Sandra Clayton is the first one to say that she was never very fond of sailing. Oh, the idea of it was alright, but the mechanics of it were the issue. A few holiday sails taken over the years are the extent of her sailing experience. And her husband David's, too.
But David is fed up with the cold & damp Northern England winters. The couple is in their mid-fifties, tired of the rat race and lengthy car commute, and their good health is just beginning to falter. That's when David has a brilliant idea. If they sell the house, buy a boat and live frugally, they can retire early and spend winters basking in the Mediterranean sunshine. Sandra is not keen. But eventually a compromise is reached in the form of a two hulled catamaran, which is much more stable and rides more comfortably than a traditional sailboat.
(I have to say how much I sympathize. We are from New England. You know, snow, Arctic temperatures, Nor'easters. We thought we were hardy. Then we spent some time in Northern England in February. Not a snowflake in sight and not even that cold on the thermometer but we were FREEZING. That damp cold that just sinks in and won't let you go. It was not that much warmer inside, either. We felt like wimps! But I digress...)
And so the great adventure begins. Through the English Channel, down the coast of Europe and around the rock of Gibraltar to the lovely Mediterranean. Along the way they will become intrepid sailors, absorb the culture of lovely small port towns (frequently while looking for the laundromat) and meet a vast array of people who are mostly eager to lend a hand. Mother Nature makes a grand appearance, too, a reminder that she is big and they are small.
The author's descriptions of the beauty that surrounds them are breathtaking. It is a wonderful story, full of adventure. The Claytons are an example for the rest of us, they are healthier and happier for their choice. Don't wait until it is too late, pursue your dreams. Make the sacrifices now so you don't end up saying, when it is too late, "If I had only..."
A sequel, Something of the Turtle, will be published in the spring and a third book is in the planning stages. I am thrilled to hear that the Claytons are still sailing and can't wait to read of their continuing life aboard!
Dolphins Under My Bed is published by Wheatmark. ISBN 978-1-58736-816-5
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