Illus. credit: goodreads.com
The first 50-pages are autobiographical about how Jill grew up rowing on Long Island Sound, rowed her way through Dartmouth College, migrated to Alaska, and met and married Doug. Their interests were so linked that their wedding cake, consuming a hundred eggs and 20-pounds of butter, was covered with seals, whales, moose, caribou, and a couple in a rowboat negotiating whipped cream waves.
The whole of Chapter 10 concentrates on risk and hazard assessment, and sharpening decision making skills. They walk you through some of the mind games they’ve gone through over go or don’t go; turn around or press on issues. While they define experience as an accumulation of survived bad decisions, the importance of experience is making fewer mistakes, understanding the possible consequences of mistakes, and making sure those that creep through are of minimal significance, especially when paddling in places where one is in 30-degree water and where support or assistance is non-existent.
They emphasize that the importance of trips, any trip, is in the going. Just go. Travel, however, is not meant to be easy. It comes from the French travail, meaning “hard work or arduous effort.” The author emphasizes the importance of accepting nature on its terms and giving yourself and your body time to settle in. She said, “Rowing trips require a certain adjustment period to relax into a different pace, to weave a web of connectedness in surroundings much bigger than we are. Even on several-weeks forays, it may never happen.” So, while sharing a series of great stories, the author imparts many invaluable lessons on preparation and survival.