Vaughn Sherman has been re-scheduled to speak on his book on the unusual life story of his uncle J. Holger Christensen.
Feb. 24, 6 p.m. – Marysville Library
Sponsored by the Marysville Historical Society
Sea Travels: Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Master Mariner follows Christensen as he works his way from family deckhand to master mariner — licensed to operate any merchant vessel worldwide. Using seed money earned gold mining in Alaska, a Danish couple, J.Holger Christensen, his wife and their two young boys make their way to Bainbridge Island, Washington, buy a workboat, and establish themselves among the Pacific Northwest’s most respected seafarers.
J. Holger Christensen “was literally raised for the sea, starting with those childhood days when Dad tethered me to the mast of La Blanca” as he ferried cargo — often berries from Bainbridge Island or dynamite from DuPont — throughout Puget Sound.
“Sea Travels” plays out in the first person as Christensen plies the Pacific and visits distant lands detailing everything among them deadly weather, labor strife, shady crew members, renegade cargo, and unusual international relations. It tracks two generations of the Christensen family from Puget Sound’s pioneer days, to the Alaskan Gold Rush and onto the world’s open oceans. Their saga includes hard times and history — taking President Truman salmon fishing on Puget Sound and La Blanca’s dynamite-fueled explosion on a Tacoma shore, one of the most dramatic Puget Sound maritime episodes to this day — as well as the high jinks and heroism of rootless and restless men of the sea.
For the sake of his wife, Christensen ends his career as a merchant mariner shortly after World War II. The couple went on to own a hardware store and construction company on Bainbridge, then a hotel in Port Townsend.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
J. Holger Christensen recorded his life story shortly before he died in 1988, at the request of his nephew, Vaughn Sherman of Edmonds.
Sherman transcribed the tapes, giving copies to family, as well as a few local libraries and museums. Nearly 3 decades later, Sherman decided his uncle’s tales merit publishing for their unique details of 20th century culture, business, family life, the Great Depression and
Vaughn Sherman spent time at sea as a Pacific Northwest fisheries biologist before he was recruited by the CIA. He is author of Sasha’s Plotkin’s Deceit, an espionage novel based on his CIA service and has published three books dealing with the management of non-profit organizations.
SEA TRAVELS: MEMOIRS OF A TWENTIETH CENTURY MASTER MARINER
September 2012, Patos Island Press
208 pages/ 10 b&w photos/ 3 maps
CONTACT: Book It Northwest
Diane Duthweiler or Gail DiRe
(206) 375-0012 (206) 227-1866