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Venice Observed - download pdf or read online

By Mary McCarthy

A penetrating paintings of reportage on Venice. “Searching observations and superb comprehension of the Venetian flavor and character” (New York bring in Tribune).

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Ninety miles in 24 hours dispensed with 27 December, and the next day also rushed by in a welter of foam from SW’s bow wave until the distant outline of high land inland, the Raukumara Range, came into sight. Cape Runaway took a lot longer to see, as I’d opted for staying some 15 miles further north than was required, to keep away from coastal shipping motoring on their precise corner-to-corner straight-line courses. m. we’d closed in on that corner of the North Island known as East Cape, and the wind velocity increased as we aimed in closer to the point of ‘no land left’, with good visibility and looking keenly for any signs of life.

The last time I’d been into Gisborne on a boat was in 1993 on Rock Steady, Steve Raea’s ferro-cement Hartley RORC 39. Steve was coming down from the Islands after six months’ cruising. They’d saved the crew of a sunken freighter in the middle of the night and Steve was looking for someone to help him sail back down to Wellington. Rock Steady had been front-page news and for Steve the nine-day sail down was like a lap of honour. In party mode, I don’t remember much apart from capsizing the dinghy just outside the breakwater in Gisborne when three of us were motoring round to the river mouth.

As emphasized before, I had become well acquainted with the pleasure of uninterrupted sleep. Worse than the prospect of constant fatigue was that I’d forgotten how slow and uncomfortable small-boat sailing could be. ‘Unpleasant’ was the word that would often come to mind over the next two months. But all that went before, leading up to our departure, and all that was to come was eclipsed by that beautiful Boxing Day that sent SW out into a very benign and inviting Hauraki Gulf. Flat off (running before the wind) on a relatively smooth surface, and feeling cautiously nervous but reasonably prepared.

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Venice Observed by Mary McCarthy

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