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Margarita Cat: sketches of the cruising life Paperback – May 25, 2010
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From the Back Cover
Out of Ethiopia, holy to the ancient Egyptians, Abyssinian cats roved through Phoenicia, Greece and Rome. They followed Caesar's legions into Gaul. The race endured among unconquered Celts until boarding ships in the 16th Century ports of Honfleur and St. Malo where they crewed with the Corsaires to the Spanish Main.
Into the late 20th Century this race of cats lived unmixed in the Indian and pirate redoubts of Margarita Island off Venezuela. After resolution of the island's status with Venezuela, tourist influx and emmigration from the mainland diluted the race. Even so, the originals survive ferally on the uninhabited Frailes keys, living on shellfish and rodents, and water from rain puddles and cactus.
Extrovert, willful, intelligent and incessant talkers, Abyssinians do not make good "lap cats". Known as curious explorers who sensibly take no unnecessary risks, they also make formidable hunters.
Margarita Cats became aimless wanderers on the sea, or what we used to call cruisers. At least one still lives ferally on the island of Hispaniola.
Top customer reviews
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Whether you are a current sailor or adventurer, or now more of an armchair Walter Mitty, I think you are going to love the way Bruce Van Sant shares his steps and mis-steps, his wisdom and his philosophy, his 'tricks of the trade'.
He takes us from his Eastern Shore boyhood, escaping from heartbreaking poverty and learning from life's hard knocks to his current ex-patriot retirement in the Caribbean, from worldwide wanderings to practical advice on how to get along with local people everywhere - including a revealing chapter on how to get close to a better class of attractive and smart women.
He couldn't go on the American way but he found something better. He shows us the price he paid and the rewards he earned by marching to his own drummer. As a fellow 'factory second' and addicted sailor, I loved this book. I found myself slowing down in my reading of Margarita Cat, not wanting it to end.
You have to read this book.
This is a great book for sailors and cruisers, past presant and wannabe, for parrot heads, dreamers, drifters and the secret Walter Mitty in all of us.
Truth in advertising--since 1993 I have lived on small cruising boats, sail and power, following in Bruce Van Sants wake from Canada to Venezuela and beyond, he got there first and he tells it best.
No lessons on sailing here but perhaps some lessons on living.
Similarities are uncanny.
Similar boats. Similar ports. Similar bars.
No cats though.
I related to this book more than any other I've read. Great story teller. I learned things about ports I had visited and thought I knew well.
Quickly turned into one of those cant put it down books.