From Jackie Cantwell
author: Greenlaw, Linda
Seaworthy : a swordboat captain returns to the sea
Linda Greenlaw wrote The hungry ocean, The lobster chronicles, and more. She was played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the film “The perfect storm.” The book opens with Linda in jail in Newfoundland, so you know something goes wrong. Linda decides to return to the Grand Banks off the coast of Canada to fish for swordfish after a ten year hiatus. She has assembled a fantastic crew consisting of her friends Archie, Timmy, Dave, and an acquaintance, Mike. She captains the Seahawk, a 63-foot boat in need of repairs. Linda doesn’t know if she still has what it takes to be a swordfish captain at the age of forty-seven. She wonders about her physical and mental abilities. Will her body hold up? Will the crew respect her? Will she find fish?
The crew nicknames the ship the Sh-thawk, because of all of the equipment failures. I laughed out loud when she quoted Mike complaining to Archie about his cooking, “How about a salad? Did you order any lettuce? How about cabbage? I like coleslaw. We don’t have a single veggie on board, do we? I’ll have the first confirmed case of scurvy in the last century.” And this is Linda’s take on Mike: “Mike snacked while lying in his bunk. He got up one morning and found an entire Kit Kat bar in one of the folds of fat under his chin. When he ate the melted mess, I was torn between disgust and admiration.”
The book is suspenseful and it is fascinating to learn about life aboard a fishing vessel. Squeamish readers may want to skip sections that describe harpooning fish and killing sharks. The climax is when the Canadian Coast Guard arrests her for illegally fishing in Canada’s waters. My problem with the book is that Ms. Greenlaw was not forthright about having a film crew with her the whole time. I read about it on the internet, and it is confirmed in her acknowledgements: “Thanks to Tom Beers and the crew at Original Productions and the Discovery Channel for making this trip possible.” Some have accused Ms. Greenlaw of intentionally fishing in Canadian waters as a publicity stunt, or to get a book deal. The question is whether she knew she drifted into Canada or not. She claims she did not know, and that the tides shifted. You decide.
From Jackie Cantwell