• Across Islands and Oceans

  • A Journey Alone Around the World By Sail and By Foot
  • By: James Baldwin
  • Narrated by: Spencer King
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Across Islands and Oceans is the memoir of 25 year-old James Baldwin and his epic two-year, solo circumnavigation in Atom, his trusty but aging 28-foot sailboat.

Early on and "as broke as [he] dared to be", James determined not only to sail around the world, but also to hike across every island that he visits. His inland forays are unique in the literature of circumnavigators as he finds danger, humor, friendship, and romance in places most sailors will never visit. James' story unfolds in his earnest exploration of distant lands and seas, his meditations on the people whose lives he touched, and his greater voyage to explore his own private ocean of solitude.

His adventure is not merely an attempt to seek thrills, nor even to tempt death, but rather a voyage of discovery as he set out in the direction of his youthful dreams to meet the life he imagined.

"Go seek what you will, where you will, but be a seeker all of your life." (James Baldwin)

©2012 James Baldwin (P)2017 James Baldwin

What listeners say about Across Islands and Oceans

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Amazing Adventures

First, I must say that one of the reviewers had given a misleading review - he claimed that James Baldwin was a black man and complained that the narrator was a white man. This is not true - I think the reviewer had mixed up the author with another James Baldwin who was also a writer, playwright and activist. This caused a little confusion to me as I listened to the story picturing young James as a black person exploring various islands inhabited by colored people. I did not realize until half way through the story that James is white! This is actually important as I had to reimagine what it would be like for a white person to befriend the locals on his many exciting and challenging adventures.

Second, I am awestruck at this story and the courage and bravery of a 25 year old to go on this journey of spirit and discovery of nature and humanity. I didn't want the journey to end and now I am looking forward to listening to Jame's other books. The writing is a great mix of humor, education, and poetry. It is also an excellent resource for anyone contemplating long passages at sea.

9 people found this helpful

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A true sailor' s quest

As a young man, this is something I always dreamed of doing. Now, I have sailed vicariously freely around the world. Thank you James Baldwin for this wonderful adventure as your first officer!!

7 people found this helpful

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Exceptional story!

This was a phenomenal book! I would highly recommend this book to anybody that is interested in sailing. He shares his adventures on the high seas and in remote parts of the world in ways that leave the reader captivated. A must read!

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A good read for young people

I think young people who would like to escape the virtual morass of the internet should read this book and think about escaping and living a more authentic life. James did it on a shoe string and balls.
The story is well told and James seems to be a genuenly decent person.

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fantastic!!

I loved every single minute of this audio book!! extremely interesting and well written! thx!

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Fantastic tale of Life!

By the end, you wish you could experience life as he had. But you can't because times have changed. However, you can start your journey now so a life worth living can be lived. Loved this story immensely.

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A yachtsman's dream voyage

I very much enjoyed this book. As a yachtsman myself, it is, unfortunately, a voyage that I can only read about (or listen to in this case). The tremendous courage needed to do this is astounding. There is daily risk that goes far beyond what the average person encounters. What I found interesting is that he not only sailed the oceans but when he came to an island, such as Papua New Guinea for example, he thoroughly explored it by walking all over the place even if there was great risk to do so. I really admire courage like this. I highly recommend this book.

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Wonderful story and very narrative

I loved the fact he was so interested in staying and exploring ports and Island in a completely un-tourist manner. In some locales he immersed himself in the local communities for extended periods, before moving on to the next port of call. He truly made the effort to visit as many places as he could, that Joshua Slocum, the good-like hero of many sailors and dreamers, had visited so long before.

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Fantastic listen!

It's one of those books that you didn't want to end!
Sounded like an amazing 2 years.
The only thing that I was taken aback by was how he respects animals and so became a vegetarian yet threw pages of a book and then the book jacket itself into the ocean which could have affected the wildlife.

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I’ve fallen in love with Baldwin’s style.

The spiritual aspects can become incessant but his descriptions of people and places are second to none. I feel like I’ve been to some of these islands in the South Pacific. I read his second book first and now I’m just waiting for my next credit to pick up the third.

The narrator struggles with a few terms, but he gets you there.

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  • william r
  • 02-27-19

one of the best

A very well written truly positive adventure tale. Interesting and informative and inspiring author, well narrated.

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  • LtCol RD Rtrd
  • 11-30-21

First book in a Trilogy by James B.

Brilliant true story of his travels from Florida to mid Pacific island.
Using the Cyclone season to do odd jobs to earn cash to finance the next part of his Journey.
Unlike many modern sailors he relied on Sun, Stars Tec to navigate through From small island to island.
At each destination he joins local tribes and finds people's not yet randomly the trapping of modern life.
A brilliant story, showing life before GPS and high budget fast traveling hatch with no interest in the true locals😍🔔🔔😎

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  • John Stuart
  • 03-31-20

A complete & enriching adventure.

This is the best sailing , travel or otherwise book I have read ( listened to) . It’s like Chichester’s novels but enriched with honest descriptive feeling. This coupled with the land travel adventures & invaluable detail ( simply tells you vital stats) given of the numerous passages completed make it a must read for all travellers wether you are a sailing circumnavigator or not.
What an incredible descriptive life experience in all aspects of life.
Well done James Baldwin.