I have set down an account of my life at sea.
Julian Bruere offers a condensed version of John Nicol’s seafaring stories and illustrates them in wonderful detail. John first went to sea at age fourteen although it wasn’t until he completed his apprenticeship as a cooper that he sought work on ‘Proteus’. He shares his recollections of adventure and disaster that accompanied his travels. He takes a wife and fathers a child on the journey to the colony of Port Jackson. Unable to stay, he promises to return as soon as he can. Time passes and John crews many other ships, in his attempt to join his wife and son.
This is a deceptively simple story, but rich in detail of the journeys John Nicol made and the countries he stopped in. The reader experiences Canada, Britain and Australia through John’s eyes, and also a detailed account of life as a merchant seaman. Julian Bruere’s illustrations are wonderful. There are labelled diagrams of ships from outside and in cross-section, world maps, detailed representations of ports and a memorable illustration of an encounter with a sea lion. Recommended for all sailors and adventurers.
The True Adventures of John Nicol, edited and illustrated by Julian Bruere
Black Dog Books, 2006