Neither a “How to go cruising” book, nor a “Fiji on fifty cents a day” book, Wendy Hinman’s Tightwads on the Loose is a great read. It tells the tale of experiencing “vastly divergent cultures, frolicking in waterfalls, and snorkeling in pristine aquamarine waters” in the South Pacific. It also tells how Hinman and her husband, Garth, pursued the path of World War II history as they made landfall in Saipan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Okinawa, and Nagasaki. They hadn’t intentionally planned to follow the trail of armed conflict in the Pacific, but were pleased that their mid-cruise decision to sail to Japan would trace those historical events.
The transition point in their 34,000-mile odyssey, between snorkeling those pristine depths filled with ocean life and diving on World War II wrecks, came after four years of sailing when they had a major equipment meltdown in the Solomon Islands and took two years off to work at the U.S. Army base at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. So while they spent seven years sailing, they were actually gone from Seattle for nine years.
Wendy says that she learned that the cruising lifestyle brings emotional highs that are higher and lows that are lower than those she’d ever felt ashore. She was the adventure seeker, the one who needed to see and try everything at every port. When Garth grew weary of life as a perpetual traveler, she still wanted to sail their 31-foot boat around the world. She returned reluctantly from the water.
Wendy’s new adventure became telling the story of their journey, and she has done a wonderful job. This is a great read accompanied by a map, a glossary for those unfamiliar with sailboats, and fifteen pages of photos. One only wishes there were more pictures and more stories!