Details for 'The Half Bird' by Susan Smillie

The Half Bird

by Susan Smillie
A solo sailing voyage from Land's End to Greece - inspiring and uplifting. Loved it!
The Half Bird
by Susan Smillie
My review:

This book ticked a number of boxes for me from the outset - a memoir of a journalist who sets out on a journey, a solo voyage in a boat. 

And it delivered! 

It's a page-turner of a story of resilience and resourcefulness, adventure, sun and sea, with some jeopardy too - threat of pirates, harassment in harbour, fighting weather and turbulent seas.

Susan Smillie had always enjoyed sailing but her experience and expertise was limited, and she had never sailed alone. Nevertheless, one summer she decided to leave her job, buy a boat and sail from Land's End to Greece.

It's an inspiring tale which held me spellbound, though didn't leave me wanting to emulate her journey or lifestyle! 

She describes how, unable to get into harbour in time, tired and hungry, she has no choice but to sail through terrible weather to find shelter and safety. She has to repair her boat herself when stranded out at sea. There are the times when she feels uneasy and vulnerable despite being in harbour, as being a single female attracts male attention. And even at sea she experiences the real threat of her boat being hijacked by desperate immigrants. 

There are also powerful and uplifting descriptions of the wonders of the natural world, the freedom of these solitary and exhilarating voyages, and an appreciation of inner strength and fortitude. It is a life-affirming and stimulating story and left me wanting more! 

Date of my review February 2024
Book publication date: 21st March 2024