Rowing after the White Whale by James Adair

RowingIn 2011 two friends, James Adair and Ben Stenning started their extraordinary journey to row across the Indian Ocean.  This was a dream they had concocted during university days, and after some years of normal living, decided to give up their London office jobs and actually live their dream.

The book is based on Adair’s journal of their 116 day journey and is inspired by Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick which they read to each other during their trip.  It’s a fascinating, funny read, James and Ben had never rowed before and they confessed they weren’t 100% sure how to work the GPS thing!  As if lack of experience wasn’t enough James had also contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome at the age of 14, which had locked his body into total paralysis for three months (while his mind had remained completely active) leaving him with paralysed feet. This was an unbelievable challenge to set them selves, and you can only imagine what their families and friends must’ve thought.

As the book explains “Their tale is one of moonbows and meteor showers, passing whales, thieving fish, lurking sharks and giant squid; it is part narrative adventure, part blue water history, part meditation on nature and part memoir.

It is a beautifully written account and what is truly inspiring is Adair’s ability to give the sense that if they managed to pull this off then anyone of us could, should we wish to experience what it feels like to be 1,500 miles from the nearest land!

The film ‘Clawhand’ is due out this autumn and is a documentary account based on Adair’s book.


Request a copy here


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