Beyond the Realms of Morning by Mary Lois Miller, 231 pages, perfect bound ISBN 1-884778-98-4. Published by Old Mountain Press.  As we hoist our sails for a six year circumnavigation, I am reminded of Prince Henry the Navigator urging his seamen to go ‘Beyond the Realms of Morning’. It embodies the idea to reach beyond established patterns of my life. This book describes my feelings to the challenges of such a journey aboard a thirty-seven foot sailboat.   To share this adventure, send your order with check or money-order ($15.00+$3.00 PH per copy) to:  Mary L. Miller, 2328 Caracara Dr., New Bern, NC 28560-signed copy on request- E-mail:   mlmiller at

About the Author
Mary Lois with her husband, Don, began satisfying their sailing interest in the 1960's when they explored the reaches of Lakes Michigan and Huron on their 23 foot sailboat. By 1980 they were ready to push off-shore to discover the challenges of ocean sailing and purchased the 37 foot sailboat that eventually took them around the world. The voyage complete they have settled in New Bern, North Carolina . This gives them easy access to continue ocean sailing long distance for half the year to central America, the Caribbean or Bahamas.
Beyond the Realms of Morning by Mary Lois Miller
Where you can buy this book:
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About this Book

   Knowing there are many books describing the sailing experience, I have focused this book on the impressions and feelings of the first mate to a circumnavigation that starts out with my misgivings and doubts about such a new and challenging adventure to a journey affirming discovery six years later.
    Technical knowledge of sailing will not be found here. It is replaced with my discovery of the common thread weaving through the cultures I never knew before.Studying our nautical charts, my husband,Don and I realize the oceans are dotted with small islands acting as stepping stones to hopscotch our way to new discoveries.
     We have our sights on a unique spot in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. The chart’s only notation to this place is a ‘hazard to navigation’. At daybreak we see the waves breaking along a reef, no land is visible. An undersea mount rises just scratching the ocean’s surface to create Minerva Reef. At high tide there is no evidence of its dangerous presence - a formula for countless ship wrecks. Here, at this fragile refuge we experience the unusual phenomenon of anchoring in the middle of the ocean where the distant horizon spins one continuous line for 360 degrees.
    Winds turn favorable for a ‘peach of a reach’ as we sail towards the harbor at Suva,Fiji. New customs, new ceremonies, firewalkers and the sevu-sevu ritual reveal this country’s uniqueness. Continuing into our second year with 10,000 miles having streamed under our hull, we are introduced to more new cultures. Sailing North across the equator, a necklace of tiny countries stretching 2400 miles, define a line north of this noble marker, five countries comprising Micronesia.
    Sailing on to the tiny atoll, West Fayu, we find we are all alone, no one lives here. We chafe through the two anchor lines at night and drift towards the reef. Awakened by that ominous thud, we scramble for our lives. With a day of fast heart beats and lots of sweat we haul ourselves to safety. Lessons learned do bring confidence that challenges can be met without panic or fear.
    The lagoon at Truk provides spectacular diving on sunken Japanese warships sunk during World War ll. Another small island country,Yap, displays stone money, huge donut shaped stones resting in the yards along dusty paths. We find the voyaging navigators whose reputation for using the stars, wave patterns and birds to sail great distances, are generous with their hospitality as well,when we drop our anchor in their lagoon at Pulawat. A year sailing between these cultures as they strive to stay true to their rich history, blesses our voyage with images that will last a lifetime.
    A marked contrast to these island cultures awaits us as we sail into the bustling Hong Kong harbor. Skyscrapers, airplanes and freighters have not been a part of our horizon these last two years. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand spill their treasures of ancient histories while they offer architecture, music and attire, simple and elaborate to fill our senses. We’re immersed in a college course of history, on the spot.
    Chagos Archipelago, 1000 miles south of India answers the question most often posed, “What is your favorite spot?” No one lives here, only sailboats find its unspoiled beauty. We remain here for three months to satisfy those dreams of finding paradise. But then, the food runs out, we have to move on. Kenya beckons where we bounce about on safaris.Sailing south along the African coast towards South Africa, we are confronted with the awesome seas of a ‘buster’. The strong current flooding south along the coast mounts steep seas as it is challenged by the howling winds blasting north from the South Pole. Durban at Christmas showers us with snowy blossoms as we prepare to sail around the Cape of Good Hope with a reputation for disaster. Instead, the 800 mile voyage finds us on a windless sea with our two sources for automatic steering not functioning. The first time in five years we are standing at the helm for a week, day and night, to navigate the wearisome passage.
    The Atlantic Ocean stretches before us, one more ocean and we are home. Misgivings that filled those beginning views gradually faded from my journals, replaced with a new way to look at this world of ours. My experience as a sailor  with an appreciation of the revealed beauty of our world has found expression in this book. With this background, I desire sharing these dynamics with a reading audience that not only enjoys a sea story but the poetry of such a journey.

From the Book

Following are two portions from Beyond the Realms of Morning. 
First, my early doubts:-

   ‘We haul the anchor before dawn. Unlike any college course I’ve ever taken, I am about to embark on a curriculum that doesn’t allow auditing or dropout. My education is about to unfold with ‘learn as you go’ requirements. As I sit here on the bow of our sailboat we’ve christened Horizon and look ahead, contemplating this circumnavigation, I see no horizon. The blue of the Pacific Ocean has merged with the azure sky - there is no visible line, its truly a study in shades of blue. Stretching back I look overhead to see the brilliant blue sky holds a translucent dimension that expands to that invisible horizon where it reaches to grasp a cobalt blue plunging to depths beyond my comprehension. Remembering the events and thoughts that composed the beginning of our voyage, I find they are much like this view with no horizon visible. The dreams Don had of such a journey were more defined than those I held. Perhaps I can muster the same enthusiasm, But somehow the expanse of water offering little protection or help from any neighbor makes me reluctant to hoist my sail on his dream.’

Now jumping forward five years later:-
     ‘Just a phone call and we have our custom clearance into Miami, the fastest and easiest clearance in years. We are trying to realize we have done it, we have completed this journey of our lifetime. A journey of 30.000 miles that has registered a new awareness about my place on the planet. Misgivings that filled those beginning views stretching West from Panama gradually were missing from my logs and journals, replaced each day with a new way to look at the world. 
    Our chart is inscribed with each day’s noon position and the miles traveled. Just curious, one day, I retrieve the charts outlining our passage these five years. The spool of thread that unwinds across the charts seems to weave into this tapestry of mine the colors and hues of people, places and moments that are mine alone to treasure. Charts . . places . . people . . happenings . . penciled on my chart. It is an emotional experience not clearly defined with words. Our small barque, with no sense of urgency,was content to claim the speed of a butterfly, satisfied to drift across the ocean until land came home to us once more.’

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