Boat Shows Aren’t the Only Way to Beat the Boatless Blues

Great seafaring stories, salty movies, and visits to your local maritime museum will keep the love alive.

Beat the Boatless Blues

So, it’s snowing. Again. Or worse yet, the snow is melting and it’s just a gray, slushy mess outside. You could curl up on the sofa for more Law and Order reruns but you’ve seen them all and, let’s face it, they don’t show humanity at its finest.

What you need is a warm drink and a great book. There’s nothing like some armchair travel on the high seas to make you grateful for a toasty room that doesn’t rock from side-to-side and a meal that isn’t weevil-infested hardtack. And there are as many possibilities as there are moods. Feeling adventurous? Start with South: the Endurance Expedition by Sir Ernest Shackleton. If you want a warmer adventure, go with Kon Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft by Thor Heyerdahl. Something historical? How about the classic Moby Dick, which — admit it — you’ve pretty much forgotten since your last reading. Then there’s anything by Joseph Conrad, or the great seafaring novels of Patrick O’Brian. How about The Sea-Wolf by Jack London or — for some contemporary nonfiction that’s as gripping as any great tall tale — The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger or In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick?

Not a reader? Never fear. Junger’s book was turned into a movie, as was Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki, and London’s The Sea-Wolf. But there some quirkier movies with a boat setting that might also give you that little taste of salt water you’re craving like The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou or Dead Calm. There are a slew of great movies from the 1940s including Mutiny on the Bounty, The Long Voyage Home, and John Huston’s Moby Dick. And of course, there are pirate movies galore, if you’re in the mood to see somebody walk the plank.


After a couple of days of virtual seafaring, it’s a good idea to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. If you live near a body of water, chances are there’s a maritime museum not too far away, where you can marvel at the history of seafarers of yore and leave inspired to plan your next actual adventure, once winter has released you from the joys of virtual adventuring.


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