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On Celtic Tides


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About the Author

Chris Duff has traveled over 14,000 miles by sea kayak since 1983 when he paddled 8,000 miles around the eastern third of the United States and Canada. In 1986 he became the first person to solo the entire British Isles and is currently planning a solo circumnavigation of New Zealand's south island. Chris is a contributing author to the book Seekers of the Horizon and has written for Sea Kayaker magazine and the International Sea Kayaking Association. He lectures across the country and lives in Port Angeles, Washington.


Duff, one of the worlds top names in sea kayaking, has traveled over 14,000 miles by kayak since 1983. Not one to do anything by halves, he was the first person to circumnavigate the Island of Great Britain. In 1996, he made the 1200-mile kayak trip around Ireland and became the only person ever to have soloed the British Isles in their entirety. With rich prose, Duff eloquently describes the sights, culture, history, and people of the Irish coast. His writing evokes both the force of nature as he describes his fight with the waves at the mouth of the Shannon River and the civility of tea and scones in a quaint pub in Clare. Suitable for both public and academic libraries catering to a clientele interested in travel narratives.ÄSandra Knowles, Henderson Cty. P.L., Hendersonville, NC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

In a book whose only success is bringing to life the thrashing seas of coastal Ireland and whose ultimate failure is trying to evoke the ethos of the storied isle, Duff describes a 1200-mile circumnavigation from Dublin to Dublin. A seasoned kayaker who has undertaken several herculean voyages, Duff is uniquely suited to the challenge of the west coast of Ireland, where the gushing Atlantic clashes with the rugged land. But while Duff does give readers a sense of the ocean's power and peril, he falls far short of exemplifying Ireland's reputation for inspiring creativity. Duff, who is of Irish descent, plays on the theme of the journey as a route to self-discovery, but does so in a way that hardly captivates. Often Duff seems to get in the way of his story, when the focus should be on Ireland itself. There is no doubt that the island's beauty and majesty move Duff, but his attempts to convey his feelings are often cloying. "In a hushed voice that came deep from within," he writes on encountering a sea bird, "I said: `You are so beautiful my friend. What have you seen and where have you been today?' " The few insights into Ireland's culture and history come from the locals Duff meets. But these encounters are tainted by a formula that wears thin quickly: the fisherman or villager expresses disbelief at Duff's undertaking, Duff assures them that he is serious and they proclaim that he must be mad. Though the trip is not always pretty, Duff is able to pull himself through adversity, and the sheer achievement of finishing speaks for itself. Duff's book, however, is not nearly as impressive an accomplishment. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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