Narrow Waters
An artist’s memoir of sailing through 
sound, swamp, city, forest, marsh, and glade

By Dee Carstarphen

Reviewed by Thom Burns

I’ve read so many accounts of the Intercoastal waterway, I wondered how could this book be fresh. Just open it! The artwork and design are great with four color illustrations on every page.

The story is told in words and pictures -- hand printed text and color-washed pen-and-ink sketches and chartlets.
The cruise is 2000 miles along the Atlantic Intracoastal and associated waterways, sailing through unspoiled marshland and forest, into hidden creeks, out to isolated barrier islands, and up sub-tropical rivers. The reader is introduced to lots of wild and beautiful places -- like the Dismal Swamp, Milltail Creek in the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, little-visited Bull Island near Cape Romain, Lignumvitae Key in Florida Bay, and far-flung Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. Everything is beautifully illustrated with the author’s unique watercolor “snapshots”.

This book relaxes me as I read and look at it. It would be a great book to read to youngsters. It puts me in the mood for poking around in a leisurely manner. Get one for yourself and then put it on your gift for sailor’s list. It’s a joy and the best I’ve seen.

Dee Cartarphen has lived more than half a lifetime aboard sailboats, and has cruised from California to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Chesapeake, and Maine, and most of the creeks and byways in between. She has always kept illustrated sketch logs, whether aboard the 76-ft. Brixham Trawler Maverick chartering in the Caribbean, cooking for “dudes” aboard the 125-ft. Adventure on the Main coast, or exploring the Eastern Seaboard on the 30-ft. ketch Sea Wind, the star of Narrow Waters.

Narrow Waters, $1995, Pen & Ink Press, P.O. Box 235, Wicomico Church, VA 22579 (804) 580-8723 or Northern Breezes, Inc. 3949 Winnetka Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55427 (763) 542-9707.

Thom Burns publishes Northern Breezes.