The Voyage of the Cormorant – Christian Beamish

The Voyage of the Cormorant Christian Beamish

I sat in the airport at the end of my last surf trip, surfboard checked in and stuffed full of my foul-smelling board shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops that never got truly dry during the Central American rainy season.

My backpack light without the laundry.  

A couple of hours to kill before my flight, cool and dry in the airport terminal, I finished the last pages of The Voyage of the Cormorant – the author hoping a flight back to the mainland having decided to end his adventure and ship his little boat home.

I thought it was fitting timing, despite the fact that my recent surf trip hardly compared to the adventure Christian Beamish shared in his book.

The Voyage of the Cormorant is an inspiring tale of surfing and sailing along the coast of Baja, was the perfect accompaniment on my most recent surf trip to Costa Rica.  

Having built his own small sailing craft, one most people was much to small and exposed for the level of adventure Beamish asked of it, the author sets off on a solo mission to find solitude and empty waves along the coast of Baja, along the way figuring out a few things about himself (as one is want to do on such trips).

Beamish shares a motivation with my favorite travel book, South Sea Vagabonds, and I couldn’t help feeling he must have been inspired to build his own boat and set sail by this classic tale as well.

I’d love to ask him sometime.

One of the things that the reader soon finds in The Voyage of the Cormorant, is that on top of being a true adventurer and inspiring craftsman, Beamish is a solid writer, having done time as an assistant editor at the fabled The Surfer’s Journal magazine.

This experience of being around some of the best surf-travel writers around and working to hone their tales into long-form articles that The Surfer’s Journal is known for shows in Beamish’s own writing.

Sometimes in small release travel books, you put up with the writing because of the adventure.  This is not one of those cases.

Moving slowly in such a small craft, The Voyage of the Cormorant shows us that you don’t need massive scale to have an ocean adventure.  Of course, surfers already know this.  There is plenty of adventure to be had on a board within sight of land. 

But sometimes we (at least I) fall into the trap that we need a large boat that can cross oceans to have an adventure at sea. This book reminds us that the adventure of building our own small craft and taking it on overnight or multi-day adventures along the coast is available to everyone.

The Voyage of the Cormorant was also a great reminder to allow my surf trip to get a little uncomfortable. 

I started off my trip in a nice place with air conditioning and modern fixtures.  As I moved along I ended up in a room in someone’s back yard with no A/C or safe and barely a lock on the door. 

Of course, in this place, I could better hear the rain and the iguana on the roof, the cats quarreling outside the window at night, and the troop of monkeys crashing through the branches in the morning. 

I lied in my little room, windows open to the breeze, and read my book of this man in his little craft, feeling a little closer and worthy.

I’ll put The Voyage of the Cormorant right up there with my favorite surf books and surf trip books (oh yeah, and sailing books and building your own boat books) and highly recommend it whether you are on a trip, or just needing some inspiration at home.

About Christian Beamish

Surfer, sailor, boat builder, adventurer, writer.

I enjoyed this interview with Beamish.

Christian Beamish Website | Instagram | Amazon

Related Travel Book Articles, Recommendations, and Favorites

Travel Book Reviews and Recommendations – Whether it is a new travel book, a classic, or anything in between, here are some of our favorite books to inspire you in between trips or accompany you on your journey.

Great Surfing Books – As you can see on this website, we have a bit of a surfing problem. Surfing isn’t the only reason we travel, but it wouldn’t be a lie to say the next surf trip generally dominates our thoughts. Our list of great surfing books highlights some of our favorite books on the sport, lifestyle, and journey of surfers.

Great Surf Trip Books – While we have a separate list of great surfing books (books actually about surfing), I’ve found that when I’m actually on a surf trip I gravitate towards other things. Whether it is something cultural on the place I am visiting or some sort of epic ocean adventure, here are some great books to accompany you on your surf trip.

Read more Roam Chronicles

Surf Trip to Mexico in your future? Here are some of our other Mexico guides and resources:

Surf Guide to Mexico

Cabo Surf Hotel – The Perfect Cabo Surf Trip Hotel?

Troncones Mexico Surfing

Surf Travel Insurance – Should I get it?

Travel Book Reviews and Recommendations

Great Surf Trip Books

Great Surfing Books

On The Plain of Snakes – Paul Theroux

Written by Roam Chronicles

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