Alone at Sea: The Adventures of Joshua Slocum

Ann Spencer


"I had only a moment to get all sail down and myself upon the peak halliards, out of danger, when I saw the mighty crest towering masthead-high above me. The mountain of water submerged my vessel. She shook in every timber and reeled under the weight of the sea ..."

What would it be like to sail around the world by yourself, especially without the telecommunications and technical equipment we have today? Alone At Sea takes readers on such a thrilling journey.

In 1895, Joshua Slocum embarked on a three-year, 46,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe. His boat, a refitted oyster sloop called Spray, took him through pirate-infested waters and horrific storms amidst the ghosts and demons of 36 months of solitude. Alone At Sea is his story:

"On his first solo day, Slocum found himself enveloped by fog so thick 'one could almost stand on it.' It was as if his loneliness had been made visible as the thick fog 'lowered over the sea like a pall.' ...He and the Spray were one small speck on an all-encompassing sea, invisible to the rest of the world. Slocum pondered his invisibility with a growing awareness of his insignificance in the universe: 'In the dismal fog I felt myself drifting into loneliness, an insect on a straw in the midst of the elements.'"

This is the first original full-scale biography of Joshua Slocum in over 40 years. Ann Spencer spent years poring over the sailor's own journals and historical records buried in libraries and archives throughout New England and the Maritimes. She uncovered new facts, documents and photographs now published here. With Spencer's engaging text and peppered with Slocum's own journal entries, Alone At Sea is captivating reading for anyone interested in sailing, nautical history, travel and the soul of a true adventurer. Heroes come rarely in real life and this is the story of a too-little known maritime hero.

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