schoolwork with their Pa, had navigation lessons from the Captain, and got practical experience in every aspect of sailing. The focus of the book, though, is not on the sailing, but on their adventures, some amusing and some frightening.

A book, then, to be enjoyed by all AR fans from high school age on up.

The Cruise of the Blue Dolphin was published in November, 2002 by The Lyons Press

Reviewed by Pam Marshall, December, 2002

This article is ©2002 by Pam Marshall, and posted on All Things Ransome with permission.

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