The Cruise of the Snark 1911
The Cruise of the Snark (1911) is a non-fictional, illustrated book by Jack London chronicling his sailing adventure in 1907 across the south Pacific in his ketch the Snark. Accompanying London on this voyage was his wife Charmian and a small crew. London taught himself celestial navigation and the basics of sailing and of boats during the course of this adventure and describes these details to the reader. He visits exotic locations including the Solomon Islands and Hawaii, and his first-person accounts and photographs provide insight into these remote places at the beginning of the 20th century.
About the Snark
The Snark was named after Lewis Carroll's poem The Hunting of the Snark. The Snark had two masts and was 43 feet long at the waterline, and on it London claims to have spent thirty thousand dollars. The snark was primarily a sailboat, however, it also had an auxiliary 70-horsepower engine. It was further equipped with one lifeboat.
In 1906, Author Jack London began to build a 45-foot yacht on which he planned a round-the-world voyage, to last seven years. After many delays, Jack and Charmian London and a small crew sailed out of San Francisco Bay on April 23, 1907, bound for the South Pacific.
"We ran down the Langa Langa Lagoon, between mangrove swamps through passages scarcely wider than the Minota, and passed the reef villages of Kaloka and Auki. Like the founders of Venice, these salt-water men were originally refugees from the mainland. Too weak to hold their own in the bush, survivors of village massacres, they fled to the sand-banks of the lagoon. These sand-banks they built up into islands. They were compelled to seek their provender from the sea. They developed canoe-bodies, unable to walk about, spending all their time in the canoes, they became thick-armed and broad-shouldered with narrow waists and frail spindly legs" "I sailed in the teak-built ketch, the Minota, on a blackbirding cruise to Malaita, and I took my wife along. The hatchet-marks were still raw on the door of our tiny stateroom advertising an event of a few months before. The event was the taking of Captain Mackenzie's head, Captain Mackenzie, at that time, being master of the Minota.... As we sailed in to Langa-Langa on the shore side of the lagoon, was Binu, the place where the Minota was captured a year previously and her captain killed by the bushmen of Malaita, having been hacked to pieces and eaten"
Jack London (1876-1916), was an American author and a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction. He was one of the first Americans to make a lucrative career exclusively from writing. London was self-educated. He taught himself in the public library, mainly just by reading books. In 1898, he began struggling seriously to break into print, a struggle memorably described in his novel, Martin Eden (1909). Jack London was fortunate in the timing of his writing career. He started just as new printing technologies enabled lower-cost production of magazines. This resulted in a boom in popular magazines aimed at a wide public, and a strong market for short fiction. In 1900, he made $2,500 in writing, the equivalent of about $75,000 today. His career was well under way. Among his famous works are: Children of the Frost (1902), The Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea Wolf (1904), The Game (1905), White Fang (1906), The Road (1907), Before Adam (1907), Adventure (1911), and The Scarlet Plague (1912).
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