I finished The Brendan Voyage recently, and now I’m supposed to write a 3 paragraph narration/summary on it. I hope this counts as the first paragraph….. Probably doesn’t.
Tim Severin is a cool man. He retraces famous legendary journeys, such as Marco Polo’s trip through Asia, or following Ulysses’ path on the Argo, or trying to find the White Whale, Moby Dick.
In this book, he wanted to see if it was possible that Saint Brendan made the journey from Ireland to America in a leather boat. He starts by getting all the materials needed for a leather boat. Most people laughed at him, but eventually he finds someone who will produce as much leather as he needs. He makes a Curragh, which is like a canoe, like a long, smallish boat.
He travels around, avoiding icebergs and trying to stay on course. Eventually, the leather starts rotting, which makes for a terrible smell.
They had some crazy experiences, but one major adventure was when, on their way to Greenland from Iceland, a major storm hit, and the ship started taking on water. Their VHF radio had died out, leaving them unable to communicate their position. They were taking on water fasting than they could pump it, but they had an idea to make a leather sort of shield with the spare leather over the stern to make sure when the next wave hit, it would roll over and back into the ocean. It helped!
After the storm rolled over, they made their way to Greenland. After Greenland, they made their final stretch of their journey to the New World, more specifically, Newfoundland.
After seeing multiple icebergs, they realize they are close to the shore. The coast guard comes to meet them, welcoming them and giving them extra food, and asks if they wanted to be pulled into harbor. The crew replied that they wanted to land themselves, and the coast guard told them he would make sure there was a welcoming committee waiting for them.
They finally land, and Severin states that the journey doesn’t prove that Brendan made the voyage, only that it was possible.
This book was a pretty great book, for anyone that likes seafaring adventures, and nonfiction books, and I’d recommend it to people.