We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea (Godine Storytellers)
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For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published in the UK over a half century ago, these books are still eagerly read by children, despite their length and their decidedly British protagonists. We attribute their success to two facts: first, Ransome is a great storyteller and, second, he clearly writes from first-hand experience. Independence and initiative are qualities any child can understand and every volume in this collection celebrates these virtues.
In this seventh adventure (following Pigeon Post, winner of the Carnegie Medal), the Walker family has come to Harwich to wait for Commander Walker's return. As usual, the children can't stay away from boats, and this time they meet young Jim Brading, skipper of the well-found sloop Goblin. But fun turns to high drama when the anchor drags, and the four young sailors find themselves drifting out to sea sweeping across to Holland in the midst of a full gale! As in all of Ransome's books, the emphasis is on self-reliance, courage, and resourcefulness. We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea is a story to warm any mariner's heart. Full of nautical lore and adventure, it will appeal to young armchair sailors and seasoned sailors alike.
looking down at his busy helpers. “We only came yesterday,” said Roger. “Stopping long?” “We don’t know yet,” said Titty. “But we probably are. We’ve come to meet Daddy. He’s going to be stationed at Shotley and that’s quite near.” “He’s on his way home from China,” said John. “He may be here almost any day,” said Susan … “Roger, that mug isn’t half dry.” “He telegraphed,” said Roger, giving the mug another wipe. “He’s coming overland to save time.” “We’re going to meet him at Harwich.”
“Oh look out … Don’t let her jibe back again.” “You take her,” begged Susan. John, out of breath, took the tiller once more. “We can let the jib come across now. Yes. Let go the sheet.” The jib blew across the moment it was free. It hardly had time to flap before Susan had hauled in the port jibsheet and tamed it to quiet. John, with two hands on the tiller, peered through the porthole at the swinging compass card. South, south-east … south-east … southeast by east … He must keep her
barque belonged. They read the name “CORK” in huge white letters on the red hull of the lightship whose bleats had frightened them into heading out to sea. They saw the buoys they had so nearly run into. They watched the houses of Felixstowe growing clearer, the long pier, Landguard Point running out into the sea, Harwich church … One by one they passed the buoys that mark the outer shoals. Daddy had brought the boom over by the Cork, and they were running along the land towards a big conical
Harwich harbour from under one of the mattresses. “Keeps them flat,” he explained as he let the mattress fall back into its place. He spread the chart on the table and explained. “Where are we now?” said Mother. “Here,” said Jim, pointing with a finger. “There’s Pin Mill, and this is the river going up to Ipswich. We might go up there tomorrow and look at the docks. Then going the other way it comes down to meet the Stour at Shotley.” “They’ll like to see Shotley,” said Mother. “The two
came almost to standstill, and lay there, drifting with the tide. So that was how it was done. Another time, when he had to pick up a pilot, John would know how to do it for himself. Jim Brading paddled the Imp alongside. He looked ill and pleased and puzzled all at the same time. Who was this thin, sunburnt man who took the painter from him and with two turns of his wrists had it on a bollard in a clove hitch? He looked at the others, all four of them there. He looked up and down the Goblin,