Somewheres East of Suez

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

When Tristan Jones’s leg had to be amputated in 1983, he decided that his best hope of recovery from his loss lay in setting to sea. Already the holder of many sailing records, including nine solitary trips across the Atlantic, Jones set out in his trimaran with Thomas Ettenhuber. He writes of their trip from San Diego to Europe in OUTWARD LEG. The next leg of that trip, through the rivers of Europe to Istanbul, is the subject of THE IMPROBABLE VOYAGE. SOMEWHERES EAST OF SUEZ is the final report of this long trip and tells in witty and fascinating detail about the pair’s finding themselves in Istanbul with only thirty dollars between them and a boat badly in need of repair.

Jones and Ettenhuber lived by their wits, picking up a lecture fee here, selling a chart from the earlier part of the voyage there, sailing into ports where they could anchor without fee, lingering along the Turkish coast because living there was cheap and easy.

Ultimately they made their way through the Suez Canal, up the Nile to the Gulf of Aden, where Jones almost died, then across the Indian Ocean with occasional provisioning stops in India and Sri Lanka, and finally to Thailand’s coastal city of Phuket, another place where the living was cheap and easy. There, except for a flying trip around the world to raise money for the handicapped, they remained, training disabled Thai youths to fish from two native “longtail” boats they outfitted with engines.