The Log of the Snark

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Macmillan, 1915 - Ocean travel - 485 pages
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Charmian London kept a round-robin letter on the trip across the Pacific on the small Snark. Her account is much more detailed and complete than Jack London's "The Cruise of the Snark." Anyone interested in the Pacific Islands will find rich descriptions of life on the islands as they are on the cusp of intensive colonization and Western encroachment. She was fearless, curious, and easily formed relationships with island royalty and resident alike. She includes information on the geography, plant life, rituals and customs, dress, and more. Being female, she has different concerns than the typical male explorer or anthropologist. Overall, she is a very capable travel writer, whose books earned high praise from contemporary critics.
Sailers and non alike will particularly enjoy the day-to-day struggles of crossing the Pacific through the doldrums to the South Seas. There were troubles with a navigator who did not know what he was doing, spoiling food, lack of water, horrific storms, tropical disease, and more. If you want adventure, it is here as well.
Modern readers may be bothered by her writing during a time of Social Darwinism, hence some use popular stereotypes of the day regarding native peoples. Despite that language, she exhibits behaviors of respect and genuine desire to learn from them. She is advanced in her views of women's conditions. Both she and Jack took most of the photographs in the book.
Charmian excised the Hawaii section of the voyage to publish as a separate book, "Our Hawaii."

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Page 263 - UNDER the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be, Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.
Page 261 - The horror of the thing, objective and subjective, is always present to my mind; the horror of creeping things, a superstitious horror of the void and the powers about me, the horror of my own devastation and continual murders. The life of the plants comes through my fingertips, their struggles go to my heart like supplications. I feel myself blood boltered; then I look back on my cleared grass, and count myself an ally in a fair quarrel, and make stout my heart.
Page 156 - You have heard the beat of the off-shore wind, And the thresh of the deep-sea rain ; You have heard the song — how long ! how long ? Pull out on the trail again ! Ha' done with the Tents of Shem, dear lass, We've seen the seasons through, And it's time to turn on the old trail, our own trail, the out trail, Pull out, pull out, on the Long Trail — the trail that is always new.
Page 264 - What the years' pale hands were bearing, Years in stately, dim division. II Now the skies are pure above you, Tusitala ; Feather'd trees bow down to love you ; Perfum'd winds from shining waters Stir the sanguine-leav'd hibiscus That your kingdom's dusk-ey'd daughters Weave about their shining tresses ; Dew-fed guavas drop their viscous Honey at the sun's caresses Where eternal summer blesses Your ethereal musky highlands, — Ah ! but does your heart remember, Tusitala, Westward in our Scotch September,...
Page 260 - I know pleasure still; pleasure with a thousand faces, and none perfect, a thousand tongues all broken, a thousand hands and all of them with scratching nails. High among these I place this delight of weeding out here alone by the garrulous water, under the silence of the high wood, broken by incongruous sounds of birds.
Page 263 - Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee. For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
Page 160 - ... their tops are often obscured in cloud, they are all clothed with various forests, all abound in food, and are all remarkable for picturesque and solemn scenery. On the other hand, we have the atoll; a thing of problematic origin and history, the reputed creature of an insect apparently unidentified; rudely annular in shape; enclosing a lagoon; rarely extending beyond a quarter of a mile at its chief width; often rising at its highest point to less than the stature of a man — man himself, the...
Page 50 - There is another kind of fish as big, almost, as a herring, which hath wings and flieth, and they are together in great number. These have two enemies, the one in the sea, the other in the air. In the sea the fish which is called Albocore4, as big as a Salmon, followeth them with great swiftness to take them.
Page 258 - Now, whether or not their impulse will last them through the road does not matter to me one hair. It is the fact that they have attempted it, that they have volunteered and are now really trying to execute a thing that was never before heard of in Samoa. Think of it! It is roadmaking — the most fruitful cause (after taxes) of all rebellions in Samoa, a thing to which they could not be wiled with money nor driven by punishment. It does give me a sense of having done something in Samoa after all.....
Page 260 - Hyeres ; it came to an end from a variety of reasons — decline of health, change of place, increase of money, age with his stealing steps ; since then, as before then, I know not what it means.

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