About a month and a half ago I saw this book sitting on the chart table. The Chief Mate had borrowed it from his brother and was reading it again after many years. The Mate was discussing with the Captain what a classic it was. My little ears perked up- classic? - I'm a book badge shiner. I like to be able to say that I've read books....it's not the most altruistic form of reading but there it is. So I ask the Mate if I can read it. I read about 10 pages and then totally stalled out. It was sooo boring! He would ask me every few days how the book was going. I'd act cool and make some vague remark about how I was taking it slow...all the while I was cringing inside. I finally picked it up again with a promise to myself that I'd persevere. After another 15 pages the tide turned and I was engrossed. It was great! It was full of character sketches of shady shipmates and shenanigans (both ashore and aboard). It always amazes me what life at sea used to be like - without all the rules and regulations we're faced with today - and it also amazes me how little things have changed. It was full of maritime history and I learned a ton. I came up to the bridge last night to relieve the Chief Mate....I was raving about the book....he looked at me and said 'You're still reading that book?! If I didn't know better I'd think you were retarded!!!!" I had to laugh and fess up that I had been lying through my teeth about my slow progress. It's a book well worth the read.