Sometimes we do time lapse videos using the GoPro camera. We set it up on the boom gallows where it gets to take a shot every few minutes … until the battery dies or we remember to turn it off for the day. I decided to post these videos from time to time. Here’s a a look at one. This is one of our day as we are going from Sandy Beach to Wachusett in Glacier Bay National Park. Six hours in 28 seconds.
Tristan Jones wrote stories and did faithfully adhere to the Mark Twain adage “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” When David starts spinning sailor yarns, I call him Tristan Jones. It doesn’t stop the spinning because David reveres Tristan Jones and finds that Tristan’s embellishments contribute to the world: bringing it more adventure, imagination and joy. Tristan Jones was an amazing man that we can all learn a thing or two from. In particular, the things about Jones that resonate with me personally are his ability to think big, persevere, and be flexible in order to achieve his goals. Even while accomplished great things, Jones certainly didn’t write chronicles intended to be used to determine the precise series of events, that much is certain. How much was true and how much of his books are pure fiction? Does it matter? Not really, if the goal is to tell a good story, Tristan reached his goal always.
Who was this guy? The “official” biography reads like this:
“Tristan Jones was born at sea aboard his father’s sailing ship off of the cape of Tristan da Cunha. He joined the Royal Navy at the age of fourteen, and spent his entire life at sea. He sailed a record 400,000 miles during his career with the navy and on a delivery yacht and has gone on several ambitious journeys on his own small ships. For the last few years of his life, he retired to Phuket, Thailand aboard his cruising trimaran. He passed away in 1995. Jones wrote many books about his remarkable life, including Saga of a Wayward Sailor and The Incredible Voyage.”
All readers of Tristan Jones books, at a certain point, get to the place where they’re shaking their head side to side laughing at the entertaining stretches of reality Tristan makes. For me, there were three “stretch” categories:
Tristan is the original Superman.
The books Tristan authored were all about his “remarkable life” but to me, they’re entertaining sailing yarns full of those three stretches of size, luck, and superhuman powers. About the sheer size of things–everything is huge when Tristan is facing it including the winds and seas and even the TONS of free cheese that he could stuff into his tiny little boat. The man had the art of exaggeration down. While the windfall of free cheese arrived without a story of starvation preceding it, typically when people give Tristan Jones something, he really needs exactly that thing. The books are full of free cheese– proclamations of how at just the right time, sometimes seemingly at random, people would just wander up and give him the impossibly hard to find things that he really needed at just that moment (and he never, ever asked for these things) and finally, this original Superman could literally leap tall buildings in a single bound–or at least drag his boat up into the high mountains to sail on the highest body of water, Lake Titicaca, in the Andes. He had many personal heroics along the way to deal with the gargantuan storms, mountains, floods, and distances he covered. It all is a bit far-fetched but incredibly entertaining.
An even more enticing read than Tristan’s own books, though, is “Wayward Sailor: In Search of the Real Tristan Jones” by Anthony Dalton. This is the book you really need to read since it was written to sort out the truth of Tristan’s voyages vs his fabrications. Really. In my opinion, Anthony Dalton’s biography of Tristan Jones is far more fascinating than anything ever written by Tristan Jones himself.
Dalton reveals how much of Jone’s life story was a total fabrication, beginning with the story of his birth, and the inspiration for having been given the name “Tristan.” One of Jone’s early books, Heart of Oak, was an account of Jones’ service in the Royal Navy during WW II. This is a work of total fiction, as he did not actually join the Navy until after the war was over. The fabrications go on and tales grow taller from there.
Like the stories that perpetuate around many “big names” in sailing, one of the more astonishing parts of this ‘self-invention’ of Tristan’s was the extent it was enabled by a variety of consumer sailing magazines and their editors. To quote from Dalton’s press:
In the end, no one really knew Tristan Jones. He was larger than life, perhaps the most successful sailing writer of the twentieth century, and by his own account the greatest sailor. But he was not who he said he was. He told us what he wanted us to believe, and he told the tales so well that we either believed or suspended disbelief. As Anthony Dalton reveals in this uncompromising yet admiring biography, the real Tristan Jones was both a lesser and a greater man than his invention. Self-educated, self-taught, enormously creative, he was himself his most creative act.
A 2007 YouTube of Tristan Jones: this sequence is of the late Tristan Jones. It is part of a longer documentary on Sailing.
Life is hard for the ship’s cat it seems. It remains a constant struggle for Beryl to identify the most important bit of kit to lay upon to assure that the crew doesn’t have proper access to it. Here we see her taking charge of my jacket that I’d just taken off and was wanting to put back on.
Beryl, our ship’s cat, finds it next to impossible to stay away from her favorite person, David. She follows him around everywhere. And that means everywhere. I just ran across this photograph while looking for a good shot of Reid Glacier. Yep, David’s on the bowsprit getting the photo therefore Beryl is following right along to get in the way–or in this case, in the photo.