Lin and Larry Pardey have had a lifetime of adventure and they have willingly invited the rest of us along for most of those grand experiences through their books and published articles. Lin did most of the writing but the adventures were shared 50-50. Their first book, Cruising in Seraffyn, was so successful that Lin was inspired to share their voyages aboard Seraffyn in three more books: Seraffyn’s Mediterranean Adventure, Seraffyn’s European Adventure, and Seraffyn’s Oriental Adventure.
Those books established their cruising bona fides and led to another series, this time a set of how-to books about cruising: Self-Sufficient Sailor, Capable Cruiser, Care and Feeding of Sailing Crew, and Cost-Conscious Cruiser.
Larry wrote about the building of Seraffyn with his highly respected book, Details of Classic Boat Construction: The Hull, and together they wrote another well-respected classic, Storm Tactics Handbook.
Eventually Lin wrote the story of their lives, with particular focus on the time they spent building Taleisin in her award-winning book, Bull Canyon: A Boatbuilder, a Writer and Other Wildlife.
Once launched, Taleisin had many adventures of her own. Some of these adventures were published as magazine articles. But where are the books about her travels? Those books have been stashed away in Lin’s logs awaiting this moment. The first of these, Taleisin’s Tales, has now been published. Although the title may make you think this is one final book encompassing all of Taleisin’s voyages, it’s clear that several more books must surely follow.
Taleisin’s Tales begins with her launch in San Diego, then on to sea trials and an extended shakedown cruise in Baja California. Once she is ready for extended cruising to Lin and Larry’s satisfaction, Taleisin takes the reader through the Marquesas, French Polynesia, the Samoan and Tongan islands, and eventually to New Zealand, where Lin and Larry purchase property on Kawau Island and begin to settle down.
If you wondered, as I did, how a Canadian man and a woman born and raised in the U.S. wound up choosing to settle in New Zealand, you can blame it on cruising legends Eric and Susan Hiscock. Eric’s books had turned teenaged Larry’s head toward cruising. When, early in their own cruising careers, the Pardeys met the Hiscocks in Baja California, they were as star-struck as any newbies upon meeting the oracle. Over the years, their paths crossed several times and that friendship was sealed when the Hiscocks suggested meeting in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands at the conclusion of Taleisin’s South Pacific adventure. They headed south together from there with the Hiscock’s Wanderer III to a lovely protected anchorage on Kawau Island, a bit north of Auckland. This spot, suggested by the Hiscocks, soon became the location of the Pardeys’ new home. They found property there and upgraded it over the years while continuing to cruise aboard Taleisin.
Thus ends one adventure, call it Taleisin’s Pacific Adventure, if you will. There must be more books in store for us because Taleisin’s tales were far from over. Lin and Larry went west to explore Australia, across the Indian Ocean to the southern tip of Africa, across the southern Atlantic to St. Helena and the eastern coast of South America. From there they made their way, by way of Cape Horn, back to the U.S. West Coast, and finally back to New Zealand via the South Pacific once more. Taleisin has new owners now but don’t weep for this boat or Lin and Larry. All three have had the adventures of a lifetime.
You’ll enjoy the photos in this book and appreciate the charted overviews of their travels at the beginning of most chapters. You’ll share their experiences with fellow cruisers and the close relationships they develop with many of the island peoples along the way, including a very strong bond (call it a near-adoption) with a family in Tonga.
As in her Seraffyn tales, Lin is honest about a few of the “learning experiences” they had along the way, the most significant of these being that the dial on Lin’s hand-bearing compass did not float as it always had once Taleisinwas below the equator. It makes sense when you think of it, but not necessarily if you have relied on this tool for many miles and suddenly the readings are misleading and dangerous.
At the end of this book Lin includes a few cautions about sailing to, and anchoring in, atolls and she explains the origin of the name Taleisin. Throughout this book Lin Pardey invites you, with humility and honesty, into the life she shares with Larry and Taleisin. It is a wonderful review of their adventures and will surely lead to the rest of the story in books to come.
Taleisin’s Tales: Sailing Towards the Southern Cross by Lin and Larry Pardey (L&L Pardey Publications, 2017)