Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book Review: On Island Time - Kayaking the Caribbean

Book Review: On Island Time - Kayaking the Caribbean (Scott B. Williams)

Scott B. Williams is not the best author, nor does he have the greatest story. What he does have is an authentic kayaking voyage to share and that is what this book is about. On Island Time chronicles his somewhat foolhardy attempt to paddle by kayak from Florida south through the West Caribbean islands. Early on Williams writes "a mere vacation would not be enough . . . I wanted to savor the experience, to absorb the places I longed to visit at the average speed of three miles an hour. Why not paddle for a year . . . two years?" Williams saves up for and plans his great journey. Along the way he almost drowns, is attacked by sharks, meets highly unusual people, and discovers tropical paradise like he has never dreamed of.

What I really liked about this book is the author's focus on the places he goes to and his honest way of chronicling his own thoughts and feelings about his trip. He never hides the fact that he makes some foolish choices and often doesn't really know what he is doing. If you are like me, you will salivate over the descriptions of some of the beautiful places he visit and be filled with more then a little jealousy. Williams ability to drop everything for his trip, to focus so completely on the present of his journey - this is remarkable ability. Best of all his authenticity convinces you that you too could embark on such a trip. He makes it sound possible . . . for anyone. What I really wished for in this book though was maps. It was difficult to really understand where he was a lot of the time and maps would have helped alot. Some sort of map is pretty standard in this genre but sadly they weren't there.

Kayaking the Caribbean is a great book for any paddler who dreams of paddling through solitary islands in paradise. For those who aren't paddlers, it's an OK read but you may find yourself finding it difficult to engage. I rate this book 3.1 ninja stars out of 5.


Stacey said...

That looks awesome. I love kayaking. Steven got me into it. He goes much more than I do but we talk about doing the French River. Not the Carribean but enough of a challenge for me right now. We've actually already done parts of it but hopefully some day we'll do the whole voyage.

Mark said...

Nice! Hopefully you'll be camping along the way? One of my all time favorite trips ever was a three day paddle in the Princess Louisa Inlet on the Sunshine Coast of BC with our friends Mike and Rayna. Absolutely the most stunning scenery I have ever seen: waterfalls, seals, mountains, cliffs, etc. Amazing stuff and lots of fun to paddle with your wife and two friends.