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The Pearce family was but one of many who emigrated from Cornwall out of a desire to improve their lot. My side of the family moved to 148 Winston Road, Stoke Newington, at the turn of the twentieth century.
After the Second World War, I was the only child of the family living in London. My four cousins – Rosemary, Alison, Simon and Peter, children of my Uncle Cyril – lived near Birmingham. Sitting in the scullery at ‘148’, Uncle Jack, Auntie Queenie, and Aunts Ruby and Gladys would tell stories of Cornwall. The pirates, the wreckers, the smugglers – all seemed larger than life to me. The hanging of our men and their interment outside St Just’s consecrated area is just one example of what I heard.
Aged eighteen, I left London bound for the two most enjoyable summers of my life – on the Scilly Isles. I became involved in the search for the wreck of HMS Association – great fun. My part was very small but the lure of sunken treasure was strong. The Scilly Isles are situated at the gateway to the English Channel, just 28 miles off Land’s End, the southernmost part of the English mainland. Not many ships survive during bad weather once tangled in their web of rocks, tides and islets. The people of Scilly have a long history of salvaging wreck – some legal, some not – and thus my lust for adventure, so prevalent in my forebears, was indelibly formed.
I became a yachtsman and have sailed all my life, a voyage to New Zealand 1972–74, and a circumnavigation of the world 1984–89 with two sons and a daughter, being the highlights. I have sailed all the ocean routes mentioned in the book apart from Carlos’s voyage from Virginia to China.
Here's a link to an online review by Toni Sweeney http://www.tonivsweeney.com/Book_Review2/Entries/2011/8/19_Pearces_Ocean.html Five stars!