The blends diverse aspects of coastal life
By Ramona du Houx
Maine summers are magical places of wonder, especially for a young boy during the 1950s and '60s, skilled in sailing Casco Bay. Such was life for Peter Macdonald Blachly.
His book, The Stone from Halfway Rock: A Boy's Adventures on the Coast of Maine blends diverse aspects of coastal life with compelling true stories that invite us to journey with him.
Peter’s childhood, so vividly retold, also reminds us how important it is to connect with the natural world.
"Luminous, lyrical, Peter Blachly's stories of childhood summers in Maine are a wondrous reminder of what's important in life. He has me laughing, weeping, visualizing seals and summer storms, remembering the smell of the sea air and promising myself to love the simple," wrote Chellis Glendinning, author of My Name is Chellis & I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization.
“Beyond the adventures (and underlying them) is a rich experience of, and love affair with — the natural world. If I have successfully conveyed that to my readers, I will be quite content,” said Peter.
Included is the author's story of encountering the tragic history of Malaga Island and its neighboring island, where he lived and explored during formative years and where he has returned today.
Peter is also an environmentalist, musician, songwriter and watercolorist. In October, One Way Trip to Mars
, a new rock opera musical by Peter and his wife, Johannah Harkness, the cornerstones of the Hollowbody Electric Band, will debut in Bath. The Hollowbody Electric Band plays throughout the mid-coast and has many albums.
Published by Polar Bear & Company of Solon, Maine. Available worldwide, just ask your local bookstore to order it in for $12.95 or equivalent in currency.
An interview with the author:
Why'd you write the book?
I value my childhood experiences in Maine. Such experiences are so rare in today’s world that I thought others might vicariously share the pure joy I derived from them — or at least identify with them in some way.
How did your adventures, as a kid growing up with a boat, affect your life?
Living ‘off the grid’ for three months every summer, and being dependent on a homemade sailboat as my main means of transportation, forced me to learn many practical skills that few people have a chance to learn. Such as how to analyze and fix the mechanical problems of a recalcitrant outboard motor, how to gauge and safely navigate in the current, or correctly assess the limits in safely operating a motorboat or sailboat. Most of all, I learned self-dependence and an abiding respect and love for nature.
Did sailing then, inspire a life long love affair with the ocean?
I would say that I developed a life-long love of the coast of Maine, but I actually don’t enjoy the ocean much. It’s too wild, unpredictable and dangerous. Sailing in protected coastal waters, however, is something I’m sure I will love, until I’m too old to sail— and even then I’ll love the memories.