Select one of the keywords
Chasing Sunsets    by Lawrence Pane, Carole Wells Pane & Ryan Pane order for
Chasing Sunsets
by Lawrence Pane
Order:  USA  Can
Raymond Hill, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenburg

Lawrence Pane and his wife had a dream - they would take their son and circumnavigate the globe in their sailboat, the Dolphin Spirit. When his wife died of cancer, most people thought that would be the end of Lawrence's crazy idea. However, his wife had been adamant - no matter what, Lawrence (Laurie) and Ryan were to sail around the world. So instead of pitching the idea, he simply shelved it for a while, and went about his life.

When he met Carole, an attractive, divorced elementary school teacher, it wasn't long before his shared his dream with her. Surprisingly, she didn't think it was the craziest idea she'd ever heard. A year later, Laurie asked Carole if she would marry him, and sail around the world with him and his son. She agreed to the trip, but said she wouldn't marry him until she was sure she would be able to stick it out the whole way. And with that, preparations began for the trip that would change all of their lives. Laurie and Carole spent a year getting ready - taking classes, making disaster plans, securing their on-land posessions. On March 16, 1996, Laurie, Carole, Ryan, and the Dolphin Spirit left Marina del Rey, California, on a six-year odyssey that would cover 40,000 miles, span 56 counties, and would be, literally, a dream come true.

Chasing Sunsets is divided into chapters based on the geographic location of the boat as it traveled around the world, so the reader is able to experience all the cultures just as the Panes did, one after another. Each of the family members takes turns telling the tale, so the result is almost like a family journal, or perhaps an online blog, with Laurie telling the bulk of the story, and Carole and Ryan interrupting him with their particular viewpoint on the incident. The family does an excellent job of recording all their thoughts and emotions at each phase of the trip, and with the addition of pictures from each location, it is easy to feel like you are sailing along with them. Because of the informal, travelogue style of writing, there are times when the narration does not flow as smoothly as it could, but the immediacy of the narrative makes up for the lack of polish.

It is truly thrilling to read about the adventures this family had over their six years. From boat mishaps to weather problems to customs difficulties, the authors don't seem to hide anything, and share their anger and frustrations with each other as well. Along with the bad times, they have their share of good times, as well as embarrasing incidents, and it is easy to chuckle with Ryan as he describes the village women and children lining up to touch him in Indonesia, or blush along with Carole as she discovers in Rome that her dress is virtually see-through. They also introduce us to their fellow sailors, and we learn to care about the crews on the Sky Bird, Pilgrim, and Osprey as well. Most of all, we learn to appreciate the good humor, daring, and curiosity of this remarkable family as they adventure around the world, and through them glimpse just a tiny portion of the wonders of this great planet we call home.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Travel books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews