Written by Gerry Evans; published by Sarah Bennett Books.
‘In my sleep I still roar ashore with the crowd in Curacao and Lagos. I dream of mountainous seas sweeping the decks of fully laden tankers, and I encounter shipmates of long ago, and relive the humour and comradeship.’
Gerry’s rollicking memoir was published by Sarah’s house imprint, Sarah Bennett Books, in 2006. Sadly, Gerry passed away in 2008.
‘Though Gerry Evans has been based in Wellington since the early 1960s, he is one of those relatively rare Welsh imports. He was brought up in the port of Aberystwyth and went to sea at 16 – a more common career choice back then than it is today. In 1954 the British merchant marine had 95,000 seamen in its employ. Now, in this little gem of a book, as he nears his 70th birthday, Evans looks back on his youth with fond nostalgia.
‘His memories aren’t all rosy, though. He readily concedes that on some of his voyages the food was foul, the quarters were cramped, the shipboard tasks were tedious and the skipper was a swine. Ah, but what larks Evans enjoyed with his shipmates (“on the homeward passage someone threw a snake through the porthole of the chief steward’s cabin, right onto his bunk”) and what nights of revelry they had in the seaside dives of seven continents. I particularly like his account of his first encounter with the barbarous six o’clock swill in an Auckland pub in the mid-1950s: “I have seen quieter riots – just to reach the bar was an extraordinary feat (it was easy to see where New Zealand rugby forwards had acquired their famous mauling skills).”’
Gerry’s book can be bought from Whitcoulls and by contacting Sarah & Lee direct.