“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it is possible to go.”
– Captain James Cook, 1774, aged 45. From the introduction to his account of his second voyage
“I’m not afraid to die if we’re all together.”
– Jonathan Cook, 1976, aged 6. From Gordon Cook’s Readers Digest article of our accident in the middle of the Indian Ocean
In 1976 Gordon Cook decided that he wanted to do something to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyages around the world. He was not in time to mark the first or second voyage but managed to buy, finish building and get ready to sail, a yacht for the anniversary of the third voyage.
On the same day as Cook, 200 years before, Gordon loaded his family onto the boat with two crew members and set sail. The family included his wife Mary and two small children: Sue aged 7 and Jon aged 6. That was the start of a voyage that lasted a decade for the children during which they came close to dying, saw extraordinary things and came of age in the oddest of circumstances.
Wavewalker, planned for publication in 2017, is the story of that trip from Sue’s perspective. She was badly injured as they crossed the Indian Ocean and painstakingly taught herself most of her education by post. Most difficult of all she had to find a way to grow up while at sea on a journey that was far from straightforward.