Five Weeks to Jamaica by Doug Oudin
Five Weeks to Jamaica is an adventure/romance (Literary Fiction) by Doug Oudin.
Who in this wide and wonderful world has not wanted to say “Screw this!” and venture off to some exotic tropical destination?
Some years ago, four young adventurers from Southern California did just that—and this is their story.
Convinced that they were buying passage aboard a luxury cruise ship bound for Jamaica, Kurt Decker, his girlfriend Madison, his brother Larry, and their friend Marcos had high expectations. Those expectations were dashed the minute they saw the decidedly luxury-impaired motor vessel Explorer in Ensenada, Mexico. Despite numerous red flags, they boarded, and the bizarre odyssey that would forever change their lives began. The odd and eclectic group of passengers with whom they shared the dubious “comforts” of the stately ship of fools became family.
Their 5,780-nautical-mile journey took them along the coast of Mexico and Central America, through the Panama Canal, and across the Gulf of Mexico to Jamaica. The voyage inspired no shortage of laughter, tears, joy, and romance—or drama, excitement, and danger along the way too. But once in Jamaica, a new twist to the adventure developed. They agreed to set sail with a salty Englishman aboard a steel-hulled sailboat bound for Florida, where a vicious tropical storm en route threatened their very lives.
For those who love the sea, and for those who merely wonder about it, Five Weeks to Jamaica is a window into the capriciousness of the ocean and the tumultuous vagaries of human nature.
A Word from the Author
Doug Oudin is a man of the sea. For thirty-two years he served as harbormaster on Catalina Island, where he also wrote a weekly article for the Catalina Islander Newspaper. He also wrote for the Log Magazine for a few years, and published his memoir; ‘Between Two Harbors, Reflections of a Catalina Island Harbormaster’.
His experiences on the island, as well as numerous trips on boats cruising to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean prompted him to write his novel, ‘Five Weeks to Jamaica’.
Based very loosely on one of those trips that he took from San Diego to Jamaica in the mid-seventies, this adventure follows four young friends who purchase a five-week cruise upon a so-called 147 ft. ‘luxury yacht’ from San Diego to Jamaica, for a mere $500. From the beginning, it becomes obvious that the yacht is not all it is supposed to be, and the two main characters, Madison and Kurt, nearly abort the journey. But Kurt’s brother Larry persuades them to give it a go, and they somewhat reluctantly agree. They had no idea what might lie ahead.
For the thirty-five passengers that sign on aboard the ill-fated yacht, the cruise holds a multitude of surprises, pleasures, and disappointments. Several people do abort the trip, while the ones that stay share the joys, the troubles, and the misadventures that occur at sea, and in the various ports they visit and explore.
When the yacht does finally reach Jamaica, nearly a month behind schedule, another odd twist to the adventure develops. Madison, Kurt, and Larry elect to stay in Jamaica for a while, immersing themselves in the incredible lifestyle of the Jamaican culture. Eventually they are ‘forced’ to leave, and they agree to join a crusty Englishman on a 47′ sailboat bound for Florida. It soon becomes obvious that the sailing odyssey is rife with problems, and the violent storm that ensues is merely a prelude to the journey’s life-changing conclusion.
For those that love adventure, romance, and discovery, ‘Five Weeks to Jamaica’ will take you there, and beyond. The author’s experience aboard boats, visiting foreign lands, and his background in writing for two publications, help bring this tale to life.
(Doug Oudin, February 2017)
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