A very good book about sailing life in the early 19th century. This book is just as good for its description of California when it was still a part of Mexico and before almost anyone lived along the coast. Dana sails to California from 1834 - 1836 and describes a place that would almost be unimaginable today; San Francisco is one wood shack, San Diego is a few adobe dwellings and Los Angeles barely gets a mention. (Dana does come back to California in 1859 (after the gold rush) and contrasts the change between the California he remembered from 24 years earlier to how it was then). The sailing experiences are very well written too but sometimes too technical for someone not familiar with 19th century sailing, for example I came across the following description:
"From the fore-topgallant yard, the men slid down the stay to furl the jib, and from the mizzen-topgallant yard, by the stay, into the maintop, and thence to the yard; and the men on the topsail yards came down the lifts to the yardarms of the corpses. The sails were furled with great care, the bunts triced up by jiggers, and the jibs stowed in cloth. The royal yards were then struck, tackles got upon the yardarms and the stay, the longboat hoisted out, a large anchor carried astern, and the ship moored."
If you don't let the nautical terms distract you too much you can imagine a life at sea and try to picture California as it was almost 180 years ago....Continua