“Initially a reluctant sailor, I fell in love with the cruising life…waking up each morning in a different place…Also the satisfaction of a life pared down to the essentials, yet all you really need…understanding what is most important in your life. What actually makes you happy.” –Sandra Clayton

Superb story-telling and perceptive descriptions hooked me and off I went on a pleasurable journey aboard Voyager, the author’s 40-foot Solaris Sunstream. It’s a journey that begins where the author left off in her previous book, heading out from the Florida coast for a winter in the Bahamas. From there she took me up the United States East Coast, from Florida to Nantucket and back, before crossing the Atlantic to England, by way of the Azores.

Clayton’s books read like a ship’s log in some ways, and like an interesting travel log in others. She describes the sea conditions and weather as well as tourist sites. She’s also clearly done her research and weaves it effectively into histories of the places she visited.

Islands in a Circle Sea is a fitting title for the conclusion in the series, as here the Claytons return home, exactly four years after the beginning their voyage. There is ample, astute reflection in here from someone who has traveled 23,137 nautical miles and visited 19 countries. Someone who has gone full circle.

“The Milky Way on a clear, moonless night, stretching out to infinity is truly awe-inspiring…a meteor storm above your head is magical…there is no more joyous way to begin or end the day than with the rising or setting of a vast, luminous sun.” –Sandra Clayton

Islands in a Circle Sea by Sandra Clayton (Malvern Partnership, 2016; 264 pages)