Looking for a Ship

Looking for a Ship

John McPhee

Language: English

Pages: 144

ISBN: 0374523193

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This is an extraordinary tale of life on the high seas aboard one of the last American merchant ships, the S.S. Stella Lykes, on a forty-two-day journey from Charleston down the Pacific coast of South America. As the crew of the Stella Lykes makes their ocean voyage, they tell stories of other runs and other ships, tales of disaster, stupidity, greed, generosity, and courage.

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Handbook, I found a reprinted article called “Tips on Practical Shiphandling” by Captain H. A. V. von Pflugk. One of those mornings on the way to Guayaquil, I carried the book to the captain’s cabin and read this passage to him: If … you feel, when laying your hand upon the rail, that you are in contact with something alive, responsive to your slightest touch, something that is a part of you, something that you really love, then you are in a good position to become truly expert at

involved in the beginnings of General Mills. Washburn College, in Topeka, Kansas, is named for Ichabod Washburn. The father of our Captain Washburn was a Washington lawyer. (“He had the trait of honesty. Hey, he didn’t have a chance.”) As a schoolboy in the District of Columbia, aged thirteen, Paul McHenry Washburn was told to write an essay about an ancestor. He wrote about Chief Justice John Marshall. He turned in the essay, but he was not for school. He ran away from home. The captain learned

savors less than some others involves the importation of chrome, and its crucial importance to United States industries. The chrome came from the part of Rhodesia that is now Zimbabwe. When, for moral reasons, the United States government imposed economic sanctions against Rhodesia, American business executives made of moral coral were obliged to figure out how to circumvent the sanctions. It was not a great problem. For a three-hundred-per-cent premium, Russians showed up with the chrome. In

The American Legacy was in Los Angeles when her television failed. The crew refused to leave port. Their contract called for a working nineteen-inch color TV. While the ship remained at its berth and the wharfage fee mounted and another ship waited for the berth, the port agent went off shopping for a nineteen-inch TV. For some reason, he couldn’t find one. Finally, he returned with a twenty-four-inch TV. When it was working, the American Legacy sailed. “To the Far East,” Mac said. “That was a

instructed him to take the first open ship and risk nothing. Unfortunately, though, the desirability of the jobs before him seemed to rise from one to the next. He needed sea time. Second mates become chief mates not only by passing examinations but also by accumulating sea time. The Cygnus job was significantly short on sea time. For that matter, the Sea-Land trip out of Jacksonville was not what you would call an odyssey. Also, his daily wage and overtime pay would be lower with Sea-Land,

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